Experiments on animals for learning purposes

27 Feb 2018 Ref-No#: 388

Asalaamu alikum wa rahma tullah wa barakatu

I am currently studying medicine abroad.

In our anatomy labs, we are made to perform experiments and operations on animals. Due to anesthesia being too expensive, we are made to inject air into the brain of the animal, causing it to become brain dead (this way, the animal does not feel pain).

In some cases, the animal survives but is brain dead and in most cases, the animal dies due to our lack of experience being in first year.

I would like to know the ruling on this as anatomy is an important part of medicine

Shukran wa ahsan uljazaa

Answer

Wa’alaykum as Salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,
Islam emphasizes that we treat animals with care. There are several warnings for those who abuse
animals. In a narration of Abu Dawud, Sahl bin Hanthala (may Allah be pleased with him) mentions that the prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) passed by a camel which was really lean, skinny and thin. Upon this the prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) remarked,

اتقوا الله فى هذه البهائم المعجمة فاركبوها وكلوها صالحة (أخرجه أبو داود قي سننه (2/ 328)

“Fear Allah regarding these animals; ride them and eat them in an appropriate manner.”(Abu Dawood, 2/328)

Similarly, in another narration, Jabir (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates:

عن جابر أن النبى صلى الله عليه وسلم مر عليه حمار قد وسم فى وجهه فقال لعن الله الذى وسمه (أخرجه مسلم في صحيحه(3/ 1673)

The prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) passed by a donkey which was branded in its face. Observing this he said “May the curse of Allah be on the one who branded it.” (Muslim, 3/1673)

There are many other narrations which give stern warnings to those who abuse animals. Based on these, it will only be allowed to experiment on animals which are dead, and died a natural death (i.e they cannot be killed just to experiment on them) . If the animals are alive, it will only be permissible to experiment on them if there is no unnecessary and extraordinary pain which is inflicted on them. (Nizaamul Fatawaa, vol. 1, p. 398)

The manner which you explained will not be permissible. If there is really no other way of conducting these experiments, you should continuously make istighfaar.

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