Animals are creations of Allah (s.w.t) just as we are. With that being said, there are over 200 verses in the Quran that talk about animals or allude to animals. And o 6 surahs of the Quran are named after animals. These include : Surah 2 Al Baqarah (The Cow), Surah 6 Al Anaam (The Cattle), Surah 16 Al Nahl (The Bees), Surah 27 Al Name (The Ants), Surah 29 Al Ankabut (The Spider) and Sarah 105 Al Fil (The Elephant). With this many mentions and occurrences of animals in the Quran, let’s dwell a little deeper in their meanings or roles in the Holy book.
- A creation to appreciate and be grateful to.
In the Quran, animals are mentioned in their most beautiful form. They are illustrated as magnificent creatures with gentle traits.They are representations of beauty and glory of Allah’s (s.w.t) creation. Allah (s.w.t) writes them in the Quran to allow mankind to gain appreciation over these creations and to learn from such resilience and good behaviour that the animals show.
“And the grazing livestock He has created for you; in them is warmth and [numerous] benefits, and from them you eat.
“And for you in them is [the enjoyment of] beauty when you bring them in [for the evening] and when you send them out [to pasture].
“And they carry your loads to a land you could not have reached except with difficulty to yourselves. Indeed, your Lord is Kind and Merciful.
“And [He created] the horses, mules and donkeys for you to ride and [as] adornment. And He creates that which you do not know.”
- A creation to respect
As the story of Prophet Salih (as) goes, his people (the people of Thamud) were unreceptive to his preachings of Islam. They neglected and rejected his call to worship Allah (s.w.t). Instead the arrogant and oppressive people turns their backs to Prophet Salih (as) and continued to idol-worshiping. One day, as Prophet Salih (as) was preaching, the people of Thamud demanded for a sign, a miracle, from Allah (s.w.t). They demanded for a camel, but not just any camel. They wanted a female camel, who was pregnant, who could provide milk for all the people in the tribe and they wanted this she-camel to emerge from the rocks and mountains. Surely, they believed that this was impossible. But Allah (s.w.t) answered the prayers of Prophet Salih (as) and gave the people exactly that. The story teaches us that animals are just as much a gift to mankind as other things. And they should be treated with respect, with the very best of care. Because Allah (s.w.t) loves His creations of animals as well.
“And O my people, this is the she-camel of Allah – [she is] to you a sign. So let her feed upon Allah’s Earth and do not touch her with harm, or you will be taken by an impending punishment.” (Quran 11:64)
“And the messenger of Allah [Salih] said to them, “[Do not harm] the she-camel of Allah or [prevent her from] her drink.
“But they denied him and hamstrung her. So their Lord brought down upon them destruction for their sin and made it equal [upon all of them].” (Quran 91:13-14)
- A creation of obedience and good behaviour
We out to learn a few things from animals. They have always been great examples of obedience, loyalty, endurance and excellence. They display great amounts of good behaviour that most humans do not tend to have.
Such as the story of the People of the Cave in Surah Al-Kahf (the cave) where a group of youths were hiding in a cave to escape religious persecution. Accompanying the group of youths was a faithful dog. When the people of the cave would go to sleep, they were left defenceless against attack. Fortunately, they were blessed with a dog that stood at the entrance of the cave and would bark fiercely at any enemy who tried to get into the cave. It is said that this went on for 300 years and the dog never stopped protecting the people.