Love thy Animals

Category: Featured, Life & Society Topics: Animals, Umar Ibn Al Khattab Values: Devotion, Love Views: 8481

The teachings of the Qur'an and the Tradition of the Prophet led Muslims, regardless of their education or social status, to be kind to animals. 

It is true that Prophet Muhammad's main concern was the welfare of his people. He indeed labored very hard to give them security and sustenance, and before his death, Muslims were secured and well fed wherever they were. However, this concern extended to animals and the environment too. Whenever he saw a weak, bruised, working or riding animal, he found its owner and preached him to take good care of his animal. One day, the Prophet  entered a grove which belonged to one of the Ansars, and there he saw a camel. When the camel saw the Prophet , he moved toward him. Tears were flowing out of his eyes. The Prophet approached him, rubbed his head, and the camel calmed down. The Prophet asked: 'who is the owner of this camel?' A young man from the Ansar said: 'He belongs to me, O messenger of Allah!' The Prophet said: 'Don't you fear Allah, Who handed you the ownership of this beast? He complained to me that you do not feed him and you over work him' (reported by Abu Dawud). Then the Prophet asked the camel's owner 'What are you going to do with your camel?' The man answered: 'we want to slaughter him while he has some flesh'. The prophet said: 'Don't do that! Sell him to me.' The man answered: 'He is yours O Messenger of Allah'. The Prophet sent him to graze with the Sadaqah camels until he died naturally... (See Ibn Kathir - Shama'il ar-Rasul)

Ahmad Ibn Hanbal reported that once, Umar ibn al-Khattab, expressed his desire for a meal of fresh fish. His aid, Yarfa', without telling him, jumped on the back of one of Umar's camel and traveled for two nights going and two nights returning to buy a basket of fresh fish to Umar. When he arrived home, he washed the camel. But when Umar learned of what his aid did, he said to him: 'let me look at the camel first.' He went to the camel and inspected it very closely, suddenly he turned to his aid saying: 'you forgot to wash the sweat and its ears. You tortured an animal for Umar's desires! By Allah, 'Umar will never taste the fish, take your basket away from me.'

Based on the enormous wealth of Islamic teachings regarding the respect and protection of animals and the environment, the renown Muslim jurist Izz ad-din abd as-Saalam, formulated the following legal opinion on the right of livestock and animals from human beings:

A person who owns livestock, must spend on them the provision that their kinds require, even if they have aged or sickened such that no benefit comes from them; he should not burden them beyond what they can bear; he should not put them together with anything by which they would be injured, whether of their own kind or other species, whether by breaking their bones or butting or wounding; he should slaughter them gently and with kindness; when he slaughters them, he must neither flay their skins nor break their bones until their bodies have become cold and their lives have passed away; he should not slaughter young within their sight but he should separate them; he should make comfortable their resting places and watering places; he should put their males and females together during their mating seasons; he should not discard those which he takes as game; and neither shoot them with anything that breaks their bone nor bring about their destruction by any means that renders their meat unlawful to eat.


Adapted from Animal Rights and Ecology in Islam
Islamic Educational Foundation
Illinois, USA
1995 CE/ 1415H

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  27 Comments   Comment

  1. Charlotte from canada

    I like this article a lot. I do not know that much about Islam, but I very much like this teaching. I think it is particularly relevant today with regards to factory farming methods used for the meat sold in most supermarkets.

  2. Muhammad Iqbal from UAE

    This shows that our Prophet(PBUH) first practiced and that he was 'Rehmat-ul-lil-A'alameen' in the true sense, he not only cared for the humans, but also for the animals as they are also living creatures and feel pain and even express it as we see that the camel had tears in his eyes.

  3. Sara Yusuf from Canada

    Salam i just wanted to bring to your attention the fact that people dont usually go around inviting arch angels (or any other kind of angel for that matter ) the come by them selves and are attracted to good people and deeds and from what i understand from this hadith all angels do not enter households in which there are dogs but Allahu Alam

    im no scholor

  4. sina awwal from nigeria

    I really enjoyed reading the article and have forwarded it to others.

    But the only problem i'm having with your site is i don't know how to register for your newsletter.All past efforts have proved abortive due to my inability to subscribe because i live in Nigeria and it is not easy to do so from here.

  5. Yusif from NETHERLAND

    I think (dogs)animals are living creatures,they should be respected for that fact,if they are not meant for human beings then, they would not have been created,in other words,there would have been a specific distance between us.

    Please, can know the main reason why dogs are prohibited in islam and under what sura in Qurn,because i do not know,thanks.

