Bakra Eid: Not just another ‘liberal’ rant

Published: November 16, 2010
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Most of us have lost the true spirit of Bakra Eid.

If cleanliness is supposed to be half of our faith, then I am sorry to say but we get a clear F grade, when it comes to Eidul Azha.

The streets, lanes and alleys will have streams of animal blood flowing for days. The unwanted remains will create foul odours for weeks. All this while, we will be greeting one another with “Eid Mubarak,” and enjoying the backyard BBQ’s.

For those of you who think this is another ‘liberal’ rant against Islam’s revered practice, I would like assure you that it isn’t. I am fairly conservative on certain issues, and in some other cases, awfully liberal. It all depends on what the point of discussion is. It all has to go through a test of logic. You can never be balanced, if you are completely left or totally right on every issue.

Our faith is the most beautiful gift we have from Allah. Actually, it emphasises on the rights that our neighbours have and that our actions must not harm others. Eid is meant to spread joy, comfort and well wishes. Our focus typically gets narrowed to who has the greatest number of animals for sacrifice and who will be scoring high on the amount of meat which will be distributed.

The true spirit

We often tend to forget, that it is not the meat or blood that reaches Allah, but the intent and piety which is paramount for the occasion. It is not a competition of sorts, but our humble offering to follow the footsteps of the Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH).

The inflation in the price of livestock, the fee hike and disappearing act of meat cutters, the sheer filth and foul odours on our streets are certainly not a reflection of the path of the Prophet Ibrahim, his beloved son, Prophet Ismael or our holy Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).

As crowded as our cities are, we still have make believe markets of livestock at this occasion. Each year, people go to those markets to get goats and cows and what not. Those animals are either slaughtered in the front or back yard of the houses or out on open streets.

The question that has always boggled my mind is that why can’t the cities arrange for temporary slaughter houses at this occasion, much like the temporary marketplaces of animals? All the slaughtering and cleaning of the remains must be administered by the cities. Similarly, the distribution of one third of meat that is supposed to be the share of the needy can be channelled from there as well. All of this will reduce a lot of filth on the streets and possibly prevent the diseases as well.

The responsibility to keep our homes and cities cleaner lies on our shoulders. Every single act of our faith depends on cleanliness and purity.

Somehow, we keep on disregarding that element.

d.asghar

D. Asghar

A mortgage-banker by profession who also loves to write.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Humanity

    *Yeh daur apne ‘Braaheem ki talaash mein hai
    Sanam-kadah hai jahaaN La ilaha il Allah

    An Abraham by the age is sought To break the idols of this Hall:
    The avowal of God’s Oneness can Make all these idols headlong fall.*Recommend

  • D. Asghar

    @Humanity Bhai..

    I am honored and touched that you always make a point to comment. To that I am and will always remain eternally grateful. Without the feedback the scribe is like a wonderer in the abyss of darkness.

    Hope that we all become more considerate of one another..Without one another what do we have, sheer loneliness. All of us are headed towards that long journey of loneliness (whether we like it or not), any way.

    Many thanks and a hearty and happy Eid Mubarik…Recommend

  • Hassaan

    You are right by all means and there wasn’t really a need to mention that it’s not a liberal rant because it’s not!

    Slaughtering animals at home is blatantly pointless and it certainly causes more trouble for everyone! Even in other Muslim countries like Malaysia & Indonesia you hardly see animals being slaughtered at home.

    On a side note, remove “the” before Allah from the line:

    “Our faith is the most beautiful gift we have from the Allah”

    Couldn’t resist to mention. :)Recommend

  • nayeem

    ‘disappearing act of meat cutters’ u mean there is a qasai shortage? Recommend

  • Ahmed

    Life is sacred! Any life including animals that suffer pain just like us. Can we move away from the barbaric practice of sacrificing animals and other such tribalistic religous practices? The Buddha tried to outlaw such barbarism in the subcontinent 2500 years ago, and we still have this going on?

