Home > Religion > Eid al-Adha is SICK

Eid al-Adha is SICK

Pardon my ignorance, but I did not know that Bakrid was such a sick-to-the-core festival. I knew nothing about it till I  chanced upon this Bakrid slide show, while I was going through the website of the New Indian Express.

Look at this camel with a knife under its neck, and all those people around eagerly looking forward to the event.

A camel with a knife under its neck. Source: The New Indian Express Website (http://expressbuzz.com/photogallery/a-day-of-sacrifice-for-animals/1580/2)

Or, look at this one, with 5 people on it.

A camel on which 5 people are sitting. Source: The New Indian Express Website (http://expressbuzz.com/photogallery/a-day-of-sacrifice-for-animals/1580/5)

This is a cow, that was just killed, dripping with blood.

A cow dripping with blood. Source: The New Indian Express Website (http://expressbuzz.com/photogallery/a-day-of-sacrifice-for-animals/1580/7)

Anybody with even a little bit of humanity in them, would be revolted looking at this. So much for Islam being a religion of peace. Wanting to learn its origins, I went to, where else, the Wikipedia entry. The term Bakr-id comes from the Hindi word “Bakra” meaning a goat. Turns out, Eid al-Adha means Feast of Sacrifice. It has this story.

When Ishmael was about 13 (Ibrahim being 99), Allah (God) decided to test their faith in public. Abraham had a recurring dream, in which God was commanding him to offer his son as a sacrifice – an unimaginable act – sacrificing his son, which God had granted him after many years of deep prayer. Abraham knew that the dreams of the prophets were divinely inspired, and one of the ways in which God communicated with his prophets. When the intent of the dreams became clear to him, Abraham decided to fulfill God’s command and offer Ishmael for sacrifice.

Although Abraham was ready to sacrifice his dearest for Allah’s sake, he could not just go and drag his son to the place of sacrifice without his consent. Isma’el had to be consulted as to whether he was willing to give up his life as fulfillment to God’s command. This consultation would be a major test of Isma’el’s maturity in faith, love and commitment for Allah, willingness to obey his father and sacrifice his own life for the sake of Allah.

Abraham presented the matter to his son and asked for his opinion about the dreams of slaughtering him. Ishmael did not show any hesitation or reservation even for a moment. He said, “Father, do what you have been commanded. You will find me, Insha’Allah (God willing), to be very patient.” His mature response, his deep insight into the nature of his father’s dreams, his commitment to Allah, and ultimately his willingness to sacrifice his own life for the sake of Allah were all unprecedented.

When both father and son had shown their perfect obedience to Allah and they had practically demonstrated their willingness to sacrifice their most precious possessions for His sake — Abraham by laying down his son for sacrifice and Ishmael by lying patiently under the knife – Allah called out to them stating that his sincere intentions had been accepted, and that he need not carry out the killing of Ishmael. Instead, Abraham was told to replace his son with a goat to sacrifice instead. Allah also told them that they had passed the test imposed upon them by his willingness to carry out God’s command.

And this story is directly from the Quran (You can read it here), the purported word of god. The last couple of verses say this.

037.110
YUSUFALI: Thus indeed do We reward those who do right.
PICKTHAL: Thus do We reward the good.
SHAKIR: Thus do We reward the doers of good.

037.111
YUSUFALI: For he was one of our believing Servants.
PICKTHAL: Lo! he is one of Our believing slaves.
SHAKIR: Surely he was one of Our believing servants.

Do you get that? What god demands is servility. Abject servility. Period. And as per that god, somebody who is ready to sacrifice his son, for a dream he had, is a do-gooder. I would consider such a person the worst kind of organism that has ever lived. But I run out of superlatives when I try to describe the god, who considers such an act a good thing to do.

I am, of course, aware, that there are many people who eat meat, and thereby indirectly support slaughter. But I expect that they would not want to eat an animal that has been killed before their eyes. What I think comforts them (I could be wrong here) is the fact that the killing takes place far away from their sight. That distance prevents them from feeling guilty about it. At least it reduces the guilt. There are butchers who slaughter animals without much guilt. Some might use humane methods, but many, I guess, will not. I would justify none of that. But when the ruthless murder of meek animals is made into a spectacle, even as the animal is crying and screaming with unimaginable horror, that becomes an important part of a festival, we sure have lost all sense of morals. What happened to our innate empathy? Are those morals overridden by the intoxication of religion?

