In This Chapter


Ants, Birds, and Other Affable Creatures in the Qur’an, Hadith, and Sufi Literature

Authored by: Neal Robinson

The Routledge Handbook of Religion and Animal Ethics

Print publication date:  October  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138592728
eBook ISBN: 9780429489846
Adobe ISBN:


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The Qur’an contains regulations concerning sacrifices, hunting, and the slaughter of animals for human consumption. The legitimacy of these practices is not questioned in the Hadith or in writings of the early jurists. Nevertheless, these texts forbid wanton killing or cruelty to animals. Moreover, the Qur’an itself affirms that God takes care of all living creatures and that non-human animals belong to communities that worship him. These and other considerations have led some Muslims, albeit a minority, to opt for vegetarianism as a personal choice and to substitute almsgiving for sacrifice. After briefly surveying these issues, the paper will focus on stories told by Sufis and other Muslims that illustrate the truth that although human beings seem so often to have “gone to the dogs”, they can learn humility, wisdom and compassion from animals that do not wear clothes.

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