Lecture for 4th year medical students on 10th February 2001 by Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr.
A. ANIMALS in the QUR’AN and SUNNAT
MENTION OF ANIMALS IN THE QUR’AN
Animals are an important component of human civilization and are discussed at length in various Qur'anic verses.
Animals are communities like human communities, umam mithlakum (p. 383 6:38). They, like humans, were created from
water. They have life but no soul. They worship Allah (24:41) but have no moral accountability. Animals are many phyla and
species. Some have no legs while others have 2 or 4 legs (p. 383 24:45). They are different colors (p 383 35:28). Some can
speak with humans (27:18, 27:22-28) whereas others cannot. Allah provides all of them with sustenance, rizq (p 383
29:60). Some animals were mentioned in a special way in the Qur’an. (a) Insects: mosquito, ba’udhat
(p 383 );
fly, dhubaab (p 384 22:73); locust, jaraad (p 383 7:133, 54:7); spider, ‘ankabuut (p 385 29:41);
bee, nahal (p 385 16:68); ant, namil (p 387 27:18); lice, qummal (p 385 7:133). (b) Birds, tayr(p 384 2:260, 3:49, 5:110, 6:38, 12:36, 12:41, 16:79, 21:79, 22:31, 24:41, 27:20, 34:10, 38:19, 56:21, 67:19, 105:3):
raven, ghuraab (p 385 5:31), hoopie, hudhud (p 385 27:20); (c) Domestic mammals: dog, kalb (p
385 7:176, 18:18, 18:22); donkey, himaar (p 383 2:259, 16:8, 31:19), mule, bighal (p 383 16:8), horse, khayl
(3:14, 8:60, 16:8, 17:64, 38:31, 59:6); (d) Live-stock, ni’am (p 385-6 3:14, 4:119, 5:1, 5:95, 6:136,
6:138-139, 6:142, 7:179, 16:5, 16:66, 16:80, 20:54, 22:28, 22:30, 22:34, 23:21, 25:44, 25:49, 26:133, 32:27, 35:28, 36:71,
39:6, 40:79, 42:11, 43:12, 47:12, 79:33, 80:32): cattle, baqar (p 386-7 2:67-71, 6:144, 6:146, 11:69, 12:43, 12:46,
51: 26); camel, ibil (p 386 6:144, 7:73, 7:77, 12:70, 12:82, 12:94, Hud: 64, 17:59, 26:155, 54:27, 88:17, 91:13); goats
& sheep, ghanam (p 387 6:143, 6:41, 20:18, 21:78, 38:23-24); pig, khinziir (2:173, 5:3, 5:60, 6:145, 16:115);(e) Wild mammals, wuhuush (p 387 71:5) or siba’u (p 384
5:3, 74:51); elephant, fiil (p 385 105:1);monkey, qird (p 385
2:65, 5:60, 7:166); wolf, dhi ib (12:13-14, 12:17); (f) sea/water animals: fish, huut (p 384 7:163, 18:61,
18:63, 37:142, 68:48); frog, dhafda'u (p 384 7:133); (f) Reptiles: snake, hayyat (p 384 7:107, 20:20,
MENTION OF ANIMALS IN THE SUNNAT
The prophet talked about many animals in his hadith, an indication of their important role in society: Donkey,
himaar, both domesticated and wild(KS 203), cat, hirrat (KS 555-556); dog, kalb(KS 461); horse, khayl/faras (KS 224); mule, bighal(KS 121); camel, ibil(KS
48); sheep/goat,ghanam (KS 417); bee, nahal(KS 533); fish, samak(KS 285);
frog, dhafda’u(KS 337); dhaba’u (KS 346); ghuraab (KS 346); dhabbu (KS 346);
waza’u (KS 346); rabbit, arnab (KS 347); locust, jaraad (KS 347); rat, farat (KS 347). Although
both the cat and dog are household pets, the saliva of the dog is considered filth, najasat, unlike that of the cat.
