of years ago, our religious father Hazrat Ibrahim, driven by his love and
submission to God, laid his beloved son Hazrat Ismail on the ground to
the supreme sacrifice, attempting to give up the person he loved best in this
world, for what he believed to be the command of his Creator. God, pleased by
this obedience, sent a ram to be sacrificed instead and declared Hazrat Ibrahim
His friend (Khalilullah).
remembrance of this sacrifice, this ritual was made a part of Haj. Animals,
brought up with love and care, would be sacrificed for God, as a token of
submission to the command of God.
It is a
demonstration of ‘Islam’ (submission) and our readiness to lay down everything
we hold dear, to do what God commands us. It is our promise to sacrifice our
desires, our wishes, our aims and our worldly freedom, to do what God would
have us do: to be upright and side with justice and goodness.
years, the spirit of submission to God and sacrificing our selfish desires has
morphed, in many cases, into a show of wealth, lack of consideration to
sacrificial animals and the overconsumption of meat. Buying the highest-priced
animal is often viewed as a matter of pride and shown off not only in the
neighbourhood, but also in the social media.
ready to love God so much as to be prepared to relinquish the pleasures of this
inject their innocent cattle with drugs to swell up their bodies so that they
can obtain higher prices. Unwittingly, buyers may be conned into buying sick
demonstration of apathy to animals is to slaughter them in front of other
animals. A crowd gathers around to watch, even as young men doubling up as
butchers lay their blunt knives on the animals, without knowledge of where to
slaughter while inflicting least pain.
being merciful and kind to animals that depend upon us, we are unfeeling
How many of
us ponder over the incident that we pay homage to, and which person amongst us
would dare to imagine what Hazrat Ibrahim went through as he prepared for this
sacrifice? How should, then, these thoughts reflect over our manner of
fulfilling this ritual?
lives, sacrifice means giving up what our nafs is egging us on to do —
something that we are aware is not right, yet we are attracted towards it
because it will give us momentary pleasure. Giving it up and turning to God is
the spirit of sacrifice. Are we ready to love God so much as to be prepared to
relinquish the pleasures of this life? Can we inculcate this spirit as we think
of Eidul Azha?
(PBUH) was known for his kindness to animals. He forbade cruel procedures of
branding animals, or cutting pieces of flesh from living ones. For slaughter,
he instructed that animals be given water to drink, knives be sharpened away
from them, beasts not be slaughtered in front of other animals and the process
So kind was
the Prophet and his companions to animals that it is believed that abused
animals will testify against their oppressors on the Day of Judgement.
sight during Eidul Azha is that of streets red with blood and swarms of flies
and crows hovering over offal. This is easily preventable, but only if the
spirit of sacrifice is within us.
ritual conducted while causing harm to others produces results opposite to what
are creations of God. He has made some of them for the service of humans: as
food and nourishment and others as a means to transport goods. Others are part
of nature, contributing to its beauty and grandeur.
species has a role to play in the circle of life. Humans do not have any right
to be cruel to animals, just as they cannot be cruel to other humans. They can,
however, for the sake of consuming their meat, kill animals under certain
conditions. These conditions have been prescribed in the Quran. These are
hunger and specific sacrifice.
is not a fardh (essential) for those who are not performing Haj. If we really
wish to remember Hazrat Ibrahim’s sacrifice, we can do a quiet sacrifice,
observing humane procedures, and further avoid the flow of blood and offal into
the streets. We can also give money for sacrifice elsewhere, with the meat
distributed among those who cannot afford it.
of sacrifice is for God to accept our desire to submit to Him. Neither blood
nor flesh reaches Him (22:37); it is only the good intent of believers that He
Sattar is a freelance contributor with an interest in religion.
Source: The Dawn, Pakistan