    AhmedRecommend

  • http://www.sidrahmoizkhan.blogspot.com Sidrah Moiz Khan

    @Ahmed
    I don’t think I need to remind you of our religious history and why this ‘barbaric’ ritual was done! tsk tsk. Shame on you!Recommend

  • Noor-ul-ain Hanif

    You are right Mr. D Asghar i agreed with your suggestion. There is a separate market for animals then why not for slaughtering them. Nice write up :) Recommend

  • D. Asghar

    @Hassaan Bhai,

    Appreciate the correction. Of course a typo and up to the Tribune Staff to correct.

    Thanks for the input and Eid Mubarik to you. The only reason I brought “liberal” to qualify that I do not consider myself one and I am not saying this to criticize the ritual.Recommend

  • D. Asghar

    @Nayeem Bhai, I mean occasionally, the guy will do the first part and disappear and then you wait till he is back. I mean in apna Karachi “ishtyle.”Recommend

  • D. Asghar

    @Ahmed Bhai, thanks and I appreciate your input.

    If you are vegetarian, you are still taking the life of the vegetables and fruits away. Ponder on that thought. It is not so gruesome as there is no red blood. Life is still being lost. Bhayya take this up with the BIG GUY up there. Regards and Eid Mubarik.Recommend

  • D. Asghar

    @Ms. Khan, thank you so much for filling in for me and responding to Ahmed Bhai. Happy Eid Mubarik.Recommend

  • D. Asghar

    @Noor Ul Ain (Sorry it can be either Mr. Or Ms.) So I apologize for addressing you this way.

    I sincerely feel that this ritual can be performed in a very organized manner by people paying for the animal to organization, the animal is slaughtered, 1/3 rd meat given to the needies, the hyde given to the organization of your choice and you go and pick up your meat. Done, no hassle no mess. All you do is distribute within family and friends. Food for thought. Thanks. Happy Eid Mubarik.Recommend

  • Saad Durrani

    This write-up should be in the op-ed. The best one, this week.Recommend

  • sejal

    I am of hindu belief and i respect other religions alike, but what i don’t understand is why the sacrificing of cows? If you want to stick to your religious belief entirely then it was clearly stated in your holy book that the sacrificial animal was a ram/goat instead of the son. Secondly, I agree with the article, especially about the cleaniness, livestock carries many deadly bacteria and viruses and unproper handling causes illness. Hence why the asian countries have the highest infection rates.Recommend

  • Asad Ali

    Old problem but very important to highlight until it gets resolved.

    AppreciatedRecommend

  • Asad Ali

    @Ahmed
    Do you eat vegetables?If yes then stop doing so, as even vegetables feel pain when plugged out. Humans can’t survive on inorganic/dead elements, u can’t live by eating rocks and sand. Give a try if you want….Recommend

  • parvez

    Nice and simple.
    In your ending sentence you correctly say we keep on disregarding the cleanliness angle which is no surprise as we also disregard the hypocrisy angle, the telling the truth angle,
    the angle to be tolerant of others and many such points religion stresses on. Recommend

  • http://habloid.wordpress.com Habiba Younis

    Thanks for bringing up this issue!
    Even if temporary slaughter houses cant be arranged then people should at least dispose off the remains properly and wash out the blood. Mostly people do clean their own houses at that end of the day but dump the animal head and intestines in the streets……gross!!Recommend

  • Rida Arif

    As far as I know, the blood of the sacrificed animal must pass through the entrance to a home, I assume this is why animals are slaughtered at people’s residences. However, I do agree with you on the cleanliness part; people must dispose off the remains properly, and wash off the blood immediately. I don’t know why we tend to act so smart about most things, yet we forget just how harmful the odour and remains can be, if left out in the open.

