Once Mu’aviah, the first Umayyad Caliph, ordered Sa’d ibn Abi-Waqass -a famous companion of the Prophet (PBUH & HP)- to insult Imam Ali (AS). Mu’aviah was the enemy of Imam Ali (AS) and would order people to say bad things about him in public. But Sa’d refused to do that.Mu’aviah said: why don’t you insult “Aba-Turab” (Imam Ali)? Sa’d replied: I won’t insult Aba-Turab because I remember him in three events that if those had happened to me it would be better for me than having so many red camels (symbol of richness) Sa’d narrated three stories about Imam Ali (AS) but, here, we mention the third one:
… Once this verse was revealed to the Prophet (PBUH&HP):
فَمَنْ حَاجَّكَ فِيهِ مِن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَكَ مِنَ الْعِلْمِ فَقُلْ تَعَالَوْا نَدْعُ أَبْنَاءَنَا وَأَبْنَاءَكُمْ وَنِسَاءَنَا وَنِسَاءَكُمْ وَأَنفُسَنَا وَأَنفُسَكُمْ ثُمَّ نَبْتَهِلْ فَنَجْعَل لَّعْنَتَ اللَّهِ عَلَى الْكَاذِبِينَ ﴿٦١﴾
Should anyone argue with you concerning him (Jesus), after the knowledge that has come to you, say, ‘Come! Let us call our sons and your sons, our women and your women, our souls and your souls, then let us pray earnestly, and call down Allah’s curse upon the liars.’ (61) (The Holy Quran, 3:61)
The Prophet (PBUH & HP) called Ali, Fatimah, Hassan and Hussain and then said: “O God! These are my family” (1)
When Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP) sent messages to the kings around the world and invited them to Islam, he also wrote a letter to the bishop of Najran’s church (a city in Arabia).
They sent a group of priests and Christian scholars to talk with the Prophet (PBUH & HP) and discuss with him on the Message of Islam. They discussed on the question: Is Jesus the son of God or not?
Each side insisted on their beliefs and the Christians wouldn’t accept that their belief is wrong. Then this verse was revealed to the Prophet (PBUH & HP):
Indeed the case of Jesus with Allah is like the case of Adam: He created him (Adam) from dust, then said to him, ‘Be,’ and he was. (59) This is the truth from your Lord, so do not be among the skeptics. (60) Should anyone argue with you concerning him (Jesus), after the knowledge that has come to you, say, ‘Come! Let us call our sons and your sons, our women and your women, our souls and your souls, then let us pray earnestly, and call down Allah’s curse upon the liars.’ (61) (The Holy Quran, 3:59-61)
So Allah said to the Prophet (PBUH & HP) that the only way to clarify which side is telling the truth is Mubahala.
When two groups of people have an argument with each other, after so many discussions with no results, they come to a place and call down Allah’s curse upon the liars. They pray that Allah punishes the ones who tell lies right in the time. This is called Mubahala.
So, both sides agreed and promised to be present on a specific day (Du al-Hijjah the 24th) in the desert for Mubahala. In the morning of Mubahala day, the Messenger of Allah came to Imam Ali’s house and took Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain’s hands. The Prophet, Imam Ali, Lady Fatimah, Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain went to the desert.
When the Christians saw them, asked: who are those people with Muhammad?
They were answered: that man is his cousin and son in law. He loves Ali the most. Those children are his grandsons and that woman is his lovely daughter.
The Christians said: Muhammad is sitting there like the real Prophets. If he wasn’t right, he wouldn’t bring the closest ones with him for Mubahala. He must be so sure about his message. If we participate in this Mubahala, there will be no Christian left in Najran till next year.
So they refused to participate in the Mubahala and went back to Najran.
• Hakim an-Neisaboori, one of the most prominent Sunni scholars, says:
“There are so many historical records concerning this event that the Messenger (PBUH & HP) brought Ali, Fatimah, Hassan and Hussain in the Mubahala day and then said: “these are our sons and our souls and our women so you (Christians) bring your sons and souls and women for Mubahala so that we call down Allah’s curse on the liars” (2)
• Ibn Kathir, another great Sunni scholar also admits that this verse is about Imam Ali, Lady Fatimah, Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain. He says that Jabir ibn Abdullah al-Ansari (one of the most important companions of the Prophet) said:
“By ‘our souls’ Allah means the Prophet (PBUH & HP) and Imam Ali (AS)” (3)
Here soul, in Arabic culture, means that Imam Ali (AS) is so close to the Prophet (PBUH & HP) that there is no difference between him and the Prophet; it’s like they are one soul in two bodies. Obviously, the only difference is that Imam Ali is not a prophet but on the other levels Imam Ali and the Prophet are the same.
