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Communities Like You: Animals and Islam

Ing_Solomon_and_His_Court_India_Deccan_Hyderabad
The Prophet Suleiman and His Court (Deccan, Hyderabad: Wikimedia)

Source: islamicstudies.harvard.edu

And there is no creature on the earth or bird that flies with wings except [that they are] communities like you (Qur’an 6:38).

Animals have played significant roles within the theological, artistic, legal, ethical, and literary traditions of Muslim communities. In the Qur’an, animals—unlike people—submit naturally to God: “each one knows its own prayer and praise” (24:41) and they, together with nature, constitute natural signs (ayāt) through which humans might come to know God. “The beasts of all kinds that He scatters throughout the earth … are signs for a people who are wise” (2:164), and even the smallest gnat is a parable through which God communicates with humankind (2:26).

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