Emphasis on love for animals in holy Quran seems not to hold good for present day Muslims. No political party seems to be interested in taking up the matter of utmost importance. If the situation continues to worsen health and environment hazards will play havoc.
The legend about Bakr Id
Bakr Id is “celebrated” to commemorate the sacrifice demanded by God of Prophet Ibrahim – that he sacrifice his son Ishmael to prove that he loved God more than everyone. When God saw that Ibrahim was willing to kill his son he substituted an animal in his place. The story is apocryphal and is meant to show that God rewards faith in him. Present day Muslims have taken it literally and used it as an excuse for mass slaughter.
Holy Quran preaches to love animals
“There is not an animal on earth, nor a bird that flies on its wings – but they are communities like you.”(The Quran 6:38). When the Prophet was asked whether kindness to animals was rewarded in the life hereafter he replied “ Yes, there is a meritorious reward for the kindness to every living creature.”(Bukhari) . On the sanctity of life the Prophet admonished “ Avoid the seven abominations” and for one of these abominations he recited the following which is in the Quran “And kill not a living creature, which Allah has made sacrosanct,except for a justifiable reason.”(Al Tirmidhi and Al-Nasai)(The Quran 6:152 and 17:33) Surely a “festival for killing” is not a justifiable reason.
What Maulvi Idris Ahmed has to say
“Islam does not attribute any sanctity to the sacrifice of animals – it requires the sacrifice of inner selves.The flesh and blood of sacrificed animals shall never reach God but your devotion and piety will reach him” (The Quran 22:37)
Bakr Id today: The custom gone wrong
The fact today is that Muslims insist on killing the animals on that day and do not follow the rules of religion and the land. Whereas, if the killing of Bakr Id is to be allowed , then it should be in accordance with the set rules that the religion and the country have made for Bakr Id.
Forgotten Customs and Broken Laws
Custom: Goat should stay with the family for at least one year
Reality: Is bought just a day before Bakr Id
Most of the goats are bought just a day before Bakr Id. According to the custom goat is supposed to be the son of Ibrahim. So, it must be kept in the family as a member for a minimum of one year before it is killed.
Law: Should be killed in a designated place
Reality: Killed anywhere
As per India’s Law the animal is to be killed in a place meant for that purpose like an Idgah and not anywhere you please. But in fact, they are killed anywhere the owner feels like. They are not killed in any designated place. This is extremely dangerous and illegal. It brings resentment to other communities, it brings violence into the air, it pollutes the land and water, it brings in flies that are hazardous to everyone’s health, it becomes a vicious spectacle rather than a religious act.
Law: Bakr Id applies only to goats and not to any other animal
Reality: Bigger kill is considered better. Camels are the new found love of devoted butchers.
Most importantly, the word Bakr Id is specifically applicable to goats and India’s laws allow the event only with goats. It does not apply to killing any other animal. Muslims in this country have now started killing any species of animal. Year after year cows, bullocks and buffaloes are killed openly on Bakr Id. Camels are now being taken all over the country but specially the states of Kerala, Karnataka , Andhra Pradesh and Delhi to be killed. The rich Muslim has decided , the more money he has the larger the animal he needs to kill. Therefore camel killing is now growing more popular.
The joy of killing a camel ?
The man takes a razor blade and attaches it to a pole. He stretches it upwards to the throat of the camel and cuts it. This animal that is so like a human , starts crying. It has tears rolling down its eyes as the blood slowly stains the ground below it, drop by drop. Then, as he (or she) grows weaker, she drops to her knees and then lies down and then dies.
The Quran and the later commentaries say nothing about such massive killing. It is merely a social custom that has evolved over the years. It is a strange social custom that says you have to celebrate life by causing death.
Bakr Id: Is it really a “Festival”? I do not agree
The truth lies in the faith that I have in the founder of the religion Prophet Mohammad who was a vegetarian himself. He would have never wanted it this way. Some of the most beautiful writings against the killing of animals and eating them have come from him. I find it strange that his followers have a religion that is the only one that defines itself by the eating of meat.
Some facts that should not be ignored.1. Violent killing to celebrate a religion is wrong.
2. Keeping a pet for a years’ time and then killing it has a lasting impact on a child’s innocent mind.
They become loveless
Start considering violence and killing as normal
3. Ruthless killing of animals causes irreversible environmental and health hazards.
Authorities have turned a blind eye
Today , the Muslim kills buffaloes, bullocks, camels in violation of the law which specifies only goats. No Mullah opens his mouth even though he is aware of the specific nature of the sacrifice. No district authority does anything inspite of complaints that come in from weeks before Bakr Id when the camels start pouring, exhausted from their long trek from Rajasthan.
No politician does anything, no government opens their mouths to ask the police to regulate this criminal activity. Tomorrow, when the community decides to go after other animals like deer, neelgai and even tigers, what will the Mullahs do? Would the Prophet have approved?
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About the author
Maneka Gandhi is an environmentalist & animal rights leader in India and belongs to the Nehru-Gandhi political clan.She was a magazine editor & columnist before authoring several books on law, etymology & animal welfare like Sanjay Gandhi, Brahma’s Hair and Heads & Tails.Her articles regularly feature in newspapers and magazines.
She started PFA (People for Animals) which is now the largest animal rights organization in India.It’s shelters are known world wide for the immense work in animal welfare. For more information please visit PFA’s website http://www.peopleforanimalsindia.org