    Very well written :)Recommend

  • D. Asghar

    @Saad Bhai, many thanks. One of these days, with your best wishes, will make it there too. Eid Mubarik.Recommend

  • D. Asghar

    @Sejal Bhai…

    Thanks for stopping by. Animals that are considered in the family of goats, such as sheep, cows and occasionally Camels are allowed as well. I am no religious scholar.Recommend

  • sejal

    @ D. Asghar..
    1st off I am a woman. not bhai.
    although it may have a same family of mammals, however once again sticking to tradition and religious beliefs it should only be a goat/ram. From what I hear from other muslim friends it has become more of status display to have cows and larger animals, rather then sticking to culture and the book’s belief. the blood and un-cleanliness of the handling and the incidence of bacterial diseases increasing should be taken into consideration, and more safer laws should be practiced. Recommend

  • Humanity

    it is clear that it is not the outward act of slaughter that pleases Allah, it is the spirit and the motive behind the act that really matters.

    Donating the livestock to the needy would make a world of difference to a needy family. It would give them hope and dignity. Please consider donating the live animal to a flood victim or a needy person/family.Recommend

  • D. Asghar

    @Asad Bhai..Thanks for the input. Thanks for chiming in on the vegetable point.

    Personally, I am a BBQ friek so you know without meat no fun in BBQing.

    Eid MubarikRecommend

  • D. Asghar

    Ms.Younis. Thanks for stopping by and perhpas some one from KMC is reading this as well. Perhaps next Eid, Insh’ALLAH.

    Eid Mubarik.Recommend

  • D. Asghar

    Ms. Arif…I am not sure about the blood has to flow from the house or not. Again to everyone whatever suits them. Eid Mubarik.Recommend

  • D. Asghar

    @Parvez Bhai…You are on the money. We are ritualistic people. Regretfully pay very little attention to the essence. That’s my opinion and I hope I do not pop up on some radar as being some “maghrabi fanatic” for saying all of this. Regards and Eid Mubarik.Recommend

  • http://[email protected] m.akbarzafar

    hello dost how r uRecommend

  • parvez

    @D. Asghar: Appreciated and Eid Mubarik.Recommend

  • http://www.gmail.com Arif

    @D.Asghar
    very Eid mubarak to you..
    Sir i do feel that if Eid were not about causing pain to an animal but just about exchanging greetings and reading than would have been much better……no offence but what is the fault of that poor animal whom u have sacrificed.
    Allah has given it same right and space to live on this Earth then why are we taking it.
    I dont differentiate between a human and an animal.so why dont we sacrifice our beloved once if it were just the motive behind the sacrifice.
    I do agree that plants are living creatures but the sense of feeling pain in them is exceptionally low which is scientific.
    Why not help the needy by ofering something that itself is pure and devoid of pain like Allah….Recommend

  • zzzz

    @D. Asghar:

    If you are vegetarian, you are still taking the life of the vegetables and fruits away.

    1) you’re absolutely right!. Killing a sentient animal that would otherwise prefer to live is as morally deplorable as picking an apple off a tree :) This is people grasping for straws in their attempt to justify eating meat.

    2) you should also be able to justify killing human beings, cats and dogs for food. since sometimes you need to vary the taste and its the same thing as taking the life of plants anyways.Recommend

  • D. Asghar

    @Ms.Sejal, my prompt apologies for addressing you as a male. From now, will never repeat that blemish. Shama kijiyey Shrimati Jee. (Sorry too many B’wood movies, had to try my tooti phooti Hindi. No pun or any sarcasm there.)

    You are right. We do a lot of stuff for pomp and show as well. I touched on that in a couple of lines in the scribble.

    I would like some religious scholar to chime in. From what I heard is that in Prophet PBUH’s time, cows and camels along with rams and goats were offered as a sacrifice as well.

    A few of my other friends called it “Pagan tradition”, on another forum. I humbly disagree with that assertion. Major differences in offering and the rationale. I totally agree that we have lost the essence and focus on the practice just for the heck of it.

