Sheikh Muhammad Al-Mukhtar Al-Shinqiti, Director of the Islamic Center of South Plains, Lubbock, Texas , states: “First of all, Muslims do not take pride in the pain of animal because this contradicts the basic teachings of Islam. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) taught Muslims to be kind to animals, and blamed one of his Companions because he mercilessly treated his camel.
In the philosophy of Islam, animals, just like humans, are considered to be “nations” as Almighty Allah says: “There is not an animal (that lives) on the earth, nor a being that 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.” (Al-An’am: 38)
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) indicated that treating the animal kindly could be a reason for one’s admission to Paradise, and that merciless treatment of animals could be a reason for someone’s being condemned to Hell. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) gave an example of someone who will be admitted to Paradise because he gave water to a thirsty dog, and another example of a woman who will be sent to Hell because she locked a cat in a cage painfully, without feeding it or letting it free.
As for slaughtering the animal for food, it is natural and permissible as it is one of the reasons of Allah’s creation of animals, and one of the ways Allah has honored humans over animals. However, certain conditions must be applied in order for the slaughter to be accepted. The animal must be put to rest before being slaughtered, the means of slaughtering must be sharpened well, the animal cannot be tortured to death, etc.
All these conditions must be fulfilled in order to make sure the animal is treated kindly and is slaughtered in a proper, merciful way. Whatever means of slaughtering is used, the Muslims must opt for the most merciful method that would cause less pain for the animal. For example, despite the controversy over stunning and other pain-lessening means used in western countries today, I hope Muslim scholars will look into these modern ways and how much they can be put under the category of merciful treatment of animals before slaughtering, which has been strictly advised by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).”