The question of the week at The Guardian’s Belief page is, “Do Animals Have Souls?” Musab Bora offers a Muslim perspective:

Animals are viewed as creatures that are deemed to be in a state of constant worship. In terms of their place in the earthly hierarchy, they are mentioned with humans and jinn. (Jinn being creatures of energy, not genies, who live in lamps, are voiced by Robin Williams and frustratingly do not allow unlimited wishes as the first wish). The difference however is that whilst humans and jinn have free will, animals do not.

This has an impact on how creatures are to be judged. In Islamic teachings, on the day of reckoning, all creatures will rise up and have justice for any wrong that was done to them, including animals. However, only humans and jinn will be judged on their actions and go on to the afterlife.

Barbara O’Brian, in turn, gives a Buddhist one:

In Buddhism, animals do not have souls, but then neither do people. We biological creatures are all soulless alike.

According to the historical Buddha, there is no “soul” or “self” in the sense of a permanent, intrinsic, autonomous “I” inhabiting our bodies. What we imagine to be “I” is an effect created by our brains and senses that is re-created anew every moment. “Enlightenment” might loosely be defined as the falling away of the illusion of “I.”

At this point in the lecture someone always raises a hand. Aren’t Buddhists supposed to believe in reincarnation? No, not exactly. The Buddha taught that “rebirth” is better understood as the action (karma) of a life continuing in a new life, not the transmigration of a soul.

Read more at The Guardian. Also, don’t miss the latest episode of WNYC’s Radiolab: “Animal Minds.”