I further saw this description of Bakrid, which tries to avoid any misconceptions about the festival by explaining the logic, if it can be called that, of slaughter.

During the celebration of Eid al-Adha, Muslims commemorate and remember Abraham’s trials, by themselves slaughtering an animal such as a sheep, camel, or goat. This action is very often misunderstood by those outside the faith.

Allah has given us power over animals and allowed us to eat meat, but only if we pronounce His name at the solemn act of taking life. Muslims slaughter animals in the same way throughout the year. By saying the name of Allah at the time of slaughter, we are reminded that life is sacred.

We are not supposed to misunderstand the action. The action is justified because Allah has given us power over all the animals, and all we need to do is to mention the name of god, to take ownership. How ridiculous? I am truly amazed at the mentality of those who think that the god needs a sacrifice. What a mean god? In what sense would that thing continue to be god? How can such a vile book, still be considered the word of god by any sane person? If you are going to argue, that they were the morals of a different period of time, does that itself not make an argument against the claim that they are god’s words. The rationale behind the sacrifice is explained further.

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 his 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.

That is the problem with religions (and with any kind of cults). Unadulterated obedience is considered a virtue. Any sort of questioning is not looked at favourably. But looking at the story, either god is a vile megalomaniac or a figment of the author’s imagination. Either way, such a god does not deserve to be followed. We all have our morals inside us. What better moral do we need than to treat others as you expect them to treat us? We definitely do not need religions at all to tell us what is right and what is wrong. And in any case, not this kind of religions.

But before I end, I have a question to all those who sacrifice animals on Bakrid or support such a practice. If the guiding argument is to show a willingness to sacrifice what is dear to them, would they be ready to cut off their own body parts on Bakrid, rather than killing other animals? A finger this year, a toe the next and so on. Now, that would make them a real favourite with that god, won’t it?

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Categories: Religion Tags: ,
  1. LS
    November 12, 2011 at 20:32

    I think the problem is that people interpret the meaning of religious texts way too literally. The “moral message” of the story was that one should be willing to give up one’s most prized possessions for a good cause (whether another living being can be considered a possession and whether the cause was good in the original story is of course debatable). But instead of using the story as a guide for how one conducts one’s life, and trying to learn to be altruistic and selfless, people interpret the story literally and say “let’s go kill animals, because that represents what the story was about.” That, in my opinion, is a problem with EVERY religion and religious texts – the real message often gets drowned by a million other distracting side-stories.
    I have a suggestion – on Bakrid, why doesn’t everyone donate to charity something that is very prized to them? That is a better representation of what sacrifice is about.

    • November 12, 2011 at 21:34

      Interpreting religious texts is a tricky thing. How do we know which parts of the Islam are to be interpreted literally and which parts should be looked at to get only the “moral message”. That decision comes clearly from us. We feel that killing animals is wrong and so decide not to take it literally. We think sacrificing for others is good and want to take that message home. Allah does not seem to know the difference. If the Quran is not perfect, why do we need to hold it in respect? I can read any fiction (say Harry Potter), leave out all the bad things, take all the good things and go around saying that Harry Potter is my god. What is the difference between Allah and Harry Potter, if neither is perfect? In fact, harry potter makes a much better ethical guide in comparison to the Quran (If you doubt that, see http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/quran/).

  2. November 12, 2011 at 22:46

    As a Muslim, I can tell you that the practice as they are supposed to do it is that we are supposed to feed and water the animal the day prior to, then a razor sharp knife so that it causes the least pain. The slaughter is to be done in an isolated place so that no other animals see it happen. The animal is NOT supposed to be tied down at all. The problem I see is not the religion itself, because the laws are there, but the people who choose to do stupid crap like this. The meat is to be shared with the poor, those that normally can not afford to have some meat. The intention is good, but then again when people don’t understand the intention of what is supposed to be done, then people take it out of context and put in their own opinion to it. It’s okay for you to be angry about it because there are people who don’t eat meats and I myself find that they way they are performing the Sacrifice is incorrect.

    Shame on them for not allowing this creature noble act that it should have had.

