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Ijtihad, Rethinking Islam (07 Nov 2011 NewAgeIslam.Com)


Animal Sacrifice vs. Compassionate Eid: An Open Letter To Our Muslim Brothers and Sisters



By Syed Rizvi, New Age Islam

7 Nov 2011

Today and tomorrow all around the world Muslims will be sacrificing animals to please God.

Sacrifice something in the name of God should be something that really means something to you; and you have an attachment to that thing. Abraham fulfilled his devotion to God by exhibiting his full intention to sacrifice his son. That is not, what is happening today on the streets of Karachi or elsewhere. What is happening today is a disgrace to the word Qurbani that God had intended it to be? It’s nothing but the mockery of the Abraham’s devotion to God.

It is time to re-visit my article on the subject that appeared on the web-site of newageislam.com a year-ago.   

http://www.newageislam.com/debating-islam/animal-sacrifice-or-blood-orgy?/d/3706

While at it, please also visit the following article on the subject that already has appeared in four Bangladeshi newspapers, which also shares the sentiments expressed in the article above.  compassionate-eid.blogspot.com/2011/10/open-letter-concerning-eid-al-adha-to.html?spref=fb

Of course, it is not the intention here to make people feel guilty of the actions they may have already committed; it is simply to induce them to reflect on their deeds, and move on from there.

Syed Rizvi is a physicist by profession and is the Founder and President of Engineers and Scientists for Animal Rights. Syed lives in Silicon Valley, California.

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/ijtihad,-rethinking-islam/animal-sacrifice-vs.-compassionate-eid--an-open-letter-to-our-muslim-brothers-and-sisters/d/5857

New Age Islam is reproducing Syed Rizvi's Open Letter for the convenience of our readers:

Dear Muslim Brothers and Sisters

We are approaching a blessed and spiritual time of the year, Kurbani Eid, which comes after millions of devout Muslims complete their pilgrimage to the holy grounds of Mecca. Families and friends will come together for prayers, exchange gifts and enjoy special food. As we prepare to take part in this year’s holiday, we would like to invite you to reexamine some aspects of how it is celebrated with an open mind and an open heart.

The story of Abraham

As we are told by the Qur’an, the Prophet Abraham (pbuh) had a recurring dream in which Allah commanded him to sacrifice his son Ishmael (pbuh). Abraham (pbuh) was just about to end the life of his son when Allah called on him to spare his son and instead sacrifice a ram He miraculously provided. During Kurbani Eid, we commemorate and remember Abraham’s (pbuh) willingness to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to Allah. Today, the slaughter of millions of animals during this holiday is merely symbolic of Abraham’s (pbuh) supreme sacrifice.

Sacrifice, then and now

The Qur’an makes clear that Allah does not take pleasure in flesh and blood. It says of the animals sacrificed that “[t]heir meat will not reach Allah, nor will their blood, but what reaches Him is piety from you.” (Qur'an 22:37) Animal sacrifice is not part of the core spiritual truth of Islam, and there are many other charitable ways to express our devotion to the will of Allah. In modern Bangladesh, meat is not as scarce or as valuable a resource as it was for the desert community in which the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) lived. Today we can do so much more to help the needy by simply redirecting the money that would have gone towards the purchase of an animal for slaughter and using it for other longer-lasting and more beneficial purposes. The money can be used to improve the situation of the estimated 380,000 children living on the streets of Dhaka and other major cities, or to build hospitals in places where access to medical care is still difficult. CARE, Save the Children, Oxfam, BRAC and countless other organizations are doing great work for the most disadvantaged groups in our society and are in dire need of our financial support in order to create a better Bangladesh for tomorrow. Many of these charities and NGOs also accept valuable and useful items which are close to your heart and you might consider donating instead of, or in addition to, money – in the spirit of sacrifice. Qur'an and Sunnah make clear that opting for charity in lieu of animal sacrifice is in perfect harmony with both the law and the spirit of Islam.

