Fundamental needs of animals in Islam includes their rights in Islam, and human beings have to fulfill them. The very first needs of animals which are vital to them include sufficient and proper food, water, a comfortable place to rest and live, and physical health. These and some other rights of the animals are discussed in this article.
Animals are unable to talk and express their needs. Captivating the animals and inhibiting them from the blessings that God has reserved for them are unfair . Every animal with either lawful (Halal) or unlawful (Haram) meat, with or without benefit to its owner, birds or cattle, should be provided with adequate food and water, otherwise should be released to seek for its requirements . The animals’ rights in food provision can be listed as:
Feeding the animal adequately, otherwise, it should be released in pastures or nature to find food ;
Paying special attention to the animal, with whether lawful [i] (Halal) or unlawful [ii] (Haram) meat, which gives milk to its baby because it requires double food supply . Imam Ali (AS) ordered the alms-tax collectors nor to separate the camel from its baby neither to milk the whole milk of the camel as it might be harmful to the baby camel ;
Not to feed the animal with unlawful food since it is detestable (Makruh) ;
Not to leave the animal hungry. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) blamed a man who had left his camel hungry: “you should fear God!” ;
Watering animal. Partial (Wudu) and full (Ghusl) ablution are some sorts of washing body which are obligatory for Muslims in certain conditions and are prerequisites for some religious duties. Regarding Islamic jurisprudence (Fiqh), if an animal is dying of thirst and there is not enough water to both water the animal and perform the ablution, at certain conditions, watering the animal is the priority . Imam Baqir (AS) said that whoever waters a thirsty animal, God will place him at the shelter of His Throne the day that there is no protection except Him .
Hygiene and health of the animal are emphasized in Islam. Providing animals with healthy food and water, a clean place to live and the required treatments and medications are of the duties over their owners. Islamic jurisprudence (Fiqh) obliges the owner of the animal to pay the expenses of the treatment of the animal .
It is over every Muslim to consider the rest and peace of the animal. Thereby, an appropriate place should be provided for the animal. Also, a suitable time should be considered for the exploitation of the animal, especially during the night that they need to rest. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) advised to let the animals rest whenever they are utilized and ordered not to oppress them.
These and other Islamic advises demonstrate how much care is given to the animals in Islam. This is contrary to the modern thinking ideas that consider animals as machines to serve humans without needing any rest.
Human beings are not allowed to deprive animals of reproduction . According to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), sterilizing the animal is equal to dismembering it .
An animal raised by a human being has the right of affection over its owner. Hence, it is detestable that the owner of the animal slaughters the animal that he\she has raised . This shows that Islam considers the rights due to a harmonious cohabitation for humans over each other as well as for animals over humans. Imam Sajjad (AS) made a will to bury his camel after its death so that it might not be torn apart by the wild animals .
Animals trained for purposes such as companionship, detection, protection, farm work, etc. have received great care in Islamic teachings such that keeping a trained dog at home is permitted if the hygiene tips are considered . It is narrated that a man who had his horse with him, saluted Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP). Prophet (PBUH&HP) saluted both the man and his horse in return .
This demonstrates the importance of keeping respect for the animals, especially those that are trained. In this regard, branding iron animal on the face (which was common in the past among some ethnic groups) is forbidden in Islam and is considered unfair . Also, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) ordered not to rest while seated on the animals’ back .
Respecting the rights of the animals in Islam is so important that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said that whoever ignores the rights of the animals that he\she had owned, he\she should wait in the judgment day until those animals pass over while crushing or butting him\her .
[i]. e.g., cow or sheep.
[ii]. e.g., dog.
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 675.
- Sheikh al-Tusi, “Al-Mabsoot”, vol. 6, p. 47.
- H. T. Nuri Ṭabarsi, “Mustadrak al-Wasail”, vol. 8, p. 36.
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 678.
- “Nahj al-Balagha”, letter 25.
- Sheikh al-Tusi, “Tahdhib al-Ahkam”, vol. 9, p. 115.
- M. B. Majlesi, “Bihar al-Anwar”, vol. 61, p. 111.
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 681.
- “Makarim al-Akhlaq”, p. 135.
- M. H. Najafi, “Jawahir al-Kalam”, vol. 36, p. 436-437.
- J. Suyuti, “Jami al-Sagheer”, vol. 1, p. 102.
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 686.
- A. Al-Barqi, “Al-Mahasin”, p. 634.
- Shaykh al-Saduq, “Thawab al-A'mal wa 'Iqab al-A'mal”, p. 50.
- Animals in Islam
- F. Rawandi, “Al-Nawader”, p. 41-42.
- Shaykh Saduq, “Al-Amali”, p. 507.
- Q. Nu'man, “Da'a'im al-Islam”, vol 1, p. 347.
- Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj, “Sahih Muslim”, vol. 3, p. 74.
The hours of fasting in Ramadan vary based on the geographical position of the city where one lives. In some regions, the fasting hours might be extremely long while in other places it might be too short such that one wonders if the goal of fasting (Sawm) has been accomplished or not. Extended fasting might cause difficulties.
Some might complain that there is no advantage in fasting long days. Others might find excuses to avoid fasting altogether. But, Islam does not want Muslims to suffer. There are, therefore, some rulings on how to fast on very long days and very short days, that we review them all next.
