Volume 16, Issue 2, Fall 2019
The Ikhwan al-Safa’’s Animal Accusers:
An Islamic Debate On Animal Slavery
In the tenth-century Iraqi fable, The Case of the Animals versus Man Before the King of the Jinn, the animals take the human beings to court for mistreatment. The humans ultimately win the case, but not without the animals presenting a series of arguments that continue to resonate despite the ending of the trial. The following essay provides an analysis of a number of these arguments insofar as they contest human abuses of animals within the context of enslavement. It offers evidence on both philosophical and historical grounds for why we need to rethink the received interpretation of the fable’s controversial ending.