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ANIMALS IN QURAN


The science of animal life receives no less attention in the Qur'an than those of other aspects of life. Again, this aspect of life reveals the Glory and Majestic of the Creator in new dimensions and draws man's attention to the animal kingdom so that he may observe, study and reflect upon the Wonders of The Almighty, benefiting from them as well as Glorifying Almighty's Name for immeasurable Bounties and Gifts. [1]

 

Table of Contents

 

Names of animals in Quran

  • Crow (Raven Qur'an Surah 5:31)
     
  • Camel (Qur'an Surah 7:73, 22:36 etc)
     
  • Birds (Qur'an Surah 2:260)
     
  • Wolf (Qur'an Surah 12:13,14)
     
  • Whale (Qur'an Surah Fish 142-144)
     
  • Cow (Qur'an Surah 2:67)
     
  • Cattles (Qur'an Surah live stock 5:1)
     
  • Hoopoe (Qur'an Surah Hudhud 27:20)
     
  • Ants (Qur'an Surah 27:18)
     
  • Termite (worm Qur'an Surah 34:14)
     
  • Donkey (Qur'an Surah 2:259)
     
  • Dog (Qur'an Surah 18:18)
     
  • Elephant (Qur'an Surah 105:1)
     
  • Flock of birds (Ababeel Qur'an Surah 105:3)
     
  • Spider (Qur'an Surah 29:41)
     
  • Horses (Qur'an Surah 3:14, 16:8)
     
  • Mules (Qur'an Surah 16:8)
     
  • Apes and Pigs (Qur'an Surah 5:60)[2]

 

Quran on animals

There are numerous passages in the Qur'an which sheds light on the animal life in various contexts. The ayath in Surah Al-Nur,"And God has created every animal from water: of them there are some that creep on their bellies; some that walk on two legs: and some that walk on four. God creates what He wills; for verily God has power over all things." (Qur'an Surah Nur 24:45)

 

The Qur'an mentions some of the animals, their uses and benefits for mankind and describes the animal kingdom, with its wonderful diversity, beauty and charm. A few passages of the Qur'an reflect the Grace and the Beneficence of The Creator to Man. The production process in the animal world is referred to in these words,"That He did create the pairs,-male and female, from a sperm-drop when lodged (in its place)." (Qur'an 53:45-46)

 

In Surah Al-Zukhruf, we read, "And Who has created pairs in all things, and has made for you ships and cattle on which ye ride." (Qur'an 43:12)

 

In Surah Al-An'am, different kinds of cattle are mentioned in which are great benefits for mankind. "Of the cattle are some for burden and some for meat." (Qur'an 6:142)

 

In Surah Al-Nahl, we read, "And cattle He has created for you (men): from them ye derive warmth, and numerous benefits, and of their (meat) ye eat. And ye have a sense of pride and beauty in them as ye drive them home in the evening, and as ye lead them forth to pasture in the morning. And they carry your heavy loads to lands that ye could not (otherwise) reach except with souls distressed: for your Lord is indeed Most Kind, Most Merciful. And (He has created) horses, mules, and donkeys, for you to ride and as an adornment; and He has created (other) things of which ye have no knowledge. The Almighty alone can show the right path but there are ways that turn side; if God had willed, He could have guided all of you." (Qur'an 16:5-9)

 

The Qur'an mentions the existence of animal communities like those of humans which are well-developed in their organization and planning. It describes the community of bees in these words, "And thy Lord taught the Bee to build its cells in hills, on trees, and in (men's) habitations; then to eat of all the produce (of the earth), and follow the ways of Thy Lord made smooth: there issues from within their bodies a drink of varying colors, wherein is healing for men: verily this is a sign for those who give thought." (Qur'an 16:68-69)

 

The community of spiders and their behavior is mentioned in these words, "The parable of those who take protectors other than God is that of the Spider, who builds (to itself) a house; but truly the flimsiest of houses is the Spider's house; - if they but knew." (Qur'an 29:41)

 

And the Qur'an mentions yet another most revealing and inspiring benefit in the cattle in these words, "And verily in cattle (too) will you find an instructive Sign. From what is within their bodies, between excretions and blood, We produce, for drink, milk, pure agreeable to those who drink it."


In this verse is a reference "to the most wonderful process of the formation of the pure milk in the bellies of the she-cattle, for the fodder they eat turns to blood, filth and pure milk, which is altogether different from the first in its nature, color and usefulness."

 

The Qur'an devotes considerable attention to the origin of man and mentions the facts of his creation on several occasions in different contexts for the benefit of mankind.

 

"Seeing that it is He that has created you in diverse stages?" (Qur'an 71:14)

 

He is also reminded of his humble and lowly origin.

