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  • Writer's pictureAslam Abdullah

The Pilgrimage: Saving Humans and Sacrificing Animals

The Eid ul Adha, the festival built around the sacrifice offered by Prophet Abraham, the patriarch, is an annual event Muslims celebrate worldwide. Those who can afford it spend between 250 and 600 dollars per animal in the US. Two-thirds of the meat goes to friends and people experiencing poverty. Thus, Muslim keep a long tradition of Prophet Abraham.

The Quran describes the event leading to this tradition in the following manner.

And Abraham prayed: "O my Sustainer! Bestow upon me the gift of [a son who shall be] one of the righteous!" – after that, We gave him the glad tiding of a boy-child gentle (like himself)

And (one day, when [the child] had become old enough to share in his [father's] endeavors, the latter said: "O my dear son! I have seen in a dream that I should sacrifice you: consider your view!" [Ishmael] answered: "O my father! Do as you bid: you will find me, if God so wills, among those who are patient in adversity.

But as soon as the two had surrendered themselves to [what they thought to be the will of God], and [Abraham] had laid him down on his face, we called out to him: "O Abraham, you have already fulfilled [the purpose of] that dream-vision!" Thus, certainly, do We reward the doers of good: or, behold, all this was indeed a trial, clear in itself." And We replaced him with a tremendous sacrifice and left him thus to be remembered among later generations. (37:100-108)

Prophet Abraham considered his dream a divine revelation. His son, Prophet Ishmael, believed in his father's interpretation, and both decided to make the dream reality.

But the divine will was different. He did not seek human sacrifice. He appreciated and applauded the gesture of father and son, but did not let them proceed with the plan.

Traditions say that a ram replaced Ishmael on the altar. Muslims follow this tradition annually, even though there is no historical or Quranic evidence that Prophet Abraham or Prophet Ishmael's mother, Hagar, sacrificed animals commemorating the event.

Can we think outside the traditions? Arabs practiced animal sacrifice during the Hajj to ensure that people traveling from far and near did not have to worry too much about food. Those who could afford it offered the sacrifice and distributed two-thirds to friends and people in need. It was and is an act of sacrifice by people who can afford it. It is a practice that pilgrims follow until today. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia distributes the bulk of the sacrificial meat worldwide to needy people.

However, only a few million perform the Hajj. But Muslims all over the world offer animal sacrifices. Pakistan sacrifices nearly 8.1 million animals worth 251 million dollars).

In the US, Muslims spend millions to keep the tradition alive. This amount of money the affluent Muslims spend can bring safe water and decent housing to millions worldwide. It can create hundreds of schools, hospitals, and orphanages and help millions out of poverty.

Let us ask ourselves: would God be more pleased with feeding sacrificial meat to the poor, or using resources to take people out of poverty? We need to understand the divine guidance in the context of time. With 50-plus percent of the world still in the jaws of poverty, we must look at the purpose of sacrifice. Prophet Abraham wanted to offer his dearest one to please God, and God had willed something else. Remember; it was the Prophet's choice, not God's dictate. The moral of the tradition is evident. Save humans. In the case of Prophet Abraham, it was an animal, as practices explain. It could be a school, hospital, orphanage, or drinking water in our time.

Can we think out of the box? The real purpose of sacrifice is to use one's precious resources to serve and save humans. Hajj is an annual reminder to focus on this aspect of sacrifice.

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2 коментарі

16 черв. 2023 р.

Fully endorse your views. This is another man-made ritual practiced in the name of Islam. We must UNDERSTAND Quran and FOLLOW it.


Syed Azeemuddin
Syed Azeemuddin
14 черв. 2023 р.

Feeding sacrificed meat to the poor brings strength to the body and we should continue the act of feedImg to the poor and relatives,yes there r many problems in the world and let us concentrate on one problem and take care of it then go to the next Dont open the pandora box Allah give humbleness and give the ability to understand before this brain stops analyzing what is fed to it like a cumuter

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