Shama-il Tirmidhi Chapter 35, Hadith Number 2 (226).

Anas radiyallahu anhu says, Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam used to associate with us and joke. I had a younger brother. Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam said to him, ‘Aba Umayr, what happened to the Nughayr?

Nughayr is a type of bird. The ulama have translated it as a white tailed, red Pigeon. The author of Hayatul Haywaan says that it is a Nightingale. Imaam Tirmizi says that the gist of this hadith is that Sayyidinah Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam addressed this child by his kuniyyat (patronymic name). He had adopted an animal (bird) as a pet. The animal died and as a result, the child became grieved. In order to cheer him Sayyidina Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam asked him, What happened to the Nughayr? Although Sayyidina Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam knew that the animal had died. This hadith supports the madh’hab of the Hanafis in a masalah. According to the Shafi’ees, the same rule of hunting applies to the Haram of Madinah as that of Makkah. According to the Hanafis, there is a difference between the two. It is not prohibited to hunt in the Haram of Makkah, whereas it is jaa’iz (permissible) in the Haram of Madinah. Sayyidina Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam not prohibiting this, is a proof from among many other proofs, the details of which are mentioned in the books of fiqh and hadith. There is a difference of opinion whether Sayyidina Abu Umayr radiyallahu anhu was known by this kuniyyat (patronymic name) previously or did Sayyidina Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam address him first by this kuniyyat? Some ulama have extracted more than a hundred masaa-il and benifits from this hadith. May that soul be sacrificed that from a sentence of a joke, hundreds of masaa’il are solved. And may the Almighty Allah fill the graves of the great ulama with nur (light) who have given such great service to each and every hadith of Sayyidina Rasoolullaah sallallahu alaihe wasallam and extracted so many massa’il, kept it safe and spread it. A question arises here that it is also mentioned that the animal was kept in a cage and the child played with it. This is cruelty to an animal, which is prohibited in the hadith. An answer to this is, to cage an animal and to play with it to keep oneself happy, is not cruelty. To harm and to be cruel to an animal is a different thing. For this reason the ulama have written that it is only permissible for that person to keep an animal who will not mis-handle or be cruel to an animal, but care for it properly. It is not permissible for a hard-hearted child or one who does not understand animals to keep them.