    A belated Happy Diwali to you and your loved ones. Regards.Recommend

  • D. Asghar

    @Humanity Bhai..I agree with you once again. (Darn..I am really petrified of the day that both of us are going to disagree on something.:))

    Yes, the essence of sacrifice is to follow the tradition of Prophet Ibrahim and “sacrifice.” Of course a scholar can correctly interpret that. But I totally agree, if your sacrifice can help a family in the longer run and not just for a day or two, perhaps that would be a better option. Those who have the means to do the ritual should do that and assist a needy family as you indicated.

    Thanks again, your words have a special place in all of my scribbles. Eid Mubarik again.Recommend

  • D. Asghar

    @Akbar Bhai..Alhamdo LILLAH, all is well. Yes I am your friend for sure, like many around the globe. But please elaborate. Have we met at another forum and you may have used a nick over there, because I am fairly good with names. M Akbar Zafar, trying very hard and it is not ringing bells.

    Please help me on this one. But I appreciate you coming to the forum and calling me a dost. Yes I am a dost of everyone.

    Eid Mubarik and humble regards.Recommend

  • D. Asghar

    @Arif Bhai:

    Thanks for your input Bhai..My only comment that I would like to add is that if you eat meat otherwise, that meat is derived by slaughtering an animal. Whether it is done at this Eid or done normally what difference does it make? There are certain animals available for our consumption and considered Halal. This is the way the cycle of nature works. I am not here to argue, why and all that stuff. The write up is defintely not a deabte of whats better, being veg or non veg. Eid Mubarik…

    Regarding helping the needy, in one of my responses I have clarified that as well, if you have means, go ahead and do it. GOD knows better, as only HE has the vision of whats inside your heart. Regards. Recommend

  • D. Asghar

    @zzzz: (No way to know whether Mr. or Ms,) So addressing you as zzzz.

    There is no grasping of straws here. According to the Muslim scripture certain animals are considered Halal and acceptable for human consumption. As I stated to Arif Bhai, this scribble is not a debate about being veg or non veg. Whatever suits you.

    The write up was about cleanliness and what needs to be done at this occasion so it fulfills the foremost requirement of our faith.

    Muslims are not the only ones who eat animals, other Abrahamic faiths follow the same tradition. Now your comments of eating cats, dogs and fellow human beings is negated by the commandment of what is considered acceptable. Regards and many thanks for your input.Recommend

  • A.A. Haji

    Wasalam first and second my message to goats who will surely gratify the place of heaven. One must continue to sacrifice as it is benefit to both goat, animal and city district government of Karachi. or in case of Lahore the LDA. In case of other cities it is other bodies which I am not aware. Thirdly , I would like to say it gives common men opportunity to eat meat and if disposed properly it will not give us as a nation the dengue or the congo virus flus. Let us hope we also continue to go to heaven where we can live peacefully with goats, diseases and all others. I must amaze this article it is very well written thanks.

    Praise.Recommend

  • zzzz

    I think the developed world is developed for a reason (not because of their buildings or lifestyle, hence dubai can never be called developed), which is moving away from blind faith on scriptures or scholars (in a majority or at least amongst people who control power and wield influence) and using their own “aql”. This kind of enlightenment for a society is a painful process and is a natural course of evolution. Recommend

  • Nitika

    @Ahmed:

    Hey Ahmed greatly appreciate your wisdom. Its of course barbaric, its not the religion but the unkind act of slaughtering which is condemned. Certain sects of Hindus too practice animal sacrifice in the name of religion, these are extremely bacckward classes. Lets sacrifice our vices and not innocent creatures.some even practice human sacrifice in the name of religion, can it ever be correct?? Can god ever desire such an offering?? God permeats the entire creation and all beings. LETS WAKE UP! Recommend

  • Majid Urrehman

    Cleanliness in Lahore is exceptional this year, ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to say. This has been such from last three years particularly. My regards to concerned authorities and I think Mian Shahbaz Sharif has key role in it.Recommend

  • D. Asghar

    @AA Haji Bhai. Hajj and Eid Mubarik. I appreciate the sarcasm as I enjoy humor a lot. At other forums, I am famous for my certain lines and accents.