    ([email protected])

  6. Ngwa Tonji from Cameroon


    As concerns the issue of dogs I believe the intention of keeping the dog matters much. With my "limited knowledge of Islam", I understant a dog is not hallal(lawful) to be kept as a pet but it is Hallal for other purposes like guarding property or hunting or for other trained purposes.You can send a trained dog for hunting and the prey will be Hallal(lawful) to eat as long as you had that intention and sending the dog with bismillahi arrahmanir rahim( in the name of Allah, most merciful, most compassionate)


  7. Yahya Bergum from USA

    Assalamu alaikum. Briefly (as reported in Hadith) one evening the Arch Angel Jabril did not visit Muhammad (peace be upon him). Muhammad (Allah bless him) asked why and was told it was because there was a dog in the house. (I would ask that the reader look it up - if they really wished to know more.)

    My thoughts regarding the matter of dogs are:

    1) Are arch-angels assigned to record my good deeds and errors or to assist me personally?

    2) Ought I to think that I could possibly avoid a record of my mis-deeds by keeping a dog in my house?

    3) Would Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) not be a sufficient witness in any case?

    4) I love my dog.

    5) I am not a prophet - nor do I live in the household of a prophet.

    6) I am not expecting a visit from any arch-angel - insha'Allah.

    (I ask forgiveness for arrogance.)

    If someone has any proofs to offer, I hope that they do so. Insha'Allah.

    Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu.

    --Yahya Bergum

  8. sedeqa Mommandi from USA


    This article touched my heart as I love animals very much. It is nice to be constately remined of the Prophets ( saw) kindness to all beings. Wasalaam

  9. Sister India Tiller from USA

    Salaamu Alaikum,

    Thank you for this assuring article. Many Muslims I meet seem unclear about animal rights. Please clarify the information about dogs. I understood that the misunderstandings about dogs stems from a rabies epidemic during the time of the prophet. I have two clean, shorthaired Basenji, which have no odor, but some of my fellow Muslims, will not visit me because of this). If the dogs have a use they are not Haram? Please let me know the true facts, this horror over dogs is almost an obsession with some Muslims. Am I sinning because I have dogs? I live alone and they watch the house, and alert me to intruders. They are also good, intelligent and loving companions. believe Allah gave us such a wonderful gift in his creatures. Salaam

  10. Shakir Ebrahim from India

    Firstly, both the incidents (hadith) you have given appear child-like unbelievable stories fit for 4 year olds and likely fabricated even though reported in sunan books. Islam's so called tirade against dogs, without any basis is another insult to your article on so called animal rights. I'm sure the Prophet (SAW) did not call for a ban on dogs and that like your two stories, are fabricated well after his death.

  11. Yahya Bergum from USA

    Assalamu alaikum - Sabina. Bismillah - I have no idea. Perhaps helping an elder person to care for their animal - or even just bringing some joy to the elderly person by being attentive to their animal - while visiting the elderly person and sharing in their affection for their beloved animal. Allah bless.

    I hope this is helpful. Insha'Allah some kindly scholar will respond to your request for help.

    Wassalam (wa barakatuhu - wa rahmatullahi).

    --Yahya Bergum

  12. sabina from oman

    can u tell me what does a person do if he or she by mistake not knowingly when young or when younger tourtured an aniaml . for example a bird in a cage , may be the person didnt know how to take care of the bird and the person was also ignorent what should that person do to overcome this sin . i agree it is a sin . can u please answer my question ??

  13. Janice from usa

    I am so happy to see this article. The topic has been on my mind frequently, and I have never seen it addressed in recent Muslim writings even though-- as the article points out-- the teachings are so compelling and numerous. So often I see Muslims arguing about "halal" meat without caring about how the animals were treated BEFLORE the slaughter. As this article's hadith selection shows, a quick and merciful slaughter should not be the FIRST act of mercy toward an animal but rather should be merely the final mercy after a lifetime of "halal" caretaking of that animal. Research shows a strong connection between people's compassion for animals and that for human beings. Many of those who torture animals go on to apply those practices toward humans later in life. Showing and feeling kindness, appreciation, and mercy toward Allah's (swt) many creatures helps to keep our hearts soft, so that we can feel greater kindness, appreciation, and mercy toward other human beings. In America, there are serious abuses of animal rights, and it is an area where Muslims could be leaders in raising people's sensitivity toward these issues by introducing them to the teachings given by Allah (swt) to the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh). It would make all the more clear to EVERYONE how un-Islamic acts of terrorism are, since on the basis of animal cruelty prohibitions alone, those actions are to be condemned. Do we need to read more hadith like the one in which the Prophet condemned killing even ANTS with the torture of the fire to know that burning hundreds of people to death with jet fuel is HARAM--forbidden? May Allah have mercy on us and save us from error, and especially from the errors of imitating the spiritually ignorant, whether they call themselves Muslims or Jews or Americans or Arabs or Israelis or Christians. The truth is a light unto the darkness, and Allah is light upon light. Follow the light, brothers and sisters. Assalamu alaikum! Amen!

