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Sunday, October 06, 2013

Facebook Discussion: Does the Qu'ran have specific verse/s on slaughtering animals EVERY YEAR?

Mac Haque:  4 October near Dhaka

DEBATE/DISCUSS: With all due respect to everybody's 'religious sentiments' - I just need to know from any (or many) of my enlightened friends here on Facebook if they can cite me one verse from the Qu'ran that mentions specifically that it is obligatory on all Muslims to slaughter an innocent animal EVERY YEAR during Eid Al Adha to appease Allah? Please no references or argument points from Hadith etc.....stay strictly to the Qu'ran. Thanks

Rubayet Choudhury:  “Then when (the son) reached the age of serious work with him, he said: “Oh my son! I see in vision that I offer thee in sacrifice: Now see what is thy view!” (The son) said: “Oh my father! Do As thou art commanded: Thou wilt find me, if Allah so wills one practicing patience and constancy!” So when they had both submitted their will to Allah, and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead for sacrifice, We called out to him, “Oh Abraham! Thou hast already fulfilled the vision!” Thus indeed do We reward those who do right. For this was obviously a trial and We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice.” The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 37, Verses 102-107.

"And for all religion We have appointed a rite [of sacrifice] that they may mention the name of Allah over what He has provided for them of [sacrificial] animals. For your god is one God, so to Him submit. And, [O Muhammad], give good tidings to the humble [before their Lord]" The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 22, Verse 34. 

“ It is not their meat nor their blood, that reaches Allah: it is your piety that reaches Him: He has thus made them subject to you, that ye may glorify Allah for His guidance to you: And proclaim the Good News to all who do right.” The Holy Qur'an, Chapter 22, Verse 37.

Mac Haque : Rubayet Choudhury agree with the verses..but doesnt answer my it an obligatory 'rite' every year for all well to do Muslims?

Rubayet Choudhury:  .. like the Eid-ul-Fitr that is attached and celebrated after a month long Fasting; Eid-ul-Adha is indeed an important yearly Islamic ritual that is attached to the yearly Pilgrimage Hajj. However, like the Hajj itself that is NOT a compulsory ritual for every Muslim who cannot afford to go for Hajj, the sacrificing of an animal is also NOT a compulsory ritual for every muslim who cannot afford to buy a sacrificing animal. “It is not their meat nor their blood, that reaches Allah: it is your piety that reaches Him". But if a muslim is capable of buying even a small sheep or ram after meeting his other financial obligations then he/she must sacrifice this year. If their financial status doesn't stay the same the year after. then this same person doesn't have to do the sacrifice as his/her financial status has changed within this one year period.

Mac Haque:  Rubayet Choudhury what u mention are suppositions 'then he/she must sacrifice this year' and from Hadith...there is no final statement in the Qu'ran in my understanding. How can one have piety if we cannot justify slaughtering an innocent animal? How can Allah be 'pleased by such wanton butchery?

Rubayet Choudhury:  .. Maqsood Bhai, do we feel the same pain when someone cuts a tree? Or do we feel the same pain or have similar perspective when we sacrifice a plant to make our vegetable foods? Or even fish? Every creation of Allah’pak is a ‘life form’ made in different reality, and Allah’pak is ‘above’ all of these realities. When we break a tree leaf and see a white colour juice is dripping, what is that? That is the blood of the tree created for a different purpose i.e. to make adhesive or for other herbal medical usage. 

But as our reality with ‘blood’ is different, we feel hurt that we are sacrificing an innocent animal. But it is the same thing as a tree, because being a life form it also endures the pain, but it doesn't affect us the way when we see the same with a tree plant or even when we kill a fish. 

The entire nature is created for the ‘service’ of mankind and the One who created this nature knows the best. All we are asked to follow the teachings of Prophet Muhammad [pbuh] as the Holy Qur’an was revealed upon him.

Ashrafuzzaman Minhaz:  The Quran states that Abraham had a dream in which he believed God was instructing him to sacrifice his son. What should be obvious, yet is overlooked, is that at no point does the Quran state the dream was from God or that God demanded this sacrifice. This is an important distinction to make since the insistence for animal sacrifice is based upon the notion that Abraham's vision came from God and God instructed Abraham to sacrifice his son. In fact it should be noted that God interjects to stop Abraham from sacrificing his son.

The next distinction to make in the story has to do with a translation of the last line -- "And We ransomed him With a momentous sacrifice."

In some translations of the Quran the term "Momentous sacrifice" has been replaced with animal sacrifice. There seems to be some debate among scholars on this last, but crucial, sentence. Quranic scholars such as Muhammad Asad have further interpreted this line to read "mighty" or "tremendous" and have indicated (in their references) that Abraham, himself, not God, sought out a Ram for slaughter.