Vessels licked by dogs become filthy, talwiith al aaniyat (KS 460) and must be washed 7 times one of them with soil.Dogs were present in the mosque, wujuud al kalb fi al masjid (KS 460). The prophet ordered the killing of dogs,
amr an naby qatl al kalb (KS 460) and forbade their sale, nahyu bay’e al kalb (KS 461). Dogs can
be kept for farming, hunting, and guarding, iqtinau al kalb li al harathi wa al sayd wa al hirasat (KS 461: Bukhari
K41 B3; Bukhari K59 B17; Bukhari K72 B6; Muslim K22 H46-61; Abudaud K16 B22; Nisai K42 B9, 10, 12-14; Ibn Majah K28 B1,2;
Muwatta K54 B12, 13; Ahmad 2:4,8,27,37,47,55,60,79,113,147,156,267,345,473; Ahmad 4:85, 86; Ahmad 5:56, 57, 219, 220). Keeping
a dog for any other purpose is offensive, makruuh (KS 460: Bukhari K41 B3; Bukhari K59 B7, 17; Bukhari K64 B21; Bukhari
K72 B6; Bukhari K77 B88; Muslim K22 H50-61; Muslim K37 H81-84, 87, 102; Abudaud K16 B22; Abudaud K31 B45; Tirmidhi K21 B25;
Tirmidhi K41 B44; Nisai K42 B9-14; Nisai K48 B130; Ibn Majah K28 B2; Ibn Majah K29 B44; Darimi K7 B2; Darimi K19 B37; Muwatta
K54 H12,13; Ahmad 1: 80, 83, 85, 104, 105, 139, 148, 150; Ahmad 2: 4, 8, 27, 37, 47, 55, 60q, 71, 79, 113, 147, 156, 262,
267, 305, 311 q, 327, 343, 345, 390, 425, 444, 473, 478, 537; Ahmad4: 28, 29,
30, 85; Ahmad 5: 56, 57, 203, 219, 220, 353; Ahmad 6: 142q, 280, 330; Tayalisi H627, 1228). Horses can be used for sports
(KS 224) or military purposes (KS 225). The prophet loved horses, hubb al naby al khayl (KS 226). Owners are enjoined
to touch the forelocks of horses, mash nawaasi al khayl, (KS 226). Good care for a horse brings rewards (KS 226). All
fish are permissible as food, hill al samak (KS 285).
ENJOINING KINDNESS TO ANIMALS
The prophet on many occasions enjoined kindness to animals. Saving animals from danger is a noble act (KS 210:
K22 B75). There is reward for kindness to animals, ajr al rifq bi al hayawaan (KS 211: Bukhari K42 B9; Bukhari K46
B23; Bukhari K60 B54; Bukhari K78 B27; Muslim K39 H153-155q; Abudaud K15 B44 q 112; Abudaud K59 B17; Muwatta K49 H23; Ahmad
2:375, 507, 510, 517, 521; Ahmad 3: 436). Kindness is required when milking the animals, rifq fi halb al hayawaan (KS
211: Darimi K6 B25; Ahmad 3:483; Ahmad 4:311, 322, 339). When traveling with camels, the driver should not hurry them when
they come to a fertile land where they find more grass to eat, i’itaa al ibl haqqaha idha saafara fi al khasiib
(KS 211: Muslim K23 H178; Tirmidhi K41 B85; Darimi K19 B42; Muwatta K54 H38; Ahmad 2:337, 378; Ahmad 3:439, 440, 441; Ahmad
PROHIBITING CRUELTY TO ANIMALS
Cruelty and physical abuse of animals is prohibited, nahyu al muthlat wa al qaswat ala al hayawaan (KS 210-211:
Bukhari K46 B30; Bukhari K72 B25; Muslim K34 H25-60; Muslim K45 H133-135; Abudaud K16 B12 and 17; Abudaud K40 B165; Tirmidhi
K14 B13; Tirmidhi K16 B9; Nisai K42 B28 & 34 q; Nisai K43 B22, 26, 27, 41, 42; Ibn Majah K25 B11; Ibn Majah K27 B10; Ibn
Majah K27 B11; Ibn Majah K37 B30; Darimi KK6 B16; Darimi K20 B931q; Muwatta K25 B3q; Ahmad 1: 204, 205, 273, 274, 280, 285,
297, 338, 340, 345; Ahmad 2: 13, 43, 60, 86, 91, 94, 103, 108, 115, 141, 159q, 166, 188q, 197, 210, 261, 286, 317, 402, 424,
449, 457, 467, 479, 501, 507, 519; Ahmad 3: 117, 171, 180, 191, 296, 317, 318, 321, 323, 335, 339, 374, 378; Ahmad 4: 86,