Animals and Islam

While Kurbani Eid will be a time of joy for Muslims, it is not a happy time for Allah’s creatures. The lives of many goats, cows and other domestic animals will end during the festivities. It can be hard to think about the plight of animals in a country in which many human beings have to live under heartbreaking conditions. But we ask you to consider for a moment what the camels, lambs, goats, and cows chosen to be sacrificed on Kurbani Eid will endure. After all, we know that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) advocated compassion toward animals. He was sent as a “mercy to all creation” (Qur’an, 21:107). In fact, the Qur’an explicitly recognizes the fact that animals are sentient beings just like us, thereby anticipating a basic tenet of the modern animal rights movement – "[t]here is not an animal on earth, nor a bird that flies on its wings - but they are communities like you." (Qur’an 6:38) Prior to slaughter, many animals sacrificed on Kurbani Eid in Bangladesh are walked long distances, often for days at a time from as far-away places as India, or they are packed into trucks without adequate space, food, water, and medical attention. This is neither humane nor halal, and it stands in stark contradiction to Islamic teachings on kindness and compassion. We should not ignore this reality. In Sahih al-Bukhari, it is told that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was once asked if kindness to animals was rewarded in the afterlife. He replied that “there is a meritorious reward for kindness to every living creature.” Sacrificial animals typically have their legs tied so that they can hardly move. They are surrounded by a group of people that often includes children. The terrified animals are held down by several individuals while a sharp knife is drawn across their throats. As they struggle to break free, they slowly bleed to death – often in front of other animals. 

A religion of compassion

Many of us are horrified when we see on TV how animals in Europe, Australia, the United States and other countries across the globe are raised, transported and killed. It is our hope that Islam, being a religion of peace and compassion, can do better.

We, the undersigned, respectfully submit these thoughts for your consideration and hope you find them helpful in drawing your very own conclusions about the practice of animal sacrifice, in the light of the universal standards of mercy and compassion that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has set for humanity.

Eid Mubarak! 

Rubaiya Ahmad

Animal-welfare advocate

Farah Akbar

Writer & Educator

Rainer Ebert

Moral philosopher,

Rice University

Karina Zannat

Regional director,

Students for Liberty

Posted by Compassionate Eid at 9:37 AM

 

Syed Rizvi is a physicist by profession and is the Founder and President of Engineers and Scientists for Animal Rights. Syed lives in Silicon Valley, California.

 

URL:   http://www.newageislam.com/ijtihad,-rethinking-islam/animal-sacrifice-vs.-compassionate-eid--an-open-letter-to-our-muslim-brothers-and-sisters/d/5857

 




TOTAL COMMENTS:-   11


  • Under the proposed law anyone who owns a dog will be fined up to $500. What happens next to the dogs is unclear. If passed, the police and military take away the dogs. However this is already occuring. Police are taking them. Many Iranians contacted international animal rights on facebook to say its happening now, even before the law has passed. In the past Iranian animal lovers have said the ideas are preposterous and is not part of Islam criminal codes. As more and more young, educated, upwardly mobile young Iranians start owning dogs (i.e. appearing just like the wild Western people) the old religious leaders do not like it. By stopping people having dogs, they will take back some of their control. Iranians hate it when stray dogs are culled. They don't like harsh officials or the way they operate. Iran is part of UN. What about UN Millenium Development Goals of education, fairness, good governance. Singapore children have Animal Awareness now as part of MDGs.
    By Predone del Deserto - 11/10/2014 1:53:39 PM



  • Dear Shahid Khalid - 10/20/2013 11:10:22 PM
    I am providing this link for you. Please be aware if you are a Sufi inclined person, this site seems to be a Wahabi Sunni Site ,
    The Fiqh of Ritual Slaughter (Udhiya/Qurbani)
    http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=1&ID=656&CATE=115

    By rational mohammed yunus - 10/21/2013 1:06:16 AM



  • I am against the cruelty of any living being, but for the sacrifice of animals on Eid ul Azha we have to decide if it is obligatory to perform this sacrifice for those NOT performing the Haj.  Even those who perform Haj al-Ifrad are not obligated to sacrifice the animal, so why are we doing this killing of animals living in different countries when we are not obligated to do so per our religion? We have to determine if sacrificing the animals is the Sunnah of Prophet Mohammed and if he did the sacrifice every year while in Madina, on Haj day, or only once in his life time when he did the Haj.  Many say that sacrifice is the sunnah of prophet Ibrahim and we must do it.  The argument against that is that Prophet Mohammad told his followers that he has adopted  the sunnahs of other prophets like Ibrahim, Moses, Jesus and his umma should only follow what he has selected for his followers.