Sheik Mufid, one of the greatest Shiite scholars, narrates a dialogue between Imam Reza (AS) and Ma’moon (an Abbasid Caliph):
Once, Ma’moon asked Imam Reza (AS) about the best privilege of Imam Ali (AS) that the Quran has mentioned.
Imam Reza (AS) said: it is the event of Mubahala. In that day when the verse was revealed to the Prophet (PBUH&HP), he called Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain, who were his sons, Lady Fatimah, who was the woman mentioned in the Quran, and finally Imam Ali which was the soul mentioned in the Book.
Imam Reza (AS) also said: clearly the Prophet (PBUH & HP) is the most supreme person in the world. So it is obvious that his soul which is Imam Ali is also the most supreme creature.
Ma’moon said: why don’t you think that here soul means the Prophet himself and no one else?
Imam Reza (AS) said: because it doesn’t make sense to call yourself and bring yourself for Mubahala. When you call somebody or order somebody to come with you, it is obvious that the person is not yourself. And we all know that the Prophet brought no one except Imam Ali; so undoubtedly, Imam Ali is his soul.
Ma’moon said: with this answer, there is no question left! (4)
- Sahih Muslim, vol.4, Pg.1871
- Ma’rifah al-Olum al-Hadith, Hakim an-Neisaboori, vol.1, Pg.50
- Tafsir al-Quran al-Azim, Ibn Kathir, published by dar al-Kotob al-Elmiyah, vol.2, Pg.47
- Al-Fosul al-Mukhtarah, Sheik Mufid, vol.1, Pg.38
In the Quran it is stated that every creature on the earth is created to serve human begins (2:29); this includes animals . Of many benefits of animals to humans are the meat that comes from fish and chickens, the milk from cows and sheep, utilizing horses, oxen, and camels for farming and transport, doing medical research on animals, using trained dogs to detect drugs and guide blinds. But, are we, as Muslims, allowed to treat animals in Islam and exploit them as we wish? Here is the answer.
Animals’ Rights in Islam
Allah, who has given every animal some specific abilities like the ability to fly, swim or gallop in respectively birds, fish, and horses, has considered their rights, too. Although humans are allowed to benefit from everything created by Allah , they have responsibilities towards every creature as the vicegerent of Allah on the earth . Being created with a higher intellect than animals, we must balance our use of animals with our primary role as a caretaker on the earth.
Animals have been domesticated and trained from a long time ago to perform some tasks and to provide some products for the human. Horses and elephants are still used on farms to provide the tractive force. Camels, donkeys, horses, and dogs are utilized for transport, either riding or pulling wagons. Lions, elephants, monkeys and many other animals are used in circuses to entertain audiences. Some others like dogs and monkeys assist disabled people, while others are kept as pets.
In all these cases, the very first thing that Islam requires Muslims to do is feeding the animal on sufficient and proper food, quenching its thirst, keeping it in a comfortable place, and maintaining its physical health . Of other rights of animals on his owner is that he/she should not hit the animal or harm it, but he might whip the animal to prevent escaping or stampede .
In a saying, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) forbids hitting the animals in the face, since the animals pray and praise God with that . Knowing these rights and considerations, imprisoning animals in cages, forcing them to perform something to amuse humans in circuses and causing extreme pain and suffering to them are all against the Islamic rules and forbidden (Haram) . Islam also prohibits insulting and cursing the animals; Imam Ali (AS) said: “Do not hit the animals on the face and do not curse them, otherwise Allah curses who has cursed them” .
Moreover, the animal should not be burdened with a load that it cannot bear and should not be overtasked either . Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) orders in a saying that: “Do not ride an animal beyond its power and ability” , . And, “When you stop riding the animal, do not keep on sitting on them and do not start (a lengthy) conversation with others (while seated on the animal); instead, descend and (let the animal rest, and) then talk” .
If the animal is weak, it is said that: “when riding a weak animal, let it rest when reaching pastures. If the land is arid and barren, pass it quickly; and, if it is fertile and green, let the animal rest there” (Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP)) . Imam Ali (AS) said that “Do not ride three of you (at the same time) an animal; otherwise, one of you is cursed” .
Animals for Sport and Entertainment
Playing sports, especially swimming, archery and horseback riding, are encouraged by Hadith and perceived as important to have a healthy body and brain . Although archery is recommended in Islam and hunting -under certain conditions- is allowed, targeting animals and shooting at them for fun is not permitted .