In the case where the days are very short, one should perform fasting in its typical way, from dawn to sunset, according to the prayer times. Hence, short fasting hours does not change the default time rulings on fasting (Swam) .
Fasting is not a mere act of depriving oneself of foods or drinks, but it aims at spiritual growth and salvation, inner peace, exercising patience, strengthening the social ties and experiencing how poor people live their lives .
Hence, the obligation on fasting is not to make people suffer; as it is stated in Surah Baqarah: “Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship” (2:185). So, there are some rulings on long fasts which make them less difficult.
Long fast (Swam), especially in hot summer days, is tough. In this case, one should fast according to the prayer times of his\her city of residence. But, if it is extremely difficult, whenever during the day he\she feels unable to continue, he\she is allowed to break the fast (Swam) and have to fast (it is obligatory, Wajib) later on for those missing (Qaza) fasts in shorter days of the current year and before the next Ramadan 
However, different religious experts (Mujtahids) have different opinions on this matter. We explained one of those views above. There are two other opinions as follows and one of them might be the opinion of your religious expert (Mujtahid):
In any case, one should fast according to the prayer times of the city of residence;
One should fast according to the prayer times in a “moderate region,” with the normal day length, that is on the same meridian as his\her city of residence.
Fasting is obligatory due to its spiritual and physical benefits. It is not to put pressure and make people suffer. If it is tough to fast in very long days, one can fast according to the rulings stated above.
The concept of responsibility in Islam includes a wide range of matters. Human beings have certain responsibilities in Islam toward others and themselves. All creatures in this universe are naturally inclined to move toward the perfection considered for each of them. They are created in the most proper form, then, have been provided with the conditions and requirements that God has planned (20:50).
Nonetheless, none of them knows neither the path that they should pave nor the final target; except humans. According to the Quran, human beings are created for specific reasons (23:115), and they have duties and responsibilities (75:36). The most prominent responsibility in Islam that one has is towards God, as explained in the first part of the article. He\she is also responsible towards him\herself. This category of duties is discussed here.
According to Imam Sajjad (AS), the duties of every human being towards him\herself are to serve only God by all his\her capabilities and every part of the body; and, to respect the rights of each part of the body . Hence, the responsibilities in Islam of every human being towards him\herself can be divided into spiritual and physical items.
According to the Quran, God breathed into the human being of His [created] soul after he was proportioned (38:72). This makes the human’s soul of great value in Islam. Accordingly, every individual has certain responsibilities towards his\her valuable soul. These duties can be summarized in one sentence: to utilize the soul in the way of God.
That is to apply all spiritual capacities in the obedience to God and to do what brings bout God’s satisfaction. This requires one to keep the soul alive and pure by practicing what is ordered to or invited to in Islamic teachings like prayer (Salat), fasting (Sawm), pilgrimage (Hajj), etc., also by preventing any harm to the soul such as anxiety, depression, etc.
One’s acts and words form and determine the his\her path in life. He\she does various acts (including good deeds, what is obligatory (Wajib) or recommended (Mustahab)) with different parts of the body and verbally thank God (in the form of prayer) with the help of tongue and mouth. Hence, whatever one does concerning the obedience of God depends also on the parts of the his\her body. Therefore, he\she has some responsibilities towards them.
Of the rights of the tongue are to :
Avoid foul language and the sins that one might commit with the tongue, such as backbiting (ghibah) and slander. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that: “Do not insult others, this turns them into your enemies” , and: “Whoever divulges the flaws and faults of another Muslim, God will reveal his flaws” ;
Accustom it to saying pleasant beneficial words;
Force it to talk nicely and politely (2:83);
Stop it from talking too much and stay silent unless talking is beneficial; “Silence is a door to wisdom, it brings affection and guides to every blessing.” , and: "whoever believes in God and the Hereafter should say beneficial words, otherwise stays silent.” ;
Think about what you are going to say and judge the words before you start talking because a wise person will be judged by his words; “A faithful person … thinks about his words first, and then says those words” .
The ears are like the doors to the heart; they transfer every word with either a positive or negative influence on the heart . Imam Ali (AS) has prevented us from listening to the words without any advantage and benefit as they darken the heart and cause us to be blamed . For example, whoever listens to backbiting is a partner of the backbiter . Hence, one should control the ears to hear only nice and useful words that purify the heart or encourage good behavior .
To be continued.
- Imam Sajjad (AS), Treatise On Rights (Risalat al-Huquq).
- M. al-Kulaynī, “Al-Kafi”, vol. 2, p. 360.
- Al-Monzeri, “Invitation and Intimidation”, vol. 2, p. 239.
- M. al-Kulaynī, “Al-Kafi”, vol. 2, p. 113.
- M. al-Kulaynī, “Al-Kafi”, Introduction, p. 6.
- W. al.Hilli, “Tanbih al-khawatir wa nuzhat al-nawazir”, vol. 1, p. 106.
- “Ghurar Al-Hikam Wa Durar Al-Kalim”, T. 6234.
- A. Saberi Yazdi, “Al-Hokm Al-Zahera”, p. 558.