In fact the Abrahamic sacrifice had nothing to do with the physical act of blood-letting. Abraham's sacrifice was ACTUALLY about his willingness to let go of the most important thing in his life, in order to fulfill, what he perceived to be, the will of the Divine Creator.

In order to properly commemorate Abraham's sacrifice it's important to ask ourselves if we are giving up something of intense value when we reduce the sacrifice to slaughtering an animal. Are we really making the same type of emotional and mental sacrifice that Abraham made? If not, then how exactly are we enhancing our spiritual development by continuing with this tradition?

Mac Haque : Rubayet Choudhury I do acknowledge your points but you have not been able to come up with a specific verse about slaughter every year. We are not practicing Qurbani, we are only showing off our wealth at the expense of a life of these poor creatures. The origins of Qurbani was to ensure that man did not turn to cannibals - and the lamb that replaced Ishmael was symbolic in the sense of the misconception of humans as slaughter wihich does predate Islam. Today we have diseased, steroid fattened animals up for slaughter. Our entire food chain has become corrupted due to this rite which has nothing to do with Islam or is there any specific instruction to kill an animal every year. Last if not the least, the Quran is merely an address book about the 'location' of Allah. However if there is any verifiable document for the existence of Allah it is in the creation called humans. The more we stray and make Allah an us vs HIM thing, or have a 'hub and spoke' notions of the 'creator and creation' - I am afraid it is our ignorance and not intellect that will reveal itself. Allah lives in all of us. If we insensibly kill an animal thinking it is Allah who is 'appeased', we have killed both Allah and ourselves.

Nabila Khalid:  I don't get it! What do you mean by life of these poor creatures? As if we do NOT kill them when it is not Qurbani? WHat? Are we vegetarians through out the year and ONLY kill these creatures on Eid day? That's not right. So the question can be is it religious or not? NOT if it is right or wrong. Because if slaughtering them is wrong then it should be wrong through out the year why pick on Qurbani eid in specific? No point.

Rahim Choudhary:  Mac Haque has done a great service to all of us by bringing this question up on this forum. Thank you. The answer to the inquiry by Mac seems to be a clear NO. It seems that Quran has nothing to the effect that it is obligatory on a SAHIB_E_NISAAB man to sacrifice an animal. We should perhaps move on to Hadith to examine if there is some such instruction in Hadith literature, based on which this practice is promulgated. I look forward to find out the detail from Hadith.

Sadiq M. Alam:  Just as without Lalon Sain ji, there is no Lalon Song. Similarly without (faith and reverence) to the Messenger, the Message is of no value. If I say, I dont care about the Messenger (or his practice, or his inner reality, or how he acted or asked us to act), then I cant prove myself to be more religious or pious by sticking to the Message.

The reason I say that because many actually argue like this, "Show me in the Quran, dont show me in Hadith.. " but its like saying, "Sing me a Lalon Song but dont talk about Lalon to me, I am not interested in him."

If someone is not interested what the Prophet did, said, embodied, expressed, kept silent on, gave permission for, then he, she may not even have any interest for the Message. Cause if you distrust and feel unloving to the Messenger (by you i dont mean personally, but generally speaking), then how can you trust his Message.

Quran clearly says, Obey Allah and Obey the Messenger. That encompasses the action of the Messenger. And that includes, without doubt the natural practice of sacrificing animal. Animal was sacrificed left and right, still done. Religion say do it with reverence for life, do it in the name of the One who gives life and death - thats it. The science of Hadith is one of the most cited, referenced and well research subject in human history even much before citation, reference, chain of reference, multiple reference in research was even invented in modern academia. Its just our ignorance that make us look down upon hadith, whereas they are the most prizes source for devotees of the Messenger to get the first layer of knowledge about their object of devotion. 

As for the issue of Sacrifice, see here all the references of Sacrifice as a central act from the dawn of humanity.


Sadiq M. Alam:  By the way, as for the custom of sacrifice, my personal take on it is this: Sacrifice is integral part of Hajj, not something that every non-Hajj muslim has to do. A muslim can skip sacrifice cause its not an obligatory act.

Since we sub-continental people love eating and everything to do with eating, all religious things that involves eating, we are super do people. Be it Ramadan Iftar or Eating Meat in Eid. 

But Islamically speaking, Sacrifice is not something each Muslim has to do. Its only a part of Hajj and those who are not doing Hajj, its not obligatory. Thats just my findings and opinion, not mainstream so called religiously correct fatwa.

