(this is a rough translation from our brother Ali Ibn Shareef )
in his blog below
Bismillaah Wal Hamdulillaah Was Salaatu Was Salaamu 'Alaa Rasoolillaahi Wa Ba'd:
What compelled me to (roughly) translate these short words was what I saw recently....a young muslim putting some food for a stray dog @a family day...mashaAllah. Then when the dog approached to eat the food, the boy scared the dog away and laughed and the fools around him laughed also. Then the dog came back and he scared him away again, 'I can't resist'. Allaahul Musta'aan!
May Allaah help us not to look at the small things with insignificance.
From Shaykh 'Uthaymeen’s (rahimahullah) Sharh of Riyaadhus Saaliheen:
That the Prophet salalahu 'alaih wa sallam said:
"One day a man was walking on a path (travelling) and was suffering from severe thirst so he found a well, so he descended into and drank. When he came out he saw a dog lolling its tongue, eating the moistened earth (or dirt/sand) out of thirst. So the man said: 'What has afflicted this dog (from severe thirst) is the same as what afflicted me.' So he descended into the well again and filled his shoes(sandals) with water then held it in his mouth until he climbed up and made the dog drink it. So Allaah appreciated this act of his and pardoned him. Then (the Companions around him) said: Allaah's Messenger, is there for us a reward even for (serving) such animals? He said:Yes, there is a reward for service to every living animal."
And in another narration from Saheeh Al Bukhaaree: "Allaah appreciated this act of his, forgave him and entered him into the Jannah."
And in another two narrations (from Saheeh Al Bukharee and Muslim): "...Once a dog was circling around a well on the verge of dying of thirst. When a prostitute from the prostitutes of Bani Israa'il saw it so she put her shoe in the well (filled her shoe with water) and gave it to drink from that and she was forgiven on account of that action."
'The author mentions (rahimahullah ta'ala) in the chapter: 'The many ways of achieving good/blessings' this strange story which was narrated by Abu Hurairah from the Prophet salallahu 'alaihi wa sallam that once a man was walking on a pathway travelling, he became afflicted by thirst, so he descended into a well and drank from it and his thirst was quenched. However, when he was exiting from the well there was a dog eating the moist dirt on account of its extreme thirst i.e. eating the wet, damp soil,eating it from thirst in order to suck or consume the water that was in it due to extreme thirst. So the man said, by Allaah, what has afflicted this dog is the same as what afflicted me. (or a similar statement which carries the same meaning). So he descended into the well and filled his shoe(khuff) with water and the khuff is what covers the foot made from dried skin and the like. So he filled it with water and carried it in his mouth. And started to climb up with his hands until he climbed out of the well. Then he gave the dog to drink. So when he gave it to drink, Allaah appreciated that action from him, forgave him and entered him into the Jannah on account of it.
And this is the truthfulness and the reality of the statement of the Prophet, salallahu 'alaihi wa sallam, "The Jannah (Paradise) is closer to one of you than the strap of his sandal, and the Hell-fire is also like that."
A deed which earned the appreciation of Allaah for the one who did this action, He forgave him and entered him into Jannah.
And when the Prophet salallahu 'alaihi wa sallam narrated this hadeeth to the Comapanions and they were the most anxious and keen of the people in seeking and acquiring knowledge, not just so they would know, but in order for them to know and to act upon it. They asked the Prophet salallahu 'alaihi wa sallam: 'O Messenger of Allaah! Is there a reward for us in serving these animals?' And he said: "There is a reward for serving everything that has a wet liver (i.e. every living thing)." Because this dog is from such animals.
So how is there for this man who gave the dog to drink such a great reward? Is there for us in serving these animals a reward? He said: "There is a reward in serving everything that has a wet liver." The wet liver requires water, because if there is no water in it dries up and the animal dies.
Therefore, we take from this a principle, and that is, when the Messenger narrates to us a story from Bani Israa'il then that is so we take a lesson from it and take from it an example to follow. And this is like Allaah Ta'ala said: "Indeed in their narrations are lessons for those of understanding." (Surah Yusuf)
And in another narration, and perhaps it is an another story (entirely) that a prostitute from Bani Israa'il i.e. she was paid for intercourse, and Allaah's refuge is sought, that she saw a dog circling a wall, and it was thirsty but could not reach the water (to drink), because it was a wall of a well, so she threw her shoe into the well (collecting water thereby) and gave the dog to drink from that so Allaah forgave her.
So this indicates that in serving animals there is reward. Every animal you show kindness to by feeding it, giving it to drink, sheltering it from heat or cold, whether it belongs to you or other than you from the people, whether it is a stray animal, then verily in this there is a reward for you with Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, this (reward) and they are only animals! So what then (is the reward) in showing kindness and serving human beings? If you show kindness and goodness to human beings the reward will be greater and more abundant.
And in regard to this, the Prophet salallahu 'alaihi wa sallam said: "Whoever gives a muslim to drink, then Allaah will give him to drink from the sealed nectar." (Translator's Note: Imaam At Tirmidhee graded this hadeeth as ghareeb and Shaykh Al Albaanee graded it as da’eef in his checking of Sunan At Tirmidhee) i.e. If you young son stands at the refrigerator and says to you: "I want water" and you give him to drink while he was thirsty, then you have indeed given a muslim to drink upon his thirst, then Allaah will give you to drink from the sealed nectar. An abundant reward! And for Allaah is the Praise.
Free spoils (i.e. easy opportunities to attain rewards)! But where is the one who takes these free spoils? Where is the one who purifies his intention, and hopes for the reward from Allaah?
So I advise you O my brother and myself, to always strive to grasp and seize the good deeds with a sincere intention until it becomes an asset for you with Allaah on the Day of Qiyaamah. For how many small deeds became great on account of the niyyah accompanying it? And how many large deeds became small (in value) on account of negligence regarding it?