Muezza, the Islamic prophet Muhammad’s favorite cat.

Muezza (or Muʿizza) (Arabicمعزة‎) is said to have been the Islamic prophet Muhammad‘s favorite cat.[1][2]

History

It is told that Muhammad awoke one day to the sounds of the Adhan, the Muslim daily call to prayer. Preparing to attend, he began to dress himself; however, he soon discovered his cat Muezza sleeping on the sleeve of his prayer robe. Rather than wake her, he used a pair of scissors to cut the sleeve off, leaving the cat undisturbed. When he returned from the mosque, Muhammad received a bow from Muezza in gratitude. He then stroked his beloved cat three times.[1][2]

History books also record that the Sufi leader Ahmed ar-Rifa’i cut his sleeve because a cat was sleeping on it, then stitched it up later and said “nothing changed”.[3]

However, Muhammad in other hadiths commanded that animals be treated kindly, giving the example of a man who goes to heaven for getting water from a well for a thirsty dog,[4]and another woman who goes to hell because she kept a cat locked up, not feeding it, nor allowing it to forage for its own sustenance.[5]

Additionally, a UK-based pet food company, Halal Pet Products Ltd, produces what they claim to be a completely halal cat food, which they named Muezza Pure.[6] The company justifies their development of the product by asserting that, while there are no laws in Islam prohibiting animals from eating haram foods, Muslims are forbidden to handle or feed haram foods, such as pork and carrion, to animals.[6]

References

  1. a b Geyer, Georgie Anne (2004). When Cats Reigned Like Kings: On the Trail of the Sacred Cats. Andrews McMeel Publishing. ISBN 0-7407-4697-9.
  2. a b Stall, Sam (2007). 100 Cats Who Changed Civilization: History’s Most Influential Felines. Quirk Books. ISBN 978-1-59474-163-0.
  3. Al-Thahabi, Shamsuddin. “الرفاعي”Siyar A’lam Al-Nubala. Retrieved on 24 October 2014.
  4. http://library.islamweb.net/emainpage/index.php?page=showfatwa&Option=FatwaId&Id=49156
  5. Muslim ibn al-Hajjajصحيح مسلم. Retrieved on 24 October 2014.
  6. a b .http://www.halalpetproducts.co.uk/

The domestic cat is a revered animal in Islam.[1] Admired for its cleanliness as well as for being loved by the prophet Muhammad, the cat is considered “the quintessential pet” by Muslims.[2]

Origins of reverence

Cats have been venerated in the Near East since antiquity, a tradition adopted by Islam, albeit in a much modified form.[3] Muhammad is reported to have said that “a love of cats is an aspect of faith”; according to other hadiths, he prohibited the persecution and killing of cats. The prophet purportedly allowed a cat to give birth on his cloak, and cut off the sleeve of his prayer robe rather than wake his favourite cat, a female named Muezza, who was sleeping on it.[2] This fits in with the theme of compassion in Islam.

Cat resting on a pillow next to an imam in Cairo, by John Frederick Lewis

 One of Muhammad’s companions was known as Abu Hurairah (literally: “Father of the Kitten”) for his attachment to cats.[1] Abu Hurairah claimed that he had heard the Prophet declare that a woman went to Hell for starving a female kitten and not providing her with any water, but this was disputed by the Prophet’s widow Aisha.[4] According to legend, Abu Hurairah’s cat saved Muhammad from a snake.[2] The grateful prophet stroked the cat’s back and forehead, thus blessing all cats with the righting reflex. The stripes some cats have on their foreheads are believed to mark the touch of Muhammad’s fingers.[5] However, many Muslims do not believe all hadith are 100% accurate.

