Animal Afterlife from the Viewpoint of the Quran, Islamic Narrations and Mulla Sadra

Document Type : Original Article


Assistant Professor, Department of Islamic Philosophy and Theology, Allameh Tabatabai University, Tehran, Iran


Muslim philosophers and theologians have disputed over the animal afterlife. Most Muslim scholars hold that the Quran, Islamic narrations and rational arguments affirm the resurrection of animals in the afterlife, though there is a dispute concerning how they will be resurrected and whether they will be rewarded or punished as humans will. Beside the controversies and disputes, several reasons suggest that they have their own afterlife. To prove the animal afterlife, it is necessary to prove primarily that they have soul. Mulla Sadra has attempted to prove that animals have soul, based on the immateriality of the faculty of imagination (al-Khayāl). Likewise, most of the reasons provided for the immateriality of human soul could be employed for the animal afterlife. The second stage is to explain the purpose of animal afterlife. Two goals could be mentioned regarding this issue: first, the compensation of evils harming them requires the afterlife. Second, some Quranic verses and Islamic narrations establish the fact that at least some animals have the intellectual faculty and thus have responsibly for their actions. Though these Quranic verses and Islamic narrations are not explicit, they can be a probable evidence for the animal afterlife. Finally, two points must be noted: first, though there are several arguments in favor of animal afterlife, there is no general agreement on it in the Islamic world. Second, the above arguments are not general, but they include merely those animals that have the faculty of sensation and have been inflicted by evils.


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