Are Humans a Type of Animal?

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick


Is it permissible to say that humans are a type of animal? This is, of course, keeping in mind that they believe that humans have been blessed in a way different from other animals. If someone jokes that humans are animals, are they sinning?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.

May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to that which is pleasing to Him. Amin.

Humans are a type of animal, meaning we are growing biological creatures with physical and biological properties. Scholars of Logic (Mantiq) frequently define humans as “the rational animal” to distinguish humans from the rest of the animal kingdom. [Sharh Al-‘Adud; Hashiyat Al-Jurjani]

Based on the above understanding, it is permissible to say that humans are a type of animal, and Allah knows best. However, if one’s intentions are nefarious and based on the understanding that humans are exactly like animals, this is false, and Allah knows best.

Humans are Distinguished and Honored by Allah

However, humans are not like animals, according to Allah. Humans have characteristics distinguishing us from the animals Allah had exclusively conferred upon humankind. Humans possess souls endowed with free will, are duty-bound by Sacred Law, and will be held accountable for their choices, speech, and actions in the Hereafter. [Khinn, Al-‘Aqida Al-Islamiyya]

Allah says: “Indeed, We have dignified the children of Adam, carried them on land and sea, granted them good and lawful provisions, and privileged them far above many of Our creatures.” [Quran, 17:70] And Allah says: “Indeed, We created humans in the best form.” [Quran, 95:4]

I pray this is of benefit and that Allah guides us all.

[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan. 

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and has completed his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.