Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sacrifice and Brutality to the Animals

Upright Opinion
November 18, 2010
Sacrifice and Brutality to the Animals
By Saeed Qureshi
I was immensely appalled by the gleeful cruelty and sadism exhibited by the Muslims faithful in slaughtering the animals in order to fulfill one of the cardinal religious obligations. The poor, helpless, dumb animal is surrounded by a few sturdy strong muscled individuals. They knock the animal down by twisting and pulling his tail, while the others tie up his legs. Yet the others hold him fast by horns and the rest give the animal a push to fall down on the ground. The animal is tied down to the earth by several people while one of them slits its throat and jugular vein with a saber like knife.
The gory scene gives an impression as if they are dealing with a bloodthirsty enemy and to to avenge on him for the heinous murders that he had committed or for defiling the females of the avenging persons with bloodshot eyes and with the definitive resolve to kill the enemy by inflicting on it the maximum possible torture. Watching the blood flowing out of the body of the animal is also considered as part of the ritual and this it gives a kind of satisfaction to the person offering sacrifice in the name of god.
No one has the faintest idea how much pain the animals must be undergoing. Unfortunately, the animals can neither speak nor have a lawyer to protest or plead against this cruelty.
In the modern societies where animal flesh is voraciously consumed and is an integral part of the food, the animals are not subjected to the agony and callousness that is shown in the Muslim societies.
In Europe and elsewhere the companies dealing with the bulk supply of meat stun the animal with a gun or some instrument and then the body is dissected which is not at all painful to the animals for being unconscious.
When we dig out the history of sacrifice, we know that invariably, the humans have been offering sacrifice of either animals or the humans. In Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Hindu civilizations, the human sacrifice to the deities and their idols has been in vogue from time immemorial. The Aztecs used to pluck the throbbing heart of their victims and hold it up to the Sun god.

However, the ritual or the religious obligation of sacrifice was first started by Hazrat Abraham (PBUH), the father of the so known Semitic or Abrahamic religions. Prophet Abraham (in Islam it is Ibrahim) made a covenant with God that he would slay his own son after he received the divine commandment to do so.
While he was about to fulfill the divine will, the archangel Gabriel saved the young lad Ismail (Jews and Christians believe it was Isaac or Ishaq) by replacing him with a ram at the nick of the moment. Since this legend is narrated to have happened in the vicinity of Mecca, the Arabs even before the advent of Islam were observing the tradition of Prophet Abraham by sacrificing the animals.
When Islam (610 AC) came through Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the sacrifice of animals was proclaimed as one of the five pillars of the edifice of Islam. Sacrifice of animals and giving of alms (Zakat) and performing of pilgrimage to Mecca are conditioned to the economic status of a faithful. The other two pillars namely saying prayers five times a day and fasting for full lunar month (Ramadan) are mandatory and there is no escape or substitute for them.
I am curious to know if God’s covenant or conditions to Prophet Abraham to sacrifice the animal was exclusive to him only or was later ordained and decreed for everyone. As far, we know the full-blown complexion, clear-cut and vivid contours, or features of Islam had not been clearly laid out until the proclamation of Islam by Prophet Muhammad.
Did during the intervening period that comes round to over 3000 years( between prophet Abraham and prophet Muhammad) , the successive generations perform this ritual of Abrahamic legacy? During these three millenniums, only Jewish or Christian faiths were practiced.
Here in America the Muslims do offer sacrifice of the animals mostly cows, goats and lambs. But the slaughtering is assigned to the professional meat sellers or certified butchers who buy the animals themselves against the uniformly fixed prices. These professionals slaughter the animals far away from the city in closely watched slaughterhouses or abattoirs. The meat in properly cut into pieces, put in the polythene bags and given to the faithful. All this process is done in a very neat, clean, and organized manner.
This system or procedure can be practiced in Islamic countries also that otherwise make a mess of this very fundamental religious obligation. In every lane and street, park, public place and road the sacrificial animals are tethered for days on end. There is massive disruption of traffic and horrendous pollution of air with all kind of fodder, animal droppings, refuse, and smell. This unhygienic environment phenomenally aggravates and rather assumes unbearable fifthly proportions when after the slaughtering the heaps of offals, intestines, dried blood pools, entrails and other wasted portions of the slaughtered animals are seen scattered everywhere for days together.
The nauseating stench fills the air that does not go soon. These repugnant spectacles present a sheer contrast with unislamic societies where the pristine Islamic ritual is carried out scientifically, so hygienically and in such an organized manner.
If we refuse to learn salutary and positive lessons and useful models from the advanced and civically vigilant societies in other spheres such as good governance, then we should at least follow the systems by which they manage their municipal affairs and keep the environment clean and pollution-free.
In America, the people are so much conscious of clean environment that they do not smoke within their houses even at midnight. I am a witness and a part of this commendable behavior as I live here. They go out of the house and offices for smoking. This also shows the citzens’respect for the law, which ordains to smoke outside in the open.
(The writer is a Dallas-based freelance journalist and a former diplomat writing mostly on International Affairs with specific focus on Pakistan and the United States)

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