The Rights of Animals in Islam with special reference to the Holy Quran
Author: Hojjat ul-Islam and Muslemin, Hussein Ahmadi Qomi
In the Name of God, the Compassionate the Merciful
In this article, attempts have been made to look into the rights of animals in Islam with reliance on the Quran, prophetic traditions and viewpoints of prominent Muslim scholars. God, the Glorified, has granted animals a special status and emphasis has been placed on upholding their rights to the extent that the Prophet of Islam considered animals as worthy of greeting.
Like one’s own family members the animals are in need of emotional support and they enjoy rights whose maintainer and protector should observe. The Islamic texts are replete with recommendations and guidelines on the rights of animals and the duty of the owner towards them. Not only have the animals and their rights been recommended by the Prophet (S) and noble Leaders but Islam is indeed the only religion that has taken action to support and protect animals in its own origin i.e. the city of Mecca which has been announced as a sanctuary for animals and where hurting and hunting of animals are prohibited.
This study seeks to examine the rights of animals in Islamic philosophy, jurisprudence and ethics as well as to present concise investigations into the creation and resurrection of animals, Islam’s attitude towards respecting the rights of animals on a par with humans and finally the extent to which men can utilize and benefit from animals.
Keywords: rights, animals, Islam, resurrection, utilization, psychological considerations, physical considerations
An important issue which is a matter of concern to various societies, especially the Islamic society is the environment. Islam attaches great importance to plants, animals and water. It has enacted certain rules and regulations in order to protect the environment suggesting the comprehensiveness of this religion and its empathy towards animals to such an extent that it has never neglected the rights of animals, dead or alive.
In Islam there are highly amazing recommendations about animals and how we should treat them with mercy and compassion. Mercy for animals will earn us rewards while hurting them or inflicting any harm upon them entails punishment in the hereafter. Prophet Muhammad (S) highly recommended us to respect the rights of animals. There are amazing recommendations about kindness to animals, taking their physical ability into consideration while mounting or loading them. For instance, the Holy Prophet (S) says, “God loves those who behave with tolerance and He helps them in doing so. Hence, if you are on a journey with animals and the land is dry and infertile you should speed up to avoid them becoming hungry and if the land is verdant you should go slowly (to allow them to graze).”
According to another tradition, the Prophet (S) was asked: “O Messenger of Allah, shall we get a reward (in the hereafter) for having let them have my water [a very precious commodity in Arabia]?' 'Yes,' he said, 'for watering every thirsty creature there is a reward.'"
According to another narration reported from Aisha by some narrators and which Halabi has also reported from an unknown individual in the Battle of Tabuk, the Prophet (S) stroked his horse and treated it with care.
The narrator says: “I walked out of the house and saw the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his family, stroking the back of his horse with his own garment. ‘O Messenger of Allah,’ I said. ‘May my father and mother become your ransom; are you stroking the horse’s back with your own garment?’ The Prophet (S) said, ‘Yes, O Aisha, don’t you know that, perhaps, my Lord may have ordered me to do so? Moreover, I am near and angels are accompanying me in dusting the horse and stroking it.’
I said, ‘Leave it to me so that I can be the one who does it.’
The Prophet said, “I shall not do it, my friend Gabriel informed that God, the Exalted, records a noble deed for every grain I am giving it. No Muslim protects a horse in the way of God except that he receives a reward and his sin is erased for every grain that he gives.”
Rights and Obligation
The word huquq (rights) is the plural of “haqq” (right) which is something mentally-posited; in other words, it is considered for or against someone, to the advantage of one individual and the disadvantage of another.
The relationship between right and obligation is one of reciprocity and concomitance. Thus, wherever there is right, there is obligation and vice-versa. However, right is optional in the sense that one can dispose of it but the obligation is mandatory and cannot be relegated.
The term huquq has been used in two meanings. First, it means right, a moral or legal entitlement to have or do something. Second, it signifies set of rules and laws, dos and don’ts which man should abide by in regards to animals.
Animals’ Lives as Viewed by Islam:
Animals’ Lives in the Hereafter
The belief in the resurrection of the entire creatures from plants to human beings is a fundamental tenet in the religion of Islam. In verse 38 of chapter 6 (al-An’am) God speaks of animals and humans being of the same genera and community; the verse makes reference to the concept of resurrection and more importantly the animals’ sense of understanding.
