Nowadays, pets are inseparable parts of people’s lives. In the United States, for example, over 60% of families have pets. Some have dogs, cats, while others keep fish, turtles, birds, rabbits, horses, sheep, pigs, or chickens. No one knows for sure when the first animals were domesticated, but according to history, humans have always developed close associations with animals. Although early humans might have first sought to domesticate animals as living tools, other benefits of animals caused humans to keep pets, too. Muslims can also exploit animals taking into account some considerations stated below.
Islam has never been indifferent to animals. The proofs are verses of the Quran, Sunnah, and sayings of the Imams (AS) which strongly exhort Muslims to treat animals and birds with compassion, not to abuse them, and repeatedly blame cruelty towards them.
In a narration, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) enumerates six rights for an animal over its owner, of which are: “he should not burden it with a load that it cannot bear, he should not hit the animal except when it truly deserves”, etc. .
Hence, hitting a dog in the face or body as punishment and making it obedient through fear, putting a heavy load on a camel or a horse, providing little food for a cat, and putting a canary in a small cage are all blamed in Islam. It is also quoted from the Prophet (PBUH&HP) that God forgave a prostitute who saved a thirsty dog from death by drawing up some water from a well using her shoes . Also, According to the Quran, all living and non-living creatures are made by Allah [i], and He loves all animals; so should do humans.
In Islamic teachings, there is nothing wrong with keeping animals and it is even recommended in some cases; except for some animals that Islamic conditions or prohibition on keeping them should be observed. Besides, keeping some animals such as roosters, camels, sheep, horses, cats, and pigeons is highly recommended .
In other words, keeping permissible animals is allowed, and in some cases, it brings blessing to its owner . But, this should be under certain circumstances, such as: treating and feeding pets properly, having enough space to accommodate them, considering the hygienic requirements of both the animal and its owner, and respecting neighbors’ rights.
For accommodating an animal at home, a proper separate shelter must be provided, based on the needs and the nature of the animal. For a bird, for example, a comfortable cage indoors suffices, but a camel or a sheep must be kept outdoors! In this regard, apart from the hygienic points that should be taken into account, the excrement and urine of some birds and animals are impure (Najis), hence, keeping them indoors needs attention .
What is encouraged in Islam is keeping domesticated animals that need humans to protect and feed them, or wild animals which require protection; otherwise it should be avoided, especially if keeping the animal at home causes harm to it .
A review of the Islamic narrations reveals that the emphasis on keeping pets is because of the benefits and the blessings that certain animals bring to their owners and saving them and their families from disasters. Having camels, horses and sheep were advised in the past because of their role in the economy of the family, transportation, and defense. And nowadays, many people around the world consume the products obtained from sheep, and some still use horses and camels for farm work and transport in some areas.
In some sayings keeping a rooster, pigeon, sheep, and cat is named among the ways of drawing sustenance and benefits . Another advantage of having pets is that some animals warn humans in case of danger, they clean up their surroundings from vermin and prevent waste .
It is also essential to know that respecting the animals’ rights is of paramount importance in Islam and is explicitly stated in Islamic teachings. This equally applies to both animals permitted and forbidden to be kept by Muslims. This prevents from treating animals cruelly, neglecting them, over-working or over-loading animals (as stated above), and hunting them for sport.
It was said that keeping animals is recommended in Islam, but not all of them; like dogs and especially pigs. Since dogs are considered impure (Najis) and humans are susceptible to catch a disease from them, Muslims are advised against keeping them . Nevertheless, there is nothing in Islam that states to hate dogs or harm them. On the contrary, feeding dogs (even stray dogs) and watering them are reported in Sunnah and the conduct of the Imams (AS) . It is also permitted to keep dogs where they assist humans and are kept outdoors .
But about pigs, as there is no benefit in keeping them and as they are impure (Najis), Muslims are forbidden to keep them .
[i] (25:59), (2:29), (45:4), etc.
