Does Allah Need Animals to be Sacrificed?
It is unfortunate that in the culture of globalized materialism and consumerist economics, we have reduced the sacred act of Qurbani to a meaningless ritual, devoid of any value for our spiritual and moral selves.
However, the Quran reminds us that Qurbani is not just about the meat nor is Allah in need of the blood of animals to be spilled. While it is easy for some people to mistake animals sacrifice as the kind of pagan rituals offered to various deities, here is a beautiful Ayah of the Quran that challenges the assumption and reminds us about the spiritual and moral merit of Qurbani:
Indeed when Allah is free of all needs, it is for the guidance and betterment of our human souls that through the agency of Ibrahim A.S. the tradition of Qurbani was instituted for mankind.
What is the Deeper Meaning of the Sacrifice Offered by Ibrahim AS?
We have grown up listening to the story of Ibrahim A.S. being told to sacrifice his son Ismail A.S. and then just as he was about to, Allah replaced the boy with a ram. However, behind the story of Ibrahim A.S. and Ismail A.S. is a much deeper meaning.
On one had we are taught about the value of obedience and dutifulness towards parents and on the other we are taught about a parent’s obligations and duties which sometimes must overtake their love and affection for their children.
Moreover, we are reassured and given hope that Allah will always reward sincerity of intention and determination of purpose in this world and the next.
Important Values that Qurbani Teaches Us
Qurbani is not just about meat and barbecue. There are so many important life lessons and values that Qurbani teaches us:
- As the name goes, Qurbani teaches us sacrifice. Without sacrifice success is nearly impossible in life let alone eternal success in the hereafter.
- We are also taught that many times we need to sacrifice even things that are dear to us in order to progress to higher level of faith.
- Qurbani teaches us humane conduct and kindness even towards animals
- It instills in us the zeal to perform a wide variety of acts of worship and teaches us how even something small or seemingly worldly can gain us much reward in the sight of Allah if done sincerely.
- Qurbani instills in us the hope of salvation in the hereafter on account of our good deeds
- Qurbani reminds us about the poor and needy who hardy ever have access to nutritious food
- Qurbani reminds us that our relatives, neighbors and less fortunate people in our society have a share in the bounties Allah has bestowed on us
- Qurbani even teaches us the inner peace and happiness we get from sharing a portion of our blessings with others
- Finally, Eid ul Adha teaches us that true celebration lies in giving and not in hoarding up wealth and that happiness can be found in the simplest of things
Animal Rights and Ethical Issues to Keep in Mind
Allah has made each of us His Khalifah on Earth. We are the caretakers and stewards of nature and responsible for kindly dealing with all the creatures of Allah. Now, in His infinite mercy Allah has allowed us to use some of those animals for food and to use their byproducts for clothing. However, that does nor relieve us of the humane and ethical responsibilities placed on our shoulders.
As far as Qurbani animals are concerned, here are some ethical and animal rights issues that we as Muslims must take care of:
- When an animal is in your care for a few days before Qurbani make sure you fee him well, keep the animal in a proper shelter and keep him protected against cold and any dangerous predators.
- Make sure not to select animals that are too young of pregnant female animals for the slaughter.
- When taking the animal for slaughtering make sure it does not see the knife nor should it witness another animal while being slaughtered-all of this frightens the animal.
- When attempting to slit the animals throat one must make sure the blade is extremely sharp and that in one quick cut the animal’s life is taken. This ensures minimum pain is caused to the dying creature.
- Avoid allowing very small children to witness the animal being killed and do not allow them to handle any knives or blades. This is to counter the growing culture of violence among kids.
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