by Silas


Today the religion of Islam is constantly in the news because of its violence. Many people know that Islam is violent but know little else about the religion. A few people know a little about Muhammad. He was a successful leader, he suffered harsh persecution, endured famine and poverty, remained steadfast in the face of opposition, loved his followers dearly, and created the 2nd largest religion in the world.. But there is more to Islam and Muhammad that needs to be understood. Muhammad had a superstitious, somewhat bizarre, set of religious beliefs.

This article presents a short account of Muhammad’s superstitions regarding various animals. Some of these superstitions have been written about in detail elsewhere. Here, I’ll provide the basics and leave you to do the thinking and assessment. The pity is that Muhammad’s beliefs, including his superstitions, form the basis of faith for some one billion followers today. Today, these unfortunate people are bound in a system of belief that shackles their minds with superstition and inhibits them from knowing God and His plan for them.



The Quran contains myths about Jews and Christians. Three of the Quranic verses that reflect these myths are 2:63 – 65, 5:60, and 7:166. All quotes are from "The Noble Quran" [1].

2:63 – 65
And (O Children of Israel, remember) when We took your covenant and We raised above you the Mount (saying): "Hold fast to that which We have given you, and remember that which is therein so that you may become Al-Muttaqun. Then after that you turned away. Had it not been for the Grace and Mercy of Allah upon you, indeed you would have been among the losers. And indeed you knew those amongst you who transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath. We said to them: "Be you monkeys, despised and rejected."

Say (O Muhammad to the people of the Scripture): "Shall I inform you of something worse than that, regarding the recompense from Allah: those (Jews) who incurred the Curse of Allah and His Wrath, those of whom (some) He transformed into monkeys and swines, those who worshipped Taghut (false deities); such are worse in rank (on the Day of Resurrection in the Hellfire), and far more astray from the Right Path."

So when they exceeded the limits of what they were prohibited, We said to them: "Be you monkeys, despised and rejected." (It is a severe warning to the mankind that they should not disobey what Allah commands them to do, and be far away from what He prohibits them).

Additionally, we read that the historical Islamic scholars and commentators agreed with the literal interpretation of this verse:

A. Jews Transformed Into Apes

God transformed these Jews into apes because they disobeyed His commandment and went to catch fish on a Saturday. These Jews inhabited a coastal city (refer to Chapter 2:65). The Qur’an says:

"And you know of those of you who broke the Sabbath, how we said unto them, ‘Be apes, despised and hated!"’

The interpretation of the expositors of the Qur’an is in full agreement with the content of these verses (refer to the Baydawi, page 14; Jalalan, pages 10, 11; Zamakhshari, part 1, page 286). We also read the same incident in chapter 7:163-166 and in chapter 5:60 in which these Jews were transformed into apes and swine. [2]

The Sahih (Authentic) Hadith have Allah turning Jews into other creatures.

Bukhari 4.524:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "A group of Israelites were lost. Nobody knows what they did. But I do not see them except that they were cursed and changed into rats, for if you put the milk of a she-camel in front of a rat, it will not drink it, but if the milk of a sheep is put in front of it, it will drink it." I told this to Ka'b who asked me, "Did you hear it from the Prophet ?" I said, "Yes." Ka'b asked me the same question several times.; I said to Ka'b. "Do I read the Torah? (i.e. I tell you this from the Prophet.)" [3]

Muslim Book 021, Number 4800:
Abu Sa'id reported that an Arab of the desert came to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and said: I live in a low land abounding in lizards, and these are the common diet of my family, but he (the Holy Prophet) did not make any reply. We said to him: Repeat it (your problem) and so he repeated it, but he did not make any reply. (It was repeated thrice ) Then Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) called him out at the third time saying: O man of the desert, verily Allah cursed or showed wrath to a tribe of Bani Isra'il and distorted them to beasts which move on the earth. I do not know, perhaps this (lizard) may be one of them. So I do not eat it, nor do I prohibit the eating of it. [4]

Muslim Book 021, Number 4799:
Abu Sa'id reported that a person said: Messenger of Allah, we live in a land abounding in lizards, so what do you command or what verdict you give (about eating of it)? Thereupon he said: It was mentioned to me that a people from among Bani Isra'il were distorted (so there is a likelihood that those people might have been distorted in the shape of lizards). So he neither commanded (us to eat that) nor forbade (us).