    Regards.Recommend

  • D. Asghar

    @ZZZZ “Developed world” eats meat as well and in their slaughter houses, the animals are tranquilized and then tied on a line on an conveyor belt. From there on an electronic blade does what the “barbarians” you see doing so often.

    The difference is that the way “developed world” slaughters the blood has a chance of retaining inside the meat. The “barbarians” go for the right spot so the blood is properly drained from the body.

    Yes the slaughter houses are the places where the “developed world”, including Dubai practices such a “heinous act.” The poor scribe wants us to follow that as well, but not the conveyor belt method. Regards.Recommend

  • D. Asghar

    @Ms.Nitika Ji..Thanks and I appreciate and respect your office. The essence is that you give something that you love dearly in the name of GOD. Of course Prophet Abraham went through the test. He passed the test.

    GOD doe not need meat or blood. May be this is a way of getting the cycle of nature balanced. If we were not to eat fruits and vegetables, because it kills them as well. Slicing an apple perhaps hurts the apple or onion as well, but we do it as we have to live on something. Just air and water is not adequate to survive.

    I am so glad that dinosaurs are gone and wild animals live in the jungle. If lions and tigers were roaming in the city, we would be their scrumptuos meal. Think about that. Regards and belated Shubh Diwali.Recommend

  • D. Asghar

    @Majid Bhai… Thanks for bringing us all up to speed on “Laur” (as famously pronounced in Punjabi). Apna Chief Minister Saab di khair howey… that he has made “Laur” clean as a whistle. May be Chief Saab needs to work on the rest of the cities and villages as well, as he is the Chief Minister for the entire province and not solely of “Laur.”

    Regards and Eid Mubarik. Recommend

  • D. Asghar

    @Ms. Nitika Ji..Please accept my apologies, and I will blame it on the spell checker of the Blackberry again as usual, the first sentence should be read as:

    @Ms.Nitika Ji..Thanks and I appreciate and respect your opinion. (I have no idea, where it picked up the word office) :( Recommend

  • Waqar

    @Ahmed:

    I have outlined the misconceptions of ritual slaughter in my comment here. Although, it is a rather long, please do read it in it’s entirety. You may be ‘enlightened’.

    Peace.Recommend

  • Nitika

    @D. Asghar:

    Most plants that are consumed, are not killed, its just the fruit of vegetable or leaves that is plucked. it is like cutting hair or nails. few may be uprooted but physical pain in plants is not there , they don’t have a developed nervous system. They do not have a developed heart , mind and brain. These features are most developed in human beings and animals. If you have a pet and observe its behaviour , you will tend to understand.Recommend

  • Milestogo

    If eating animal meat can be compared with eating vegetables, then it can be compared with eating human meat as well. Recommend

  • D. Asghar

    @Ms. Nitika,

    I appreciate the input again. As mentioned earlier this write up was not about the veg or non veg preferences.

    Now whether plants are different from mammals and lack the nervous system etc etc. And do not bear pain. I beg to differ. We pull carrots and potatoes (roots) out of the soil, that’s not like cutting nails or hair. Trees are taken down and chopped to make wood, that’s not like minor touch up too. So the debate is sort of circular.

    I respect your position and wish you all the best. We have to do our part better to adhere to the tenets of our faith properly. Humble Regards.Recommend

  • D. Asghar

    @Miles Bhayya, I discussed the consumption of permissible and Halal Meat in the discussion already. Please follow the interacts. So I am sorry to say this but your comparison of Muslims eating fellow human beings lacks merit. Regards.Recommend

  • MilesToGo

    Why would you not eat human meat? (tell me without referring to Quran)Recommend

  • D. Asghar

    @Miles Bhai…

    I dont have to consume human beings, because I have plenty of meat available in the shape of live stock. (Goats, Sheep, Cows, Chickens, Fish). Plenty of it and by the miracle of nature, plenty more to go as these species reproduce in large number (this is despite the consumption for thousands of years, so if you bring science into it, no way that these species are going to run out in future). I dont have any desire nor any reason to go for my fellow human beings. Hope this alleviates all your concerns. Regards.Recommend