246, 389: Ahmad 5:46, 54, 55, 56, 57q, 190, 422; Ahmad 6:350, 351; Tayalisi H345, 595, 665, 1070q, 1400, 1754, 1872, 2070,
2279, 2616). A woman entered hell for locking up a cat and not feeding it or allowing it to look for its own food (KS 556:
Bukhari K42 B9; Bukhari K59 B16; Bukhari K60 B54; Muslim K10 H9,10; Muslim K39 H151, 152; Ibn Majah K37 B30; Darimi K20 B93;
Ahmad 2: 188, 261, 286, 317, 424, 457, 467, 479, 501, 507, 519; Ahmad 3: 317, 335, 374; Ahmad 6: 350, 351q; Tayalisi H1400,
1754). Nahy khisaai a hayawaan (KS 211: Ahmad 2:24). Karahiyyat al tahriish bayna al bahaim (KS 211 Abudaud
K15 B51; Tirmidhi K21 B30). Branding animals in the face is prohibited, nahyu al wasm fi al wajih (KS 211: Bukhari
K72 B35; Muslim K37 H106; Abudaud K15 B52; Tirmidhi K21 B31; Ahmad 4:131). Beating animals was also prohibited, nahyu dharb
al hayawaan (KS 211: Bukhari K72 B35; Muslim K37 H106; Abudaud K15 B52; Tirmidhi K21 B31; Ahmad 4:131). Cursing animals
is prohibited, nahyu la’an al hayawaan(KS 211: Muslim K45 H80-83;
Muslim K53 H74; Abudaud K15 B50; Darimi K19 B48). Sexual abuse of animals is prohibited and is considered a great sin (KS
212: Abudaud K37 B28, 29: Tirmidhi K15 B23, 24; Ibn Majah K20 B12, 13 q: Zayd H543; Ahmad 1:217, 269). Some animals should
not be killed (Abudaud K40 B163, 164; Ibn Majah K25 B10; Darimi K6 B26; Muwatta K54 H31,32; Zayd 988; Ahmad 1:347, 404, 423;
Ahmad 2:9, 93, 146; Ahmad 3:453; Tayalisi H1183). The killing of frogs was prohibited (KS 337: Nisai K42 B36; Ahmad 3:453,
KILLING DANGEROUS ANIMALS
Some animals are bad and evil, khamsu min al dawaab fasiq (KS 210: Bukhari 28 B7, Bukhari K59 B15 and 16;
Muslim K36 H96; Abudaud K11 B39; Tirmidhi K7 B21; Tirmidhi K41 B74; Ibn Majah K28 B19q; Ahmad 1:176, 257, 332; Ahmad 3: 3,
79). The Law explains what animals should be killed and those that can be killed, ma yajibu wa ma yajuuzu qatluhu (KS
211: Bukhari K59 B15, 17; Muslim K22 H43-49; Abudaud K16 B22; Tirmidhi K16 B17; Nisai K42 B9; Ibn Majah K28 B1,2; Darimi K7
B2,3; Muwatta K54 H32; Zayd H988; Ahmad 1: 176, 257, 348, 378, 385, 394, 420, 421; Ahmad 2: 9, 22, 37, 48, 50, 52, 54, 65,
77, 82, 121, 138, 355; Ahmad 3: 79; Ahmad 6: 33, 83, 87, 109, 200, 217, 336, 380, 421, 462). Snakes in general must be killed,
wujuub qatl an hayyaat (KS 206). Some animals must be killed even when in prayer for example the scorpion (KS 387:
Tirmidhi K2 B170; Ibn Majah K5 B143; Darimi K2 B178; Ahmad 2:233, 248, 255, 473, 475, 490) or the snake (KS 206-207: Tirmidhi
K2 B170; Ibn Majah K5 B143; Darimi K2 B178; Ahmad 2:233, 248, 255, 284, 473, 475, 490; Tayalisi H2537, 2539). Household snakes
are spared from the general order to kill, ‘adam qatl al hayyaat al manziliyyat (KS 207). Care should be taken
in killing snakes, al hiitat fi qatl al hayyat (KS 207)
B. TASKHIIR: ANIMALS AT THE SERVICE OF THE HUMAN
The concept of taskhiir can be employed as a general legal basis for animal experimentation because the creator
allowed humans to use and exploit all creation in the universe (45:13). Taskhiir is the basis for human civilizational
growth because it allows domestication of plants and animals to enable humans live in a stable community. As part of the mission
