Imam Kazem (PBUH) has said: “With respect to inferiors and the closed-tongues (animals) take God into consideration.” They asked him: “What is meant by the closed-tongues?” He answered: “The sheep, cat, dove, etc.”1
The animals play various crucial roles in the lives of humans. The Almighty has granted the man a great blessing by creating them.
In the Holy Quran some chapters are nominated with the names of animals such as the An’am (the four legged), al-Bagharah (the cow), al-Feell (the elephant), al-Nahl (the bee), al-Naml (the ant), and al-Ankabut (the spider) which show the interdependence of the life of the humans with the animals’.
Islam has regulated some rights and duties with respect to the animals, domestic and wild, and has considers rules such as the duty to provide water and food and necessary needs for them and not doing to them injustice.
Islam emphasizes good treatment, tolerance and mindful use with respect to the animals, and does not allow man, with the excuse of his superiority, to ignore the rights of animals.
That is why Imam Musa bin Jaffar (PBUH) has reminded to take God into consideration in treating the animals. That means we should not treat them in a way that leads to God’s lack of satisfaction.
The animals have rights that we are obliged to uphold them, and there are numerous jurisprudence rules in this respect. For example, it is not allowed to put on an animal a load heavier than its capacity. Or making it carry it in a long route. The riding of three persons on it is prohibited as well2.
Providing the necessary needs of the animal is included in the duties as well. The most obvious of them having the right to live, as well as providing its food and water and a good shelter, security in the night, abstaining from harming and disturbing the animal are among these rights.
Imam Kazem (PBUH) has counted as a sign of generosity is that the animals under one’s supervision be well fed and taken care of3.
Selection from Mafatih al-Hayat Ayatullah Jawadi Amoli
Roshd offers its condolences to all Muslims, especially you dear friend on the 25th of Rajab, Martyrdom of the manifestation of light and wisdom, inheritor of peace and calmness, the seventh Imam, Imam Musa ibn Ja’far al-Kazem (PBUH).
1.Makarim al-Akhlaq, pg. 129
2.Jawahir al-Kalam, vol. 31, pg. 397
3. al-Kafi, vol. 6, pg. 479