Islamic new year, or Hijri new year, which marks the start of the Muslim lunar calendar, is a great time to set new goals, habits, or intentions. This year, make helping animals one of your goals! The Qur’an clearly instructs Muslims to respect animals’ lives and extend mercy and compassion to humans and all other animals alike. Throughout the year, consider what you can do to ease the suffering of animals.
There is not an animal [who lives] on the earth, nor a being [who] flies on its wings, but [forms part of] communities like you. Nothing have We omitted from the Book, and they [all] shall be gathered to their Lord in the end.
Extend Your Compassion for Animals: Go Vegan
Going vegan is the best thing you can do to help animals. The word “Islam” in Arabic is derived from the infinitive sa-la’ma, the root word for salam, which means “peace,” and salam is exactly what being vegan is all about. Verse 23:51 of the Qur’an warns, “O messengers, eat from what is good, and do righteous work. I am aware of what you do,” implying that Allah (SWT) knows when we consume impure foods, such as meat, eggs, and dairy from both small and industrial-size farms, in which animals are cruelly enslaved from birth, sexually assaulted, and confined in filth before being violently transported to slaughterhouses and horrifically killed for their body parts.
Making simple changes to the meals you already enjoy is easy, especially since many halal dishes are already animal-free and almost all vegan dishes are halal-friendly. (Just watch out for anything made with alcohol.) Tabbouleh, hummus, falafel, pita, and other favorites are often vegan without modifications, and there are delicious versions of others, from shawarma to halva.
Don’t Wear Skin, Wool, Fur, or Feathers
The ways the leather, fur, and wool industries exploit, abuse, and kill animals are all against Islamic teachings. Take the new year as an opportunity to look through your closet and consider which materials were produced through cruelty to animals and learn how to choose others that are better for animals and the planet.
All animals used in the leather industry suffer, even if they’re killed by halal slaughter. Plus, leather production poisons waterways with toxic chemicals and requires vast amounts of land and water. Muslims are charged with protecting the environment, and you can help do so by purchasing eco-friendly vegan leather.
Minks, rabbits, foxes, and other animals raised on fur farms are abused and killed in gruesome ways that conflict with Islamic teachings. They’re confined to small, filthy cages—and this unnatural imprisonment causes many of them to go insane. When they’re finally removed from the cages to be killed, their deaths are painful and inhumane. Typical methods of killing animals on fur farms include anal or vaginal electrocution, injection with poison, suffocation, and neck-breaking. Some animals are skinned alive.
If fur is already in your closet, consider donating it to PETA. PETA U.S. and other PETA entities redistribute donated fur coats to those in need, including to Afghani and Syrian refugees, homeless shelters across the U.S., and wildlife rehabilitators for use as animal bedding.
Wearing an animal’s fur is cold, but donated coats can help those in need stay warm. More & more kind people are giving their old cruel furs to PETA – today, 230 donated coats are on the way to freezing Syrian refugees ❤ pic.twitter.com/7oFscoKAQB
— PETA (@peta) November 1, 2018
Switch to Cruelty-Free Personal-Care and Household Products
Many traditions recount that the Prophet (SAWS) chastised those who cut up and inflicted pain on animals. Animals in laboratories are burned, poisoned, blinded, wounded, and maimed in order to test cosmetics, personal-care, and household products. But with the abundance of cruelty-free products available, everyone can easily avoid purchasing items from companies that continue to perform archaic, pointless tests on animals. Use the new year to make a fresh start—take stock of the products you have, and if they aren’t cruelty-free, replace them with vegan ones when they run out.
You can make simple changes throughout the year that will help make the world a better place for all animals. Start by trying out some new recipes, and then share what you learn with your loved ones and friends by ordering them a free vegan starter kit: