Islamic view of animals and other creatures

Umari Stambuli Holy Qur’aan Speaks
\nIt is very interesting to note how Islam views animals and other creatures and to understand what the Holy Qur’aan and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) have said about the animal kingdom and its place in Islamic teaching. God Almighty declares: “There is not an animal on earth, nor a bird that flies on its wings – but they are communities like you.” (Holy Qur’aan Ch 6: v 38).

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The word “community” is very interesting.
\nAs humans, we refer to the Chinese community, the French community, and so forth.
\nAnd we imply that a particular community has its own natural habits, language and special way of communication, special food and ways of eating and marrying and rearing offspring.
\nEach community is respected individually.

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This key word “community” was mentioned over 1,400 years ago in the Holy Qur’aan to stimulate mankind to acknowledge the existence and crucial role of animals and other creatures.

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Furthermore, this was done to help us learn all their different behaviours and needs and to respect their rights – accorded to them by none other than God Almighty.

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The biggest chapter in the Holy Qur’aan is Al-Baqarah (The Cow).
\nIt contains 286 verses, many of which are verses of guidance and Islamic instruction for believers in relation to their co-existence with other creatures on earth.

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Other chapters of the Holy Qur’aan relate to cattle, bees, ants, spiders, elephants and so forth.
\nAccording to Muslim scholars and scientists, these titles and names of animals carry wisdom and interesting, meaningful ideas.
\nMan is to reflect on the intricate details of the lives of these creatures and draw practical lessons from them.

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It is amazing that these animals have the honour to have chapters of the Holy Book named after them!
\nThere are also other animal names mentioned in the Qur’aan with stories relevant to them.

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These are the camel, horse, donkey, calf, sheep, goat, dog, fish, birds, monkey, pig, snake, locust, house-fly, frog, bee and many others.
\nThe individual and collective qualities, traits and behaviours of each animal or creature species all portray signs of the profound excellence of the Supreme Maker and Creator.

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Preservation of species was done a long time ago by Allah Almighty’s order and Divine plan in Noah’s Ark, without which we would not know of any animals today.
\nThis is also a reminder to us to preserve animal species both now and at any other time.

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God Almighty – in His infinite wisdom and mercy upon mankind – has created humans with a greater intellect than animals and other creatures.
\nThus, humans have been given a special responsibility to be fair, just and kind to all other living things.
\nGod, the Creator of human beings and animals, has made animals subservient to us.

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Allah Almighty says, “It is Allah Who has provided you livestock of every kind. You can ride some kinds and others you eat. . .” (Holy Qur’aan Ch 40: v 79).

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Thus, it is clear that we depend on animals for the food we eat and the milk we drink. We use animals for draught power and so forth.
\nWe bring animals into our homes as pets.

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We benefit from specially trained dogs that detect drugs and even guide the disabled.
\nBut we must balance our use of animals with our primary role as caretakers on Earth.

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We are not allowed to harm animals and other creatures (or even plants) in any way and we are not allowed to take any life for no reason.
\nProphet Muhammed (peace be upon him) forbade people from capturing baby birds, burning ant hills and whipping animals cruelly.
\nAll the people he stopped from doing these things were doing them “for fun”.

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Well, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) pointed out, it wasn’t fun for the animals.
\nThe Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) once said that every injustice will be paid back on the day of Judgment.
\nIf we use animals for our work, we must feed them and not overwork them.
\nIf we have them as pets, we are to feed and care for them.

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If we eat animals, we are supposed to slaughter these animals according to rules that prevent cruelty to animals.
\nEach animal has the right to sanctity of life and if this life is taken from some by the permission of The Almighty and for good reasons only for food, then it must be by the most merciful ways of slaughter.

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The Holy Qur’aan says, “They are communities like you.”
\nSo, the rights of the animals in Islam, are well set out.
\nIdeally, animals should be left in their natural habitat to be able to live, roam, “socially” interact and multiply, as per the Divine plan.
\nFor further information on Islam or a free copy of the Holy Qur’aan please contact:

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Majlisul Ulama Zimbabwe, Publications Department,
P.O. Box W93, Waterfalls, Harare
Tel: 04-614078 / 614004, Fax : 04-614003/
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