Islamic Perspective on sports involving Animal Abuse

Date: 19 January posted by adminon

Jallikattu is a bull-taming sport which is played during the harvest festival . There is a raging debate on whether India should maintain the ban on this bull-taming sporting event and the debate seems far from reaching a conclusion. We present here an Islamic view on the issue of ” Sports involving animal abuse” from classical Islamic sources.


Fatwa on Animal Abuse


Human Being is created by God as a vicegerent on earth (khalifah fi al-ardl) to carry out the mandate and is responsible for the prosperity of all creatures.All living organisms that are created by Allah in order to maintain the balanced ecosystem and subjugated to the interests of sustainable human welfare (maslaha ‘amma).Therefore human must protect and preserve the balanced of the ecosystem so as not cause damage (mafsadah). In pre Islamic Arab world, people used to indulge in Animal fights and used animals as a target of shooting arrows as a pastime. Prophet Muhammad(Peace be upon him) forbade both of these practices. Imam Tirmidhi has dedicated an entire chapter in his Sunan Tirmidhi about unlawfulness of inciting animals to fight and branding their face.

And do not cause disruption and mischief in the land after it has been set in order…►{Surah Al-A’raf Chapter 7:Verse 56}

Qur’an affirms that Allah has made and subjecting Allah’s creation for the benefit to human life, such as:

(O people!) Have you not seen that Allah has subjected to you whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth, and He has completed upon you His blessings outwardly as well as inwardly?…►{Surah Luqman Chapter 31 :Verse 20}

He is the One Who created for you all that is in the earth… ►{Surah Al-Baqarah Chapter 2 : Verse 29}

Almighty Allah assigns human as the vicegerent to bring prosperity and maintenance of balanced ecosystem, among other things:

And (call to mind) when your Lord said to the angels: ‘I am about to place My deputy on the earth.’

They submitted: ‘Will You put as Your (vicegerent) on the earth such as will do mischief in it and shed blood, while we are engaged in glorifying

You with celebrating Your Praise and extolling Your Holiness (all the time)?’

(Allah) said: ‘I know that which you do not know.’ ►{Surah Al-Baqarah Chapter 2 : Verse 30}

Throughout history, religion has played an important role as a driver in the conservation of animal species, some now critically endangered. Indonesian Council of Ulama, the country’s top Muslim clerical body have issued a fatwa pertaining to conservation of endangered species.




Hadith #1

Hazrat Ibn Abbas (Radi Allahu anhu ) narrated that : “Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him) has prohibited us from inciting animals to fight each other.“ ► (Reported by Imam Tirmidhi,Book of Jihad, Chapter About putting animals to fight and branding the face, Hadith #1762}

Hadith #2

Hazrat Mujahid(Radiyallahu Anhu) narrated that, ”Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) disallowed putting animals against one another in a fight.”►(Reported by Imam Tirmidhi,Book of Jihad, Chapter About putting animals to fight and branding the face, Hadith #1763}

Hadith #3

Hadrat Sa’id b. Jubair(Radi Allahu anhu) reported that: Hadrat Ibn ‘Umar(Radi Allahu anhu) happened to pass by some young men of the Quraish who had tied a bird (and made it a target) at which they had been shooting arrows. So no sooner did they see Hadrat Ibn ‘Umar(Radiallahu anhu) they dispersed.

Thereupon Hadrat Ibn ‘Umar(Radi Allahu anhu) said: “Who has done this? Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) invoked curse upon one who does this(i.e. made a live thing the target of one’s marksmanship))”. ► {Reported by Imam Muslim, Kitab-us-Said wa’l-Dhaba’ih,Hadith #4946}



Ahadith about showing mercy to Animals


Hadith #1

It is narrated on the authority of Hadhrat ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr (May Allah be well pleased with them) that the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said:

“ The Lord Almighty is Benevolent on those who deal with others with mercy. Be merciful to the dwellers of the earth and the Lord of all worlds

will be merciful with you.”► { Jame’ Tirmidhi, Babu Ma Ja’a Fi Rahmatin Muslimeen, Hadith No. 2049; Sunan Abu Dawood, Kitab Ul Adab, Babun Fir Rahmati, Hadith No. 4943}

The hadith asserts the instruction to care for creatures on earth,including animals.

Hadith #2

Prophet (peace be upon him) said: ‘To whoever killing a bird without purpose,the bird will come before Allah [subhanahu wa ta’ala Glorified and exalted be He]

on the doomsday and report to Him: ‘My Lord, he killed me without purpose, with no intention to use me’.” ►[Sunan An-Nasa’i, Book of Sacrifices, Number 4446]

Hadith #3

Hazrat Abu Huraira(Radiyallahu Anhu) reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying:

An ant had bitten a Prophet (one amongst the earlier Prophets) and he ordered that the colony of the ants should be burnt.

And Allah revealed to him:” Because of an ant’s bite you have burnt a community from amongst the communities which sings My glory.”

► {Sahih Muslim,Kitab Us Salam, Chapter on PROHIBITION-OF KILLING THE ANTS,Hadith #5731,Sunan Abu Dawud,Kitab Al Adab,Hadith #1725}



Ruling by some prominent scholars


Imam Ahmad al-Khattabi in his book of Ma’alim al-Sunan (4/289), explains the prohibition on causing animal extinctions entirely:

“It is understood that the extinction of a people and the annihilation of a generation of a creature, leaving out not a single one of them to live, are very much detested. There is no single creature of Allah SWT created with no purposes and uses. Hence, there is no justification for killing animals entirely (causing their extinction).Kill animals that caused harm on you but let others be alive, so that they may bring about benefits.”

Imam ‘Izz ibn Abd al-Salam in the book of Qawa’id al-Ahkam (1/167) explained the rights of animals that must be fulfilled by the human being:

“Among the rights of animals that become the responsibility of the human being are sufficient provision for them, even if they are paralyzed or sick which cause them to be of no use;giving them no loads beyond their capacity; not gathering them with other animals that may harm them, be them animals of the same kind or others; and bring in the males and females together so that they may produce offspring.”

Al-Jahiz, Abu Uthman Amr ibn Bahr al-Fukaymi al-Basri (776-869 AD), stated in His book al-Hayawan/the Animals on page 162 that the human beings are not entitled to mistreat animals, as saying the following. “You are not entitled to cut an organ or to persecute and hurt all kinds of animals because you are not the one who created it and cannot replace it. If the All Owner has permitted, then you are allowed to do harm to the animal which has not been allowed before. You cannot do it with a rational reason,unless there are serious benefits in it.”

Reference and Further Reading

Book Muhammad The Merciful ﷺ by Shaykh ul Islam Dr. Tahir ul Qadri

Fatwa on Animal Abuse and Trafficking – Indonesian Council of Ulemas