Saturday, December 09, 2006

Sacrifice: Here or There?

It's that time of the year again. Eid ul Adha.

The sort of forgotten Eid.

When we were growing up, this was a big Eid. All of a sudden cows (and goats) were everywhere. People compared sizes. Uncles got together and hatched plans on how to slaughter this bull because it was so wild. So they would have four people go this way, another four that way, lasso, pull and bam! the bull now lies on the side. A knife (which had been sharpened away from the bull's sight so as not to cause him trauma!) is now brought and placed against the bull's neck. The last thing I would remember from this sacrifice was the bull's stoic eyes as it stared - somewhat defiantly, somewhat resigned - before they became big, and then shut. Soon, the sands would become red and then water would be poured across to clean the area for the next sacrifice.

By the time we left for Canada, the government there had brought in regulations. No longer could you slaughter the animal beneath your building in the parking lot or on the sand nearby. You had to take it to a slaughter house, and so on.

Here, Eid was different. Everyone diligently waited for the Eid ul Fitr, as fasting is hard here. Everyone buys new clothes, jewelery, shoes and dress up for the occasion.

Qurbani Eid was different. All of a sudden, one day it's there. You go in the morning for prayers. Around 5 in the evening, your butcher calls you to pick up your meat. End of Eid.

Which brings me to a contentious issue: Should you give your sacrifice here, or back in desiland?

I have never believed the opinion that you don't really need to sacrifice an animal (because it is cruel). All you need to do is give that amount of money to the poor.

Well first, animals die so we can eat. It's a fact of life. When you do Qurbani you have to kill in the most humane manner.

Second, if Allah wanted you to have the option of spending the money rather than slaughter an animal, He would tell you so. He is pretty direct in most cases. So when He says we must slaughter a cattle, I think that's what He means.

So says Imam Mezba of the sect of Al-Blogifi.

So where to do it, here or there?

People who give the sacrifice back in desiland could have one of two reasons.

One, it's cheap. Let's face it - it's hard to part with 300 bucks when you could use another new digital camera or an ipod.

Or, most likely reason, they feel there's more poor there, so the meat and money generated due to this activity is better spent there. Noble reason.

However, I feel we have a responsibility to the community we live in, to our local habitat and to our poor neighbours. Zakat we can give to our poorer relatives over there.

The sunnah was to slaughter an animal where you live. Imagine if even one third of the 23% of Toronto that is Muslim slaughtered their zabihah here, and imagine if, as stipulated, one third of all those meat goes to the local food bank. Don't you think we would enjoy a good and fantastic reputation here?

Besides, there is one more advantage to sacrificing an animal here. You get to eat that meat. Which is also sunnah. I love these useful sunnahs.

I always opt for a goat. First, it's cheaper than a share of the cow. Second, you get the whole goat. So you can pick and choose which part of the meat you give to the poor and which one you keep.

Hey, no one said I was a saint.


Anonymous said...

I grew up in E.Africa.So on eids (both) we would buy goats. Since I was a girl, well, we were not to take the goats to go eat(bushes/grass,that grew around the neighbourhood). I remember vividly I would follow the neighbours kids (yes,I was kinda a tomboy those days),we would compare whose goat was bigger,stronger(yes, we made them fight),it was so exciting, feel really sad that my kids would miss all that hoohaa. The last eid I went back home, my daughter was only 2 yrs old and I didn't want to subject her to see the slaughtering of the goat,it would be too *harsh* and also she was really young. Once my sister in law told me this story about my brother in law, you see he never eats goat meat, so I wanted to know why. They told me that during the *big* eid, they had this goat that was at home since it was a kid(goat),my brother in law used to give it food/water, so one day, he comes home and he finds pple roasting some meat, they give him some to eat and he sits down eating and he asks his mom where his goat was,and they tell him,you are eating *it*. Well,so from then onwards he swore off eating goat meat! :( sf

mystic-soul said...

Imam Mezba of the sect of Al-Blogifi... heheheheh

Brilliant !!