Abu Dawud Book 27, Number 3786:
Narrated Thabit ibn Wadi'ah:
We were in an army with the Apostle of Allah . We got some lizards. I roasted one lizard and brought it to the Apostle of Allah and placed it before him. He took a stick and counted its fingers. He then said: A group from the children of Isra'il was transformed into an animal of the land, and I do not know which animal it was. He did not eat it nor did he forbid (its eating). [5]

Perhaps Muhammad got the idea from the Jews that he interacted with.

They (the Jews) said: "Are we to profane our Sabbath and do on the Sabbath what those before us of whom you well know did and were turned into apes? [6]

Perhaps it is all a fabrication by Muslims who claimed the Jews, (who were massacred) said it. Either way, it is without foundation. As Abraham Geiger the prominent Jewish scholar states:

The affair of the Sabbath-breakers, who were punished by being changed into apes, is also supposed to belong to the time of David, but the circumstance is mentioned only in general terms, and nothing definite is given about time or details, except in verse 82, where the time is given, but not the fact. Among the Jews there is no trace of this legend. [7]


Muhammad used this superstition to scare his followers into obedience as well. He foretold that in later times some Muslims would turn to the lusts of the world and fornicate, wear silk, drink alcoholic, and listen to music. Their punishment is that Allah would supernaturally destroy some and others would be transformed into monkeys and pigs.

Bukhari 7.494B:
Narrated Abu 'Amir or Abu Malik Al-Ash'ari:
that he heard the Prophet saying, "From among my followers there will be some people who will consider illegal sexual intercourse, the wearing of silk, the drinking of alcoholic drinks and the use of musical instruments, as lawful. And there will be some people who will stay near the side of a mountain and in the evening their shepherd will come to them with their sheep and ask them for something, but they will say to him, 'Return to us tomorrow.' Allah will destroy them during the night and will let the mountain fall on them, and He will transform the rest of them into monkeys and pigs and they will remain so till the Day of Resurrection."

Abu Dawud, Book 32, Number 4028:
Narrated Abu Amir or Abu Malik:
AbdurRahman ibn Ghanam al-Ash'ari said: Abu Amir or Abu Malik told me--I swear by Allah another oath that he did not believe me that he heard the Apostle of Allah say: There will be among my community people who will make lawful (the use of) khazz and silk. Some of them will be transformed into apes and swine.



Muslim, Book 026, Number 5562:
'Amir b. Sa'd reported on the authority of his father that Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) commanded the killing of geckos, and he called them little noxious creatures.

Muslim Book 026, Number 5564:
Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: He who killed a gecko with the first stroke for him is such and such a reward, and he who killed it with a second stroke for him is such and such reward less than the first one, and he who killed it with the third stroke for him is such and such a reward less than the second one.

Bukhari 4.526:
Narrated Um Sharik:
That the Prophet ordered her to kill Salamanders.


Sunan of Abu Dawud Book 41, Number 5229:
Narrated Abdullah ibn Mas'ud:
The Prophet said: Kill all the snakes, and he who fears their revenge does not belong to me.


Muslim, Book 026, Number 5557:
There are in Medina "Jinns",
(demon-like creatures) who have accepted Islam, so when you see any one of them, pronounce a warning to it for three days, and if they appear before you after that, then kill it for that is a devil.

Abu Dawud, Book 41, Number 5240:
Narrated AbdurRahman Ibn Abu Layla:
The Apostle of Allah was asked about the house-snakes. He said: When you see one of them in your dwelling, say: "I adjure you by the covenant which Noah made with you, and I adjure you by the covenant which Solomon made with you not to harm us." Then if they come back, kill them.

For a thorough discussion of Muhammad’s order to kill snakes, see the the article:


Bukhari 8.794:
Narrated Anas:
Some people from the tribe of 'Ukl came to the Prophet and embraced Islam. The climate of Medina did not suit them, so the Prophet ordered them to go to the (herd of milch) camels of charity and to drink, their milk and urine (as a medicine). They did so, and after they had recovered from their ailment (became healthy) they turned renegades (reverted from Islam) and killed the shepherd of the camels and took the camels away. The Prophet sent (some people) in their pursuit and so they were (caught and) brought, and the Prophets ordered that their hands and legs should be cut off and that their eyes should be branded with heated pieces of iron, and that their cut hands and legs should not be cauterized, till they die.