- H. T. Nuri Ṭabarsi, “Mustadrak al-Wassail”, vol. 8, p. 258, T. 9393.
- S. A. al-Muttaqi, “Kanz al-Ummal”, T. 43116.
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 643.
- M. B. Majlesi, “Bihar al-Anwar”, vol. 16, p. 124.
- Complete Risalah Amaliyah.
- Muhaddith Nuri, “Mustadrak al-Wasail”, vol. 8, p. 248.
- M. B. Majlesi, “Bihar al-Anwar”, vol. 104, p. 41, T. 52.
To address this question, we need first to clarify what we mean by ‘human rights’. Does the term refer to the so-called Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UDHR? Or does it simply refer to the rights of humans in a general sense?
To start with, Islam does indeed confirm the basic human rights mentioned in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UHDR. That is to say, rights such as the right to life, freedom, equality, etc. are acknowledged by Islam. However, the way Islam looks at these concepts may be different.
That is probably the reason why the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam, the CDHR, was composed some years later. The declaration included nearly the same basic human rights mentioned in the UHDR; what distinguishes the two, however, is the special perspective of Islam on the Human Being and the subject of rights.
Before examining human rights from an Islamic perspective, the following points may be considered: Is the concept of human rights a ‘modern’ phenomenon? Are human societies, let’s say human authorities, to define certain rights for human beings? If so, are these established rights all-inclusive? Can they be applied to every human being regardless of time and place or any other particular circumstances?
It seems that Islam has a distinct perspective on human rights; something that has to be elaborated in more detail.
Firstly, Islam views rights as being inherent in human beings. This means that, according to Islam, God has granted humans certain rights since the very beginning of creation. There seems no need for a group of people to establish rights for human beings; whether it be the United Nations or any other international institution.
This can explain, to a great extent, any dissimilarity between Islam and the UDHR. Accordingly, there may be certain rights recognized by Islam that are not found in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, and equally, there may be rights stated in the UDHR that are not recognized by Islam.
If we have a closer look at the Islamic traditions, we realize that not only they have addressed human individual and collective rights in some great detail, but also gone beyond our ‘modern’ definition of the rights of humans! They have introduced something much more valuable, that is, ‘human dignity’!
To begin with, the Holy Scripture of Islam, the Quran, looks upon humans as one endowed with dignity. Human beings’ dignity refers to their advantages. This means that God has endowed them with sublime traits .
"Certainly We have honored the Children of Adam ….. and preferred them with a complete preference over many of those We have created" (17:70).
Also, all humans are children of Adam and are created from clay. They are equal regardless of gender differences, ethnicity, color, etc.
"Indeed, We created you from a male and a female and made you nations and tribes that you may identify yourselves with one another"(49:13).
There are plenty of writings on the subject of rights in Islamic resources, amongst which Imam Sajjad (AS)’s The Treatise on Rights is one of the best. Imam Ali b. al-Hussain (AS), known as Sajjad (the Often in Prostration) , has left a comprehensive account on the issue . Almost 50 rights and duties are introduced and discussed in this momentous document; it includes various social relations of any individual such as rights of parents, spouses, children, neighbors, teachers, students, believers, the leader of Congregational Prayer, the government, etc. It also defines the duties that humans have towards their ‘self’ and even their organs:
“The right of your ‘self’ (nafs) against you is that you employ it in obeying God.”
“The right of the tongue is that you consider it too noble for obscenity, accustom it to good, refrain from any meddling in which there is nothing to be gained, express kindness to the people, and speak well concerning them.” 
The treatise was written centuries ago, yet it addresses not only the issue of rights in an extensive manner, but also illustrates the ethical principles of citizenship in detail:
“The right of your neighbor is that you guard him when he is absent, honor him when he is present, and aid him when he is wronged… if you know of any evil from him, you conceal it…You do not forsake him in difficulty, you release him from his stumble, you forgive his sin, and you associate with him generously”.
“The right of the people of your creed is harboring safety for them, compassion toward them…you should love for them what you love for yourself and dislike for them what you dislike for yourself…” .
