Special Issue "Animals in Islam"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Sarra Tlili
Website
Guest Editor
Associate Professor, Arabic Language and Literature; Undergraduate Minor Coordinator, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
Interests: Qur’an studies, Animals in Islam, Arabic literature and civilization; Sustainability

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Although the last few decades have witnessed the publication of many works on animal ethics in Islam, the field still has much to cover. The emerging set of problems characterizing the treatment of nonhuman animals in modern cultures raises new challenges with which modern societies, including Muslim ones, need to grapple. The current state of scholarship (Richard Foltz, Kristen Stilt, Basheer Masri) has already pointed out many issues in Muslims’ treatment and perception of nonhuman animals, especially in areas such as factory farming, animal sacrifice, and animal transportation; however, very few discussions have delved deep enough in these issues to illustrate the particularities of the Muslim experience or situate these problems in wider contexts.

Furthermore, premodern Islamic tradition has thought deeply about animal ethics and has accordingly produced a wealth of material on the topic. Although some of the tradition’s positions may be controversial by animal rights standards, study of this material still promises to contribute important insights to current debates on animal ethics. This is particularly the case because of the current juncture in the broader field of animal studies. Whereas earlier theories (Tom Regan, Gary Francione) focused mostly on animals’ negative rights (the right not to be harmed), thus exhibiting more affinity with Indian philosophies, with the so-called political turn the focus is switching to animals’ positive rights. A growing number of works (Sue Donaldson and Will Kymlicka, Alasdair Cochrane, Robert Garner, Tzachi Zamir) have challenged the proposition that humans’ use of other animals is inherently problematic and have proposed theories that seek to regulate, rather than abolish, human-nonhuman animal interaction. This position is more consonant with Islam’s approach.

This volume seeks to fill part of the gap in the field of animal studies in Islam by focusing on specific questions, such as the ethics of killing for food, captivity (petkeeping, domestication, animals in zoos) animal sacrifice, factory farming, animal transportation, and animals in the entertainment industry. It welcomes Empirical research addressing animal ethics in specific Muslim countries and explorations of animal themes in the thought of Muslim intellectuals (for example: Said Nursi, Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī, Mūḥyī al-Dīn ibn al-‘Arabī, the Ikhwān al-Ṣafāʾ) and disciplines (for example: kalām, Sufism, jurisprudence).

Prof. Dr. Sarra Tlili
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Killing for food
  • Ethics of captivity (Petkeeping, domestication, zoos)
  • Animals in Sufism/Kalam/Jurisprudence
  • Animals in modern Islamic religious discourse
  • Factory farming
  • Slaughterhouses
  • Biomedical research
  • Animal transportation
  • Animal activism in the Muslim world

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Be Gentle to Them: Animal Welfare and the Protection of Draft Animals in the Ottoman Fatwā Literature and Legislation
Religions 2020, 11(10), 538; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100538 - 20 Oct 2020
Abstract
Animal studies in the Islamic context have greatly increased in number in recent years. These studies mostly examine the subject of animal treatment through the two main sources of Islam, namely, the Qur’an and the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad. Some studies that [...] Read more.
Animal studies in the Islamic context have greatly increased in number in recent years. These studies mostly examine the subject of animal treatment through the two main sources of Islam, namely, the Qur’an and the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad. Some studies that go beyond this examine the subject of animal treatment through the texts of various disciplines, especially that of Islamic jurisprudence and law. Although these two research approaches draw a picture on the subject of animal treatment, it is still not a full one. Other sources, such as fatwā books and archive documents, should be used to fill in the gaps. By incorporating these into the pool of research, we will be better enabled to understand how the principles expressed in the main sources of Islam are reflected in daily life. In this article, I shall examine animal welfare and animal protection in the Ottoman context based on the fatāwā of Shaykh al-Islām Ebū’s-Suʿūd Efendi and archival documents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animals in Islam)
Open AccessArticle
Suffering the Sons of Eve: Animal Ethics in al-Maʿarrī’s Epistle of the Horse and the Mule
Religions 2020, 11(8), 412; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11080412 - 10 Aug 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
In the year 1021 CE, blind author and skeptic Abū l-ʿAlāʾ al-Maʿarrī (d. 1057 CE) wrote Risālat al-ṣāhil wa-l-shāḥij (The Epistle of the Horse and the Mule), a winding prose work populated by animal characters who talk about poetry, grammar, riddles, and Syrian [...] Read more.
In the year 1021 CE, blind author and skeptic Abū l-ʿAlāʾ al-Maʿarrī (d. 1057 CE) wrote Risālat al-ṣāhil wa-l-shāḥij (The Epistle of the Horse and the Mule), a winding prose work populated by animal characters who talk about poetry, grammar, riddles, and Syrian society on the eve of the crusades. Traditionally forgotten as a source for al-Maʿarrī’s pacifism, and his vegan worldview, the Ṣāhil lets readers see his thinking on animals more than most other works. After a brief survey of animals in Islam, which shows a mainstream desire for balance between human and non-human needs, as well as exceptional cases that strongly uphold animals as subjects per se and which stand as key inter-texts for al-Maʿarrī, this paper considers how the Ṣāhil champions non-human creatures through images of animal cruelty deployed to shock readers into compassion, and through poetry and popular sayings (amthāl) recast in a zoocentric mold. It, therefore, advocates with more fervor than anthropocentric Islamic writings on animals, such as Kalīlah wa-Dimnah or the letters of the Ikhwān al-Ṣafāʾ. However, this happens in a way that makes it hard to pin down the sources of al-Maʿarrī’s thought. Furthermore, al-Maʿarrī seems to contradict himself when, for example, he employs literal meaning when it comes to animal justice, even as he avoids literalism in other contexts. This calls his concern for animals into question in one sense, but in another, it affirms such concern insofar as his self-contradictions show an active mind working through animal ethics in real time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animals in Islam)

Other

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Open AccessErratum
Erratum: Blankinship, Kevin. 2020. Suffering the Sons of Eve: Animal Ethics in al-Maʿarrī’s Epistle of the Horse and the Mule. Religions 11: 412
Religions 2020, 11(10), 535; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100535 - 20 Oct 2020
Abstract
The author would like to make the following changes to the published paper (Blankinship 2020): Citation “Blankinship 2019a, pp [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animals in Islam)
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