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”
“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”
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”
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).
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.