    By Shahid Khalid - 10/20/2013 11:10:22 PM



  • a lot is being said.... but what can we do??? 
    any way to stop this?? please help ..... free the innocent....

    By deepti nambiar - 5/17/2013 1:58:15 PM



  • Ghulam Mohiyuddin states:"So let us not celebrate our baby by killing someone else's baby."

    My comment:  If it were just that, it wouldn’t be that bad, but when we are unjustly dragging God and religion into the equation that is nothing but defaming the religion and demeaning God.


    By Syed Rizvi - 11/8/2011 1:30:21 AM



  • Mr. Nezami, the following article on Ziauddin Sardar might explain my thinking. You may or may not agree with it. It is okay to disagree:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ziauddin_Sardar#Islam.2C_Qur.27an_and_Islamic_reform


    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 11/8/2011 12:51:23 AM



  • Dear Raihan Nezami. First I am a humble soul and not a mufti. I have simply quoted from a book, which has been approved by al-Azhar al-Sharif, scrutinized line by line by an Arab-Canadian Qur'anic scholar, Afra Jalabi and endorsed and recommended by Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl - who read the MS back to back at least twice - he is a one of the foremost scholars and jurists of Islam today. Please don’t personalize my comment. Dr, Fadl made this remark about the book (p.xx)

    I wish we lived in a world in which this book would become a standard reference source for students of religion who are interested in an accurate introduction to the religion of Islam.  The best thing I can say about this book is that it is the product of a labor of love that lasted for more than a decade.  The authors do not offer a personalized view of their own religiosity; they explain in a very straightforward and accessible fashion what mainstream Muslims believe in and especially, what the Qur’an itself teaches.  Non-Muslims will understand why well over a billion people call themselves Muslim and also how Islam inspires Muslims to deal with and improve upon the world in which they live.  Indeed this book manages to translate the Muslim vision or the way that Islam heals the ailments of humanity in the current age and every age.  Readers who wish to learn the theological and moral dogma of Islam will find this book indispensable.  But this book is not just an informative tool for the fair-minded and interested reader.  This book is an educational tool for both Muslims and non-Muslims—it is an authoritatively reliable text to teach young Muslims, or even Muslims who never had the time to study the Qur’an, or the fundamentals of their religion.  The book is written with the kind of balance and fair mindedness that makes it equally valuable for Muslim and non-Muslim students of Islam.  The least I can say about this text is that it was written by two ethically conscientious and principled Muslims in order to share their religion with every ethically conscientious and principled reader in the world.  They must be heard.

    Dr. Khaled M. Abou El Fadl, Alfi Distinguished Professor of Islamic law, UCLA SCHOOL OF LAW


    By muhammad yunus - 11/8/2011 12:34:27 AM



  • It is a pathetic feeling to read the recent comments of two modern Muftis. Mr Yunus is challenging the authenticity of Eidul Adha and Mr Ghulam is giving Fatwa against Aqeeqa. Sometimes they talk about redefinition of Islam for their comfort and sometimes they switch back 1500 years , and refer to Quran. First of all, they should clear their beliefs whether they stand for the pristine Islamic tenets or the present-time modern Islam, only then a general reader can understand them better.


    By Raihan Nezami - 11/7/2011 10:38:57 PM



  • Mike Maybury – The Qur’an prohibits only ‘free flowing blood’ (Verse 6:145)

    Syed Rizvi, The following extract from a recent exegetic work fully supports the substitution of haj slaughtering rights by a more meaningful method of offering a sacrifice to God. It is not from any angle of people’s perception of torture because the advocates of slaughtering can have arguments of their own to justify this ancient practice. It is a corollary of an interpretation of the Qur’anic verse on hajj rites in the context of the colossal expansion of asset base as your article mentions:

    The Qur’an declares: (As for the sacrificial animals), “Neither their flesh nor their blood reaches God, but your heedfulness (taw) does indeed reach Him. Thus, He has subjected them to you, that you glorify God as He has guided you; and give good news to the compassionate” (22:37).      

