Branding animals for distinction

Q 3: There are proofs in the Sunnah (whatever is reported from the Prophet) prohibiting branding animals and cattle in the face. As Bedouins, sometimes we are forced to brand animals for distinction, as they may mix in the fields with others' cattle. We also do it to prevent thieves from selling them after stealing them. Is it permissible for us to brand our animals?

A: It is permissible to brand them for the reason you mentioned in the question, as long as it is not done in the face. It is related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim (may Allah be pleased with them) in their Two Sahih (authentic) Books of Hadith on the authority of Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said, I went to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and when I arrived, he (peace be upon him) had the branding iron in his hand and was branding the camels of Zakah (obligatory charity). In another narration by Imam Ahmad and Ibn Majah (may Allah be pleased with them both), it is reported that Anas said, I went to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) while he was cauterizing some sheep in their ears. However, branding animals in (Part No. 26; Page No. 161) the face is not permissible, since the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) prohibited it.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.