  3. November 13, 2011 at 06:52

    My intention is only to criticise the religion and not the religious (unless the religious are doing something nasty which they are in this case). But the rules that you have mentioned do not seem to be in Quran. It was probably developed by others over time. That should at least show that those who wrote the rules are (only) marginally better than those who wrote the Quran. In any case, will it be ok if we do the same to Human Beings following all the rules? Why should we do something to others that we don’t want to do to ourselves? Could not god in his infinite wisdom, see that the animals suffer hugely from such an act and avoid mentioning such a thing in the Quran?

    How do you know the intention is good? And what good is the intention, if the act is so terrible. Suppose somebody kills a person and steals his bread and feeds the porr. Would you still say the intention was good, since he only wanted to feed the poor? BTW, If the intention of the festival is only to feed the poor, then why not bread. Why animals?

    • December 10, 2011 at 22:20

      In regards to the mention of not being in Qur’an…It is mentioned as far as slaughtering in the name of Allah. slaughter back in the day had to be done by hand. The slaughtering of animals for food is also mention in the Torah, or Old Testament.

      As relates to the feeding of the poor…it is done with a full meal, but at least they can have some meat wich is rarely afforded because of the expense. Here in the U.S. we buy a loaf of bread with $2, in other countries it is a little as $.10 a loaf.

      I can see where anything relating to the slaughter of animals to someone who wishes no harm on any animal will seem animalistic regardless, but I think that since not all people can survive on just a vegearian or vegan diet, then at least that the way in which animals are treated before and after slaughter be taken into view.

      Like I said, these people in the pics are slaughtering is incorrect. It is believed in Islam that if we just slaughter in the wrong way, then we will have to answer before God for it.

      Thank you for your view. I really enjoy discussion. 😀

      • December 11, 2011 at 07:33

        You say that the whole planet cannot be fed by just vegetarian or vegan diet. I do not think that is right. There is this argument that the amount of resources need to get a given amount of nutrients is far less if you have a vegetarian diet than a non-vegetarian diet. It also makes sense, since the animals are higher up in the food chain and so some nutrients will be lost if you get your nutrients via animals rather than directly from plants.

        So the argument that you cannot feed the world without eating animals only seems to be a post-hoc justification of what is in the Quran. Suppose, there is a world, where you cannot survive without cannibalism. That is, there are not enough things to eat. Would cannibalism be ok in such a scenario, as long as you treat those humans well before and after (what does after mean in this case anyway?) slaughter. If you do not agree with that, then why should you justify eating animals for selfish reasons. Is not god supposed to be a merciful being? If he created the world, why did he not create one where there are enough plants (again assuming for the moment that your argument is true) so that animals can be spared the pain. Also how arrogant is it to say that the animals are there for humans to exploit. We ourselves are animals.

        It all boils down to this. The Quran is man-made (not human made, because the way it is, no woman could have had anything to do with it). Its morals (if they can be called that) are of a different age. We have moved far far ahead of it. It is time we discarded the book and its associated illusion without trying to justify the unjustifiable and tying ourselves up in knots

  4. Adiba
    September 22, 2015 at 18:42

    Hey dear being a Muslim frm childhood only I was taught the basic of Quran that is to love god as well as all the creatures created by him……….bt seriously saying I was quit sad to read ur upload…….u know the real meaning of this day?????……..it is to grow up a goat or whatever frm as much days as possible in shade of ur love like ur son……..and then to sacrifice him as ur son…………wat i feel it is to remind u of Allah and thank him fr all he had done is doing and will do further……….it is nt at all the sacrifice of an animal……there it I the sacrifice of a creature grown up by u as ur child……….

    I strongly oppose the guys who without knowing the meaning laws and the purity of heart simply sacrifice them….and mind it wat they do is nt at all a sacrifice it is just a fun fr them having no place of mercy in that great Allah’s home………..

    Can u tell me fr wat u r away of bad deeds ?????? Whatever is ur religion it is I to attain heaven and in the words of Quran it isthere that they get a straight way to heaven…………

    I think it is not needed to explain u coz it is on ones belief and faith………..can u answer wat humans r they r animals eaters liv that one it will go fr a long argument………i m sad coz due actions of illiterate people people like u can question on religion itself………….

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