  • MilesToGo

    Now extend the same argument to vegetables relative to animal meet…Recommend

  • Nitika

    @D. Asghar:

    Absolutely, its not really minor when you chop a tree, it spoils the eco logical balance and we at the Art of Living plant several plants and trees as so many are being cut. But if u are comparing animal killing with plants you should compare it more with humans because the human biological system and behaviour is much closer to animals than to plants. In fact man is a higher specias of animal. Also you have mentioned elsewhere that since u have lot of livestock u need not think of consuming humans, i guess all of us need to be really scared of people who are not eating humans just because their is enough livestock .Recommend

  • D. Asghar

    @Nitika Ji and Miles Bhayya,

    Much like live stock not going away, after years of consumption, plants, vegetables and trees will he here as well. Again the cycle of nature will balance the equation. Much like it has for thousands of years.

    Don’t take it personal, but when a funeral pire is created a lot of ecological balance is disturbed as well to do the final rites in Hinduism. Not to mention, the body turning into dust by burning to ashes.

    But again, we are going round and round. I respect your position and wish you well. Want the people who consume meat to follow what is mandated by faith. Regards.Recommend

  • MilesToGo

    I think its a good point to end the debate at least from my side. Thanks for replying. There is a nice article in the “Opinon” section about Pakistani Ideology – do share your thoughts on that article.Recommend

  • Nitika

    @D. Asghar
    Each and every faith and religion is unique in its own way a beautiful way of reaching divinity, which is not outside but within us. The word religion means (re- union) . Re union with the self from which we are going far away in search of pleasures. Before we end up, I would once again like to assert that all religions including Quran teach love and compassion, none profess hatred , slitting throat is in no way a compassionate act. Its very logical, none will injure or cut their own flesh even if it was written in their scriptures but you easily do it to another’s flesh because you don’t feel the pain, The true meaning of sacrifice is letting go off something to which u r attached . do you feel any love for the animal you cut, you must not even call it a sacrifice?It is the ego, vices that one must sacrifice, Kabir (brought up by a muslim) said ” Kabira teri jhopdi, Gal Katiyan ke paas, jo karenge so bharenge, tu kyun bhayo udas” he was pained to see animal slaughter as his hut was near a butcher shop. If we don’t feel pain by seeing pain of others, we have not gone deep enough and its not too late to start. If we just want to win in words you can go on and on, but if we actually want to win we must go deep within, meditate , endeavour to see divinity in all creation by serving and taking care of it in all possible ways.Recommend

  • MilesToGo

    I think as human grow spritually, they will strive for violence minimizaation.Recommend

  • http://www.gmail.com Arif

    I absolutely agree with Ms Nikita ji.
    We need to be civilized in the society and in order to do that we must see all living creatures just like we see ourselves and our dear ones.Bakra Eid is a festival of sacrifice and we must sacrifice our ever growing aspiration for welfare of living beings on this beautiful earth and not some hapless and innocent animal.
    Allah would never want pain and grief caused to his creations. Recommend

  • Sahar

    wow at first i thought this article got a lot of comments…then i saw they were from the author himself. good article though. a bit apologetic- you didnt need to clarify that its not a liberal rant.Recommend

  • http://mehtakyakehta.wordpress.com/ Aditya Mehta

    @zzzz:

    Excellent reply. Somehow these people don’t know the differences between animals and fruits/vegetables and the similarities between humans and animals. Recommend

  • Salman

    There is no animal sacrifice mentioned with the story of Abraham and his son in the Quran. This animal sacrifice that muslims do in the name of faith is a completely baseless and man made injunction. The source of this is the biblical story of the bible and then the same story creeped into the books of hadith literature.

    Quran is clear that God doesnt need any blood sacrifice. This is a pagan jewish and arab concept that muslims blindly follow and will follow till the end…when the truth will ultimately come to them.Recommend