Walking around in Muslims’ streets, you can see and smell blood everywhere in their first, second, third and fourth days of Eid (Feast).
But what is the purpose behind this?
What’s the aim of shedding this amount of blood?
Is it just for the pleasure of torturing animals, or is there any other reason behind it?
The philosophy behind Slaughtering:
- Islam has given its people the right to live honorably and with dignity, in all the fields of life, including the right to eat from the best kind of foods even if one doesn’t own it himself.
Allah the Almighty said,
Never will you attain the good [reward] until you spend [in the way of Allah ] from that which you love. And whatever you spend – indeed, Allah is Knowing of it.” [Quran 3:92]
This highly encourage the rich to give the poor from the best things that they have.
- The concept of sharing is highly encouraged in Islam especially when it comes to food.
Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said,
O people, exchange greetings of peace (i.e., say: As-Salamu ‘Alaikum to one another), feed people, strengthen the ties of kinship, and be in prayer when others are asleep, you will enter Jannah in peace.” [At- Tirmidhi]
- The main goal of this process is for the Muslim to sacrifice something huge in his life.
We as Muslims have learnt the act of sacrifice from Prophet Abraham may peace and blessings be upon him. He was ordered by the Lord to kill his son. He answered the call, sharpened his knife, and told his son to stay still; he did all that to prove to God that he trusts Him and believes Him. Yet Allah didn’t want to torture him, and since he proved his faith Allah has sacrificed a sheep instead of the son “Ismeal” my peace be upon him. The event is deeply described in the Quran,
Then when (the son) reached (the age of) (serious) work with him, he said: “Oh my son! I see in vision that I offer thee in sacrifice: Now see what is thy view!” (The son) said: “Oh my father! Do As thou art commanded: Thou wilt find me, if Allah so wills one practicing patience and constancy!” So when they had both submitted their wills (to Allah), and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (for sacrifice), We called out to him, “Oh Abraham! Thou hast already fulfilled the vision!” Thus indeed do We reward those who do right. For this was obviously a trial and We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice.”) [Quran, Surat As-Safat 37:102-107]
Since then, Muslims have copied that act, and they sacrifice their money each year to buy an animal, slaughter it, and spread it on the poor, to prove to Allah how much they love Him.
- Islam has fulfilled the needs of the poor by different methods, throughout the year to ensure they have their needs all covered, without their asking or begging. Each year the rich give the poor a part of their money, at the end of Ramadan (The month of fasting) the rich should give the poor some food (like rice or dates), and in Eid Al-Adha it is preferable to slaughter and feed the poor meat. So, taking a look on how Islam has covered the needs of the poor without their asking, you will notice that the target is to consider the feelings of the poor as they already have enough suffers in their lives. And also to remind the rich that the money they own isn’t really theirs, but the owner is God who has given it to them.
Allah the Almighty said:
Believe in Allah and His Messenger and spend out of that in which He has made you successors. For those who have believed among you and spent, there will be a great reward.” [57:7]
The meat of the Udhiyah should be divided in three equal portions: one for oneself and the family, one for friends, and one for the poor and needy. If there are more poor people, then it is good to give all of it in charity to the poor and the needy.
The act symbolizes our willingness to give up things that are of benefit to us or close to our hearts, in order to follow Allah’s commands. It also symbolizes our willingness to give up some of our own bounties, in order to strengthen ties of friendship and help those who are in need. We recognize that all blessings come from Allah, and we should open our hearts and share with others.
It is very important to understand that the sacrifice itself, as practiced by Muslims, has nothing to do with atoning for our sins or using the blood to wash ourselves from sin. This is a misunderstanding by those of previous generations:
It is not their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah; it is your piety that reaches Him.” [Qur’an 22:37]
The symbolism is in the attitude — a willingness to make sacrifices in our lives in order to stay on the Straight Path. Each of us makes small sacrifices, giving up things that are fun or important to us. A true Muslim, one who submits himself or herself completely to the Lord, is willing to follow Allah’s commands completely and obediently. It is this strength of heart, purity in faith, and willing obedience that our Lord desires from us.