The term hashr (resurrection) literally means to collect something but hashr in the technical sense refers to God's herding and gathering together the creatures on the Day of Judgment to hold them answerable for their deeds. Therefore, death and destruction are irrelevant; otherwise resurrection and gathering together would be meaningless.
In the Quran, God has identified animals as a community or nation signifying that there is some sort of likeness and unity among animals in understanding the existence, reaction towards the Creator, manner of living and finally the purpose of life. As well, the discussion concerning the likeness of human beings and animals in the foregoing verse will yield the following interesting results: Firstly, the animals can be described as a nation only when a common goal could be found in their lives. Secondly, when it comes to resurrection of animals in the same way as human beings, the animals should be seen as beings bearing the same condition as that of human beings. Thus, we cannot confine the likeness of animals and humans to the biological traits common to both of them. In fact, we must go beyond that and claim that the same criterion for resurrection of human beings (which is their rational and intuitive understanding and which causes their wretchedness or prosperity) is also found with animals. Thus, their lives do not come to an end with death. In fact, they exit the material realm and enter a non-material horizon which is called “Hereafter”.
As we accept the resurrection of animals and their likeness to human beings in terms of their being held responsible in the next world, we must also accept that life in the hereafter requires a soul that starts its journey from this world and goes on until it reaches the next realm.
The idea of animals having a soul is a subject of controversy and contention. The fact that the soul is non-material is a negative concept common to human beings and animals but that does not mean they are equal in essence because this concept is graded in Islamic philosophy in the sense that it has different degrees one belonging to humans and the other to animals.
The religion of Islam is emphatic about animals having the ability to communicate, understand, deduct and demonstrate. The Holy Quran speaks clearly in chapters al-Naml, Saba and an-Nahl about birds and ants having the faculty to perceive and understand things. It also speaks of honey bees communicating with one another and having the power to understand things. This degree of perception and understanding is a proof of their soul being non-material.
Shi’ism on the Goal of Resurrection of Animals
1. One Animal Seeking Justice against Another
The aim of resurrection is to pass judgement about animal’s reciprocity, and the behaviour of one of them with another so that justice could done against the one who has done injustice to another. Justice-seeking is based on the assumption that animals have the faculty to perceive things. That is, the animals are held responsible for their deeds in the next world in the same way as human beings are held responsible for their deeds.
2. Animal Seeking Justice against Man
Based on Islamic teachings, human beings are not allowed to do injustice to animals because God is their Creator Who, on the Day of Judgment, will support them with justice.
Maltreating Animals according to Islam
Shiite theologians are of the opinion, due mainly to their rational attitude, that things and actions, regardless of the external circumstances, feature real expediency and evil, advantage and disadvantage which the human intellect can perceive without relying on anything else. In other words, the actions which every living entity chooses to do of its own free will and free choice are either essentially good or essentially evil. The human reason is capable of discerning the beauty and meanness of something all by itself.
According to this attitude, the human intellect is independent in realizing the meanness and despicability of causing injury and pain to animals. It is so clear that some scholars have considered maltreating animals as being an intrinsic rational conclusion as per which any behaviour which leads to causing pain and distress to animals is impermissible.
Not only Islam does not allow a Muslim to inflict undue pain and distress upon animals but it also does not allow anyone to remain silent in the face of torture and cruelty against animals. Meanwhile, a question arises as to whether or not utilizing animals (like slaughtering them and consuming their meat) is an act of injustice committed against animals.
God, the Glorified, has created every creature for a purpose and if an animal is used for the purpose for which it has been created, it is not injustice and cruelty. For example, the silkworm cocoon drying with the heat of the sun is the object of the creation of the silkworm. According to human intellect and religious rules, no injustice is done to the silkworm even though the silkworm dies after it comes out of its cocoon.
As a matter of fact, God has created certain animals in such a way as to enable human beings to use it for his own benefit. If it is done properly, the animal will not undergo any suffering. That is why the method chosen by Islam to slaughter animals does not involve unnecessary or undue pain and suffering for the animal because, for example, no sooner the jugular veins are cut and the blood gushes forth the animal’s nervous system stops to function as a result of which the animal does not feel any pain.
The Rights of Animals in Islam
1. Congruency with the existential structure:
The body of every species of animals has been designed differently depending on the place, type and goal of its creation. Human beings should take notice of these differences in benefiting from animals. This discussion clearly looks into the subject of justice and injustice because justice has been defined as "putting a thing in its rightful place" and that making use of animals in line with the purpose for which they have been created is nothing but justice and if it is used for a different purpose, it is injustice and considered to be a mean and ugly act in Islamic legal system.
