Burning Ants in Islam is Prohibited
Fatwa No: 376423

Question

AslamaualakumThere is hadith that says he prophet (Saw) was going to burn an ant community,How do we defend this from ppl who say its harsh and your prophet was evil

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

It was not reported that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) attempted to burn ants. Rather, what was reported is that he forbade that.

Abdullah ibn Mas’ood  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated: "The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) stopped in an area (during a journey) and went to relieve himself. When he returned, he found that a man set an anthill on fire, either on the ground or in a tree. Hence, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) asked: “Who did this.” A man from the people said: “I did it, o Messenger of Allah.” Thereupon, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "Put off the fire! Put off the fire!" [Ahmad]

Moreover, Abu Hurayrah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated: "I heard the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) saying: "An ant bit one of the Prophets, and he ordered that the anthill be burnt. So, Allah inspired to him, 'Is it because one ant bit you that you burn a nation amongst the nations that glorify Allah? Why did you not kill just one ant?" [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

An-Nawawi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in his book Sharh Muslim: "The scholars said that this Hadeeth is interpreted to mean that in the legislation of that Prophet  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention it was permissible to kill ants and burn them with fire. Allah did not blame him for killing and burning the ants; rather, he was blamed for killing and burning more than the one ant (which harmed him). The saying of Allah ‘why did you not kill just one ant?’ means, why did you not punish just the one ant that bit you, because it alone transgressed against you; as for other ants, they are not guilty. However, it is not permissible in our legislation (in Islam) to burn animals…" [End of quote]

Describing any of the prophets as evil is an act of major disbelief that takes a person out of the fold of Islam.

If it was someone who claims to be a Muslim who said this, then he is considered an apostate by saying this –we seek refuge in Allah from that.

The Muslim who does not possess enough Islamic knowledge to repel the misconceptions of the enemies of Allah, should not read their misconceptions or listen to them lest his heart becomes influenced by them and he fails to repel them due to his ignorance. The evidence proving the prohibition of approaching misconceptions and those who raise them, is the saying of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ): "Let him who hears of the Dajjaal (Antichrist) stay far away from him, for I swear by Allah, a man will come to him thinking that he is a believer and then he would follow him (the Dajjaal) because of the misconceptions that the Dajjaal arouses in him." (Reported by Ahmad and Abu Daawood; Al-Albaani classified it as authentic).

For more benefit, please refer to Fatwa 86039, and to Fatwa 83830 on the rights of animals in Islam, and to Fatwa 115711 that it is only the Lord of the fire Who punishes with fire.

Allah knows best.

Related Fatwa