Philosophy of Animal Sacrifice on ‘Id

Philosophy of Animal Sacrifice on ‘Id


Queries

Question: What is the philosophy of animal sacrifice? Can we spend in charity instead?

Answer: Before I answer your question let me first point out that animal sacrifice is an optional worship ritual on 'id. It is not mandatory; however, it is highly desirable if its underlying philosophy and wisdom is understood.

Now coming to this philosophy:

There are many things which must not be taken on their face value; they have a deeper significance and philosophy. They symbolize certain realities and are not an end in themselves. For example, a country's flag symbolizes its national entity and honour. The piece of cloth in itself is nothing if we come to think of it; however, if we view it as a representative of our solidarity and honour, we may become so emotional about it that our patriotism will not let us drop it to the ground. We would even lay down our lives for it. The second thing that perhaps needs to be considered is that once a country's flag is invested with such significance, no other act or practice can replace it or replace our sentiments for it. Thus for example we cannot say that a country's national anthem can replace its flag – both have their own independent significance.

Animal sacrifice is also a symbolic act. It is not an end in itself as the prayer or the zakah for example are. It is a means to an end. We must discover the end.

The reason for animal sacrifice on eid is to commemorate a great event which depicts an extraordinary expression of submission to the command of Allah – the essence of Islam. The Prophet Abraham (sws) while obeying the Almighty set a platinum example of this submission. When we offer an animal in sacrifice, we actually symbolize our intention that we are ready to sacrifice our lives for the cause of God whenever the need arises.

Another conclusion that can be drawn is that no other act of worship can replace animal sacrifice since animal sacrifice has a specific significance. It is much like saying that hajj and zakah are not interchangeable since both have their own purpose and importance.

Actually an important thing which hinders our understanding of animal sacrifice is that we think that its primary purpose is to feed the poor and hence the question instantaneously comes to our mind as to why we cannot help the poor in some other more productive way like, for example, providing them with vocational training or sending the younger lot to school. Now what needs to be realized is that feeding the poor is a secondary purpose of animal sacrifice. Its primary purpose as explained above is to symbolize the fact that today we are presenting this animal for sacrifice to God -- tomorrow if a need arises, we will present our life too for the cause of God. So it is primarily this symbolism which must always be looked at when understanding the act of animal sacrifice and not feeding of the poor with the slaughtered animal's meet. Moreover, it is to this reality that the following verse points:

لَن يَنَالَ اللَّهَ لُحُومُهَا وَلَا دِمَاؤُهَا وَلَكِن يَنَالُهُ التَّقْوَى مِنكُمْ كَذَلِكَ سَخَّرَهَا لَكُمْ لِتُكَبِّرُوا اللَّهَ عَلَى مَا هَدَاكُمْ وَبَشِّرِ الْمُحْسِنِينَ (37:22)

The flesh and blood [of] these [sacrificed animals] does not reach God; it is only your piety that reaches Him. Thus has He subjected them to your service so that you may give glory to God for guiding you. [This is the way of the righteous] and [O Prophet!] give glad tidings to these righteous. (22:37)

Thus, while helping the poor in various ways is itself a very commendable practice, yet it cannot take the place of animal sacrifice.

______________




Articles by this author


Successful Parents

The “Successful Spouse” Test

Let us Value what We have

Dear Husbands … If I may say!

The “Blind Drill”

Life goes on all the same!

Prayers can Move Mountains!

Two types of “Junk Food”

Reforming Our Conduct

Supplications from the Hadith

Supplications from the Qur’an

A Small Act of Kindness

Respecting the Privacy of our Mature Children

Explanation of Some Jarh Terms

Selections from Hadith

Your Questions Answered

Two Tough Trials

Benefiting from Criticism

Your Questions Answered

The Cause of Truth

Your Questions Answered

Selections from Hadith

Restraining our Wounded Pride

Selections from Hadith

The Power of One

Preparing for the Inevitable!

Selections from Hadith

Let us Refuse to Lose!

The Sound of Silence

Selections from Hadith

Let us Enjoy every Moment of our Lives

Lets be Just, Come what May!

Selections from Hadith

Beware of the three C’s: Cynicism, Criticism and Complaint

Never Give Up!

Do We have a Spiritual Part of the Day?

Tears of Old Parents … for their Children

Life goes on all the same!

The Decorum of Criticizing Others

Tears that would not stop!

Selections from Hadith

Hobbies we must have!

Death in Innocence

“Thank you” Culture

Visit to an Old Home

We Owe it to Our Society

Experiencing God

Discovering our Inner Talent

The Battle for Honesty Continues!

