Animal Rights in Islam
Islam not only has laid down the rights for humans regardless of race, color, language and riches, but has also laid down the rights for animals. Animals, like humans are one of the creations of Allah(swt). Prophet Muhammad(saw) was not only sent as a mercy to Mankind but as a blessing to all creatures as the Quran testifies:
We sent thee not, but as a Mercy for all creatures. — [Quran 21:107]
It is encouraged for Muslim to let Animals eat of the plants that they have planted. Prophet Muhammad(saw) is reported to have said: Narated By Anas bin Malik: The Prophet said, “If any Muslim plants any plant and a human being or an animal eats of it, he will be rewarded as if he had given that much in charity.” — [Bukhari Vol. 8, Book 73, #41] Even if an animal eats from a plant which has been planted by man, the person will receive rewards for it. Moreover, another hadith is as follows:
Narated By Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said, “While a man was walking on a road. he became very thirsty. Then he came across a well, got down into it, drank (of its water) and then came out. Meanwhile he saw a dog panting and licking mud because of excessive thirst. The man said to himself “This dog is suffering from the same state of thirst as I did.” So he went down the well (again) and filled his shoe (with water) and held it in his mouth and watered the dog. Allah thanked him for that deed and forgave him.” The people asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! Is there a reward for us in serving the animals?” He said, “(Yes) There is a reward for serving any animate (living being).” — [Bukhari Vol. 8, Book 73, #38] & [Muslim Book 26, Chapter 39, # 5577] Prophet Muhammad(saw) taught people to be kind to animals. Allah(swt) rewarded the act of the person who quenched the thirst of a thirsty dog. While men were accustomed to be cruel to the animals, Prophet Muhammad(saw) by the command of Allah(swt) taught Mankind to be merciful and kind to all living things. Not only were humans given their rights, the animals too were given theirs. Islam is a religion which teaches man to be merciful towards all living things. Thus there is reward for a human even if he feeds an animal.