Its Eid-ul-Adha time again, you’ll see a lot of Sacrificing during next few days and possibly quite a lot of blood on streets. For some reason this year, there seems to be criticism on this Islamic practice of Sacrifice more than ever. The reply from Muslims have also been quite strong in favor of this practice. In this article, We’ll try to see what the objections are and the strength or weakness of Muslim Response.
1. In the name of God: I guess, the thing that bothers non-religious communities more than anything else is the nature of this practice. It will be a completely unfair objection from Secularists if they were to criticize on the consumption of Meat as they themselves consume Meat throughout the year, no wonder McDonald’s, KFC and Pizza Hut are the fastest growing Food Chains and majority of the stuff provided in these restaurants is either white meat or Red. One way or another, most of these critics do consume meat themselves, however what seems to be a matter of objection here is the kind of Obligation that Muslims feel towards this Practice.
The practice also reminds people the connection to the Pagan Days where people were illiterate enough to think that their sacrificing will make their God(s) happy which may result in some benefits and blessings
2. Cruelty: I’m aware of the Muslim claims about how gentle is the process of Islamic Slaughter, however what they fail to understand is that the world has a different view on this. The refusal of Muslims to consider adopting much humane ways for slaughtering that may also involve the use of Stun Injections before the animal can be slaughtered has made the non-Muslim world bit upset and label the Muslim Slaughtering method a Cruel.
ABC’s Four Corners did an extensive research in their TV Program that showed the details of how Islamic Slaughtering takes place in Indonesia. There was a huge outcry after this program and Australian Govt decided to stop exporting their Cattle to Indonesia. The Trade Relations only improved after a certain deals were made between the two countries and Indonesia agreed to improve the standards as per the modern day values of Animal Welfare.
A lot of YouTube Clips also adds to this criticism where some large animals such as Camels and Cows are being slaughtered in an inhumane way and people as well as kids are just running around while the animals are screaming and there is blood everywhere. Justifying your Religious Beliefs is one thing but supporting these kind of scenes is another. This surely looks inhumane and the Muslim response to simply ignore the Cruel side of this practice creates more frustration among Critics.
3. Waste of Money: This point has become the most controversial so far, while the world suggests that its a waste of Money to carry out such a large number Slaughtering within the span of a few days time, Muslims have a different point of view on this. They claim that it actually helps the Economy as it creates jobs for a lot of people and drives the business. That claim isn’t wrong entirely but with a few problems:
- The Economic Activity related to the Slaughtering Industry runs strong throughout the year and does not depend on a special yearly event. In fact all it does is to create an imbalance in the way this particular industry set its pricing for the cattle as we’ve witnessed in recent years that the Cattle has become extremely expensive in Muslim Majority countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia and etc.
- This imbalance of Pricing then adds a lot of pressure on the Middle Class section of Society where people find themselves in a kind of dilemma as the Society expects them to must do Sacrifice but they are unable to afford it. This again adds to the social injustice where the Rich people are able to show off with bigger and better Cattle to sacrifice in the name of Allah and they look down on those who could not afford to take part in the Islamic Ritual of Sacrifice.
- Clearly, the concentration at the moment in a lot of under-developed Islamic Countries should rather be on setting up the (long term) Economic Policies instead of this activity which appears to be a rather nuisance. Focus should rather be on creating a longer term policy of how this industry can flourish and provide sustainable jobs for a number of people throughout the year instead of one yearly activity where everyone tries to make as much money as possible and then disappears for the remainder period of year
- Its an argument filled with Fallacy that the Ritual helps feeding those poor people who cant afford to eat Meat. Does this mean Islam needs Poor people in order to survive ? What happens in the countries with high GDP such as Qatar and Brunei with a very small population who could be considered poor, do they still need to perform this ritual ? As mentioned earlier, the focus should be rather on empowering these poor people so that the poverty can be eliminated (gradually of course) and not on feeding them once an year.
4. Rigid Interpretation: This is I think the biggest problem associated with the ritual of Sacrifice in Islam. People have adopted a rather rigid interpretation of why this ritual is necessary and there is not much room for debate in terms of any other alternative that one can do please his / her God.
So for example, if it doesn’t make sense to you to waste your 20,000 Pakistani Rupees on sacrificing a goat and you decide to rather bind yourself to donate that (or even in fact more) money to Charity Organizations such as Edhi Foundation or Fatmid Foundation so that these organizations can function interdependently on longer term basis, your will have a really hard time to convince your Family and Social Circe about why are you not doing Sacrifice in the name of Allah. I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re even declared a Kafir (Infidel) for this by some lunatic bigots.
5. Walk the Talk: As it happens in many cases, this ritual too has a lot of hypocrisy involved. We like to claim that the Ritual is actually supposed to feed the Poor People but the ground realities show things other wise. Most of Urban Residents in Muslim Countries actually consume this meat for themselves and to distribute among Family and Friends instead of giving it away to poor people. Most of the people will consume extra ordinary amount of Meat during these few days that some of them will be found sick after this craze is over or at least you will find them saying that they don’t want to eat more meat for some time now as they have had enough.
I’ve little or no hope that my Muslim Friends will even read and understand the intentions behind writing this article or if the on-going crticism on this particular Ritual will ever make any sense to them but at the same time I also see a great hope as the Young Educated people of our society are now able to stand up and openly question the wisdom behind such Rituals …