Islam and Animal Rights
By Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam
Animals not only suffer from us in prisons, but even in the open. We torture them for our recreation. One can easily imagine “bull fight” sport, where a man fights a bull with his swords, and slowly and painfully stabs the bull with those swords until the bull collapses and dies. This sport is very popular today in Europe. Think about the "Cock Fights" or the "Rooster Fights", where similar to the dogs’ fights, they would bring two roosters to fight each others to death and make bets on them.
Allah created animals to live in communities like us. This means he created means of communication and understanding for them. Animals live in communities like us, and they pray to God Almighty like we do but in their own way that God Almighty ordained for them and this makes them deserve an open and a free life.
What Is Islam’s Say on Animal Rights?
Animals are to be respected by us as they are also our brethren in creation. Allah says that animals too live in communities like us.
"There is not an animal (That lives) on the earth, Nor a being that flies On its wings, but (forms Part of) communities like you. Nothing have We omitted From the Book, and they (all) Shall be gathered to their Lord In the end. (The Noble Quran, 6:38)"
And they too pray to Allah in their own way.
"Seest thou not that it is God Whose praises all beings in the heavens and on earth do celebrate, and the birds (of the air) with wings outspread? Each one knows its own (mode of) prayer and praise. And God knows well all that they do. (The Noble Quran, 24:41)"
"Seest thou not that to God bow down in worship all things that are in the heavens and on earth,- the sun, the moon, the stars; the hills, the trees, the animals; and a great number among mankind? But a great number are (also) such as are fit for Punishment: and such as God shall disgrace, - None can rise to honour: for God carries out all that He wills. (The Noble Quran, 22:18)"
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) directly forbade animal cruelty and imprisonment.
Narrated Ibn 'Umar: "The Prophet said, 'A woman entered the (Hell) Fire because of a cat which she had tied, neither giving it food nor setting it free to eat from the vermin of the earth.' (Translation of Sahih Bukhari, Beginning of Creation, Volume 4, Book 54, Number 535)"
Narrated Abu Huraira: "The Prophet said, 'A man saw a dog eating mud from (the severity of) thirst. So, that man took a shoe (and filled it) with water and kept on pouring the water for the dog till it quenched its thirst. So Allah approved of his deed and made him enter Paradise.' (Translation of Sahih Bukhari, Ablutions (Wudu'), Volume 1, Book 4, Number 174)"
What About Animal Sacrifice in Islam?
Animal sacrifices in Islam are only meant for the poor and the needy.
"The sacrificial camels we have made for you as among the symbols from God: in them is (much) good for you: then pronounce the name of God over them as they line up (for sacrifice): when they are down on their sides (after slaughter), eat ye thereof, and feed such as (beg not but) live in contentment, and such as beg with due humility: thus have We made animals subject to you, that ye may be grateful. It is not their meat nor their blood, that reaches God: it is your piety that reaches Him: He has thus made them subject to you, that ye may glorify God for His Guidance to you and proclaim the good news to all who do right. Verily God will defend (from ill) those who believe: verily, God loveth not any that is a traitor to faith, or show ingratitude. (The Noble Quran, 22:36-38)"
Islam is a religion that is full of mercy and respect to animals. Muhammad (pbuh) was not sent for the Muslims or the Arabs or to human, he was sent as a mercy to all the creations.
“Indeed, in this [Quran] is notification for a worshipping people. And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds.” [Quran: 21:106-107]
A simple and seemingly unimportant act can decide our destiny, without us being even aware of. No one knows who will enter heaven/hell save Allah. A person who offers prayer five times a day, fasts in the month of Ramazan, gives Zakat and does all the good deeds but his intention is not good; his main motive is that the world see and recognise him as a pious man. And this small and insignificant thought in his mind can have major implications and finally he may land in hell. Similarly a person who has done evil all his life but just before his death he repents to Allah with a true heart, Allah may forgive him and he can enjoy the fruits of heaven for eternity. We must always strive towards perfection, being perfect is not the best part, but striving towards achieving it, is.