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Friday, October 28, 2011

Eid-il-Adha: Allah needs not the blood

Eid-ul-Adha, also known as the festival of sacrifice is celebrated on the tenth day of Dhuj Hijja, the Islamic month world over. The festival is celebrated in the remembrance of prophet Abraham’s readiness to forfeit Ishmael, his son for God. The story tells how Allah told Abraham, to lift up the foundation of Ka'aba that was a holy place in Mecca. God al...so asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, in a dream. Abraham along with his son started moving towards Mina for the sacrifice when Allah stopped him and gave him a sheep to sacrifice instead of sacrificing his son. By Allah’s design, the sacrifice comes at the end of pilgrimage every year. Not only for those who did not make the trip to Saudi Arabia for the pilgrimage, even those on pilgrimage will have to observe the sacrifice.
The symbolic act finds expression in the benevolence of Allah and showing gratitude for His guidance and mercies for living. It is the duty of every capable Muslim. Once the animal is sacrificed then the meat of the animal is distributed among the friends, relatives, neighbours and poor people. Muslims communities on this day take care that no poor and needy Muslim is missed out to provide the sacrificial food. The Quran says: “Allah is One, He does not delight in flesh or blood but a symbol of thanksgiving to Allah by sharing meat with fellow-men.”
The solemn pronouncement of Allah's name over the sacrifice is an essential part of it, in fact the major act that without it, it renders the whole exercise useless. By the pronouncement, we're reminded that life is sacred, by that singular solemn invocation, we are numbed to the divine message that wanton cruelty is not our character but only for the need for food.
The sacrifice should be performed during the daytime, not at night. The knife to be used to cut the animal's throat should be hidden from the animal and must be very sharp, so much so that the least amount of force or pressure is needed to slice the animal's jugular vein, so it feels the least amount of pain. The Animal should be healthy, fed well and laid down facing the direction of the "Qiblah"
It should be noted that these days when people asked other Muslims to do the slaughtering for them, care should be taken that the person who will perform the sacrifice should not hurt the animal by clumsily jabbing away at its throat with a blunt knife, causing pain and fear. He should say "Bismillah Allahu Akbar" while the owner of the animal should recite as follows: Allahuma, Ini wajjahtu wajjhiya liladhi fatara samawati wal arda alaa milati Ibrahima hanifan, wama ana minal-mushirikin. Inna salati, wa nusukii, wamahyayah, wamamatii, li-Lahi rabil alameen. Lasharika lahu wabizhalika umirtu, wa ana minal-muslimeen. Allahuma azah adha minka wa laka.
"Indeed I turn my face towards The One Who originated the heavens and the earth; upon the way of Abraham, the unswerving one, and I'm not of those who commit shirk [polytheism]. Indeed my salah, my sacrifice, my living and my dying is for Allah, the Sustainer of the worlds. There is no associate with Him, and so I have been commanded, and I am from the ones who submit. O Allah! (This sacrifice) is from me, for You."
After it has been slaughtered, the blood should be allowed to drain completely from its body before it is skinned, disemboweled and chopped. It is absolutely forbidden to start skinning and cutting the animal when it is still alive or writhing. Some butchers, especially the amateur ones, who want to make the maximum amount of money on the day by slaughtering as many animals as possible for people, commit grave errors in the process. They should not be allowed to abuse the animal. Moreover, it is haram for Muslims to consume blood in any form. If the blood has not drained from the animal's body completely before it is cut up, it will remain in the veins inside the meat, thus rendering the meat "haraam" for consumption.
Almighty Allah does not need the blood nor the flesh of the meat. Lan Yanal'Laha luhumuha, wala dimahuha, Walakin yanaluhu takwa minkum, It is not their meat, nor their blood that reaches Allah; it is your piety that reaches Him . What He desires is your piety, period. The meat is skinned, and shared into three. One part for the family, another part for the neighbours, friends, and those who could not afford to make the sacrifice while the last part should be distributed to the need and the poor.