BOOKS: Animal Welfare In Islam
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 2007:
Animal Welfare In Islam
by Al-Hafiz Basheer Ahmad Masri
The Islamic Foundation & Compassion In World Farming, 2007.
(The Islamic Foundation: Markfield Conf. Centre,
Ratby Lane, Markfield, Leiscestershire, LE67
9SY, U.K.; <www.islamic-foundation.org.uk>;
CIWF: 5-A Charles St., Petersfield, Hampshire
GU32 3EH, U.K.; <www.ciwf.org.uk/>.)
164 pages, paperback £9.95, hardback £15.95.
Animal Welfare In Islam is an updated and
corrected edition of Islamic Concern for Animals,
originally issued in 1987 by the Athene Trust,
the original name of Compassion In World Farming.
Considered the definitive work so far on the
obligations that religious Muslims should observe
toward animals, the first edition included both
English and Arabic texts. The new edition is
only in English.
Key excerpts have been accessible at
but the whole text had been out of print and hard
to find for more than a decade.
Similar commentaries are now emerging
from various scholars around the world, but the
contributions of B.A. Masri (1914-1993) are
especially of note. His honorific, “Al-Hafiz,”
signifies that he had memorized the entire Quran.
After a long teaching career, Masri edited the
monthly Islamic Review, 1961-1967, visited and
spoke in more than 40 chiefly Muslim nations,
and was a well-known lecturer and broadcast
commentator on Islamic affairs.
“The Islamic instruction and guidance on animal
rights and man’s obligations concerning them are
so comprehensive that he need not go elsewhere
for any guidance,” al Masri prefaced.
“As believers in the consummate and
conclusive revelation of God,” Masri continued,
“we are expected to learn from the misconceptions
of the past and cast behind us the parochial
approach to religion. Fourteen centuries is a
long enough period to grasp mentally the fact
that the way to spiritual development (Dîn) does
not lie in ritualistic observance and the
hair-splitting of the Law (Sharâh). Surely it is
a long enough period to liberate ourselves from
the pre-Islamic traits of our respective cultures.
“Not to be cruel or even to be
condescendingly kind to the so-called inferior
animals is a negative proposition,” al Masri
asserted. “Islam wants us to think and act in
the positive terms of accepting all species as
communities like us in their own right, and not
to sit in judgment on them according to our human
norms and values.”