Islamic religious texts have numerous references to the humane treatment of animals. The Quran (Koran) includes the following passages:

  • There is not a moving (living) creature on earth, nor a bird that flies with its two wings, but are communities like you. We have neglected nothing in the Book, then unto their Lord they (all) shall be gathered. (Surrah Al-Anam 6:38)
  • Seest thou not that it is Allah Whose praise all beings in the heavens and on earth do celebrate, and the birds (of the air) with wings outspread? Each one knows its own (mode of) prayer and praise, and Allah knows well all that they do. (Surrah An-Noor 24:41)
  • Qur’an actually forbids human actions which may lead to harm; transgress not in the balance, and weigh with justice, and skimp not in the balance … earth, He set it down for all beings. (Surrah Ar-Rahman 55:8–10)

The Quran is regarded as the supreme text for Islamic case law, used to guide legal questions. The second source is the Hadith or Tradition. The followers of the prophet Mohammed wrote the Hadith, documenting his actions, words and approvals. Different branches of Islam — Sunni and Shia, for instance — rely on different Ḥadith collections.

The following selections further support the importance of compassionate treatment of animals in Islam:

  • There is a reward (ajr) for helping any living creature. (Hadith: Bukhari and Muslim)
  • It is a great sin for man to imprison those animals which are in his power (Hadith: Muslim)
  • You will not have secure faith until you love one another and have mercy on those who live upon the earth. (Hadiths: Bukhari, Muslim, and Abu Dawud)

The head of the Islamic Circle in Israel, a government organization that represents the country’s Islamic religious leadersor Imams, has invited CHAI’s (or Hakol Chai’s) representative to make a presentation on animal-related issues to its members. Imams are the most powerful figures in Muslim villages, figures to whom citizens regularly turn for guidance on all matters, including how to treat animals. The Islamic Circle arranges training for Imams and issues credits to them
for attending, which translates to higher salaries. This will be the first time Imams have received training on animal-related issues, which will include topics such as the link between cruelty to animals and violence toward people, the physical and emotional benefits of human-animal interactions, and the impact on the environment and global warming of industries using animals.

Source for passages: Sira Abdul Rahman, “Religion and Animal Welfare—An Islamic Perspective,” Animals (Basel). 2017 Feb; 7(2): 11