Nabila Khalid:  Respect!

Mac Haque : Sadiq M. Alam both your post throw two separate axioms into this debate/discussion among friends. When you say "Sing me a Lalon Song but dont talk about Lalon to me, I am not interested in him." - you are actually stating an important fact. The persona of Lalon sHAIji is unimportant in the Sharsina e Faqiri schools of thought in Bengal. If there is any way we may ever get to know or understand him it is in the gems encapsulated in his nearly recorded 1200 songs - and almost a similar number that have either gone missing or were usurped by dubious interest. In nearly 123 years after his transition, we are only beginning to scratch at the surface.

Brings us to 'follow the Messenger' it a singular or plural expression? I thought it was plural. From Abraham down to Muhamad (pbuh) all were messengers - yet the finality of the Messages has been left to human introspection. That is the beauty of the Qu'ran. I am more than confident in 1500 years what we have gathered from/about the Qu'ran will not exactly be the same in the coming 1500. Fundamentally I disagree with the words of the Hadith's cause despite the seeming 'scientific' retinue, it is a shame that 6 Hadith books will give you 6 different interpretations of the same thing! 

Seperately, some of these obnoxious Hadith writers have strayed as far as to write utter nonsense about the Prophet's personal life which is the cause of many of the slurs and bad name given to the Messenger and Islam. Further there are some Hadithi Muslims who consider the Qu'ran is incomplete, so hence we are left with no choice but to believe them? I would not like to believe anything that is 'man made' and like it or not, would like to leave it to my limited intellect to find answers - or maybe ask questions and as difficult as they may be (and as unpopular s it may make me), it's better to seek answers than dwell in blind faith.

About animal slaughter - thanks for clarifying. Ultimately its the reckless consumption and the tendency to show off that speaks volumes about our so called Taqwa or piety. I do go around visiting villages in Bangladesh and the rarest thing to see these days is a cow pulling a plough. There are hardly any cows left. A friend talked about animals coming from nature...but in our reckless consumption - do we take the pain to rear cows or goats in the proportions that we consume them? We are dependent on India who neither eats these animals nor have the means to feed them  But what about the steroid being pushed into the cows to fatten them? What about the cows thrown off the hills of Meghalaya because it is cheaper to throw them off and let 10% of these animals die (they are quickly slaughtered and sold in the nearest market) then to transport them by trucks? I mean how more ruthless can we get to satiate our taste buds in our vain attempts to 'appease Allah' ?

Last if not the consider the case of organic milk in Bangladesh these days. I for one have to make a 10km trip each week to fetch milk for my daughter. That is not all, I have to stand in a queue and have to wait over an hour, and all I get is maybe 2 kgs..3 if I am lucky. Sad state of affairs in a nation of 160 million people were daily no more than a million cows are slaughtered anyway - and perhaps 20 million on that special day where Allah seems to forgive all our sins and is 'appeased'? How more ridiculous can we get?

Habib Rahman: In a greater sense the idea of Sacrificing animal in Islam is related to (1) human sustenance and to (2) the rites of Hajj. However, the following verses from Sura Hajj can be consulted for insight into the matter: 34) And for all religion We have appointed a rite [of sacrifice] that they may mention the name of Allah over what He has provided for them of [sacrificial] animals. For your god is one God, so to Him submit. And, [O Muhammad], give good tidings to the humble [before their Lord] (35) Who, when Allah is mentioned, their hearts are fearful, and [to] the patient over what has afflicted them, and the establishers of prayer and those who spend from what We have provided them. (36)And the camels and cattle We have appointed for you as among the symbols of Allah; for you therein is good. So mention the name of Allah upon them when lined up [for sacrifice]; and when they are [lifeless] on their sides, then eat from them and feed the needy and the beggar. Thus have We subjected them to you that you may be grateful. (37) Their meat will not reach Allah, nor will their blood, but what reaches Him is piety from you. Thus have We subjected them to you that you may glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and give good tidings to the doers of good. (38) Indeed, Allah defends those who have believed. Indeed, Allah does not like everyone treacherous and ungrateful. (The translations are from the `Saheeh Translation'.

Rahim Choudhary: Thank you everybody. The discussion was useful and conclusive. The conclusion seems to be:
1. Sacrificing an animal is required only as a part of the Haj manasik.
2. Sacrifice of an animal is NOT required otherwise as far as Quran is concerned.
3. Sacrificing of an animal is NOT required also by Hadith (if I got brother Sadiq M. Alam correctly). 

It is time to take a pause and think, where did this custom come from? Because it did not come as a requirement from Quran or Hadith!!!

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