History

The American poet and travel author Bayard Taylor (1825-1878) was astonished when he discovered a Syrian hospital where cats roamed freely. The institution, in which domestic felines were sheltered and nourished, was funded by a waqf, along with caretakers’ wages, veterinary care and cat foodEdward William Lane (1801-1876), British Orientalist who resided in Cairo, described a cat garden originally endowed by the 13th-century Egyptian sultan Baibars, whose European contemporaries held a very different attitude towards cats, eating them or killing them under papal decrees.[2] Aside from protecting granaries and food stores from pests, cats were valued by the paper-based Arab-Islamicate cultures for preying on mice that destroyed books. For that reason, cats are often depicted in paintings alongside Islamic scholars and bibliophiles. The medieval Egyptian zoologist Al-Damiri (1344-1405) wrote that the first cat was created when God caused a lion to sneeze, after animals on Noah’s Ark complained of mice.[2]

Hygiene and neutering

Cat outside a mosque in Şirince, Turkey, with people praying in the background

In Islamic tradition, cats are admired for their cleanliness. They are thought to be ritually clean, unlike dogs, and are thus allowed to enter homes[2] and even mosques, including Masjid al-Haram. Food sampled by cats is considered halal and water from which cats have drunk is permitted for wudu.[2] Furthermore, there is a widespread belief among Muslims that cats seek out people who are praying.[1]

Muslim scholars are divided on the issue of neutering animals. Most, however, maintain that neutering cats is allowed “if there is some benefit in neutering the cat and if that will not cause its death”.[6] Muhammad ibn al Uthaymeen, a 20th-century Saudi Arabian Sunni imam, preached:

If there are too many cats and they are a nuisance, and if the operation will not harm them, then there is nothing wrong with it, because this is better than killing them after they have been created. But if the cats are ordinary cats and are not causing a nuisance, perhaps it is better to leave them alone to reproduce.[6]

References

  1. a b c Glassé, Cyril (2003). The New Encyclopedia of Islam. Rowman Altamira. p. 102. ISBN 0759101906.
  2. a b c d e f g Campo, Juan Eduardo (2009). Encyclopedia of Islam. Infobase Publishing. p. 131. ISBN 1438126964.
  3. Baldick, Julian (2012). Mystical Islam: An Introduction to Sufism. I.B.Tauris. p. 155. ISBN 1780762313.
  4. Kurzman, Charles (1998). Liberal Islam: A Source Book. Oxford University Press. p. 121. ISBN 0195116224.
  5. Gulevich, Tanya (2005). Understanding Islam and Muslim traditions: an introduction to the religious practices, celebrations, festivals, observances, beliefs, folklore, customs, and calendar system of the world’s Muslim communities, including an overview of Islamic history and geography. Omnigraphics. p. 232. ISBN 0780807049.
  6. a b Muhammad Saed Abdul-Rahman (2004). Islam: Questions and Answers – Jurisprudence and Islamic Rulings: General and Transactions -, Part 1. MSA Publication Limited. pp. 323–325. ISBN 1861794118.
Advertisements

70 SAINTS’ QUOTES TO ELEVATE YOUR GAME!

70 Saints’ Quotes to Elevate Your Game!

From the moment Christ handed Peter the keys, the Roman Catholic Church has played an essential role in pulling the world up from savagery and barbarism to reach new heights as a civilization of love. Wherever the Roman Catholic Church flourishes, the culture thrives. No longer is man subject to his base wants and lusts and desires, but is released to strive for the summit of perfection.

Pope Benedict wrote:

“Thanks to Tradition, guaranteed by the ministry of the apostles and their successors, the water of life that flowed from the side of Christ and his saving blood comes to the women and men of all times. In this way, Tradition is the permanent presence of the Savior who comes to meet, redeem and sanctify us in the Spirit through the ministry of his Church for the glory of the Father.”

The saints who have gone before us are the witness, par excellence, to this tethering to Truth that enlightens and inspires and elevates mankind. These 70 quotes are but a glance at the 2,000 year history of the “Heroes in Holiness.” Let us allow their impressive lives inspire ours.

