The Holy Koran and Animals

Figure 1.--

Our tendency in HBC is to look at the Koran when assessing major issues concerning the Muslim world. There are of course a much wider body of Islamic religious worj, but the Koran is the core and it is useful to see just what the Koran says. Tere are several Koranic references to animals, although they are not discussed in great detail. These are the passages we have found. Muslims cncerned about the ethical treatment of animals cite other passages to prove that the Koran requires animals to be treated humanely, but this is through inference, not because animals are explicitly mentioned. And when they are mentioned it is more as parables for human behavior than a passage actually about animals. There are some interesting passages about the conciousness abd value of animals, This is presumably the basis for Islamic law (Shari'ah) concerning the rights of animals which are very elaborate and explicit. We do not note condemnations of animals. Rather the Koran appears to hold animals in high regard. Therecare interesting passages about wildlife. And the Koran does not condemn dogs.

Surah 5: 4

"They consult you concerning what is lawful for them; say, "Lawful for you are all good things, including what trained dogs and falcons catch for you." You train them according to GOD's teachings. You may eat what they catch for you, and mention GOD's name thereupon. You shall observe GOD. GOD is most efficient in reckoning."

Surah 6: 38

The Koran says "There is not an animal on earth, nor a bird that flies on its wings, but they are communities like you…".

Surah 7: 176

"Had we (Allah) willed, we could have elevated him therewith, but he insisted on sticking to the ground, and pursued his own opinions. Thus, he is like the dog; whether you pet him or scold him, he pants. Such is the example of people who reject our proofs. Narrate these narrations, that they may reflect." This is one of three passages where dogs are mentioned in the Koran. While the verse is not lauditory, no where in this passage or the other Koranic references (5:4 and 18: 18-22) does the Koran say that dogs are dirty animals andcshould be avoided or justify the abuse of dogs. The Hadith (the collection of sayings of Muhammad's contemporaries) which explain Muslim attitudes toward dogs, but the Koran makes no such condemnation.

Surah 8: 21-22

The Koran advises, "And be not like those who say, 'we have heard', while they do not hearken. Verily, the vilest of all creatures, in the sight of Allah, are those deaf and dumb ones who do not use their rationality."

Surah 11:6

An interesting Kornic passage is "There is no moving creature on earth, but Allah provides for its sustenance…" This Koranic verse strongly suggests Koranic support for protecting wildlife.

Surah 17:44

Another Koranic verse suggests that animals are mot mere dumb beasts, "The seven heavens and the earth and all things therein declare His glory. There is not a thing but celebrates His adoration; and yet ye mankind! ye understand not how do they declare His glory …"

Surah 18: 18-22

This is the other passage where dogs are mentioned in the Koran. The passage itself is about the people of the cave. 18: "You would think that they were awake, when they were in fact asleep. We turned them to the right side and the left side, while their dog stretched his arms in their midst. Had you looked at them, you would have fled from them, stricken with terror." .... 22: "Some would say, "They were three; their dog being the fourth," while others would say, "Five; the sixth being their dog," as they guessed. Others said, "Seven," and the eighth was their dog. Say, "My Lord is the best knower of their number." Only a few knew the correct number. Therefore, do not argue with them; just go along with them. You need not consult anyone about this."

Surah 22: 18

The Koran says, "Seest thou not that unto Allah payeth adoration all things that are in the heavens and on earth -- the sun, the moon, the stars, the mountains, the trees, the animals, and a large number among mankind? However, there are many (humans) who do not and deserve chastisement…" This is a good example of a passage which mentins animals, but is a parable meant for humans rather than relly about aimals.

Surah 24: 41

The Koran seems to suggest that animals have consciousness of spirit higher than mere instinct and intuition. The Koran says, "Seest thou not that it is Allah Whose praises are celebrated by all beings in the heavens and on earth, and by the birds with extended wings? Each one knows its prayer and psalm, And Allah is aware of what they do."

Surh 32: 27

There is no mention in the Koran of humans keeping animals as pets. The animals most commonly mentioned are cattle. A good example is. "And do they not see that We meander water to a barren land and sprout forth from it crops, whereof their cattle as well as they themselves eat? Will they take no notice of it?"

Surah 35: 39

The Koran explicitly states that man has dominion over animals: "He (Allah) it is Who made you vicegerents on earth."

Surah 55:10

The Koran reads, "And the earth: He {God} has assigned to all living creatures." This is another Koranic verse which strongly suggests Koranic support for protecting wildlife.

Surah 79: 31-33

"We (Allah) brought forth from it {the earth} its waters and its pastures, and established the mountains firm - as a source of provision for you and for your animals." This is another Koranic passage dealing with livestock.


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Created: 1:54 PM 12/3/2007
Last updated: 1:54 PM 12/3/2007