Suroor said...

Imam Mezba, you are soooooooooo cute! I feel very sad on this Eid. I'm against cruelty to animals so I don't stare when the animal is being sacrificed. Aly is very good at slitting and staring! Recently we have started paying Red Crescent and they ensure that an animal is sacrificed in our name. I don't know how "kosher" this practice is but its convenient. Maybe this year we'll do it at the slaughter house. The only problem with that is RC doesn't accept meat and we don't have many Muslim relatives/friends to distribute the meat.

Saqi Namah said...

>>So says Imam Mezba of the sect of Al-Blogifi.

This is a Fiqh question, Dear Imam, what is your opinion on sacrificing Giraffes on Eid?

isheeta said...

saqi didnt ask me, but my opinion....

does they taste like chicken?

mezba said...

SF: Yes, I do miss the hullabaloo of this Eid that we enjoyed there. That was another reason I wanted to go visit B'desh - I would get the Eid.

Sad about your cousin brother though I couldn't help but stifle a chuckle at his goat predicament.

Mystic-soul: Shukran! Wah akhiri dawana anil hamdu lillah...

Suroor: As far as the poor is concerned I am not too sure they have to be Muslims. If you count all the conditions of zakat, charity and zabiha it's always income and circumstances leading to poverty. I am sure you can help non-Muslim poor and relatives. And who knows, it may be a softening of their hearts.

PS. I believe the early exposure to slaughtering those animals leads to toughening guys for some cruel facts of life :-)

mezba said...

In the name of Allah the Beneficient the Merciful.

Slaughtering of giraffe is permitted according to the Blogger 2 school of thought. After consulting with Sheikh Google, he is of the opinion that as long as the giraffe's face is pointing towards Kiblah it is permissible. This could be difficult because a) the giraffe has a long bendable neck and b) it is on the list of endangered species.

Allah knows best.
Seriously though, giraffe is on the list of halal animals. It's a grass eating grazing animal. I don't know if it is one of those sacrificable animals though (for example chicken is halal but not valid for Eid sacrifice).

Isheeta: I would assume it tastes like beef or venison. I wouldn't mind McGiraffe!

Anonymous said...

We can eat girraffe?seriously???sf

isheeta said...

do they violate the hooves principle? what about personal cuteness factor?

sonia said...

thank goodness i only had to experience this eid in dhaka twice - by the second year i'd worked out the only thing to do was to stay at home locked up hiding under the bed. I still can't believe the amount of bloodlust out there on the streets! And the whole place like one big abattoir. DId God say to kill everything alive on one day? Boy! that's some edict. Aren't we killing animals and eating them as food every other day? Personally i would have thought it's like thanksgiving - you say your thanks - and you have a day where you mark the fact that you're grateful for food. i get all that. saying thanks for food is one thing - im personally vegetarian but hey as you say meat is food - and we should offer thanks for our food. ( every day im sure..and share it with the poor too! ) that's all very well and good. but bloodlust - that's quite something else! and all these people competing as to how many animals they sacrificed. Gross. Umm - not quite in the spirit of the thing? ANyway...i daresay it would be nice if people shared their food more regularly and ..generally ..didnt' save all their 'goody-ness' for one day.

*the party pooper has spoken* ...

Aisha said...

I've done both. Given money to have an animal slaughtered overseas given to those in need. Done it here and given it to people I knew in need. But the level of need is incomprable from here to there. Plus when I gave it to people here I felt weird giving them charity because they are proud people. An anonymous donor is best. Though that can be done domestically too.

Personally I prefer overseas.

Abu Sinan said...

Good post. This is supposed to be the "big Eid."

The Bengali Fob said...

What a big conincidence! This week our local Bangladeshi Muslim community discussed where we would donate the meat and guess what? It's the local food bank! And why? Because we thought that it's high time that non-muslims realized what good we do. Most non-muslims don't even know we donate meat to the poor, that zakat is a must, and all the good things.

So yeah, I'm glad you were thinking along the same lines!

