Video: Sarah Joseph Speaks on Animal Rights

Noted British Muslim public speaker and Editor of emel magazine, Sarah Joseph speaks for the campaign Inspired by Muhammad on the animal ri...

Noted British Muslim public speaker and Editor of emel magazine, Sarah Joseph speaks for the campaign Inspired by Muhammad on the animal rights and welfare system in Islam.

This is a particular important message for Muslims who think there is no alternative to mass produced foods from animals, or that organic living is unachievable. We can be part of the solution to stop animal cruelty.

Below is a transcript of the video.

Link to video +

Transcript to video:
Human beings are described in the Qur'an as being vicegerents, they're stewards of the Earth and we're required to take care of it including all living things.

We're responsible for animals and must treat them, ultimately, with respect. Animals are entrusted to us and while the Qur'an allows us to use them for work, to be beasts-of burden if you like-to travel on the land with them, you can't abuse that.

So far example, the Prophet Muhammad has said, if you're travelling in the green land with lots of lush food, to go slowly so that the animals can feed. If you're on barren land to go quickly through there so again so that the animals can reach their food and feed on better land elsewhere.

The Companions of the Prophet, when travelling on their camels, would unsaddle them and give them water before going to prayer so the animals must be looked after, even before prayer.

Prophet Muhammad's most beloved cat was named Mu`izza
The Prophet was very keen on making sure the Companions looked after animals. One of Companions was wiping down his horse and the Prophet asked him what are you doing, and he narrated how the Prophet had reprimanded him the day before to ensuring he took proper care of his horse.

Another incident mentions there was a prostitute, whose life the Prophet described, and she gave water to a very thirsty dog, on a very hot day. And she actually went and got water and gave it to the dog to which the Prophet said she will be forgiven (for this kindness).

Some Companions took a few eggs from a bird's nest up a tree but the mother bird became very agitated and the Prophet told them to return the eggs, saying how they can't agitate the mother.

So many examples exist, right up to how an animal should be slaughtered. Well-you might think, how's that for animal rights, but Islam is not a vegetarian religion. You're allowed to eat meat but that has certain requirements.

You must therefore follow the idea [of fair treatment] so that the animal does not see others being slaughtered, to give it a meal, give it a drink, and to then slaughter it. The Prophet forbade anyone to hold the animal tightly or to tie it up; or to use it as target practise. The animals must always be treated with dignity and respect at all times.

There is not an animal in the earth, nor a creature flying on two wings, but they are nations like you. (Qur'an, 6:38)

In industrialised society, where animals are part of the food chain, things are so mass produced. It's incredibly important to think not just how an animal dies but how it lived. Organic, free-range meat, which you have to search for, must ultimately serve that the animal had the best quality of life.

But also, the production of eggs for example: millions upon millions, 20 million chickens are held on battery farms in this country (UK) every year on an area of a cage no bigger than an A4 piece of paper. They can't move their wings, it's beak it clipped so it doesn't peck itself. The conditions are so overheated that it can increase the size of its combs and its wattles and living such a miserable lives, it reaches 18 months and they're called 'spent hens' and they're killed for cat food.

We keep chickens. We make sure our eggs are ultimately free-range and not part of the battery industry. And we also rescue battery hens so at the stage of being 'spent' for industrial purpose, at 18 months, we continue getting lovely fresh eggs from them.

"A good deed done to an animal is like a good deed done to a human being." - Prophet Muhammad.

As the Editor of emel, the Muslim lifestyle magazine, we make sure that we're constantly covering issues that make Muslims realise that they're often part of the problem. But they can be part of the solution-in relation to how we treat animals in the modern day. And we want to show how we can bring practical tips and examples to bring alive the Prophet's exhortations to the 21st century, about how we should treat animals.

+ Inspired by Muhammad, animal rights


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  1. Yes, Islam is not a vegetarian religion because Allah knows that he cannot order people from desert like area to become vegetarian, where vegetables are difficult to produce. Allah knows that ordering to embrace vegetarianism could injustice some people of the world...


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