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Do animals have souls?

Animals having souls is mentioned by the Holy Prophet sas and the Promised Messiah as.

Abū Hurairah reported Allah’s Messenger sas as saying: “The claimants would get their claims on the Day of Resurrection so much so that the hornless sheep would get its claim from the horned sheep.”

(Sahih Muslim, Book 45, Hadith 78)

It is narrated that someone asked the Promised Messiah as:

“Do you accept that animals will also be given a recompense in the hereafter?” The Promised Messiah as replied, “Yes we accept that everything, according to its capacities, will receive a recompense for its suffering of this world, and its suffering will be recouped.” The questioner said, “Then the inevitable result is that we should not consider the animals that we kill as dead, but they are living.” The Promised Messiah as replied, “Yes it is necessary, they have not ceased to exist, their soul exists. They have not truly died but are alive.”

(Malfuzat, vol. 5, p. 674–675)

All souls are given recompense for the suffering they endured during this life in one way or another, but this does not mean that animals have free will. The recompense referred to here has to do with the universal system of perfect justice that Allah Almighty has established in the hereafter, not reward and punishment for good and evil deeds. The Promised Messiah as said:

Only human nature has the goodness that it can leave evil and adopt goodness. This characteristic is only in humans because animals do not have the capacity to increase in understanding… Generally, all attributes are found in every form of life according to its capacity, but the difference is that humans progress in their morals whereas animals do not.

(Malfuzat, vol. 3, p. 197)

Hadrat Khalifatul-Masih IV rta explained this further, writing:

Animals are strictly governed by intuitive and instinctive laws and have little choice in the matters of right and wrong. In fact no right or wrong exists for them.

(Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge & Truth, p. 15)

Human souls will continue to exist eternally by the will of Allah Almighty. However, animal souls are a primitive form of spiritual life, so their existence is not on the same level as humans. Hadrat Khalifatul- Masih IV rta said:

Every animal has a sort of life, but every animal does not have options to do good deeds and to do bad deeds, so there is no examination for them, so their souls are not preserved. Moreover, they are not fully developed and mature… But human beings are made for [a] much wider understanding of the universe. As such, their souls are fully developed. They are preserved because they have begun already to understand their Creator and they have also been born with a desire to meet God and to know Him and to love Him. These animals don’t understand these things, so there is no meaning in preserving their souls. But I don’t deny that either, maybe, in some form Allah does preserve their souls but we don’t know of that.

(Question Answer Session, April 27, 1991)
Updated on February 2, 2019

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