Skip to main content

Should Muslims sacrifice cattle on Eid-al-Adha? God 'doesn't want' animals slaughtered

By Dr Mike Ghouse*
On Friday, July 31, 2020, over a billion and a half Muslims around the world will be slaughtering millions of goats, camels, and cattle to carry out Abraham's tradition of sacrificing the symbolic lamb. Is there an alternative to the ritual of slaying animals on Eid Al-Adha, the festival of sacrifice? The answer is yes!
Rituals are the pathways to accomplish milestones of peace for oneself and with what surrounds one; life and environment. None of us can escape from the ceremonies. Each of us instinctively follows certain routines, from waking up to the time we go to sleep. Whether we shower, eat breakfast, go to the office, or gym, we follow the rituals.
The essence of Islam is to create cohesive societies where every human feels secure about his/her faith, race, religion, region, or ethnicity. It is time for Muslims to consider the essence of sacrifice rather than the ritual itself.
Real sacrifice requires us to give up some of what is dear to us. It is about parents going to sleep without food but feeding their kids; it is clothing their kids while waiting to get their own. In the case of extremities, we would instead get the bullet and save our loved ones, we are willing to rescue an individual from a freezing lake risking our own lives, and even strangers do that.
A thousand years ago, a man's assets were made up of his goats, camels, and cattle. The ultimate sacrifice one would make was to give away his precious assets in gifts. Today, the most cherished possession is money, and people must be willing to part some of it to give the ability to the receiver to spend on his/her critical needs.
One of the examples set up for guidance was the test of Abraham's faith, love, and devotion to God, which humans do routinely, "If you love me, you would do this for me." A simple assurance would suffice, be it your fiancé, spouse, kids, siblings, or parents.
Essence of Islam is to create cohesive societies where every human feels secure about his/her faith, race, religion, region, or ethnicity
It was Abraham's turn to face the command of God to sacrifice his son. Upon hearing this, he prepared to submit to God's will and places his son on the block. Right at that moment, a lamb appears as an alternative. Then God revealed to Abraham that his "sacrifice" has already been fulfilled.
Does God want animals to be sacrificed? Not at all. Qur'an, Al-Hajj 22:37 (The Pilgrimage), is clear:
"Never does their flesh reach God, and neither their blood. It is only your God-consciousness that reaches Him. It is to this end that we have made them subservient to your needs so that you might glorify God for all the guidance with which He has graced you. And give thou this glad tiding unto the doers of good."
The act symbolizes our willingness to give up a part of our bounties to strengthen and preserve the web of the universe and help those in need. We recognize that all blessings come from God, and we should open our hearts and share with others.

What would you sacrifice instead?

It is customary for Muslims to sacrifice an animal on the day of the Hajj, a symbolic representation of Prophet Abraham's act. What are our alternatives?
We can put that money to a different use that will do greater good like lending to a street hawker who can sell things from a cart and take care of his family or a single mom who can weave baskets or make sweaters to take care of her family. The beauty of this practice is you can make the same money repeatedly work for the common good. Muslims call it Sadaq-e-Jariah, which is continual giving.
Dr. Nauman Anwar said:
"Sacrificing animals without making a public spectacle is still a good idea, as long as no wastage of the meat and hides occur. Many Muslim countries have a lot of poverty, and if the meat reaches the deserving population, it will help improve the nutritional status of the poor.
"Let your single sacrifice multiply rather than the one-time sacrifice of animals. Prophet Muhammad had emphasized service to fellow humans as the highest service to God. Quran (4:152) says, if you are kind to your fellow humans, which is my creation, you will earn my grace regardless of your faith.”

