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 whle 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 can not. 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). Keeping
a dog for any other purpose is offensive, makruuh (KS 460). 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 fore-locks 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).
There is reward for kindness to animals, ajr al rifq bi al hayawaan (KS 211). Kindness is required when milking the
animals, rifq fi halb al hayawaan (KS 211). When travelling 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
PROHIBITING CRUELTY TO ANIMALS
Cruelty and physical abuse of animals is prohibited, nahyu al muthlat wa al qaswat ala al hayawaan (KS 210-211).
A woman entered hell for locking up a cat and not feeding it or allowing it to look for its own food (KS 556. Branding animals
in the face is prohibited, nahyu al wasm fi al wajih (KS 211). Beating animals was also prohibited, nahyu dharb
al hayawaan (KS 211). Cursing animals is prohibited, nahyu la’an al hayawaan(KS 211). Sexual abuse of animals is prohibited and is considered a great sin (KS 212). Some animals should not be
killed. The killing of frogs was prohibited (KS 337).
KILLING DANGEROUS ANIMALS
Some animals are bad and evil, khamsu min al dawaab fasiq (KS 210). The Law explains what animals should
be killed and those that can be killed, ma yajibu wa ma yajuuzu qatluhu (KS 211). 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)
or the snake (KS 206-207). 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 live-stock 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.
The 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 can not 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 can
not be considered in generalities. Each case has to be considered on its merits. There are some physiological systems for
which given animal species are a good model for human. Relevance could also depend on the nature of the agent tested and the
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 which 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 psycho-active 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 that
available and equally-effective cures. This will result in net saving of community or family resources which 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 ofresearch
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 can not be justified on the basis of some benefits
at the end.
THE PRINCIPLE OF CERTAINTY, qaidat al yaqeen
The main principle is that certainty can not 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 a harm has priority over pursuit of a benefit
of equal worth, dariu an mafasid awla min jalbi al masaalih. If thebenefit
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.
This list can be extended by adding anything that threatens any of the 5 purposes of the law, diin, life, progeny,
intellect, and wealth. 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 kahmsat, 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 which 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 alternbative 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 OF CUSTOM or 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, wide-spread, 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 can not 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
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.