In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
Prophet Muhammad left us with practical guidelines to foster animal welfare. He warned us against all forms of cruelty against animals and banned practices such as bullfighting, cock-fighting or game fishing, or hunting (simply as a sport and not strictly for food). For more, read the detailed fatwa.
Responding to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:
Prophet Muhammad: A Mercy for the Worlds
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was sent as a Mercy for the Worlds. His mission of mercy embraces all of God’s creation, including humankind, animals, and the environment.
The Quran and the Prophet’s sunnah stress that our relationship with the earth and its inhabitants is that of a compassionate shepherd; hence we ought to work for the welfare of all of God’s creation.
We must not engage in actions that would upset the balance and endanger our life and the life of other species on the earth.
Prophet Muhammad’s practical guidelines to foster on animal welfare
- The Prophet also left us with practical guidelines to foster animal welfare. He warned us against all forms of cruelty against animals and banned practices such as bullfighting, cock-fighting or game fishing, or hunting (simply as a sport and not strictly for food).
- The Prophet said, “Fear Allah in the way you treat these mute animals: If you happen to use them for riding, do it only when they are healthy and able to bear the burden; if you use them for food, do so only when they are healthy.”
- To stop cruelty towards animals, Islam also prohibited Muslims from eating animals tortured to death by strangling, choking, or mutilating them, pushing them from a cliff, etc.
- The Prophet also taught us to be merciful while slaughtering animals for food to ensure that they are not tortured, thus allowing them to die with the least amount of suffering.
- The Prophet also told us that we would be rewarded for even the most minor acts of kindness towards any living beings. Likewise, we would also incur punishment for acts of cruelty towards them. The Prophet’s words, ‘show mercy to those on earth: you will receive the mercy of the One in heaven.” (At-Tirmidhi)
- He told the story of a prostitute who was forgiven for giving water to a thirsty dog licking dust out of thirst. (Al-Bukhari)
- Inspired by the above teachings, Muslims throughout centuries set up endowments to render charitable acts of compassion towards animals, including cats and dogs.
Almighty Allah knows best.