Anecdotes from the Life of the Prophet Muhammad

by Mumtaz Ahmad Faruqui

“Acrimu al-Hirrah” (Respect the Cat) [A Poem by Mustafa H.M. Leon]

Hast heard the story, how one summer’s day
Within a mosque, a cat once hap’d to stray,
Just at the time God’s Prophet had gone there,
To make, as was his wont, the Zuhr prayer
With measured tread, it step’d with noiseless feet,
And, ‘fore God’s Prophet, calmly took its seat,
And purring gently, sat there calm and still,
Afraid of nought, suspicious of no ill,
When lo! by Allah’s will, e’er wise and good,
The cat was seized with pains of motherhood,
And ‘twixt its pangs, common to all of earth,
There in the mosque, to kittens three gave birth.
“Remove the brute,” then loudly one did cry,
“To thus pollute the mosque, sure it should die.”
“Say not such words,” God’s Prophet then did say,
“Remove it not, in peace let it here stay,
Do not a thing its feelings now to jar,
Respect the cat, Acrimu al-hirrah,
This cat hath only done that which it should,
And hath performed its work of motherhood,
What Allah hath decreed for all the race,
As Nature’s law, sure can be no disgrace,
And Muslims learn from this the lesson, that
Allah doth teach to all, Respect the Cat,
Thy father honour, and thy brother love,
Protect thy sister, but of all love,
Respect thy mother, she it was who bear
Thee in her womb, and lavished on thee care
Known but to Allah; Muslims think of that,
This cat a mother is, Respect the Cat.”