2. Consistency with divine prohibition:
According to Islam, animals have a non-material soul as do human beings and the acceptance of this fact in Islam’s cognitive system has conferred a special value and status upon them which is called as “reverence of the soul or divine right”. This has a profound impact on how humans should utilize animals and it is the point that has prompted different legal opinions:
- Finding and protecting missing animals and saving them from death
- Throwing commodities onto the ocean to protect animals from drowning in a ship
- Impermissibility of separating the usurped parts of a ship, if doing so causes the ship (which is carrying animals) to sink.
- The necessity of setting animals free from a usurped container or place, though it may lead to destruction.
- The necessity of providing food, water and other needs and essentials even though the owner of the animals may not consent to it.
- The necessity of bandaging the wounds of injured animals, even if the items used are usurped.
In view of such a divine position for animals in Islamic legal system, a discussion concerning “indemnity for a crime against an animal” is brought up and it is clearly stated that causing any harm to animals results in the indemnity becoming payable according to Islam.
As for an animal whose owner has abandoned it because he is unable to provide for it, Imam Ali (AS) terms the very effort to protect the animal from danger as “an act of reviving or giving life”.
Compassion for animals is so important in Islamic thought that even the lives of small beings and insects have not been disregarded. It is for the same reason that the Prophet of Islam (S) has advised Muslims to avoid going out unnecessarily at night so that tiny insects that come out of their holes are not trampled to death.
Deduction of Various Rules in Islamic Law
1. If there is not sufficient water to perform ablution and quench the thirst of an animal, it is obligatory upon the Muslim to give the water to the animal. Quenching the thirst of an animal is necessary irrespective of whether the animal is thirsty at present or is going to be endangered as a result of water running out.
2. Prayer is among the obligatory duties in Islam but if the life of an animal is at risk, it is obligatory upon the Muslim to abandon prayer and save the animal.
3. If an animal’s life is at risk, it is necessary for someone who is observing fast to save the animal even if he may have to break his fast. For instance, if he has to dive and submerge his head completely under water to save an animal, he has to do so even if doing so will render his fast void.
4. It is not permissible under any circumstances to use another person’s property without his consent except for when the life of a living being is at risk or when its owner is unable to provide it with its needs to survive. However, in such cases when the situation turns to normal, he who has made unauthorized use of the property should return what he has used to the original owner.
It is necessary to note that when it comes to protecting animals, it is not the duty of the owner only to make sure that they are safe and protected but it is also obligatory on other Muslims who witness the suffering of an animal to do whatever they can to protect it. The Messenger of Allah (S) said: "A prostitute was forgiven by Allah because passing by a panting dog near a well and seeing that the dog was about to die of thirst, she took off her shoe, and tying it with her head-cover she drew out some water for it. So, Allah forgave her because of that."
5. It is not permissible to kill and hunt animals except for those animals that have been created as food for humanity. Of course, there are rules to be observed and conditions to be met in order for an animal to be killed or hunted. The Holy Quran considers aimless killing of animals which result in their annihilation to be a characteristic of corrupt people and criminals.
That was why following the advent of Islam, a practice known as “camel slaughter” in which some people killed lots of camels in a bid to show off their financial ability was banned by Islam. Imam Ali (AS) having learnt that a number of camels had been killed in Kufa in line with the same practice, did not allow people to consume their meat because those animals had not been slaughtered for consumption of their meat.
God, the Exalted, does not allow Muslims to eat the meat of an animal that has been slaughtered with mentioning God’s name. That is because God reminds that killing animals is allowed only in accordance with divine rules.
The Rights of Animals in Islamic Jurisprudence
- If an animal gets its head into a container that belongs to someone, it is not permissible to kill the animal to protect the container.
- If an animal is in danger due to excessive thirst and there is water sufficient for performing wudhu only, the animal cannot be killed to make wudhu with the existing water because killing the animal is opposed to divine grace.
- In Shiite Islam, if a person goes out hunting with the object of sport and pleasure, his journey is considered as forbidden; the infallible Imams admonishing such hunting emphasize by saying that God, the Exalted, allows hunting only when man is in dire need of food and there is no way to procure food except through hunting.
Imam Baqir and Imam Sadiq say in interpretation of verses 173 of Chapter al-Baqarah, 145 of Chapter al-An'am and 115 of al-Nahl: One who goes out hunting with the object of fun and pleasure is unjust and covetous.