Bukhari 4.537:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said "If a house fly falls in the drink of anyone of you, he should dip it (in the drink), for one of its wings has a disease and the other has the cure for the disease."




Bukhari 4.539:
Narrated Abu Talha:
The Prophet said, "Angels do not enter a house witch has either a dog or a picture in it."


Bukhari 4.541:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah's Apostle said, "If somebody keeps a dog, he loses one Qirat (of the reward) of his good deeds everyday, except if he keeps it for the purpose of agriculture or for the protection of livestock. "


Muslim, Book 010, Number 3813:
Abu Zubair heard Jabir b. 'Abdullah (Allah be pleased with him) saying: Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) ordered us to kill dogs, and we carried out this order so much so that we also kill the dog coming with a woman from the desert. Then Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) forbade their killing. He (the Holy Prophet further) said: It is your duty the jet-black (dog) having two spots (on the eyes), for it is a devil.

For a thorough discussion of killing dogs, see the article:


Muslim, Book 004, Number 1032:
Abu Dharr reported: The Messenger of 'Allah (may peace be upon him) said: When any one of you stands for prayer and there is a thing before him equal to the back of the saddle that covers him and in case there is not before him (a thing) equal to the back of the saddle, his prayer would be cut off by (passing of an) ass, woman, and black Dog. I said: O Abu Dharr, what feature is there in a black dog which distinguish it from the red dog and the yellow dog? He said: O, son of my brother, I asked the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) as you are asking me, and he said: The black dog is a devil.


Bukhari 5.530:
Narrated Jabir bin Abdullah:
On the day of Khaibar, Allah's Apostle forbade the eating of donkey meat and allowed the eating of horse meat.


Muslim Book 035, Number 6581:
Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger as saying. When you listen to the crowing of the cock, ask Allah for His favor as it sees Angels and when you listen to the braying of the donkey, seek refuge in Allah from the Satan for it sees Satan.


Bukhari 1.660:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "Isn't he who raises his head before the Imam afraid that Allah may transform his head into that of a donkey or his figure into that of a donkey?"


Obviously Muhammad had many significant misconceptions about various creatures. Jews were never turned into pigs and apes. Geckos are fine and beneficial creatures. Demons have never mutated into "Muslim" snakes, and most snakes are very beneficial to the environment and should not be killed. Camel urine is not medicine for people. (Did you note how Muhammad tortured the men from Urayina?). There is no cure for disease in fly wings, and it is unhealthy to dip flies into your drink. Dogs are in many ways man’s best friend, (do some research and see how beneficial a pet dog is to people’s health). Black dogs are not "the devil". Roosters don’t crow because they see angels, donkeys don’t bray because they see demons, and if a Muslim looks up during prayer, his face will not be turned into a donkey’s face.

There are more superstitious references to various animals in Islamic theology. But these here are sufficient to make the point: the religion of Islam is filled with superstitions and the poor Muslims are plagued by these superstitions to this day. Perhaps Muhammad didn’t know better. He did not grow up in a very scientific culture. But people today, especially Muslims, should acknowledge Muhammad’s zoological errors and realize that he was not a real prophet of God.


  1. The Noble Quran, translated by Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali and Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan, published by Maktaba Dar-us-Salam, PO Box 21441, Riyadh 11475, Saudi Arabia, 1994
  3. Bukhari, Muhammad, "Sahih Bukhari", Kitab Bhavan, New Delhi, India, 1987, translated by M. Khan
  4. Muslim, A., "Sahih Muslim", translated by A. Sidiqqi, International Islamic Publishing House, Riyadh, KSA.
  5. Abu Dawud, Suliman, "Sunan", al-Madina, New Delhi, 1985, translated by A. Hasan
  6. Guillaume, A., "The Life of Muhammad", page 464, a translation of Ibn Ishaq's "Sirat Rasul Allah", Oxford University Press, Karachi, Pakistan.


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