Prophet Muhammad Cared About The Animals & Nature
While doing my research for this article, I find that there’s no doubt that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) cared deeply about the animals and the environment.
In a time where pagan superstitions and polytheistic practices thrived, the Prophet was in a way an animal justice activist and an eco-warrior.
“Whatever is cut off an animal while it is still alive, is carrion and is unlawful to eat.” (At-Tirmidhi)
This is in response to the people back then who would cut off camels’ humps and tails of sheep to eat.
But this does not mean that in Islam it’s unlawful to eat animals.
Islam and Eating Animals
Islam is a just way of life that can accommodate all cultures throughout time.
So if food becomes a necessity, Islam teaches a way for us to slaughter an animal quickly and in the best manner possible.
This would mean putting the animal at ease, using a sharp knife so that the process is done quickly, and not doing this in the company of other animals.
There are more rules to it, of course, like making sure the animal was brought up well and that we can only consume non-carnivorous animals (unless in an extremely dire situation).
The point is that animal slaughtering in Islam is super strict and so must be done in the most respectful way.
You might be wondering—if the Prophet showed so much compassion towards the animals, why was he allowed to eat some?
Why does Islam allow us to eat meat?
God, the Creator, know who we truly are.
In certain situations, we might not have enough food to thrive and we could only compensate for our nutritional deficiencies by eating certain animals.
And so, in this case, we can eat animals but we would still have to follow the strict rules.
The Prophet and his followers lived in the desert with little to no arable land so at certain times they needed meat to thrive.
But even so, there are sources saying that the Prophet ate a predominantly vegetarian diet. He only ate meat occasionally.
What about now?
Meat is in abundance. So much so that we tend to waste them not just when it has reached our plates but even in the factory farms.
For example, in the egg industry, excess male chicks are essentially killed alive because they can’t produce eggs.
“…waste not by excess, for Allah loves not the wasters” (Quran 7:31).
Killing Animals For Fun
The Prophet said:
“Whoever kills a sparrow or anything bigger than that without a just cause, God will hold him accountable on the Day of Judgment.” (Ibid)
I’ve seen this quote in nearly all the articles I’ve read about the Prophet’s treatment of animals.
If you shoot birds merely for game, karma will bite you in the arse.
If you kill wild animals merely for profit, you’re an asshole.
Basically, if you kill animals without a just cause, you will be punished. If not now, then in the afterlife. If you don’t believe in an afterlife… well, good luck.
What Muslims In The 21st Century Should Do
Here's a hard pill to swallow:
If you truly respect & care about Prophet Muhammad, you should also respect the animals & the environment.
I know most of us are so disconnected with who the Prophet really was back then and would just cherry-pick whatever we read to suit our goals.
I might have cherry-picked a few quotes as well to suit my agenda.
But at least my message is that of compassion and non-violence.
If you eat meat today, from a factory farm, it’s most likely from animals who have been tortured before slaughter or who had not lived a full life.
Think about all the McDonald’s and KFC’s you’ve eaten. How could they have supplied so much meat while upholding the strict rules of slaughter in Islam?
Some scholars have thought that if the Prophet were alive today, he would be vegan, just on the basis of what he said and did even back then in the 7th century as well as the situation we're in now.
Animal agriculture as we know now causes deforestation, global warming, and ocean dead zones.
To truly uphold the Prophet's deeds and live by his sunnah, we should change our destructive habits by eating more plant-based foods and produce less waste.
Respect the animals. Be the caretakers of Earth that God has ordained us to be.
“It is He who has appointed you vicegerent on the earth…” (Quran 6:165)
“The world is beautiful and verdant, and verily God, the exalted, has made you His stewards in it, and He sees how you acquit yourselves” (Saheeh Muslim)