Why Muslims should care for animals

PHOTO: www.adelove.com

PHOTO: www.adelove.com

Allah, the Creator of human beings and animals, has made animals subservient to us. We depend on animals for the food we eat and the milk we drink. We bring animals into our homes for love and companionship.

We survive critical illness and live longer because of biomedical research on animals. We benefit from specially trained dogs that detect drugs, guide the blind, and assist the disabled. Despite these numerous benefits, some people still derived pleasure in maltreating animals and this is out rightly against the wish of Allah.

Allah says in the Quran: “And the cattle, He has created them for you. You have in them warm clothing and (other) advantages, and of them you eat. And therein is beauty for you, when you drive them back (home) and when you send them out (to pasture). And they carry your heavy loads to regions, which you could not reach but with great distress to yourselves. Surely your Lord is Compassionate, Merciful. And (He made) horses and mules and assess that you might ride upon them and as an ornament. And He creates what you know not.” (Quran 16:5-8)

The mercy of Islam extends beyond human beings to all living creations of God. Islam prohibits cruelty to animals.

Once, the holy Prophet (SAW) spoke of God’s forgiveness due to the humane treatment of animals. He told his companions the story of a man who got thirsty on his way. He found a well, climbed down inside it to the water, and quenched his thirst. When he came out he saw a panting dog licking on mud out of extreme thirst. The man thought to himself: ‘The dog has become as thirsty as I was!’ The man went down the well again and got some water for the dog. God appreciated his good work and forgave him.

The companions asked, ‘O Prophet of God, do we get rewarded on humane treatment of animals?’ He said, ‘There is a reward in (doing good to) every living being.’

On another occasion, Prophet Muhammad (SAW), described Allah’s punishment of a woman who was sent to hell because of a cat. She kept her locked up, neither feeding her nor setting her free to feed herself.

On slaughtering regulations, Islam insists that the manner of slaughter should be that which is least painful to the animal. It requires that the slaughtering instrument not be sharpened in front of the animal. Islam also prohibits the slaughtering of one animal in front of another. Never, prior to Islam, had the world witnessed such concern for animals.

Besides, Islam requires that pets or farm animals be provided with proper food, water, and a place to live.

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