Getting to Know Allah

Allah Loves His Cattle

Cattle, in the Koran, are mentioned more often than any other animal, even the camel. It is obvious that God is extremely proud of, if not mesmerized by this four-legged versatile creation of His.

An Ode to Cattle

16:5 And the cattle He created for you. Therein are warmth and other advantages, and from them you eat.

16:6 An in them you witness beauty, when you bring them back [home], and when you drive them out for pasture.

16:7 And they carry your burdens to a distant land which you could only reach with great hardship. Surely your Lord is Clement and Merciful.

Some cattle may not have appreciated being beasts of burden.

Narrated Abu Huraira:

I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "While a shepherd was amongst his sheep, a wolf attacked them and took away one sheep. When the shepherd chased the wolf, the wolf turned towards him and said, 'Who will be its guard on the day of wild animals when nobody except I will be its shepherd.'

And while a man was driving a cow with a load on it, it turned towards him and spoke to him saying, 'I have not been created for this purpose, but for ploughing.'"

The people said, "Glorified be Allah."

The Prophet said, "But I believe in it and so does Abu Bakr and Umar."

Bukhari 57.15

Brought Down from Paradise

Allah sent a small herd of sixteen of the ruminants down from Paradise after He banished the first couple to Earth.

39:6 He created you from a single soul; then, out of it, He made its mate, and brought down for you of the cattle eight pairs. He creates you in your mothers' bellies, one creation after another, in three shadows of darkness.[25] That indeed is Allah, your Lord. His is the dominion; there is no god but He. How, then, are your diverted?

Of humans, God “made couples”; likewise, he did so “of the cattle pairs” so that He may make more of each.

42:10 Whatever you disagree upon, unto Allah is the decision thereof. That, then, is Allah, my Lord. In Him I have put my trust, and unto Him I repent.

42:11 Creator of the heavens and earth. Of yourselves He has made couples and of the cattle pairs, multiplying you thereby. Nothing is like unto Him; He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing.

42:12 To Him belong the keys of the heavens and the earth. He expends the provision to whom He wishes or constricts it. Indeed, He has knowledge of everything.

Water, Men and Cattle

Never forget that it is Allah who sends the water which makes things grow that both humans and cattle can eat. Just don’t be smug about it, or else…

10:24 The present life is like water We send down from the sky, causing the vegetation of the earth, from which people and cattle eat, to grow luxuriant. But when the earth puts on its ornamental garb and is adorned, and the people think they are able to get what they want from it, Our Retribution comes upon it day or night, making its produce like a cropped harvest, as if it had never flourished before. Thus We expound Our Revelations to people who reflect.

A mix of revealed truths about what Allah discussed in the previous verse ends in a revelation not unlike the “dust to dust” verse of Genesis.

20:53 He who made the earth a bed for you, and opened routes for you in it, and sent down water from the sky; from it we bring forth diverse pairs of plants.

20:54 Eat and pasture your cattle. In that there are signs for people of understanding.

20:55 From it We have created you, and into it We shall return you, and from it We shall raise you a second time.

Water was sent down to bring an unnamed town back to life and quench the thirst of every human and cattle that existed at the time.

25:48 And it is He Who sent the wind as good news before His Mercy; and We have sent down from heaven pure water,

25:49 To bring to life thereby a dead town, and give it to drink to such numerous cattle and humans as We have created.

25:50 And We have alternated it among them, so that they may remember. However, most men have refused all but thanklessness.

Not only does Allah send down the water that makes things grow “that their cattle and their own folk eat,” but He also makes it flow where it is needed.

32:27 Do they not see that We conduct the water unto the barren land, bringing forth thereby vegetation, from which their cattle and their own folk eat? Do they not see, then?

Allah does not give names to cattle.

5:103 Allah has not prescribed the designation of Bahirah, Sa’ibah, Wasilah or Hami (cattle sacrificed to idols at the Ka’ba); but the unbelievers impute falsehood to Allah, and most of them do not understand.