1. If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze! -St. Catherine of Sienna

2. This is the very perfection of a man, to find out his own imperfections. -St. Augustine

3. To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often. -Bl. John Henry Cardinal Newman

4. He who climbs never stops going from beginning to beginning, through beginnings that have no end. He never stops desiring what he already knows. –St. Gregory of Nissa

5. Let us begin in earnest to work out our salvation, for no one will do it for us, since even He Himself, Who made us without ourselves, will not save us without ourselves. -St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

6. It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels. -Saint Augustine

7. To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible. -St. Thomas Aquinas

8. Our hearts were made for You, O Lord, and they are restless until they rest in you. -St. Augustine of Hippo

9. Pray, Hope, and Don’t Worry 
-St. Pio of Pietrelcino

10. You must ask God to give you power to fight against the sin of pride which is your greatest enemy – the root of all that is evil, and the failure of all that is good. For God resists the proud. -St. Vincent de Paul

11. Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you. -St. Augustine

12. Love to be real, it must cost—it must hurt—it must empty us of self. -Mother Teresa

13. To love God is something greater than to know Him. -St. Thomas Aquinas

14. We are to love God for Himself, because of a twofold reason; nothing is more reasonable, nothing more profitable. -St. Bernard of Clairvaux

15. It is not hard to obey when we love the one whom we obey. -St. Ignatius of Loyola

16. You cannot be half a saint; you must be a whole saint or no saint at all. -St. Therese of Lisieux

17. The most powerful weapon to conquer the devil is humility. For, as he does not know at all how to employ it, neither does he know how to defend himself from it. -Saint Vincent de Paul

18. Teach us to give and not count the cost. -St. Ignatius de Loyola

19. Charity is no substitute for justice withheld – St. Augustine

20. The source of justice is not vengeance but charity. -Saint Bridget of Sweden

21. Fortitude is the disposition of soul which enables us to despise all inconveniences and the loss of things not in our power. –St. Augustine

22. I know well that the greater and more beautiful the work is, the more terrible will be the storms that rage against it. -St. Faustina

23. Moreover, Christians are born for combat, whereof the greater the vehemence, the more assured, God willing, the triumph: ‘Have confidence; I have overcome the world’ (John 16:33) –Pope Leo XIII

24. Temperance is a disposition that restrains our desires for things which it is base to desire. –St. Augustine

25. Our body has this defect that, the more it is provided care and comforts, the more needs and desires it finds. –St. Teresa of Avila

26. If you would rise, shun luxury, for luxury lowers and degrades. -St John Chrysostom

27. Dost thou hold wisdom to be anything other than truth, wherein we behold and embrace the supreme good? –St. Augustine

28. Let your old age be childlike, and your childhood like old age; that is, so that neither may your wisdom be with pride, nor your humility without wisdom. -St. Augustine

29. God gives each one of us sufficient grace ever to know His holy will, and to do it fully. -St. Ignatius of Loyola

30. Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore seek not to understand that thou mayest believe, but believe that thou mayest understand. –St. Augustine

31. Understanding is the sure and clear knowledge of some invisible thing. –St. Bernard

32. Thus understanding and love, that is, the knowledge of and delight in the truth, are, as it were, the two arms of the soul, with which it embraces and comprehends with all the saints the length and breath, the height and depth, that is the eternity, the love, the goodness, and the wisdom of God. –St. Bernard

33. Listen and attend with the ear of your heart -St. Benedict

34. We judge all things according to the divine truth. – St. Augustine

35. A scrap of knowledge about sublime things is worth more than any amount about trivialities. –St. Thomas Aquinas

36. In so far as divine love beautifies our souls. And makes us pleasing to His divine Majesty, it is called grace; in so far as it gives us strength to do good, it is called charity; but when it reaches such a degree of perfection, that it makes us not only do the good, but do so carefully, frequently and readily, then it is called devotion. –St. Francis de Sales

37. Charity and devotion differ no more, the one from the other, than the flame from the fire. –St. Francis de Sales

38. Devotion is a certain act of the will by which man gives himself promptly to divine service. –St. Thomas Aquinas

39. It is better to say one Our Father fervently and devoutly than a thousand with no devotion and full of distraction. — St. Edmund

