What does Islam teach about animal rights?

Muslims believe Allah created the world and everything in it, therefore all of creation is precious. The Qur'an states:

There is not an animal (that lives) on the earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, but (forms part of) communities like you. Nothing have We omitted from the Book, and they (all) shall be gathered to their Lord in the end.Qur'an 6:38


Allah has given humans dominion over other creatures. He has made them 'vicegerents on earth' (Qur'an 35:39). This is a duty and a responsibility. Muslims should not abuse their privilege or exploit animals, because God will punish them if they abuse this power.

Animals have been given to people by Allah and should be used wisely:

It is God who provided for you all manner of livestock, that you may ride on some of them and from some you may derive your food. And there are other uses in them for you to satisfy your heart's desires. It is on them, as on ships, that you make your journeys.Qur'an 40:79-80

Muslims believe animals can praise Allah, though not in the same way as humans. They believe animals are aware of their treatment and should be treated with kindness and compassion, which will win favour with Allah. According to one Hadith, the Prophet Muhammad said:

One who kills unnecessarily, even a sparrow, will be questioned by Allah on the day of Judgement.Hadith

Animals are different from humans

Like followers of other faiths, Muslims believe that animals are different to humans. The general view in Islam is that animal behaviour is driven by instinct, part of the natural laws given by Allah. Human life is more important because humans can reason and act intelligently, with justice and compassion. Therefore, humans can use animals to meet their needs but should treat them with respect.

Islam does not teach whether or not animals have souls. Most Muslims accept that only Allah knows what happens to animals after they die.