Who is making the sacrifice?
Eid ul Azha comes and goes and each year I question the slaughter of so many animals – goats, cows, sheep, camels? I am trying to understand the real meaning of ‘Qurbani’ which in literal terms means sacrifice. So the question arises: who is making the sacrifice? The humans or the animals? It couldn’t possibly be the human – who has just bought the animal a few days earlier with the specific purpose of slaughtering him on Eid day. What kind of sacrifice is the human being making? The money he spent on the purchase of the animal? Was this the concept behind the original sacrifice or was it something deeper?
My understanding is that the sacrifice of animals during the Hajj is meant to be a symbolic act that is meant to commemmorate Hazrat Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son to show his unquestioning obedience to God. However, where does it say in the Quran that the rest of us, who are not performing Hajj, should slaughter millions of animals in a 3-day period? How does it signify the sacrificing of anything that is near and dear to us?
I am not trying to undermine the fact that most people offer the sacrifice genuinely feeling that it is something that is expected of them as Muslims. They also feel it will help the poor as one-third of the meat is given to the needy. Many of the things we do, nonetheless, have become rituals and no-one actually delves into the whys and whereofs of some of these rituals. This probably comes from the inner belief that religion should not be questioned, just accepted.
However, I was listening to Abbas Hussain, an Islamic scholar, on Breakfast at Dawn on Dawn News and what he said made great sense. If we really believe that this is the time for the rest of us to be part of the Qurbani (sacrifice) process, then why don’t we offer something that will actually be a sacrifice? For example, a doctor could give 5 days of treatment to poor patients free; we could go work with orphans – teach them, feed them, play with them; things like that. Something that involves more than just giving money or slaughtering an animal. That’s an easy thing to do for those with money. Food for thought you think?
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