All of the Koran's 114 chapters except one begins with the phrase "Allah is merciful and compassionate." A Muslim is expected to recognize the brotherhood of man and should treat a non-Muslim as a brother. Showing compassion and charity, Muslims believe, is doing service to God. Therefore, it is written in the Koran "No man is a true believer unless he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself. God will not be affectionate to that man who is not affectionate to God's creatures. Assist any person oppressed whether he is Muslim or non-Muslim."

Mohammed repeatedly forbade cruelty to animals, saying in the Hadith popular tradition, "Whoever is kind to the creatures of God is kind to himself."

Similarly, Mohammed taught "A good deed done to a beast is as good as doing good to a human being; while an act of cruelty to a beast is as bad as an act of cruelty to a human being."

The Koran (6:38) explains that such benevolence flows directly from God: "There is not an animal on Earth, nor a bird that flies on it's wings, but they are communities like you."

The Koran does permit meat-eating, but its also encourages healthful foods (which, many Muslims conclude, does not include animal products). Given these traditions, many Shi'ite Muslims and the Islamic mystics, such as the Sufis, see vegetarianism as the Islamic ideal and choose this diet.

Extract from "A History of God" by Karen Armstrong

  • Animals in Islam
  • Dominion Over Animals
  • Animals Are Our Teachers
  • Animals Are Members of Communities & Family of God
  • Human/Animal Communication
  • Animals Have Consciousness
  • Animals and Humans Must Share Natural Resources
  • Is Animal Suffering Fate (Allah's Will) or Fault of Humans?
  • Experimentation on Animals
  • Fur and Other Uses of Animals
  • Animal Fights
  • Factory Farming
  • Vegetarianism
  • Slaughter of Animals Used for Food
  • Providing for Animals Used to Carry Heavy Loads
  • Cruelty to Animals
  • Animal Sacrifice
  • The Importance of Respecting the Balance of Nature
  • The Importance of Conserving Nature
  • Blood Sports
  • Military Research, Including Wound Labs
  • Animals in War

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