Once when the prophet Jesus—peace be upon him—
was walking on a dusty and deserted road
on his way to an urgent engagement
he came upon a dog, who was sick and nearly lifeless.
Moved with compassion, he touched the animal’s matted fur.
The dog opened one eye and whined weakly,
then opened its mouth and gave his hand one affectionate lick.
The prophet then cradled the animal in his arms,
and carried him all the way to his destination.
When he arrived, the dog had died.
He instructed some youths to bury the beast in a field
with respect and dignity,
and then set off to his appointment.
When the townsfolk heard what had happened,
they asked him, “Why did you carry a dead dog into our village?
Why did you not leave him on the side of the road where you found him?”
As the prophet set out to wash himself, he answered them,
“If I had sat with the dog until he had died, I would have missed my engagement.
If I had simply left him there, he would have died alone.
“Allah commands all people to have compassion upon even the lowest of beasts.
So I picked him up and carried him until he died
so that he would enter paradise with a friend at his side.
“Be at peace, and do not wonder at this.
For surely, if I have done it for this dog,
I would do it for you.”