Petitions that call for Eid-ul-Adha’s main component of sacrifice to be banned, a religious obligation, and an indispensable part of the festivity celebrated by approximately 1.9 billion people globally, on the basis of animal cruelty are a slap to the face.
Thousands of netizens signing these petitions after reading a short description and seeing a “gore” and bloody image of slaughtered animals lying in the pool of their own blood at the header would likely have one thought in mind – Islam is cruel to animals. However, on the contradictory, the truth is far from it.
Purpose of Creation of Animals
Animals have been created for making the daily lives of humans easy and to provide them with nourishment. The purpose of the creation of animals is stated in the Quran. Allah says,
“Allah it is Who has made cattle for you so that you ride some of them and from some of them you derive food…” (40:79-80)
Being devoted to Allah, animals have their own ways of giving praise to Him.
“Do you not see that Allah is glorified by all those in the heavens and the earth, even the birds as they soar? Each [instinctively] knows their manner of prayer and glorification…” (24:41).
Being a part of the larger fabric that constitutes the spiritual and physical realm, it must be remembered that animals are created with a purpose and that they possess feelings and thus have a right to be protected from pain and suffering.
Relationship between Humans and Animals
With humans created as Ashraf-ul-Mahkloqaat (the noblest of creation), it befits this title that humans despite given authority over animals by way of being created as “vicegerents in the Earth” (Surah 35, Verse 39), do not abuse their power and ill-treat animals in any way.
Unlawful exploitation, exercising of privilege, and exertion of cruelty upon animals would incur the wrath of Allah
Ibn Umar reported that the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) said, “A woman was punished due to a cat she had imprisoned until it died, so she entered the Hellfire. She did not give it food or water while it was imprisoned, neither did she set it free to eat from the vermin of the earth” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim).
Treatment of animals with kindness is a sign of firm faith. Allah says that
“Indeed, in the heavens and the earth are signs for the true believers. And in your creation and in the spreading of the animals are signs for those who possess firm faith” (45: 4).
Slaughtering and hunting of animals only become permissible under the condition of meeting the requirements of food.
Animal Rights during Slaughtering
Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said that
“Allah has ordained kindness (and excellence) in everything. If the killing (of animals) is to be done, do it in the best manner, and when you slaughter, do it in the best manner by first sharpening the knife, and putting the animal at ease.”(Saheeh Muslim).
Further regulations that should be followed when slaughtering animals such as on the occasion of Eid-ul-Adha are listed:
1. The animal must be alive at the time of slaughter.
2. The animal must be well-fed and well-rested before slaughter.
3. All forms of stunning and making the animal unconscious are disliked, but if the necessity arises can be used as a means to calm down the animal by inducing low voltage shock or stunning through a device with a non-penetrating round head.
4. Slaughtering should be done by use of a sharp knife that cuts with its edge and not by its weight.
5. The windpipe, food tract, and the two jugular veins of the animal must be cut.
6. The animal must be slaughtered in one stroke without lifting the knife.
7. Further dismemberment of the animal must be done only after it is dead.
Narrations of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) regarding Animals
Utmost care should be taken when animals are slaughtered to minimize their pain. Prophet Muhammad’s (S.A.W.) narrations invoke a sense of duty within the followers of Islam to become kinder to animals. According to Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.),
“A good deed done to an animal is as meritorious as a good deed done to a human being, while an act of cruelty to an animal is as bad as an act of cruelty to a human being” (Mishkat al-Masabih).
His (S.A.W.) sayings also elicit a sense of fear of Allah. for being accountable in front of Him for unjustly taking the life of an animal, and be forgone of the mercy of Allah.
“Fear Allah in these mute animals, and ride them when they are fit it be ridden, and let them go free when … they (need to) rest” (Abu Dawood)
“There is no man who kills a sparrow or anything beyond that, without its deserving it, but Allah will ask him about it (Sunan al-Nasai)
“May Allah curse anyone who maims animals” (Bukhari).
A balance must be struck where the treatment of animals is concerned. Even though humans are at an elevated rank than animals, it does not deem the latter to be subjected to cruelty and suffering. Being a species bestowed with intelligence, justice, and compassion it is mankind’s responsibility to act in accordance with these virtues. Being a devout follower of Islam, it is incumbent upon Muslims not to overburden, abuse, and torture animals for it would invite punishment from Allah. As demonstrated by the character of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) and his practice, a Muslim should demonstrate their faith and belief by respecting entire creations and follow the beacon of exemplars set by him (S.A.W.).
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. He/She does not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Rizq or its members. The publication does not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of Rizq