Another coincidence perhaps is th fact that you talk about ppl wanting to just donate money instead of slaughtering an animal. You're right, but hte reason they gave was that if everyone started to donate money then the whole tradition of sacrificing an animal will be gone!

I belive I'm a folower of your sect Imam Mezba. ;)

mezba said...

SF: seriously. Giraffe is halal as far as I know. It satisfies all the criteria. I think it falls in same class as deer.

Isheeta: Hooves factor only applies to Jews. For Muslims, that distinction is absent.

"Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you." – Leviticus 11:4

Also, the Quran states,
" And for the Jews We have forbidden all that have claws; and from the cattle and the sheep We forbade their fat except what is attached to the back, or entrails, or mixed with bone. That is a punishment for their rebellion, and We are truthful." – Al-An'am 6:146

As for halal meats,

"Forbidden to you are: dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which hath been invoked the name of other than Allah. that which hath been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by being gored to death; that which hath been eaten by a wild animal; unless ye are able to slaughter it; that which is sacrificed on stone [Altar?]; [forbidden] also is the division by raffling with arrows: that is impiety..." – Al-Maidah 5:3

Sorry, unable to find anything in the Quran with regards to cuteness factor.

Sonia: Yes, competing in Eid is something not desired. The idea is to learn to sacrifice, and even those that do not eat meat go through the pain of losing money, seeing how the poor lives and feeling their want. As for blood lust, Dhaka should make laws about killing animals in slaughter houses. But when people are being killed on the streets, what's a cow or two?

mezba said...

Aisha: Yes I think people there are in too much need than those here (besides they have government assistance, welfare and whatnot), but my feeling is that we must do it here because we also have a duty to our locality. Besides, I feel, when we help poor people back home, we are placing their suffering at a higher worth than the poor here. Just my opinion. As I said, here or there, we HAVE to sacrifice.

Abu Sinan: Thanks. One Eid here we DID go to the slaughter house and have it done the traditional way where we cut up the meat and all that. It was so unorganized and a mess that we decided from next time, we would let our butcher do all the work.

Bfob: That's such a great piece of news. Given that the community of Ottawa is small, it should be much more notable. You are welcome to the sect of Imam Mezba!

Saqi Namah said...

(Homer Simpson) Giraffes, Mmmm ....

sonia said...

yep mezba, im not objecting to people eating animals for food or the killing of some animal. but the bloodlust thing i found 'weird'
( - atavistic perhaps?) - okay if it went to an abattoir it would be more 'pleasant' and i daresay we wouldn't find out about the bloodlust. the sacrificing the animals on the street brought out itnto the open. it's an interesting point - for me - anyway. people seemed to be a bit delirious. i mean a sacrifice is just that, right - a sacrifice. what's the meaning of the word? we seem to have lost out on that a bit. what i found disturbing ( im interested in human nature - and i was still a child then ) was the glee/celebration in all the actual killing. im interested that the distinction isn't picked up on usually. celebrating the killing of an animal vs. the celebration of food. yeah it can be conflated in people's minds - and of course there doesn't necessarily have to be a focus on the killing which is of course a means to an end.
in my long-winded way im trying to say that i picked up on sth in that experience which i felt was a bit 'dodgy' - that's what i meant by the term 'bloodlust'. i felt that the sacrifice of the animal and the ritual around the offering of thanks for the food appeared to suit a lot of people's instincts in some way.

ah well. no one else seems interested in analysing this sort of stuff. i think most people just want to follow their religion and not observe too closely the effect /dynamics of society around them. it's an identity thing for so many of us isn't it? i find your blog interesting mezba because you seem to be quite an acute 'observer' of society. ( and an amusing one) Hence me leaving all these bits and pieces of my thoughts on your blog..

Aadil said...

I personally believe you should sacrifice a goat. God wants it. He wants to see if you care for him and if you will do a such thing like that. I beleive it is cruel, but I also believe that you should. Give your money to sacrifice a got, but give more to the needy. Thanks.