    “(Thus) the slaughtering of cattle in the name of God is purely symbolic, as the flesh or blood of the slaughtered animal does not reach God …the real goal is taqwa – heedfulness of God, which is also stressed in another verse (2:197).

    In the nomadic society of pre-Islamic Arabia, cattle head constituted the main instrument of asset. They were treated with honor, and sacrificed to please various deities. The Qur’an simply permitted the continuation of this rite, but reserved it only for God.

    Today, the pilgrim, barring exceptions, does not personally slaughter the cattle, nor does he eat its meat or share it with the poor (22:36). Besides, God’s bounty has multiplied exponentially and a cattle head is hardly a cherished asset as in the earlier times. It is therefore worth pondering whether mere slaughtering of cattle by arranging through a bank or agent, and then a state sponsored processing and distribution of the meat to poor nations really meets the letter or the spirit of the Qur’an - or there could be better ways to helping the world’s needy, such as through the generation of an International Hajj Relief Fund. God knows best!”

    There is yet another Qur’anic perspective to this debate. The Qur’an commands “Don’t insult those whom they invoke besides God…” (6:108). The cow is venerated by the Hindu community and there can be no greater insult to this mother-deity of theirs than to slaughter them openly in public places as in countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh during the yearly Eid ul Athha – a festival that is not mentioned in the Qur’an, and only symbolizes the hajj rituals.      

    [1] Muhammad Yunus and Ashfaque Ullah Syed, Essential Message of Islam, Amana Publications, USA 2009.


    By muhammad yunus - 11/7/2011 7:56:18 PM



  • Mike Maybury – The Qur’an prohibits only ‘free flowing blood’ (Verse 6:145)

    Syed Rizvi, The following extract from a recent exegetic work fully supports the substitution of haj slaughtering rights by a more meaningful method of offering a sacrifice to God. It is not from any angle of people’s perception of torture because the advocates of slaughtering can have arguments of their own to justify this ancient practice. It is a corollary of an interpretation of the Qur’anic verse on hajj rites in the context of the colossal expansion of asset base as your article mentions:

    The Qur’an declares: (As for the sacrificial animals), “Neither their flesh nor their blood reaches God, but your heedfulness (taw) does indeed reach Him. Thus, He has subjected them to you, that you glorify God as He has guided you; and give good news to the compassionate” (22:37).       

    “(Thus) the slaughtering of cattle in the name of God is purely symbolic, as the flesh or blood of the slaughtered animal does not reach God …the real goal is taqwa – heedfulness of God, which is also stressed in another verse (2:197).

    In the nomadic society of pre-Islamic Arabia, cattle head constituted the main instrument of asset. They were treated with honor, and sacrificed to please various deities. The Qur’an simply permitted the continuation of this rite, but reserved it only for God.

    Today, the pilgrim, barring exceptions, does not personally slaughter the cattle, nor does he eat its meat or share it with the poor (22:36). Besides, God’s bounty has multiplied exponentially and a cattle head is hardly a cherished asset as in the earlier times. It is therefore worth pondering whether mere slaughtering of cattle by arranging through a bank or agent, and then a state sponsored processing and distribution of the meat to poor nations really meets the letter or the spirit of the Qur’an - or there could be better ways to helping the world’s needy, such as through the generation of an International Hajj Relief Fund. God knows best!”

    There is yet another Qur’anic perspective to this debate. The Qur’an commands “Don’t insult those whom they invoke besides God…” (6:108). The cow is venerated by the Hindu community and there can be no greater insult to this mother-deity of theirs than to slaughter them openly in public places as in countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh during the yearly Eid ul Athha – a festival that is not mentioned in the Qur’an, and only symbolizes the hajj rituals.


    By muhammad yunus - 11/7/2011 7:55:03 PM



  • I learned recently that Aqeeqa (slaughtering a lamb to welcome a new-born child) is not a requirement in Islam. So let us not celebrate our baby by killing someone else's baby.
    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 11/7/2011 3:59:32 PM



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