of khilafat, Allah allowed the human to use the earth and its contents, living and non-living, in fulfilling the mission of
building a human civilization. Thus animals serve humans in direct and indirect ways. Directly they provide food and their
muscle power is used in transportation, agriculture, transport, hunting, and guarding. Indirectly they serve humans as part
of the human food web of food chain. The Qur’an has given several instances of animals serving as a source of food for
humans, being a source of aesthetic enjoyment and being beasts of burden. Bees provide food and medicine (16:69). Birds provide
delicious meat (56:21). Four-legged livestock like cattle are a bounty from Allah to humans, mannu min al llaah (26:133)
and are under human dominion (36:71). They provide food (16:5-7, 5:1, 6:142, 22:28, 22:30, 22:34, 40:79), milk (16:66, 23:21),
transportation (6:142, 16:5-7, 23:22, 40:79, 43:21), material for tents and clothing (16:80), are a source of aesthetic pleasure
(3:14, 16:5-7) and other benefits (23:21). The horse, donkey, and mule are beasts of burden and also are a source of aesthetic
pleasure (16:8, ?16:80, ). The horse is very useful in warfare (8:60). Taskhiir
has its limitations, mahduudiyat al taskhiir, based on the need to establish balance and equilibrium in the eco-system
and protect humans from harm. Some animals are prohibited as food for example the pig, khinziir (p 384 2:173, 5;3,
6:145, 16:115). Taskhiir may be limited by prioritising of competing needs, for example the meat of the domestic donkey
is prohibited as food, tahriim lahm al himaar al ahliyyat (KS 203) because it is more useful as a beast of burden.
The meat of the wild donkey is, on the other hand, allowed (KS 203). Also prohibited is the meat of mules, tahriim lahm
al bighaal (KS 346) and the meat of horses, tahriim lahm al khayl (KS 346). The meat of carnivorous animals is
also prohibited (KS 347) presumably because of inefficiency in the food chain if humans ate carnivores while both eat the
meat of herbivores.
C. ANIMAL RESEARCH: PURPOSE and RELEVANCE
Animal research is undertaken for a variety of reasons. The most important is to spare humans from danger. This
is done by carrying out the research in animals to establish preliminary findings which if promising will be the motivation
for carrying out definitive research in humans. In this way humans are spared the risk of research that may have no useful
follow-up in the future. Animal research plays another role in that it indicates the possible risk and side effects from the
research as a prelude to human research.
He first conceptual issue that has to be resolved with regard to animal experimentation is whether results from
animal research are relevant to humans and if relevant to what extent. Relevance establishes benefit; benefit to human life
establishes a situation of necessity, dharuurat that legalizes subjecting animals to experiments that could involve
permanent impairment or even death. There are two main arguments for the relevance of animal experiments to humans: (a) similarity
of human and animal physiology and (b) biochemical unity of all life. The counter arguments could also be equally strong.