The Holy Prophet of Islam (S) says: "Whoever kills a sparrow or anything bigger than that without a just cause, Allah will hold him accountable on the Day of Judgment." The listeners asked, "O Messenger of Allah, what is a just cause?" He replied, "That he will kill it to eat, not simply to chop off its head and then throw it away."
That being said, it can be concluded that the life of such animals such as sparrows are inviolable and a Muslim individual has no right to deprive them of their lives without a just cause.
These rules are not confined to animals whose meat is permissible to eat. According to Muslim jurisprudents, a man is not allowed to kill harmless animals unjustly. Even in the time of war when one is fighting the enemy and is seeking revenge upon them, he cannot kill animals that are dispersed in the conflict region.
The Prophet of Islam (S) allows the killing of animals only when they cause damage and or pose danger. In other words, one cannot kill them unless they endanger man's wellbeing.
According to Islamic teachings, inflicting any kind of harm upon the face and body of animals, called "mutilation", is forbidden. Prominent religious leaders are of the view that it is not permissible even to sever the limbs of animals such as wandering and rabid dogs. Not only is such an action considered to be a kind of inflicting harm but it is also desecration of their divine soul.
The religion of Islam does not even allow cutting short a horse's mane, an elephant's ivory, a stag's horn and a peacock's wings; it has told Muslims to avoid doing anything that defaces animals.
The Holy Prophet of Islam has forbidden us from castrating animals and has said: There is no castration in Islam. As well, he maintained that God's creatures should not be disfigured and he addressing a man who had castrated his horse due it being very skittish and indomitable said: "Woe on to you for having inflicted harm on the animal; Goodness will remain in the forelocks of horses until the Day of Judgment."
One of the practices which Islam is strongly opposed to is to tie an animal to something and then start shooting it with something which causes the animal to die a gradual and painful death.
Among the despicable and loathsome acts about the animals is they are confined and neglected by people; they are detained and left with no water and food. This practice is forbidden according to all Muslim jurists. In his spiritual ascension to the Unseen (mi‘raj), the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) talks about his meeting with a woman, who, due to her mistreatment and abusing of a cat, had been punished in the Hell.
The night I ascended to the mi‘raj, I saw a woman in fire. I asked for the reason, it was said, “she had tied up a cat without giving it water and food and would not let it go to eat insects of land until it died. That was why God punished her.”
According to Islam, crucifying and burning animals are forbidden.
According to Muslim jurists, even plucking or pulling off sheep's wool is not permissible because it causes them pain and discomfort.
According to prominent Muslim scholars, beating and punishing animals is an ugly action. The normative conducts of the noble leaders of Islam suggest that they avoided punishing animals. For example, Imam Sajjad (AS) travelled to the House of Allah as many as 40 times riding on the same camel without flogging it even once.
Sayings about Slaughtering Animals
In a letter to one of his judges Imam Ali (AS) states that educating the butchers is necessary in order for them to be able to slaughter animals properly and that those butchers who slaughter animals in a wrong way should be punished. Based on this Islamic attitude, the Holy Quran allows only one of many methods of slaughtering an animal and Muslims are not allowed to eat the meat of an animal which has been suffocated or beaten to death or hunted by predators etc.
When it comes to slaughtering animals, Islam adopts an attitude based on kindness and empathy towards animals. The aim is not to hurt or cause pain and suffering to animals when they are being slaughtered. Of course, there are a number of guidelines and instructions aimed at reducing the suffering of the animal that is going to be slaughtered. Some of the guidelines are the following:
- The tool with which an animal is slaughtered should be sharp.
- The animal should be slaughtered swiftly and with force.
- One should avoid cutting in a longitudinal way.
- One should make sure to let the animal die before he starts plucking its hair or skinning it or cutting off its head and breaking its bones into pieces.
Man's Duty in Utilization of Animals
According to Islam, if someone owns an animal, it is obligatory upon him to meet its needs in terms of food, medicine, good care and even its emotional needs. Such needs are technically called nafaqa (maintenance) in Islamic jurisprudence.
1) Providing food
In verse 60 of Surah al-Ankabut, God describes humans and animals as being equal. God is responsible for providing their food. Hence, man being the best of creation and the vicegerent of God on earth is duty-bound to provide the animal with food or fodder or anything it needs, and when he cannot afford to do so, he should relegate the responsibility to someone else.
If the owner of an animal cannot afford to provide it with fodder, he can make use of someone else's fodder or hay in emergency situations without even seeking his permission. He should make up for the unauthorized use of the fodder later. However, if the owner does not afford or does not want to provide its food, it is then the duty of the Islamic government to protect the animal and take care of it.