 

"O Man! What has seduced thee from Thy Lord Most Merciful? Him Who created thee, fashioned thee in due proportion, and gave thee a just bias." (Qur'an 82:6-7)

 

And in Surah Al-Tar'iq, we read, "He is created from a drop emitted-preceding from between the backbone and the ribs." (Qur'an 86:6-7)

 

The fertilization process takes place with a very small quantity of liquid, not visible to the naked human eye.

 

"Then We place him as (a drop of) sperm in a place of rest, firmly fixed; then we made the sperm into a clot of congealed blood; then of that clot We made a (fetus) lump; then We made out of that lump bones and clothed the bones with flesh; then We developed out of it another creature. So blessed be God, the Best to create!" (Qur'an 23:13-14)

 

All these references to the process of egg fertilization and its growth by stages in the womb is a clear indication that Mohammed (S.A.W) was given this knowledge by the Creator Himself so that man may realize, and reflect on, his position in relation to God Almighty and learn a lesson for his right guidance and follow the Right Path.

 

Deep study of animal life and its process of creation brings man straight to His Creator because without the existence of The Almighty, The Omnipotent and All-Merciful, such a wonderful animal kingdom is beyond human comprehension and understanding. [2]

 

Prophets teaching on animals

Prophet Muhammad was the embodiment of mercy, he showed compassion to all those around him, family, orphans, friends, strangers and even enemies.  He also treated the environment and animals with respect and mercy.  He taught his followers that because animals were part of God’s creation they should be treated with dignity and due care.

 

'Abdullah bin 'Umar related that the Prophet said: "A woman was cast away to hell only because she had withheld food and water from her cat and refused to set it free so that the cat might satisfy its hunger by eating worms and insects." Sahih al-Bukhari 3318 (Vol. 4, Book 54, Hadith 535)

 

The Prophet forbade his companions to keep the unintelligent creatures hungry or thirsty, to disturb or to overburden them. He commended that kindness and putting them at ease were meritorious acts tending to bring man nearer to Allah. Abu Hurairah reports the Prophet as saying: "A traveler who was thirsty saw a well in the way. He got inside the well and when he came out he saw a dog licking mud due to thirst. The man realised that the dog was as thirsty as him, so he got into the well again, filled his leather sock with water and carried it out holding it with his teeth. Thus, he quenched the thirst of the dog. Allah was pleased with this act of kindness and pardoned his sins." The Companions asked: "O Messenger of Allah is there recompense in the matter of beasts and wild animals also?" The Prophet replied: "There is recompense in regard to every creature that has a living heart." Sahih al-Bukhari 2466 ( Vol. 3, Book 43, Hadith 646)

 

'Abdullah bin 'Umar related that the Prophet said: "A woman was cast away to hell only because she had withheld food and water from her cat and refused to set it free so that the cat might satisfy its hunger by eating worms and insects." Sahih al-Bukhari 3318 (Vol. 4, Book 54, Hadith 535)

 

Once on return from a military campaign, a few Companions took away the chicks of a bird from their nest to stroke them. The mother bird came back and when it could not find its chicks in the nest, it began to fly around screeching. When informed of the matter, Allah’s Messenger became angry and ordered the chicks to be put back in the nest. Abu Dawud 2675

 

 I entered upon al-Hakam b. Ayyub along with Anas. He saw some youths or boys who had set up a hen and shooting at it. Anas said: The Messenger of Allah () forbade to kill an animal in confinement. SunanAbiDawud 2816 (Book 15, Hadith 2810)

 

A Companion, Shaddaad bin 'Aws reported the Apostle as saying: "Allah has commanded you to show kindness to everyone(including animals), so if you have to kill, kill in a good manner, and if you slaughter an animal, slaughter it gently. If anyone of you has to slay an animal, he should sharpen the blade first and treat the animal well. Sahih Muslim 1955 " Ibn 'Abbas relates that a man threw a goat on its side and then started sharpening his knife. When the Prophet saw him he said: "Do you want to kill it twice? Why did you not sharpen the knife before throwing it on the ground?" Tabrani Vol4: 53  [4]

 

Conclusion

Humankind must strike a balance in their treatment of animals.  All living creatures were put on this earth by God for our benefit as mentioned in Quran surah Jasiya 45:13.  They are not at the same level as human beings but neither should they be treated cruelly.  It is humankind’s responsibility to see that they have food, water, and shelter from the elements.  Living creatures must not be overburdened, abused, or tortured and doing so will surely result in God’s just punishment.  A true believer in Allah demonstrates his or her belief by respecting the entire creation, and Prophet Muhammad’s character and actions are a shining example of respect for all that exists. [5]

 

See also

Prophet’s Mercy to Animals; Trees in Quran; Fruits in Quran; Dietary laws in Islam; Prohibition of Pork;

 

References

[1] [3] http://www.islamicbulletin.org/newsletters/issue_6/science.aspx

[2] http://quran.com/

[4] http://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/index.php?page=articles&id=134199)

[5] http://www.islamreligion.com/articles/3493/

 

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