Hyderabad: Come summer and the social media is flooded with messages like ‘Birds need you this summer. Place water pots for thirsty birds in terraces, compound walls and balconies’ ‘Save birds’ ‘Birds need you this summer … Keep some water on your terrace, balcony for birds’ ‘Chhat par paani ke katore zaroor rakhein’
It is true that the birds need human attention during summer because they are at high risk in scorching heat. A report published in the Times of India has claimed that the rising temperature and water scarcity has led to widespread dehydration and fatality among birds. 37 cases of dehydration this season have been recorded by the Greater Hyderabad Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (GHSPCA) of which eight died. According to a data collated from various rescue groups, as many as 166 birds have been found dehydrated — between March and now.
The report quoted Surender Bhandari, secretary of GHSPCA as saying “Big birds such as eagles generally migrate away from the city during summers. Pigeons and other small birds tend to remain in residential areas and feeding grounds. But while food is available to feed flocks, there isn’t any water source for them during summers.”
Meanwhile, animal activists have started distributing water bowls across the city urging residents to set up their own water bowls for birds and animals.
Islam and compassion for birds and animals
The Holy Qur’an, the Hadith, and the history of Islamic civilization offer many examples of kindness, mercy, and compassion for animals. Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) often chastised his Companions who mistreated animals, and spoke to them about the need for mercy and kindness.
It is related from Abu Umama that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Whoever is merciful even to a sparrow, Allah will be merciful to him on the Day of Judgment.”
It is related from Sahl ibn Al-Handhaliyya that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, once passed by a camel that was so emaciated that its back had almost reached its stomach. He said, “Fear Allah in these beasts who cannot speak.” (Abu Dawud)
It is related from AbdulRahman bin Abdullah that a group of Companions were once on a journey with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and he left them for a while. During his absence, they saw a bird with its two young, and they took the young ones from the nest. The mother bird was circling above in the air, beating its wings in grief, when the Prophet came back. He said, “Who has hurt the feelings of this bird by taking its young? Return them to her.” (Muslim)
It is related from Abu Hurayra, from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, that a prostitute once saw a dog on a very hot day going round and round a well, lolling its tongue because of its thirst. She drew some water for it using her shoe, and for this action all her sins were forgiven her. (Muslim)
It is related from Jabir that the Messenger of Allah, once saw a donkey which had been branded on its face and he said, “May Allah curse the one who branded it.” (Muslim)
It is related from Abu Hurayra that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Do not use the backs of your animals as chairs. Allah has made them subject to you, so that by them you can reach places that you would not otherwise be able to reach except with great fatigue.” (Abu Dawud)
It is related from Abdullah ibn Umar that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “A woman was once punished after death because of a cat which she had kept confined until it died, and because of this she entered the Fire. She had neither given it food or drink while confining it, nor had she let it free to eat the creatures of the earth.” (Muslim)