Three important points have been mentioned in jurisprudential texts about the necessity of providing animals with food:
- The status and position of animal soul
- Avoiding to inflict pain and suffering on animals
- He who fails to perform his duty toward an animal will be punished in the hereafter.
In Islam's legal system, giving water and food to old and dying animals which are no longer able to render services is necessary even if death is imminent and inevitable. This responsibility on a Muslim individual's shoulder implies divine reverence towards animals that have non-material soul.
Providing animals with food is a noble deed which if performed with divine intention and for the purpose of achieving God's pleasure will earn the individual divine reward.
Although giving water to animals is considered to be a kind of provision for animals, Islam gives special attention to quenching the thirst of animals. Imam Baqir says: "God loves watering every thirsty liver. Whoever gives water to a thirsty creature, be it an animal or something other than an animal (e.g. a tree), God will grant him a place in the shadow of His mercy.
Of course, man can pave the way for provision of food through the animal itself but it is necessary to make sure that the animal receives complete food and no danger is threatening its life and wellbeing; otherwise it would be necessary for the owner to provide the animal with what it needs.
Islam gives special attention to insects as well. For example, it is necessary for beekeepers from an Islamic jurisprudential perspective that when collecting honey, they should also leave some honey for the bees in their hives.
According to Islam, the quality of food given to animals is very important and a Muslim individuals is not allowed to give harmful food and drink to animals. As well, the quantity of foodstuffs or fodder or whatever it eats for food should be suitable in such a way that satisfies its need for nutrition. Hence, one cannot suffice to the minimum amount.
Islam lays great emphasis on the hygiene and medical care of animals.
Physical and environmental hygiene:
The Holy Prophet of Islam says: "Purify the sheep pens and wipe their dust, for they are among the animals of Paradise.”
Food and water hygiene:
The Holy Prophet of Islam says: "Whoever gives his horse clean barely then every grain of the barley eaten by the horse shall secure him an indulgence in the other world."
3) Providing medication
According to Muslim scholars, medical costs and expenses are among the expenditures which the owner of an animal are responsible for. These costs are considered to be part of obligatory costs for maintenance of the animal.
4) Providing dwelling
If a person is dealing with animals and is directly involved in the profession, he is duty-bound to provide a place of living for them. If he fails to do so, he is considered to have committed a sin. According to Islamic jurisprudence, the residence provided for animals should be commensurate with their position, status and physical needs.
As it is a duty of a Muslim to provide residence for the animals owned by him, it is also his duty to protect their habitat, respect their rights and avoid invading their privacy. No Muslim is allowed to destroy and contaminate animal environment. The Infallible Imams have forbidden man from urinating in the water or in the air saying there are living beings in water and in the air.
5) Upholding dignity and status of animals
The Holy Prophet of Islam discharged the shepherd for his sheep because he was sitting naked in front of them. He said: "We do not hire people who do not feel ashamed of their God in private."
Ethical Conduct in the Care and Use of Animals
Islam lays great emphasis on ethical conduct in the care and use of animals as will be studied in this part of the article under two sections: physical considerations and psychological considerations.
1) Physical considerations
Utilization and ability of animals:
A Muslim person is not allowed to make use of an animal beyond its capacity. This moral principle is so important in the religion of Islam that if one fails to observe it, his acts (of worship) will not be accepted by God.
The religion of Islam obligates a Muslim individual to consider the animal's condition and ability even when he takes a ride on its back. Thus, it instructs: One should sit on an animal in such a way as to cause no suffering or pain to the animal and that one's use of the animal should be commensurate with the animal's physical structure.
A person should not overwork his domestic animals or burden them with more load than they can easily carry, otherwise a Muslim ruler is charged with the duty to prevent him from doing so. It has been reported in our textual sources that a caravan of camels passed by Imam Sadiq (AS). He saw a camel with its load tilted on one of its sides. Then he said: "O young man, do justice to this camel for Allah loves justice."
In the religion of Islam, a Muslim is under the obligation to determine the amount and speed of the movements of an animal proportionate to its physical condition; he should choose a smooth way for the animal.
Utilization and welfare of animals:
In the sacred religion of Islam, it is not permissible to make persistent and unremitting use of animals. It is necessary that they should be allowed to rest at regular intervals. The Holy Prophet of Islam says: "Anyone who dismounts an animal when riding in mountain passes, is like the one who frees a slave in the way of God."