About horseback riding also, the recommendations stated above should be considered. Again, keeping some animals as pets or for the farm work is strongly exhorted in some cases, but forcing them to fight like what happens in dogfightingand cockfighting which is nowadays common in some regions, is prohibited in Islam .
Animal Slaughter and Hunting
Humans usually slaughter, hunt and fish for sustenance, which is permitted in Islam under certain conditions. But killing animals for fun and using them for target practice is strongly disapproved. Some acts of animal's protection, as not "hunting the endangered animals to save them from going extinct" is also compatible with the Islamic teachings.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said: "There is no man who kills a sparrow without its deserving it, but Allah will question him about it [on the Day of Judgment]" . Of other considerations stated in the narrations of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) and Imams (AS) are: not killing the livestock that provide milk or the one that is pregnant; not killing animals for no reason; not killing the animals at night (since they rest like humans at that time), unless there is a necessity; and, not burning animals alive .
Avoiding unnecessary pain and not causing suffering to the innocent creatures are repeatedly reminded in Islamic teachings. Regarding the slaughtering, for example, the regulations laid down in Islam are the least painful, some of which are: the Halal-meated animal must be alive at the time of slaughter; the animal must be watered before the slaughter; a sharp knife must be used to minimize suffering; slaughtering an animal within the sight of another animal is abominable (Makruh); the animal must show some sign of movement after being slaughtered; and, skinning or cutting any part of the animal’s body is not allowed right after the slaughter (before the animal is entirely dead) , .
Knowing this, although the methods (stunning with a blow to the head or an electric shock) used in some slaughterhouses to reduce the animal movement before slaughter might be accepted in veterinary medicine since these methods reduce the animals’ pain, they are condemned in Islam as the examples of torture to animals .
Animal Fur and Leather
Hunting and killing animals for their fur, skin, and oil have been common practices since many years ago and happened more often these days. Wearing the fur obtained from certain animals is legally permitted in Islam when it is required for warmth (16:5). However, animals raised on fur farms are usually abused and killed in brutal ways  that is against the Islamic teachings of kindness to animals; some cruel methods used by trappers to catch animals from the wild are the same .
About leather productions, even though leather products produced by applying Islamic regulations are permissible to use if the leather is obtained from abused and mistreated animals and if the animals suffer in the leather production processes, it will conflict with every Islamic standard on the matter.
- H. A. Hosseini Shah Abdolazimi, “Tafsir asna-ashari”.
- M. H. Tabataba'I, “Tafsir al-mizan”, (45 :13).
- M. H. Tabataba'I, “ Tafsir al-mizan”, (2:30).
- M. B. Majlesi, “Bihar al-Anwar”, vol. 64, p. 173.
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 660.
- Ibn Babawayh, “Man la yahduruhu al-Faqih”, vol.4, p.9.
- animals and Islam
- Ibn Babawayh, “Man la yahduruhu al-Faqih”, vol.2, p.287.
- H. T. Nuri Ṭabarsi, “Mustadrak al-Wasail”, vol. 8, p. 258, T. 9393.
- M. B. Majlesi, “Bihar al-Anwar”, vol. 64, p. 201.
- M. B. Majlesi, “Bihar al-Anwar”, vol. 64, p. 214.
- M. B. Majlesi, “Bihar al-Anwar”, vol. 22, p. 459.
- M. B. Majlesi, “Bihar al-Anwar”, vol. 64, p. 216.
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 652.
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 665.
- M. B. Majlesi, “Bihar al-Anwar”, vol. 64, p. 306.
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 663.
- M. H. Banihashemi, “Towzih al masael of Maraje”.
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 662.
- treating animals
One of the main differences between Islamic and non-Islamic lifestyle is manifested in the eating habits. Not eating pork and not drinking wine are two of these practices which are indeed evident in the life of a Muslim. This article will briefly analyze some of the reasons why Muslims do not consume pork.
However, it is important to keep in mind that the central philosophy behind all religious rules including Islamic rules and regulations is only known by the All-Wise and All-Knowing God who is the Creator of the whole universe and all the creatures.
Pork is forbidden in different Divine religions. For instance, the Bible says about pork: "And the swine ... he is unclean to you. Of the flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcass shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you." (Leviticus, 11:7-8). The same command is repeated in Deuteronomy, 14:8.
Christians often depict Satan in religious anecdotes in the form of a pig. The Gospel of Barnabas mentions that Pig is Satan personified and that the pig’s body has the spirit of Satan. The present Bible among the Christians (Matthew 8-32 Marks 5-13, Luke 8: 28-39) describes how Jesus thrust the soul of Satan inside the herd of swine and sent them towards the river .