Allah on the Versatility of His Cattle

6:142 Of cattle there are some for burden and some for slaughter. Eat of what we provided for you and do not follow in the footsteps of the Devil. Surely he is a manifest enemy of yours.


36:71 Have they not seen that We have created for them, of Our Handiwork, cattle whereof they are now the owners?

36:72 And We subdued them to them, so that of some are their mounts and of some they eat.

36:73 And from them they have many benefits and beverages. Will they not, then, give thanks.

Allah seems to be under the impression that an udder is an extension of a cow’s stomach.

16:66 And there is, surely, a lesson for you in the cattle. We give you to drink of what is in their bellies, between the bowels and blood, pure milk which is palatable to the drinkers.

From their hides you can make tents and from their “fur,” “wool,” and “hair” you can make furnishings.

16:80 Allah has made of your homes places for you to dwell in, and has made for you from the hides of cattle light houses to carry on the day of moving and on the day of settling down. And from their wools and their furs and their hair He [has made for you] furnishings and means of enjoyment for a while.

It is not clear, in the very next revelation, whether “and has given you garments to protect you from the heat” refers to the hides of cattle.

16:81 Allah has made for you from what He created, sunshades, and from the mountains, places of retreats, and has given you garments to protect you from the heat and coats of mail to protect you while fighting. Thus he perfects His blessings to you so that you may submit.

16:82 Then, if they turn away, your duty (Muhammad) is to deliver the clear Message.

16:83 They know Allah’s Blessing, then they deny it; and most of them are ungrateful.

Another mention of milk originating from the bellies of cows.

23:21 And surely in the cattle you have a lesson. We give you to drink what is in their bellies, and you have therein many uses, and from them you eat.

Cattle are not unlike ships.

23:22 And on them and on the ships you are borne.

Cattle can be anything you can imagine.

40:79 It is Allah Who created for you the cattle, so that some you may ride[26] and some you may eat.

40:80 And in them, you have other benefits as well; and upon them you may attain any need within your breasts. And upon them and upon the ships you may be borne along.

Another mention of that dead town brought back to life with just enough water is followed by another comparison of cattle to ships with Allah as the shipwright.

43:11 And Who sent down water from heaven in set measure; and so We revived therewith a dead town. Thus you shall be brought forth;

43:12 And Who created all the pairs and made for you such ships and cattle as you can mount.

43:13 That you might sit upon their backs, then remember the Grace of your Lord when you are seated thereon and say: “Glory be to Him Who subjected this to us, whereas we were not equal to it.

43:14 "And, surely, unto our Lord we shall return.”

Slicing the Ears of Cattle

Herdsmen, at the time of Muhammad, marked livestock that was no longer suitable for breeding purposes by slicing an ear. Allah considered this altering His creation.

4:118 Cursed by Allah. For he (the Devil) said: “I shall take from your servants for myself a fixed number,

4:119 “And I will lead them astray, will raise their expectations and order them to cut off the cattle’s ears. I will order them to alter Allah’s creation.” Whoever takes the Devil for companion, instead of Allah, has incurred a great loss!

4:120 He promises them and raises their expectations; but the Devil promises them nothing but illusion.

4:121 Those people, their shelter shall be Hell and they shall find no escape from it.

4:122 But those who have believed and done the good deeds, We shall admit them into Gardens beneath which rivers flow, dwelling therein forever. This is Allah’s True Promise; and who is more truthful in speech than Allah?

Scholars have interpreted Allah’s revelation about cutting the ears of cattle as a decree against cruelty to animals. The gratuitous cruelty that is inherent in the ritual slaughter of animals would belie this. 


[25] 1) The anterior abdominal wall, 2) the uterine wall, and 3) the amniochorionic membrane. The idea that Allah knew so much about embryology is considered a miracle of the Koran.

[26] 16:8 And horses, mules and asses [He created] for you to mount, and as an adornment; and He creates what you do not know.