Islamic Instructions in Support of Animals
Avoidance of sitting on the back of animals for a long time: The user of the animal is not allowed to keep sitting on its back unnecessarily for a long time and use its back as a place for conversation. Furthermore, one is not allowed to use the back of the animal as a place for sleeping and spending his resting time.
Taking loads off the animal’s back: In view of some jurists, merely stopping the animal in intervals for resting is not enough; rather, the load should be taken off its back so that the animal has a chance to have enough rest, as keeping loads on its back torments (ta‘dhib) it.
Utilization and health of animals:
A Muslim individual has the duty to make use of animals in such a way as to avoid inflicting any harm upon them. His conduct must not directly or indirectly result in physical impairment of an animal. If an animal is sick, he must seek to cure it and he can use the animal only when it is healthy.
In Islamic jurisprudence, three duties are stated for man while utilizing animals:
1. If one's hand comes in contact with animals, he is obliged to clip his nails to avoid hurting or injuring the animal. Giving advice to one of his companions about taking care of the sheep, the Holy Prophet (S) said: "Tell your children to clip their nails to avoid scratching or injuring the animal’s breast."
2. Not fully draining the milk: It is better (recommended) and sometimes necessary (obligatory) that the animal’s breast is not totally drained of milk. Furthermore, if the animal has a suckling baby, the total draining of the breast would endanger the baby’s health; therefore, it is obligatory to leave some milk in the animal’s breast to feed its baby.
3. Although attempting to increase the weight of the animals whose meat is edible would entail economic benefits, it is necessary to notice that practicing this should not endanger the animal’s health.
2) Psychological considerations
Islam assumes that animals have souls and we should not neglect their psycho-spiritual considerations in adjusting our behavior to them. Relying on the sayings of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) and the Infallible Imams (A.S.), the Muslim jurists and legal experts have stated such considerations in terms of ethical rules:
1. Not using offensive words:
Imam Sadiq (AS) has regarded not using foul language against animals as a right that has to be respected by man towards animals. The repugnance of this act is so strong that some Muslim jurists have viewed it as unlawful (haram).
2. Emotional support:
The spiritual and emotional interdependence of the mother and the child in human beings as well as in animals has always been of interest to Islam. This has led to the fact that the issue of their [the mother and the fledgling] separation is taken into consideration by the Muslim legal experts in two instances such as selling and buying and grazing. Some jurists have brought up the issue of not separating the mother and the baby when turning them out to graze until the baby can stand on its own.
3. Strengthening the feeling of safety:
Feeling of safety is among the psycho-spiritual needs common to man and animal that Islam has formally recognized for them and has approved non-disturbance of peace as a principle in its ethical-judicial system. Not encroaching upon the birds’ habitats has been highly emphasized upon. Muslim scholars believe that it is haram to hunt birds in their nests. Also, hunting animals in the night has been prohibited. Imam Sajjad (A.S.) would always reiterate to his servants to avoid slaughtering animals until dawn, saying, “God has made the night for rest for all creatures.”
4. Reduction of tension and strengthening relaxation:
Paying attention to this principle is so important in Islam that man is obliged to treat an animal in his utilization in such a way that would bring the anguish to the lowest level possible. Even when it comes to slaughtering animals, there are instructions and rules which, if observed would reduce the animals' tension. These rules include not killing (slaughtering) animals in front of each other, not sharpening the knife before the animal’s eyes, not showing the knife to the animal, taking the animal to the slaughterhouse with kindness, laying them down [for slaughtering] with kindness, not slaughtering the animal by its breeder.
5. Psychological torture:
In Islam, entertainment with animals, using animals as baits and children’s play with animals in such a way that would entail physical damage to them is strongly forbidden. A Muslim individual is not allowed to exploit animals for entertainment or to attain his own personal interest. Perhaps it was from this perspective that the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) did not regard as permissible the unwise using of animals and exploiting them in useless and futile affairs and regards their utilization as permissible only when they are used in the way of God, namely, in the direction that God has specified in their creation.
From the Islamic point of view, animals enjoy a special spiritual status because of their non-material soul; therefore, man is not permitted to use animals in such a way that would violate their dignity. He is not permitted to use animals in a way that results in their physical or psychological abuse. As God has said, man should use them in the direction that He has specified in their creation. He should accept their rights and preserve their respect; fulfill his responsibility towards them in a way such that satisfies Allah. Indeed, Allah is Kind and loves all good doers.