In Islam, there are two primary sources for understanding the orders of Allah: the Quran and the Sunnah . Both the Holy Quran and Sunnah have equal status as far as the obligatory orders (wajibat) are concerned. If one wajib is mentioned in Sunnah only, it has the same weight as one said in the holy Quran only  and vice versa. Both sources mention that eating pork is forbidden.
Allah has announced that eating pork is forbidden in several verses of the Holy Quran:
“You are prohibited carrion, blood, the flesh of swine …” (5:3).
The unclean nature of swine flesh is stated in the following verse:
“Say, ‘I do not find in what has been revealed to me that anyone be forbidden to eat anything except carrion or spilled blood, or the flesh of swine —for that is indeed unclean— or an impiety offered to other than Allah.’ …” (6:145)
The same concept is declared in the verses (2:173) and (16:115).
Imam Reza (AS) mentions regarding the prohibition of pork, “The Almighty Allah has prohibited (made Haram) Pork because it is a horrible and dreadful animal that Allah has created for men to derive lessons from. People should also refrain from sensuality and shameless deeds that cause such a terrible appearance. And that they fear from being transformed into pigs by Almighty Allah. (In the description of past nations it is mentioned that people who committed sexual promiscuity are changed into pigs in the Intermediate world (Barzakh) [i], and they shall be raised as pigs in the Judgment Day (Qiyamat)).
Also, pigs were allowed to exist so that they are a reminder of the metamorphosis (Maskh) [ii] of previous nations into pigs. The second reason for prohibiting pork is that the staple diet of pigs consists of extremely impure (Najis) and filthy things, and its blood contains innumerable harmful germs.” 
Imam Sadiq (AS) said,“The Almighty Allah metamorphosed many nations into animals. Among them are pigs, monkeys, and bears, etc. After this these animals were prohibited from being eaten so that people derive lessons from them and do not consider the sin minor.”
Pork is very harmful to the body but we mention below only some of its harmful effects.
The present-day science of parasitology has proven some serious diseases in human beings caused by the bacteria and germs found in pork. Pork is the main carrier of many germs and parasites such as Faciolopsis buski, Paragonimus, Clonorchis sinesis, Erysipelothrix rhusiophathiae . Moreover, Dr. Joseph Mercola has cited the following diseases caused by pork: Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS), the Nipah Virus, Porcine Endogenous Retrovirus (PERV) and Menangle Virus .
On the whole, the pig is the cause of many serious and fatal diseases, among them, dysentery, trichinosis, tapeworm, roundworm, hookworm, jaundice, pneumonia, suffocation, intestinal obstruction, acute pancreatitis, enlargement of liver, diarrhea, emaciation, stone formation in liver, cancer, anemia, high fever, hindrance of growth development in children, typhoid, lameness, heart trouble, abortion, sterility, and sudden death .
It is important to note that despite hard efforts in medical science, many of the pig parasites cannot be eliminated by antibiotics, drugs or vaccines.
Some people assert that by present day means it is possible to eliminate all these parasites and make pork devoid of them, but even upon the supposition that use of sanitary equipment or cooking of meat at high temperatures eliminates all the parasites, nevertheless the harms associated with pork cannot be denied for according to the incontrovertible law, the meat of every animal bears the traits of that animal and, by means of the glands and the hormones secreted by them, influences the conduct of those who consume it.
Thus, consuming pork may transfer the attributes of sexual depravity and indifference towards the affairs of the womenfolk of the family - the most blatant traits of the male members of this species - into the person who consumes it. And perhaps, one of the reasons for the excessive sexual profligacy dominant in the West could be consumption of the meat of this sordid animal .
So since the scope of science and the knowledge of human beings are limited, there might be other harms still undiscovered. However, even if human beings find some way of eliminating all the physical and spiritual harms of something, it does not mean that the forbidden (Haram) law of God becomes permissible (Halal). As mentioned at the beginning of the article, we must submit to the will of God as the Creator of the whole world and the Only One who truly knows about what is good and bad for the creatures and why.
[i] The stage between this world and the hereafter
[ii] In Arabic, Maskh means for something to change form to an uglier one. In the Quran and Islamic tradition, this term refers to a specific divine punishment which was sent upon the wrongdoers and wrongdoing nations in the past (of course not all wrongdoers, but those who committed certain wrong acts) which can be called metamorphosis. For more information, please refer to http://www.islamquest.net/en/archive/question/fa614