By Faizan Jaleel
Faizan Jaleel, animal advocate and Muslim, gives a compassionate and clarifying insight into the original intent and meaning of Eid – Editor
Many million goats, cows, bulls, camels, sheep and buffaloes have already been slaughtered (sacrificed) in the way of Allah (the most merciful, beneficent and loving) – when we refer to Allah as a Muslim with faith on the holy Quran, it goes out without effort that we are referring to ALLAH – the most merciful, beneficent and loving and this does not limit only to Humans but to all the life and life forms in the entire Universe. When I see it in the reflection of blood and pain that poor animals are subjected to during the festival, I feel pained at the very abject misunderstanding of Islam and Allah’s wishes by my fellow brothers and sisters.
It is indeed very difficult for a Muslim to unlearn and relearn especially in terms of religion or may be this holds true for every religion as presented by humans in their current form. “How can we give up Qurbani (ritual sacrifice of an animal), what will people say” or “I have the best and the most expensive Bakra (Goat)” or “I sacrificed three goats and a bull” – this certainly is not what Allah wanted to convey through the pinnacle of sacrifice that Prophet Ibrahim undertook and selflessly performed. He was pained at the thought of sacrificing his son, with tears in his eyes and since he was not able to see what he was supposed to do, he blindfolded himself – that was the pain of sacrifice and there was this lesson – that Allah may want you to sacrifice whatever and however dear it may be to you! And today what have we made of this lesson is for ourselves to introspect and decide. You may not be able to or may find it very difficult to hold up against the communities satirical comments and remarks but in your heart you will understand and know that this is not what is required, may be letting go of a goat (letting her live) that you just bought out of your savings is a better sacrifice than slaughtering that poor animal to prove that you are an abiding muslim and live your life in accordance with what you have seen and experienced (not studied and understood)!!
Indeed Allah the merciful, beneficent and loving has created everything in this universe and mankind is supposedly the best of all the creations and yes indeed Allah has allowed to us the meat of certain animals and all the good things like fruits and vegetables but in giving us all this, Allah has given us a choice of selection – and the choice is ours to make!
There is nowhere in the holy Quran mentioned that you will not be considered a Muslim if you do not consume meat or you will not be a good muslim if you only consume veggies and fruits. So the choices we make are all ours and putting these choices on Allah’s will is sheer ignorance and lack of will to stand up to what is right.
To make my point more simple, Islam has defined what is called as the “Five Pillars of Islam” – to be considered as five primary obligations that each Muslim must fulfil in his/her life time and these are:
- Shahadah:The complete acceptance of faith that “there is no God but God and Muhammad is the messenger of God” – one statement or as we call it the “Kalma” that expresses a complete acceptance of Islam and commitment towards it.
- Salah: The prayers, (five times a day) second pillar of Islam, Islamic faith is based on the belief that individuals have a direct relationship with Allah
- Zakat: Almsgiving is the third pillar of Islam, it is an obligation for each Muslim to give Zakat, a certain percentage of the net worth (2.5%) has to be given on a regular basis
- Sawm: Fasting during the month of Ramadan is the fourth pillar of Islam
- Hajj: The pilgrimage to Makkah is the fifth pillar of Islam and a duty for all the Muslims in the world who are physically and financially capable of taking up the journey.
These five pillars provide the basic identity to a Muslim and as we can see, it no where includes eating meat, or slaughtering animals for business and food as a mark of a Muslim.
I can say from my own exposure and experience to a multitude of muslim communities across India that a majority of Muslims find it quite difficult to follow these basic pillars of Islam. But a majority of the same Muslims will sacrifice a goat or any other allowed animal to reiterate the misleading fact of being a Muslim or being a part or larger Ignorance of Muslims.
I get many messages with abuses, hurts and full of indecency for my efforts to portray the very polite, humane and natural side of Islam and I know with conviction that my Allah wants me to do this. However I best ignore them as they are work of misguided minds and lack of enlightenment. They have read the scriptures but haven’t yet understood the meaning – the same way as this year on Eid al Adha, they have slaughtered many animals, millions of them without making any sacrifice!!!
I have firm faith that things will change and cruelty will end – someday soon we will have our EID – of peace, love and compassion!
Do visit and like my page on facebook: “Celebrate Eid al Adha without Cruelty”
This year we did engage with some, Inshallah till next Eid we will have more enlightened minds to spread the message of peace and love for all life forms!
To visit the Facebook page “Celebrate Eid al Adha without Cruelty,” click here.
Caution: Some of the photos are very graphic.
Top photo: © Tsiumpa / Dreamstime.com