What Are My Responsibilities towards Animals in Islam?

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.

 

 

Food for Animal in Islam

 

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 [1]. 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 [2]. 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 [3];
  • 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 [4]. 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 [5];
  • Not to feed the animal with unlawful food since it is detestable (Makruh) [6];
  • Not to leave the animal hungry. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) blamed a man who had left his camel hungry: “you should fear God!” [7];
  • 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 [8]. 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 [9].

 

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Health and Treatment of Animals in Islam

 

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 [10].

 


Rest and Peace

 

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) advised to let the animals rest whenever they are utilized and ordered not to oppress them[11].

 

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. 

 

Reproduction

 

Human beings are not allowed to deprive animals of reproduction [12]. According to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), sterilizing the animal is equal to dismembering it [12]. 

 


Affection toward Animals in Islam

 

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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 [13]. 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 [14]. 

 

Respect for the Animals in Islam

 


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 [15]. It is narrated that a man who had his horse with him, saluted Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Prophet (PBUH) saluted both the man and his horse in return [16].

 

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 [17]. Also, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) ordered not to rest while seated on the animals’ back [18].

 


Punishments for Ignoring the Rights of the Animals in Islam

 


Respecting the rights of the animals in Islam is so important that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) 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 [19]. 

 

Notes:

[i]. e.g., cow or sheep.
[ii]. e.g., dog. 
 

References:

[1] A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 675.
[2] Sheikh al-Tusi, “Al-Mabsoot”, vol. 6, p. 47.
[3] H. T. Nuri Ṭabarsi, “Mustadrak al-Wasail”, vol. 8, p. 36.
[4] A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 678.
[5]  “Nahj al-Balagha”, letter 25.
[6] Sheikh al-Tusi, “Tahdhib al-Ahkam”, vol. 9, p. 115.
[7] M. B. Majlesi, “Bihar al-Anwar”, vol. 61, p. 111.
[8] A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 681.
[9] “Makarim al-Akhlaq”, p. 135.
[10] M. H. Najafi, “Jawahir al-Kalam”, vol. 36, p. 436-437.
[11] J. Suyuti, “Jami al-Sagheer”, vol. 1, p. 102.
[12] A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 686.
[13] A. Al-Barqi, “Al-Mahasin”, p. 634.
[14] Shaykh al-Saduq, “Thawab al-A'mal wa 'Iqab al-A'mal”, p. 50.
[15] http://makarem.ir
[16] F. Rawandi, “Al-Nawader”, p. 41-42.
[17] Shaykh Saduq, “Al-Amali”, p. 507.
[18] Q. Nu'man, “Da'a'im al-Islam”, vol 1, p. 347.
[19] Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj, “Sahih Muslim”, vol. 3, p. 74.