from Humane Religion

ANIMALS, THE KORAN AND THE BIBLE: A Politically Incorrect Assessment

J.R. Hyland

At a time when an anti-christian bias is a politically correct prejudice, it has become politically INcorrect to claim the superiority of one religion over another. This is based on the belief that all religions lead their adherents to the same spiritual goal. But whether or not this is true, those who care about animals should know that compared to the sacred scriptures of many other cultures, the Bible offers the best support for those working for the rights and welfare of nonhuman beings.

It offers this support in three critical areas: In the story of how animals were created; in the report of why they were created; and in an account of their ultimate destiny. There are sacred writings of various religions that do not deal with these issues in regard to either humans or animals, but the Koran does. And its teachings differ greatly from biblical accounts.

The Bible reports that God formed Adam from the dust of the earth, the connotation being that of a potter forming a vessel.

The Koran gives the same report about Adam but says that the animating force which made this vessel a living being was a "small seed," i.e., a drop of sperm, but does not specify where it came from. Neither does it give an account of how animals came to be living entities. But the Bible does give such an account and reports that the animating force for both human and animal beings was the same: a soul breathed into them by God which caused them to become "living souls" (1)

And when it comes to the question of "why" God/Allah created animals, there is no similarity at all between what the Bible says and what the Koran says. The Bible clearly states that Adam, alone in the Garden of Eden, became very lonely. He needed companions to alleviate his loneliness, so God created the animals. "And the Lord God said 'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make an help meet for him.' And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast." (2)

Obviously, during the time that men and animals were companions they were not killing and eating each other. Devouring the flesh of other species, or of your own kind, is not conducive to friendly relations. It was only as the world became increasingly violent that both humans and animals became carnivorous. "The Lord saw how great man's wickedness on earth had become and every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil, all the time...So the Lord said I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth...for I am grieved that I made them. (Genesis 6:5,7)

That world was washed away by a great flood. It was a world whose inhabitants had become so violent they had begun to kill other creatures and eat their flesh. This carnivorism was a refusal to keep the Divine command that restricted both humans and animals to herbivorism. (3)

The biblical account of flesh-eating as the rejection of God's mandate is in direct conflict with the Koran which teaches that Allah created animals, specifically, as food for humans. "[Allah] gives you to drink of what [cattle] have within their bodies...and they are food for you" Surah 23:22

"{Allah] created the cattle for you; and of them you have warm clothing and of them you do eat. ....And He it is Who made the sea subservient that you may eat fresh flesh from it and bring forth from it ornaments which you wear...Surah 16:5; 16:14.

Another Surah relates that Allah created two kinds of water, fresh water and sea water, for the same reason: to provide food for people. "from each of them you eat fresh flesh and bring forth ornaments which you wear." Surah 35.12

In these scriptures, the Koran presents human carnivorism as something Allah ordained rather than the debased state of being described by the Bible. There is no place in the Koran in which animals are described as other than utilitarian creatures who were created for humans to eat, wear, use as beasts of burden, and/or ornaments with which to decorate their bodies.

Of course, in actual practice it makes no difference that the Koran sanctions this use and abuse of animals and the Bible presents it as sinful--the result of a refusal to abide by God's decree. And it certainly does not matter to the animals whether the people who kill, consume, and subject them to countless other cruelties are Moslems or Christians. But it should matter to those animal activists who are working to eradicate the cruelties rampant in our Western culture. And especially those who do this work in the United States, where a high percentage of people claim the Bible as the foundation of their religious beliefs and moral behavior.

The fact that so many Christians claim biblical support for their immoral treatment of animals does not make it so. When such claims are challenged it becomes obvious that they are based on generations of self-serving interpretations that contradict the Bible and were concocted to allow the continuing exploitation of animals.

Not only does the Bible provide an ongoing account of God's concern for animals and a divine plan for the peaceful co-existence of humans and animals, it also tells of a heavenly existence shared by both. (4)

These passages of scripture are ignored by those whose prejudice against other species has led them to vehemently deny the possibility of such an afterlife. But their denial does not change the fact that the Bible supports a heavenly existence for animals. An existence in which "God shall wipe away all tears, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, neither shall there be any more pain: For the former things are passed away" (Revelation 21:4).

The Koran offers no such promise. In fact, the former things continue to exist in Paradise, including the eating of flesh.

What constitutes a Garden of Paradise for Moslems is a continuing hell for animals. Served by those who are eternally young and surrounded by beautiful houris, the Moslem Paradise is one in which men "On decorated thrones, reclining on them, facing one another" are served goblets of pure drink "and fruits such as they choose, And the flesh of fowl such as they desire." Surah 56:.15-21

The Koran is consistent in its overview of animals when it teaches that in Paradise animals exist to satisfy human appetites. This is an appropriate fate for creatures whose only purpose on earth was also to be used by humans. Because the Koran does not allow for any spiritual relatedness between Allah and animals or between humans and animals, there is no happy ending for these unfortunate creatures either in this world, or in the next.

The Bible is also consistent in its overview. It teaches that the animals who were created as human companions also share a spiritual bond with them and with their Creator. And the soul which God breathed into them allows an eternal inheritance in a place that exists beyond the pain and suffering of a world in which the darkness of human folly blocks out the light of God's goodness.

Those who think all religious teachings are the same and are impediments to the rights and welfare of animals might reconsider their position. People of faith, as well as non-believers, need to equip themselves with information that refutes the claims of those who say the Bible sanctions either their carnivorism or other cruelties to animals.

Those who are interested in doing this can check out three pertinent articles on this website: The Biblical Basis of Vegetarianism; God's Covenant With All Creatures; Animal And Human Companions. If these articles are helpful, any or all of them can be obtained in booklet form by sending one, first class stamp to: Humane Religion, P.O. Box 25354, Sarasota, FL 34277.


(1) Hebrew "neh'-phesh" in Genesis 1:20,21,30; Genesis 2:7,19.

(2) The Hebrew word for "help," used here in Genesis 2:18 is the same word that is used when referring to God as being a help to people when they are in difficult circumstances (e.g., Psalm 70:5).

(3) Genesis 1:29,30.For a detailed account see this website article "The Biblical Basis of Vegetarianism."

(4) Revelation 4:1-10; 7:11, among others.

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