Although human and animal physiology and biochemistry share many commonalities, findings from animal research cannot be directly
transferred to humans; research on humans is still necessary for a definitive conclusion. Thus animal research is exploratory
and not definitive; this is not a strong enough reason to subject the animals to pain, suffering and even death when the research
has no direct or indirect benefit for the animals.The issue of relevance cannot
be considered in generalities. Each case has to be considered on its merits. There are some physiological systems for which
given animal species are good models for human. Relevance could also depend on the nature of the agent tested and the expected
D. LEGAL BASES FOR PERMISSIBILITY OF ANIMAL EXPERIMENTATION
The position of the Law is that animal experiments are allowed if a prima facie case can be established
that the result of the research is a necessity, dharuurat. Dharuurat under the Law is what is necessary for
human life. The regulations of necessity must be observed. No more than the absolute minimum necessary should be done, al
dharurat tuqaddar bi qadiriha. Animal research has definite risks for the animals that are not balanced by any benefits.
Thus use of animals in justifiable on the basis of taskhiir and not any benefits that accrue to the animals. The risks
to humans from animal research are minimal in the short term; long-term effects are difficult to fathom.
PROTECTION OF LIFE, hifdh al nafs
Animal experimentation is allowed on the basis of searching for modalities of health promotion, disease prevention,
or disease treatment that will maintain the body in the best health status thus fulfilling the legal purpose of protecting
human life. Any animal experimentation whose purpose is to produce products for use in industry or some other purpose not
directly related to human health would therefore be offensive, makruuh, especially if it causes pain and suffering
to the animal.
PROTECTION OF PROGENY, hifdh al nasl
Animal experimentation is allowed if it is searching for better ways of treating infertility or better ways of
maintaining the viability of he fetus both in utero and after birth because this would be fulfillment of the purpose of protecting
human progeny. Animal experiments that aim at protecting animal progeny would also be allowed because animals provide food
for humans, a necessity for continued human existence. Research aimed at animal reproduction for other purposes like breeding
horses for racing would not be allowed if it causes pain and suffering to the animals.
PROTECTION OF THE MIND, hifdh al ‘aql
Pharmacological research for cures of mental illnesses is allowed because it contributes to the protection of the
human mind. Also allowed are experiments that investigate effects of psychoactive substances on human intellect. It is however
prohibited to conduct animal experiments on effects of alcohol and drugs with view to their commercialization or encouraging
people to take what can be established experimentally as safe levels. The position of the Law is that whatever affects the
mind in large concentrations is prohibited even in minute doses.
PROTECTION OF WEALTH, hifdh al mal
Animal experimentation will be allowed if the purpose is to look for treatment modalities that are cheaper than
available and equally effective cures. This will result in net saving of community or family resources; this is a purpose
of the Law.
THE PRINCIPLE OF INTENTION, qaidat al maqsad
The basic principle is that each action is judged by the intention behind it, al umuur bi maqasidiha. Those
undertaking animal experimentation have a moral responsibility to ensure that their work is done for a purpose valid under
the Law. Intentions are what matter and not literal interpretations of research objectives. It is possible to state good and
acceptable objectives when the underlying intentions are different. Means are judged with the same criteria as the intentions,
al wasail laha hukm al maqasid. If the intention, qasd, is wrong the means, wasiilah, is wrong. Thus
un-ethical animal research cannot be justified on the basis of some benefits at the end.
THE PRINCIPLE OF CERTAINTY, qaidat al yaqeen
The main principle is that certainty cannot be removed by doubt, al yaqeen la yazuulu bi al shakk. Certainty,
yaqeen, is a situation when there is no doubt or hesitation, taraddud. Doubt, shakk, is a situation in which
there are two or more competing options with no sufficient evidence to prove one of them as the most valid. Shakk is
the opposite of yaqeen. Animal experimentation is allowed on the basis that there is a need or necessity, dharuurat.
It is often difficult in practice to establish necessity. In cases of doubt about usefulness of the research to human health,
it is better to desist from any further animal experimentation. Existing assertions should continue in force until there is
compelling evidence to change them, al asl baqau ma kaana ala ma kaana.