Every day our police officers and firemen risk their own lives to protect ours, our freedom is protected by our men and women in the uniforms. I urge fellow Muslims to stop and salute every one of these men and women, honoring them for their love for humanity. Better yet, call the firemen, policemen, and let them know that as a Muslim you appreciate their sacrifice, and this festival is about appreciation for such sacrifice.
I did that in Louisville; within minutes, the officer had emailed the article to his fellow officers, appreciating the Muslims. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had said the least you can do as a charity is to smile and appreciate the otherness of the others. One can wish your Muslim friends by saying, Eid Mubarak, Eid Saeed, Happy Eid, Happy Festivities, etc.
---
*Founder and president of the Center for Pluralism, Washington DC

Comments

Anonymous said…
Absolutely right. Sacrifice in any religion must not be limited to spill blood of helpless animal. Instead it's symbolic to leave one's attachment to worldly things. Hope this message will go across people irrespective of religion.
LAHORE said…
NICE SHARING AMAZING ONE KEEP POSTING
Esha Princess said…
Every day our police officers and firemen risk their own lives to protect ours, our freedom is protected by our men and women in the uniforms. I urge fellow Muslims to stop and salute every one of these men and women, honoring them for their love for humanity. Better yet, call the firemen, policemen, and let them know that as a Muslim you appreciate their sacrifice, and this festival is about appreciation for such sacrifice.
yamaha

TRENDING

What's Bill Gates up to? Have 'irregularities' found in funding HPV vaccine trials faded?

By Colin Gonsalves*  After having read the 72nd report of the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on alleged irregularities in the conduct of studies using HPV vaccines by PATH in India, it was startling to see Bill Gates bobbing his head up and down and smiling ingratiatingly on prime time television while the Prime Minister lectured him in Hindi on his plans for the country. 

Muted profit margins, moderate increase in costs and sales: IIM-A survey of 1000 cos

By Our Representative  The Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad’s (IIM-A's) latest Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES) has said that the cost perceptions data obtained from India’s business executives suggests that there is “mild increase in cost pressures”.

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

Govt putting India's professionals, skilled, unskilled labour 'at mercy of' big business

By Thomas Franco, Dinesh Abrol*  As it is impossible to refute the report of the International Labour Organisation, Chief Economic Advisor Anantha Nageswaran recently said that the government cannot solve all social, economic problems like unemployment and social security. He blamed the youth for not acquiring enough skills to get employment. Then can’t the people ask, ‘Why do we have a government? Is it not the government’s responsibility to provide adequate employment to its citizens?’

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

IMA vs Ramdev: Why what's good or bad for goose should be good or bad for gander

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD* Baba Ramdev and his associate Balkrishna faced the wrath of the Supreme Court for their propaganda about their Ayurvedic products and belittling mainstream medicine. Baba Ramdev had to apologize in court. His apology was not accepted and he may face the contempt of court with harsher punishment. The Supreme Court acted on a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

Youth as game changers in Lok Sabha polls? Young voter registration 'is so very low'

By Dr Mansee Bal Bhargava*  Young voters will be the game changers in 2024. Do they realise this? Does it matter to them? If it does, what they should/must vote for? India’s population of nearly 1.3 billion has about one-fifth 19.1% as youth. With 66% of its population (808 million) below the age of 35, India has the world's largest youth population. Among them, less than 40% of those who turned 18 or 19 have registered themselves for 2024 election. According to the Election Commission of India (ECI), just above 1.8 crore new voters (18-and 19-year-olds) are on the electoral rolls/registration out of the total projected 4.9 crore new voters in this age group.

Indians witnessing 'regression to Hindutva politics' under Modi ahead of elections

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The forthcoming general election in India, scheduled from April 19, 2024, to June 1, 2024, to elect the 543 members of the 18th Lok Sabha and the new Government of India, carries immense significance for the preservation of India's identity as a liberal, secular, and constitutional democracy.

Anti-Rupala Rajputs 'have no support' of numerically strong Kshatriya communities

By Rajiv Shah  Personally, I have no love lost for Purshottam Rupala, though I have known him ever since I was posted as the Times of India representative in Gandhinagar in 1997, from where I was supposed to do political reporting. In news after he made the statement that 'maharajas' succumbed to foreign rulers, including the British, and even married off their daughters them, there have been large Rajput rallies against him for “insulting” the community.