  14. mansur adam from Uganda

    Just Did that imply a crying animal shd not be slaughtered nor camels should not be slaughtered atall because its plain coz it was left for its natural death. "Hiqma" is silent

  15. Nur Fadhilah from Indonesia

    Should such an article like this about animal and scientific perspective in islam to be brought up more often on the islamic buletin.

  16. Ahmed Luqman from Cameroon

    That's great to see such people who have take their time to tell the truth for must of our muslim brothers used to forget about taking care of animals. May Allah bless u ! Wa lillahil Hamd.

  17. Cindy Weber from USA

    I would like to recommend a book called "Islamic Concern For Animals" by B.A. Masri. The Publisher is CIWF Trust, Petersfield, Hampshire, UK. A very good exerpt from the book is: "We are told in the Qur'an Majeed that animals have a cognisance of their Creator and, hence, they pay their obeisance to Him by adoration and worship. Out of the many verses on this proposition, the following few must suffice here: "Seest thou not that it is Allah Whose praises are celebrated by all beings in the heavens and on earth, and by the birds with extended wings? Each one knows its prayer and psalm, And Allah is aware of what they do." 24:41

  18. halide salam from US

    Thank you very much for this enlightening piece of information. I would appreciate if you would refer me to books that I may read on this subject

    wa salaam




  20. Hakim Abdullah from USA

    The USA Muslim community should do more regarding

    the world ecology.

  21. shafeqah m. suhail from usa

    I agree animals have rights for the same treatment as we have humanely....I hope in the future you will email an article on what happens to our animals when they die? I just reaffirmed to islam and just adopted a stray cat of 2 years and often wondered what happens to them what does Allah SWT have for them or where do they go if anywhere. Please send an article on this!!

  22. John Yezeguielian from USA

    Al salaamu alaikum.

    Shukran, wa jazak Allah khair! It's a truly good thing that

    this article be put forth. In far too many ways, Muslims are

    indifferent towards creatures, much of this stemming from

    hadith about not keeping animals, not having them

    indoors, etc. In Al Qur'an, we find that ALL creatures shall

    return to Allah for judgement. While we haven't any

    knowledge of how our Rabbe will do this, we can know that

    animals are, then our fellow creatures, and in that sense,

    that they are our brothers & sisters as well. From the

    Qur'an, It becomes clear that we are not to cause ANY

    creature unnecessary or inappropriate suffering, whether it

    be a human or some other animal. We also find hadiths to

    support the idea that showing kindness to a dog can be the

    difference between Jennah and the fires for us. It only

    stands to reason, then, that being unkind or cruel to an

    animal counts against us, while being good or benevolent

    towards them is written in our book of good deeds. Since

    all other creatures are out fellows, we are obligated to them

    as we are to each other.

    It's important to note that, like us, Allah is the animals' true

    provider, not us. So, when we help them, we are giving a

    good loan to Allah. Surely He did not make all these

    animals, many of which will never even run into a human

    being, for our benefit. These are His creatures, and we may

    harm them only by His leave (i.e. to eat lawfully,) and use

    them only in just and kind ways.

    Insha'Allah, may we always be mindful of the fact that Allah

    has set us here as STEWARDS/VICE-REGENTS for Him, that

    we are to tend to this, His creation, rather than dominating

    and torturing the fellows in our care.

    Thanks again for putting this article out. May Allah reward

    you richly for doing so.

    Ma salaam,


  23. Yusuf from China

    Islam is the best way to get along with the nature peacefully.

  24. Shafi Refai from USA

    In your article for "Animal Rights in Islam" you wrote: "Ahmad Ibn Hanbal reported that once, Umar ibn al-Khattab, expressed his desire for a meal of fresh fish. His aid, Yarfa', without telling him, jumped on the back of one of Umar's camel and traveled for two nights going and two nights returning to buy a basket of fresh fish to Umar."

    My question is how could fish remian fresh after two nights journey in the heat of desert?

    Please refrain from using such unauthentic stories.

  25. Asif from Canada

    There are some ahadith that we can find in Bukhari that speak about animal respect: Volume 1, Book 4, Number 174; Volume 4, Book 54, Number 535; Volume 1, Book 12, Number 712.

    But there are also ahadith that we can find which encourages animal cruelty: Muslim, Book 010, Number 3813; Sunan of Abu Dawud Book 41, Number 5229; Muslim Book 026, Number 5564; Muslim, Book 026, Number 5562.

    The point I am going to make here is that when we refer to the "Traditions of the Prophet" we must be careful in choosing the ahadith as many of them are fabrications and it is something that I want the reader to be aware of. This writer should have, I think, referred to verses in the Qur'an interpreted in such a way that allows us to see that animal cruelty is not allowed. A site to read is:

    I bring up this subject because I know there are some critics out there who try to use "authentic" ahadith from Bukhari and Muslims to try and prove that Islam is bad and wicked when many of these ahadith are fabricated. As for the ahadith, if you are curious you can find out more about the history here:

    My email is:

    [email protected]