Our concise examination of the Islamic viewpoint on the subject of human rights implies that Islam does recognize human rights. Nonetheless, a particular Islamic perspective on human beings as the honored creature of God with specific rights and duties has to be taken into consideration.
- "Statement on Human Rights" (PDF), Retrieved 2017,
- Islami, S. H. (2005). Retrieved 2017, from Noormags
- Javadi Amuli, ‘Abdullah. Sources Of Human Rights In Islam. Retrieved 2017, from
- ‘Life of Imam Sajjad (a.s)’. Retrieved 2017, from http://shiastudies.org/article/imam-ali-b-al-husayn-al-sajjad-beginner
- ‘Risalat al-huquq’. Retrieved 2017, from http://en.wikishia.net/view/Risalat_al-huquq_(book)
- TREATISE ON RIGHTS (RISALAT AL-HUQUQ). Retrieved 2017,
Have you ever thought about sacrificing what you love most? How would you feel then? What if you lose that to gain a better thing; something that would make you a better person, more worthwhile? If you can sacrifice what you love most, to give it away or leave it behind, and if you do that to get near to your merciful sustainer, Allah, then you can feel the spirit of eid al-Adha with all your heart. In what follows, we will delve more into one of the most significant occasions in the Islamic calendar, eid al-Adha.
Eid al-Adha or eid al-Qurban is the second greatest feast among Muslims which is celebrated on the tenth of Dhu al-Hijjah every year around the world. This day, also marks a part of Hajj rituals at a place called Mina near Mecca, where the pilgrims are supposed to offer a sacrifice to commemorate Prophet Abraham’s (PBUH&HP) act in submitting to Allah’s will and sacrificing his son, Ishmael (PBUH), for His sake . We will recount Abraham’s (PBUH) moving challenge in the following paragraphs.
Doing Ghusl on the day of Eid al-Adha is highly recommended (mustahab).
This prayer is precisely the same as the Eid al-Fitr prayer [i].
It is compulsory upon those participating in Hajj whether Hajj al-tammattu or Umrah. This act is also recommended for the Muslims who haven’t been attended the Hajj rituals. It is also recommended to share the sacrificial meat with other people, especially those in need so that everyone would have a part in the joy of this day.
Those who are present in the desert of Mina on this day must recite these Takbirs after daily prayers, starting from the noon prayer on the day of Eid and ending in dawn prayer of the 13th of Dhu al-Hijjah. However, those who are not present in the desert of Mina on Eid's day should recite the Takbirs after ten daily prayers, starting from noon prayer of Eid's day, to the dawn prayer of the 12th of Dhu al-Hijjah. These Takbirs are as follows:
اَللهُ اَكْبَرُ اَللهُ اَكْبَرُ، لا اِلـهَ اِلاَّ اللهُ وَ اللهُ اَكْبَر اَللهُ اَكْبَرُ، و للهِ الْحَمْدُ اَللهُ اَكْبَرُ عَلی ما هَدانا ااَللهُ اَكْبَرُ عَلی ما رَزَقَنا مِنْ بَهیمَةِ الانعامِ وَ الْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ عَلی ما أبْلانا
"Allah is great, Allah is great, there's no god but Allah and Allah is great, To Allah be the praise, Allah is great for He has guided us, Allah is great for he has given us sustenance from cattle, Praise be to Allah for He has tested us." 
Some of the supplications recommended for this day include Du'a al-Nudba, 48th supplication of al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya, which starts with: “O God, this is a blessed and fortunate day …”, and the 46th supplication of this book as well.
Note that fasting (Sawm) on this day is forbidden (Haram), just like Eid al-Fitr.
The Arabic word “eid” literally means, “to go back” and generally is a name given to special Islamic celebrations, such as eid al-Fitr, eid al-Mab’ath, eid al-Ghadir, etc. In other words, the Islamic celebrations are in essence a reminder for Muslims to stop and look back at their actions so far, repent from their sins and promise to follow Allah’s lead which has been brought to them by Prophet Muhammad and his progeny (PBUTh).
