Islam’s Treatment of Animals

22 07 2007

Animal protection agencies exist all over the US tirelessly working to keep animals safe and in humane enviroments.  The fact that Islam came 1300 years ago with the same message and acomplished much in the area of animal rights may be shocking to some.  I have compiled a few hadiths (sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad(saw)) and verses from the Qur’an (the Verbatim word of God) on the subject of animal rights.  My hope is that it will shed some light on the beauty and equality that Islam brought to all living creatures.

First of all, why were animals created?

And the cattle, He has created them for you; in them there is warmth (warm clothing), and numerous benefits, and of them you eat”

[al-Nahl 16:5] 

“And He it is Who has subjected the sea (to you), that you eat thereof fresh tender meat (i.e. fish), and that you bring forth out of it ornaments to wear. And you see the ships ploughing through it, that you may seek (thus) of His Bounty (by transporting the goods from place to place) and that you may be grateful”

[al-Nahl 16:14] 

And (He has created) horses, mules and donkeys, for you to ride and as an adornment. And He creates (other) things of which you have no knowledge”

[al-Nahl 16:8] 

So, how should we treat our animals?

It was narrated from Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “A woman entered Hell because of a cat which she tied up and did not feed, nor did she allow it to eat of the vermin of the earth.”

The vermin of the earth means mice, etc. 

(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 3140; Muslim, 2242. There is also a similar report from Abu Hurayrah). 

Narrated Salim: that Ibn ‘Umar disliked the branding of animals on the face. Ibn ‘Umar said, “The Prophet forbade beating (animals) on the face.”  (Bukhari,Book #67, Hadith #449)

It was narrated from Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allaah that a donkey whose face had been branded passed by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and he said, “May Allaah curse the one who branded him.” 

(Narrated by Muslim, 2217). 

It was narrated from Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) that he entered upon Yahyaa ibn Sa’eed and one of Yahyaa’s sons had tied up a hen and was shooting at it. Ibn ‘Umar walked over to him and untied it, then he brought it and the boy and said, “Do not allow your boys to tie up birds in order to kill them, for I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbidding the tying up of animals or other creatures in order to kill them.”

(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5195; Muslim, 1958. The version narrated by Muslim says, “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) cursed those who do that.”)

It says in another hadeeth which was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Do not use anything in which there is a soul as a target.” (Narrated by Muslim, 1957). 

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “A man felt very thirsty while he was on the way, there he came across a well. He went down the well, quenched his thirst and came out. Meanwhile he saw a dog panting and licking mud because of excessive thirst. He said to himself, “This dog is suffering from thirst as I did.” So, he went down the well again and filled his shoe with water and watered it. Allah thanked him for that deed and forgave him. The people said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Is there a reward for us in serving the animals?” He replied: “Yes, there is a reward for serving any animate (living being).” (See Hadith No. 551)  (Bukhari,Book #43, Hadith #646)

 Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “While a dog was going round a well and was about to die of thirst, an Israeli prostitute saw it and took off her shoe and watered it. So Allah forgave her because of that good deed.”  (Book #56, Hadith #673)

Even the means of slaughtering animals in Islam is done in a way which will bring minimal pain to the animal.

Forbidden to you (for food) are: Al-Maytatah (the dead animals – cattle-beast not slaughtered), blood, the flesh of swine, and the meat of that which has been slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allah, or has been slaughtered for idols, etc., or on which Allahs Name has not been mentioned while slaughtering, and that which has been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by the goring of horns – and that which has been (partly) eaten by a wild animal – unless you are able to slaughter it (before its death) and that which is sacrificed (slaughtered) on AnNusub (stone altars). (Forbidden) also is to use arrows seeking luck or decision, (all) that is Fisqun (disobedience of Allah and sin). This day, those who disbelieved have given up all hope of your religion, so fear them not, but fear Me. This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. But as for him who is forced by severe hunger, with no inclination to sin (such can eat these above-mentioned meats), then surely, Allah is OftForgiving, Most Merciful.  
(  سورة المائدة  , Al-Maeda, Chapter #5, Verse #3)

In a study entitled Attempts to Objectify Pain and Consciousness in Conventional (captive bolt pistol stunning) and Ritual (halal, knife) Methods of Slaughtering Sheep and Calves’, carried out by Professor Wilhelm Schulze and his colleague Dr. Hazim at the School of Veterinary Medicine, Hanover University, Germany, several electrodes were surgically implanted at various points of the skull of all animals, touching the surface of the brain.  After the animals were allowed to recover for several weeks, some animals were slaughtered in the Islamic manner mentioned previously, by the cutting of the trachea, esophagus, the jugular veins and carotid arteries.  Other animals were stunned first before slaughtering.  During the experiment, an electroencephalograph (EEG) and an electrocardiogram (ECG) recorded the condition of the brain and the heart of all animals during the course of slaughter and stunning.  The following results were recorded:

1.    The first three seconds from the time of Islamic slaughter as recorded on the EEG did not show any change from the graph before slaughter, thus indicating that the animal did not feel any pain during or immediately after the incision.

2.    For the following 3 seconds, the EEG recorded a condition of deep sleep – unconsciousness.  This is due to the large quantity of blood gushing out from the body.