40. For I have learnt for a fact that nothing so effectively obtains, retains and regains grace, as that we should always be found not high-minded before God, but filled with holy fear. –St. Bernard

41. We must fear God out of love, not love Him out of fear.
 -Saint Francis de Sales

42. Our hearts were made for You, O Lord, and they are restless until they rest in you. 
-St. Augustine

43. The fruits of charity are joy, peace, and mercy; charity demands beneficence and fraternal correction; it is benevolence; it fosters reciprocity and remains disinterested and generous; it is friendship and communion: Love is itself the fulfillment of all our works. There is the goal; that is why we run: we run toward it, and once we reach it, in it we shall find rest. –St. Augustine

44. Charity brings to life again those who are spiritually dead. –St. Thomas Aquinas

45. Charity is the form, mover, mother, and root of all virtues. –St. Thomas Aquinas

46. Joy is a net of love by which we catch souls. 
-Mother Teresa

47. Joy is very infectious; therefore, be always full of joy. –Mother Teresa

48. Let the brothers ever avoid appearing gloomy, sad, and clouded, like the hypocrites; but let one ever be found joyous in the Lord, gay, amiable, gracious, as is meet. –St. Francis

49. But above all preserve peace of heart. This is more valuable than any treasure. In order to preserve it there is nothing more useful than renouncing your own will and substituting for it the will of the divine heart. In this way his will can carry out for us whatever contributes to his glory, and we will be happy to be his subjects and to trust entirely in him. -St Margaret Mary Alacoque

50. Who except God can give you peace? Has the world ever been able to satisfy the heart?
 -Saint Gerard Majella

51. Patience is the companion of wisdom. –St. Augustine

52. Be kind to all and severe to thyself. –St. Teresa of Avila

53. To convert somebody go and take them by the hand and guide them. -St. Thomas Aquinas

54. Be a good child, and God will help you. -St. Joan of Arc

55. To attribute to God, and not to self, whatever good one sees in oneself; but to recognize always that the evil is one’s own doing, and to impute it on one’s self. –St. Benedict

56. This, in short, is the difference between us and others who know not God, that in misfortune they complain and murmur, while the adversity does not call us away from the truth of virtue and faith, but strengthens us by its suffering. –St. Cyprian

57. Nothing appeases an enraged elephant so much as the sight of a little lamb. –St. Francis de Sales

58. When you encounter difficulties and contradictions, do not try to break them, but bend them with gentleness and time. –St. Francis de Sales

59. He who can preserve gentleness amid pains, and peace amid worry multitude of affairs, is almost perfect. –St. Francis de Sales

60. For Faith is the beginning and the end is love, and God is the two of them brought into unity. After these comes whatever else makes up a Christian gentleman. –St. Ignatius of Antioch

61. Faith means battles; if there are no contests, it is because there are none who desire to contend. –St. Ambrose

62. Faith does not quench desire, but inflames it. –St. Thomas Aquinas

63. A faint faith is better than a strong heresy. –St. Thomas More

64. It is not the actual physical exertion that counts toward a man’s progress, nor the nature of the task, but the spirit of faith with which it is undertaken. -St. Francis Xavier

65. The dress of the body should not discredit the good of the soul.  St. Cyprian

66. The purpose of clothing is to keep warm in winter and to cover your nakedness, not to serve your vanity.  St. Cyril of Jerusalem

67. He who is chaste in flesh should not be proud, for he should know that he owes the gift of continence to another. –Pope St. Clement I

68. I thought that continence was a matter of our own strength, and I knew that I had not the strength: for in my utter foolishness I did not know the word of Your Scripture that none can be continent unless You give it. –St. Augustine

69. Great are those two gifts, wisdom and continence: wisdom, forsooth, whereby we are formed in the knowledge of God; continence whereby we are not conformed to this world. –St. Augustine

70. Do not say that you have chaste minds if you have unchaste eyes, because an unchaste eye is the messenger of an unchaste heart. –St. Augustine