Al-Adha roots back to the word “Dhuha” in Arabic meaning “the time when the sun is rising before noon.” This word refers to the time when the pilgrims are supposed to offer their sacrifices, which is at the sunrise. Al-Qurban, however, which means “sacrificing,” refers to the act of offering a sacrifice done by pilgrims on this day.
At his old age, Prophet Abraham (PBUH&HP) saw in a dream that he had been sacrificing his beloved son, Ishmael (PBUH), his first child, after many years of being deprived of one, for whose birth he married Hagar and dearly prayed to Allah. He knew that this dream was a message from Allah, and there was no way for him to disobey his Lord. He retold the dream to Ishmael, and he, despite his youth, surrendered to Allah’s will and said, “Father! Do whatever you have been commanded. If Allah wishes, you will find me to be patient” (37:102).
It wasn’t a simple task for a father, for sure. But Abraham’s (PBUH) unbending faith in Allah gave him the strength to pull himself together and follow the command. He took Ishmael to an altar and was about to cut his throat when the glad tidings came from Allah that, “You have indeed fulfilled your vision! Thus indeed do We reward the virtuous! This was indeed a manifest test.”(37:105-106). Abraham’s (PBUH) submission, patience, and trust in Allah were, thus, rewarded and a heavenly ram was sent to him to sacrifice instead.
Therefore, every year, Muslims celebrate prophet Abraham’s (PBUH) success in sacrificing what he held dearest for the sake of his dear Lord, leaving no doubt in his sincere love and submission to Him.
Abraham (PBUH) made a sacrifice to remove any barrier between himself and Allah and get as close to Him as possible. Thus, Eid al-Adha is the day to sacrifice anything, which has separated us from Allah and has deprived us of feeling His presence in our lives. The reason behind the commemoration of this day and the significance of Abraham’s story is to remind us that one should ignore his/her whims, sacrifice his/her inclinations and attachments to this world, the dearest of which children and the loved ones, for the sake of Allah and His Will.
In other words, Abraham’s adherence in following Allah’s command, despite the pain he felt and all the fluctuations he might have faced on his way to perform this duty, shows us that for a person who desires to be among the chosen creatures in Allah’s regard, nothing gets in the way between him/her and his/her Lord’s decrees. Nothing is dearer for this person, not even his/her family and children than his/her beloved Creator, Allah. Thus, His will, no matter how hard and painful it may be, goes beyond the love for family and children. On the other hand, when Allah saw Abraham's (PBUH) utter submission to His will even at the expense of sacrificing his son, He considered the test done and granted them a high status in this world and the hereafter. That is the case with every other person who demonstrates the same attitude toward Allah.
In fact, we do not sacrifice for Allah, since He is self-sufficient and not in need of our sacrifices. About sacrificing an animal the Quran says: “It is not their flesh or blood that reaches Allah; rather, it is your piety that reaches Him. Thus has He disposed them for your benefit so that you may magnify Allah for His guiding you. And give good news to the virtuous.” (22:37)
We sacrifice for ourselves, to be a better version of ourselves, to reach perfection. On the path toward perfection, one is always faced with tests and hardships. Trials are signs for us to realize that Allah has seen us worthy of becoming one of His desired creatures. And in every trial, one is required to make a sacrifice; this can be sacrificing your wealth, your life, your selfishness, your grudges, anger, etc. .
[i] Eid prayer consists of two rak'as. After Sura al-Fatiha in each rak'a another sura from the Qur'an is recited; however, it is better to read Sura al-Shams in the former and Sura al-Ghashiya in the latter or Sura al-A'la and Surat al-Shams respectively. After reciting sura in the first rak'a, there are five takbirs followed by five qunuts and in the second rak'a, four takbirs with four qunuts. Any supplications or prayers will suffice in the qunuts, like the other prayer, but it is better to read a special supplication .