3.    After the above-mentioned 6 seconds, the EEG recorded zero level, showing no feeling of pain at all.

4.    As the brain message (EEG) dropped to zero level, the heart was still pounding and the body convulsing vigorously (a reflex action of the spinal cord) driving a maximum amount of blood from the body thus resulting in hygienic meat for the consumer. (source:http://www.islamreligion.com/articles/313/)

Isn’t it amazing that these laws came about 1300 years ago. Yet, we are still struggling to keep animals from being abused and mistreated.  I hope that this entry will be of benefit and remind us all of our duties to treat animals well.

Any good here is from Allah and anything wrong is from myself and the Shaytan.

 


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11 responses

22 07 2007
University Update - T-Pain - Islam’s Treatment of Animals

[…] Efron Link to Article t-pain Islam’s Treatment of Animals » Posted at A Glimpse Into The Life of […]

22 07 2007
adikbongsu

Masya-Allah sister, this article is a good , it shows how Islam encompass all aspects of life.

Jazakillah… 🙂

22 07 2007
ummabdurrahman

As Salaamu Alaikum:

Good awareness entry sis. I love the picture of the kittens. So adorable. Mash’Allah, I never realized that there were so many hadith out there on animals. Truy Islam in the beginning was sent to perfect our lives. Today, Islam will always be appealing for what it stood then in the stages of revelation and now for what it will always represent, not just a religion but a way of life.

Jazak Allahu Khair for the hadiths. I have been trying to memorize some this summer. Alhamdullilah

23 07 2007
Conflictedworld

Asalaamualikum,
Jazakallah Kahirun sis for the article. I have always wondered what Islam stance was on the treament of animals and unfortunately its something the ummah overlooks.

Walikumasalaam

25 07 2007
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[…] post by A Glimpse Into The Life of A Muslimah and software by Elliott […]

8 08 2007
salman khan

iam very happy that islam is the most benefit religion in terms of treatment of animal and all animate beings some 1300years ago that is the most freakingly amazing teaching of islam and unfortunately by far majority of muslims do not perform in and follow suchimportant acts of islam . man has been apointed as an khalifa of nature meaning conservation and protection of nature and all creature created by allah only but issues like climate change. overhunting .habitat loss and destruction.wildlife trade.pollution.invasive species and human and man made threats are pushing many many many many species of animals and plants towards extinction and total dissapperane of allahs creation.beauty.knowlege and power in other words extinction of islam itself because of greed

15 10 2007
saarah

mashallah this is a very good article, i was having a discussion in class about souls, humans and animals, someone bought up the issue that since, in most of the major religions, humans have souls and are created by allah they can not be killed (unless they have committed a serious crime), but in islam do animals also have souls? if so then why is it ok to kill animals and not humans moreover since islam allows the slaughter of animals does this mean that humans are above all other beings also is it ok to be a vegetarian in islam? i mean i know that allah has given many attributes to animals which are of great advantage to humans ie. milk from cows but is that their only purpose? if someone could answer my qu’s that would be of great help
jazakallah

15 10 2007
Umm Yusuf

Assalaamu Alaikum Saarah,

I once heard a shaykh answer this as follows:

Yes, it is ok to be a vegetarian and a Muslim. As long as it is your personal preference and you are not making it a part of Islam or a contradiction to Islam. Because you can not impose conditions in Islam that Allah nor the Prophet gave us. It is permissible for Muslims to eat meat. So, one can not say it is haram. However, one can say they don’t want to eat meat for personal reasons such as taste, health, etc.

As I wrote above Allah says in the Quran that of animals we eat. Humans and animals are created differently. Humans do have a raised status and free will.

And as mentioned above, the way of slaughtering animals in Islam and the conditions on what kind of meat we eat show the compassion we have for animals. We have to kill them in a manner that doesn’t bring them suffering. The way of slaughter Islam teaches is very humane.

11 11 2007
Sandra

Ssalamu ‘lekum

I am vegetarian but do eat halal meat when in Morocco. The animals that are slaughtered for consumption do not suffer, but what about the other animals? The donkeys that support their heavy load from morning to night without any water. The horse-drawn carts in the big cities for the tourists inhaling car fumes all day long, I didn’t see any buckets of water at their resting place. The skinny mangy, starving dogs and cats that roam the country, infested with flees and covered in sores. What does Allah say about these? I am sure they are not supposed to suffer either.

13 11 2007
Umm Yusuf

Wa Alaikum Salaam Sandra,

Yes, you are right. People often neglect to realize that kind treatment towards animals encompasses all animals. In Islam, we have a few instances where the Prophet (saw) brought up the subject to his companions. One is in which the Prophet (saw) told a story of a prostitute giving a dog a drink of water and because of that kindness Allah forgave her sins. Another story involves a woman who kept a cat tied up and wouldn’t feed or water it or let it go out and fend for itself. The Prophet(saw) said he saw her in hell.

So, there are many stories in which the Prophet ordered kind treatment to animals. Those are the only two that comes to mind but If I find more insh’Allah I will post them here.
🙂 Thanks for checking out the blog!

18 06 2008
maryyam

VERY GOOD I AM VERY IMPRESSED

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