Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Is it permissible to kill insects and harmful animals through means of traps?
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
To kill animals and insects which are harmful to one’s self or belongings (such as pests) is permissible. At the same time, maximum effort should be made to minimize suffering and pain. In the famous Hanafi Fiqh reference Fatawa al-Hindiyya, there is a whole chapter regarding the killing of animals and what may and may not be done.
Therefore, keeping traps that kill the animals is permissible, though ones that cause slow or unnecessarily painful death are not permitted to use. Similarly, burning animals is also impermissible.
Abu Hurayra narrated, “The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) forbade making animals suffer.” [Bukhari]
The Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) also said, “Do not harm the creation of Allah.” [Abu Dawud, from al-Ma‘rur ibn Suwayd. Imam Jamal al-Din al-Zayla‘i declared it to be a rigorously authenticated (sahih) hadith in Nasb al-Raya]
This is why Ibn Hajar al-Haytami (Allah have mercy on him) mentions in his work on the major sins, al-Zawajir, that the scholars have explicitly stated that causing animals undue harm, such as hitting them painfully, without a sound reason is a major sin (kabira). [Ibn Hajar al-Haytami, al-Zawajir ‘an Iqtiraf al-Kaba’ir, 2/140]
And only Allah knows best.
[Shaykh] Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Faraz Rabbani spent ten years studying with some of the leading scholars of recent times, first in Damascus, and then in Amman, Jordan. His teachers include the foremost theologian of recent times in Damascus, the late Shaykh Adib al-Kallas (may Allah have mercy on him), as well as his student Shaykh Hassan al-Hindi, one of the leading Hanafi fuqaha of the present age. He returned to Canada in 2007, where he founded SeekersGuidance in order to meet the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge–both online and on the ground–in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He is the author of: Absolute Essentials of Islam: Faith, Prayer, and the Path of Salvation According to the Hanafi School (White Thread Press, 2004.) Since 2011, Shaykh Faraz has been named one of the 500 most influential Muslims by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center.