Saintly Sinners

Secret to Inner Peace

Your Questions Answered

Small Acts of Kindness

Illness can be a Boon!

Philosophy of Animal Sacrifice on ‘Id

Tears of Gratitude!

Lookout to Leap for Others!

Charity

Turning Foes into Friends

Let us then Live for Others!

SPECIAL ISSUE

A Re-Evaluation of Early Developments in Qur’anic Orthography (1/4)

A Re-Evaluation of Early Developments in Qur’anic Orthography (2/4)

A Re-Evaluation of Early Developments in Qur’anic Orthography (3/4)

A Re-Evaluation of Early Developments in Qur’anic Orthography (4/4)

Abdus Sattar Ghauri (The Father Figure of Al-Mawrid!)

Brief Profile

Special Issue

Charity: Points to Ponder

Your Question Answered

“Dignity in Hard Labour Lies!”

Forgiveness

Never Lose Hope!

The Trials of Life

Anger Management

Handling Mature Children

Let us Promise…

An Introduction to Ghāmidī’s Mīzān

Visit to a Graveyard

Are We Ready to Die?

A Shame to Humanity[1]!

A Critical Evaluation of Variations found in the ‘Uthmānic Copies (Part 4/4)

A Critical Evaluation of Variations found in the ‘Uthmānic Copies (Part 3/4)

A Critical Evaluation of Variations found in the ‘Uthmānic Copies (Part 2/4)

A Critical Evaluation of Variations found in the ‘Uthmānic Copies (Part 1/4)

The Key to Successful Marriage

Taming the Tongue

Sexual Intimacy between Husband and Wife

Pretension and Pomposity

The Cause of Truth

Narrative on the Changes made in the Qur’ān by al-Hajjāj ibn Yūsuf

Sūrah Mā’idah (64-89)

Sympathy

A Man of Steel

Critical Evaluation of Ustuwānah al-Mushaf Narratives

Humility

Fasting in Extreme Conditions

How to overcome Selfishness

Nothing but the Truth, Please!

Narratives on the Collection of the Qur’ān by ‘Alī(rta) (part 1/3)

Narratives on the Collection of the Qur’ān by ‘Alī(rta) (part 2/3)

Narratives on the Collection of the Qur’ān by ‘Alī(rta) (part 3/3)

A Tribute to Brig (retd.) Noor Ahmed Husain (Quaid e Azam’s Last Military ADC)

Courage

Appendix C: A Brief Biographical Sketch of Hamīd al-Dīn al-Farāhī (1863-1930) [1]

Appendix B:  A Brief Summary of the Views of Traditional and Radical Western Scholars

Appendix A:  A Summary of the View of Traditional Muslim Scholars

A Critical Evaluation of Farahī’s View on the Collection of the Qur’ān

A Citizen of Paradise (Written on the Martyrdom of Dr Habib ur Rahman)

Forgiveness

Gratitude

Your Questions Answered

Reason and Revelation

Your Questions Answered

Explanation of Some Qur’ānic Words

Explanation of Some Jarh Terms

The Warrior who became a Martyr

A Narrative on the Placement of Sūrah Anfāl (8) and…

A Critical Analysis of the Narratives on the… (Part 1/2)

A Critical Analysis of the Narratives on the… (Part 2/2)

Your Questions Answered

Travelling Alone!

A Narrative on the Schematic Arrangement of the Qur’ān (Part 2/2)

A Narrative on the Schematic Arrangement of the Qur’ān (Part 1/2)

The Word Rusul in the Qur’ān

Your Questions Answered

Mustafā A‘zamī’s Critique on “The Dishonest Scribe” Narratives

A Passionate Preacher of the Qur’an passes away!

Animal Sacrifice

… And the List is Unending!

English Translation of the first volume of Tadabbur-i Qur’ān

Sūrah Ghāshiyah

Your Questions Answered

Jihād in the Qur’ān

Your Questions Answered

Your Questions Answered

Morals and Morality

Faith and Beliefs

The Religion of Islam

Coping with Sexual Desires at Adolescence

Fifty Common Misconceptions about Islam (X)

Fifty Common Misconceptions about Islam (IX)

Fifty Common Misconceptions about Islam (VIII)

Fifty Common Misconceptions about Islam (VII)

Fifty Common Misconceptions about Islam (VI)

Fifty Common Misconceptions about Islam (V)

Fifty Common Misconceptions about Islam (IV)

Fifty Common Misconceptions about Islam (III)

Fifty Common Misconceptions about Islam (II)

Fifty Common Misconceptions about Islam (I)