Do animals have souls?


Someone from Canada sent a saying of the Promised Messiahas regarding the survival of animals’ souls after their death to Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa. The person also wrote that Huzooraa had said during a Waqf-e-Nau class that animals’ souls did not live on after their deaths, rather they also died in this world. He asked how one could reconcile both of these statements. Huzoor-e-Anwaraa, in his letter dated 19 October 2021, gave the following reply to this question:

“The dialogue you have referred to in your letter took place in Lahore in 1908 in the form of two question-and-answer sessions between the Promised Messiahas and Prof Clement Wragge of England. In that dialogue, the esteemed professor posed a series of questions to Huzooras about a wide range of topics, including the nature of God, the advent of prophets, the universe, the motivators of good and evil, Satan, the lives of this world and of the hereafter, the relationship of humans with their souls, the sacrifice of the lower for the higher, animals and their souls and the issue of evolution, etc. Huzooras gave very insightful answers to those questions. In addition to shedding light on the various aspects of these topics, he also clarified the difference between humans and animals with regard to intellect, various kinds of suffering, feelings and their actions in this world, as well as the recompense they will receive in the afterlife. Thus, in response to one of the questions, Huzooras said:

“‘This world is a limited world. God has set up a vast realm to follow this one, wherein He has desired and promised that true and everlasting prosperity will be awarded. Every suffering that exists in this world will be redressed and compensated in the other realm. Any shortcoming that is found in this world will be made whole in the next world. 

“‘As for the sorrow, hardship, grief, and anguish, they have to be experienced by the ordinary and the elite alike. These were essential and necessary for the functioning of the system of this world. If one takes a broad look, it becomes obvious that no one is free from suffering. Every creation has to partake a share thereof according to its status, in one way or another. […]

“‘The second point that is worthy of attention is that since human sufferings are greater than the suffering of animals, human reward will also be greater than that of animals. Human suffering is of two kinds. One is the suffering due to the sharia [religious law] and the other is the suffering due to fate and destiny. In suffering due to fate and destiny, man and animal are co-sharers and almost comparable. […]

“‘However, in the hardships of sharia, there is nothing common between animals and humans. The dictates of the sharia are like a knife that slides over the throat of man, but animals are not held accountable for them. The constraints of the sharia are like a death that man has to bring upon himself. By considering all these matters together, it would be clear that human sufferings are far greater than the sufferings of animals.

“‘The third thing worth remembering is that human senses are very sharp. Man has a much greater ability to feel. Animals or plants, on the other hand, have much fewer feelings. […] Therefore, animals have far less sense or feeling of these sufferings and it is possible that on some occasions they do not even feel them at all.

“‘Now, one should ponder as to who has the greater burden of these sufferings in the world? Is it humans or animals? It is obvious that humans get a much bigger share of these hardships of the world as compared to animals.’” (Malfuzat, Vol. 10, 1984, pp. 429-432)

“Moving forward, the Promised Messiahas said the following to the subsequent question by the esteemed professor about whether animals would also have some reward in the next world: 

“‘Yes, I do believe that all will be compensated for their worldly hardships, and reparation will be made for their suffering and hardships.’ (Ibid.)

“Moreover, Huzooras replied as follows to the remark by the esteemed professor that the necessary implication of this was that we should believe that the animals we killed were alive and not dead: 

“‘Of course. It is essential to note that they have not been annihilated. Their soul remains. They are not really dead. Rather, they, too, are alive.’ (Ibid.)

“In this dialogue, Huzooras has illustrated the distinction between the obligations of humans and animals with regard to the commandments of the sharia and Allah’s distinct treatment of them. During the Waqf-e-Nau class, I described and elaborated on this subject in the same vein but with slightly different wording and said that the lives of animals ended in this world. What I meant by this was that since animals were not bound by the dictates of sharia, in the next world they would not be subject to the same reward and punishment as humans. However, only their mutual dealings among themselves will be redressed on the Day of Judgment as has been mentioned in the ahadith that even the wrong done to a hornless goat by a horned goat will be redressed. (Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-birri wa s-silati wa l-adab) It is this kind of survival of the animals’ souls that is described in the last words of the above-mentioned statement of the Promised Messiahas.

“On the other hand, since humans are the best of creation and have been obligated to obey the commands of sharia, they will be judged according to those commands and will be admitted to either hell or heaven according to their deeds. 

“In addition to his above-mentioned saying, quoted from Malfuzat, the Promised Messiahas has also elaborated in his writings on the distinction that exists between the souls of humans and animals in terms of their being obligated by sharia and receiving reward or punishment. Hence, while elucidating the metaphors mentioned in the Divine discourse, such as ‘We caused such and such a nation to die and then resurrected it’, ‘We caused a prophet to die for a hundred years and then resurrected him’. ‘We brought animals back to life through Hazrat Ibrahimas’ etc., Huzooras writes:

“‘It is by no means true that in all the places where the resurrection of the ‘dead’ is written, death has been mentioned in its literal or true sense; rather, according to the lexicon, the meaning of death is also sleep as well as all kinds of unconsciousness. So, why should we intentionally create any contradiction among the Quranic verses? In hypothetical terms, even if the four animals came back to life after death [see Holy Quran, Ch.2:V.161], this resurrection would not have any bearing on their souls, because the souls of animals or insects cannot survive, only those of humans can. If they were to resurrect, they would be new creatures. Hence, it is written in some occultist magazines that if many scorpions were ground and kept sealed in a vessel with a special method or composition, all the organisms that would be born from this composition, would also be scorpions. So now, can any wise person think that the same scorpions that had died, came back to life? Rather, the true viewpoint, which is proven by the Holy Quran, is that none of the earthly creatures except the jinn and the ins have been given eternal souls.’ (Izalah-e-Awham, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 3, pp. 620-621)

“While explaining the reality of the survival of the human soul in terms of Islamic teachings as opposed to the beliefs of the Arya religion, Huzooras wrote:

“‘One cannot raise the allegation that Muslims also declared human souls to be eternal, because the Holy Quran does not teach that human souls are innately eternal, it rather teaches that this eternity is only a Divine gift for the human soul, otherwise, the human soul is also perishable like the souls of animals.’” (Naseem-e-Da‘wat, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 19, p. 382, footnote)

“Thus, in my view, there is no contradiction between the sayings of the Promised Messiahas and what I said during the Waqf-e-Nau class. If it was not clear before, it should be clear now that the matter of animals is limited only to their mutual dealings being redressed. The commandments of the sharia will not be applied to them, nor will they have anything to do with that Judgement. On the other hand, humans will be dealt with in view of the commands of sharia and their reward will be decided according to their actions and the extent to which they followed the dictates of sharia.”

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