THE PRINCIPLE OF INJURY, qaidat al dharar
The basic principle is that injury, if it occurs, should be relieved, al dharar yuzaal. Animal experimentation
to solve health problems is considered an effort to remove injury. Prevention of harm has priority over pursuit of benefit
of equal worth, dariu an mafasid awla min jalbi al masaalih. If the benefit from animal experimentation has far more
importance and worth than the harm, then the pursuit of the benefit has priority. In this case we are talking about benefit
and harm to human health and are not comparing human benefit to the harm cause to the animal because of the experimentation.
PRINCIPLE OF HARDSHIP, qaidat al mashaqqat
Some of the hardships that were considered valid by classical scholars were: travel, illness, and general disasters.
Adding anything that threatens any of the 5 purposes of the law, diin, life, progeny, intellect, and wealth can extend this
list. Hardship mitigates easing of the sharia rules and obligations, al mashaqqa tajlibu al tayseer. Pain and suffering
can be inflicted on the animal if there is a necessity that relates to human life and one of the 5 purposes of the Law. Necessity
legalizes the prohibited, aldharuraat tubiihu al mahdhuuraat. If any
of the 5 necessities, al dharuraat al khamsat, is at risk permission is given to commit an otherwise legally prohibited action.
Committing the otherwise prohibited action should not extend beyond the limits needed to preserve the Purpose of the Law that
is the basis for the legalization, al dharuraat tuqaddar bi qadriha. Necessity however does not permanently abrogate
others’ rights that must be restored or recompensed in due course; necessity only legalizes temporary violation of rights,
al idhtiraar la yubtilu haqq al ghair. The temporary legalizationof the
prohibited action ends with the end of the necessity that justified it in the first place, ma jaaza bi ‘udhri batala
bi zawaalihi. As soon as alternative means of getting the research results are available, it becomes illegal to violate
the right of the animal to enjoyment of a full and healthy life.
THE PRINCIPLE OFCUSTOMor
PRECEDENT,qaidat al ‘urf
The basic principle is that custom or precedent is a legal ruling or precedent, al aadat muhakamat. What
is considered customary is what is uniform, widespread, and predominant, innama tutabaru al aaadat idha atradat aw ghalabat.
No animal experimentation should go beyond the limits of what is normally recognized as appropriate by consensus of leading
researchers in the field.
E. OUTSTANDING ETHICO-LEGAL ETHICAL ISSUES
LIMITS OF TASKHIIR
There are ethical issues that need discussion. We have established that under taskhiir humans are given the right
to exploit animals and other things in the universe for their benefit. This exploitation has generally been considered to
refer to using animals for food, transportation, and other work that requires animal muscle power. The question that can be
paused is whether taskhiir can validly be extended beyond eating and transportation to animal experimentation?. As
explained above if the results of animal experimentation will lead to protection of human life, then it is no different from
food and can be allowed. If it is for general scientific curiosity unrelated to any tangible human benefit, then it is beyond
the authorization of taskhiir. As explained above there are limits to taskhiir. Humans were not given a carte
blanche to exploit the universe in any way they liked. They have to conform to the Law and moral guidelines.
DIFFERENCES AMONG ANIMALS
We have seen above that some animals are considered dangerous and must be killed. Use of such animals for research
should therefore raise fewer ethical objections than others since they were due to die anyway. They however cannot be subjected
to unnecessary pain and suffering. Use of animals that are haram like the pig should be avoided as much as possible.
WELFARE OF THE ANIMALS
like humans, have rights to enjoyment of life and good health. The prophet emphasized good and kind treatment of animals.
The researcher must therefore follow Islamic etiquette to minimize animal suffering such as pain, psychological anguish, and
long-term effects of experimentation on health. Like the slaughter of animals or start of a meal, the basmalah must
be said in recognition of the fact that the experiment is carried out with the permission of the creator under the requirements
of taskhiir. The animals must be shown kindness and respect. They should not subjected to the psychological pain of
seeing other animals in pain or being sacrificed. Pain must be minimized both during the experiment and when the animal is
being terminally sacrificed. This is based on the legal requirement of slaughtering animals using a sharp knife and as quickly
as possible to prevent pain and suffering. The long-term effects of the experiment on the animal must be considered and efforts
made to decrease suffering and pain. The nutritional and medical needs of the animal must be taken care of before, during,
and after the research.