His family was fond of animals, and they always had dogs and cats, Faizan Jaleel recalls of his childhood, growing up in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh, around 150 miles (200 kilometers) to the west of Delhi.
Then, for six years, Faizan Jaleel, worked with the dairy industry. In the beginning, his aims were idealistic. He was striving to help poor farmers to increase the productivity of their animals, so that they and their families could have a better quality of life. However, the more time he spent in this work, the more he became aware of the cruelty to animals that was involved in the dairy industry. A devout Moslem, he felt that surely this was not what God wanted him to do. Finally he quit, he stopped drinking milk and became a vegan. He lives in Ghaziabad (Delhi NCR), with his cat and four rescued street dogs.
Working with the Brooke, a charity devoted to helping equines throughout the world, he is the Program Development Manager for 12 Brooke Centres in India.
As a dedicated animal advocate, Faizan Jaleel spends much of his time encouraging his fellow Moslems to take a deeper look at the inhumane practice of animal sacrifice.
His message is that many Moslems have misunderstood the teachings of Islam; Allah, revered as “the Merciful and Compassionate” is opposed to cruelty to animals. There is no requirement for animal sacrifice in Islam.
Bakr Eid and Ibrahim’s sacrifice
On October 5 and 6, 2014, Moslems around the world will celebrate Bakr Eid. This holiday commemorates the offering by Ibrahim of his son Ishmail to Allah.
In the Koran, it is stated that a miracle took place, and just as Ibrahim was killing his own son as a sacrifice to God, the boy Ishmael was transformed into a ram. Ibrahim had not killed his son, but had killed a ram instead. Mr. Jaleel says that this is spoken of in the Koran, therefore it is not a myth; it was a real event. However, it has been taken out of its historical context and has been misunderstood.
The story of Ibrahim sacrificing the ram is used today by many Moslems as a justification for animal sacrifice on the holiday of Bakr Eid.
Faizan explains that people in those days used to live in the deserts of the Middle East, where there is very little vegetation. It wasn’t possible to grow vegetables in the desert sands or to be a vegetarian; if they wished to survive they had to eat meat.
In those days in that region of the world, killing animals for food was a necessity that could not be avoided. The animal that Ibrahim killed was used for food. However, this is no longer the situation today.
The essential truth to be gained from this story is that Allah does require a sacrifice – but not that he requires that an animal be killed, which is no longer appropriate.
What kind of sacrifice?
The meaning of the sacrifice to Allah is not that it should be an animal, but rather that the sacrifice should be something that is very dear to the person – just as Ibrahim’s son was very dear to him. “The idea is to sacrifice the most beloved thing – that is the real purpose of the sacrifice. The sacrifice must be close to our heart.”
He explains that, these days, a sacrificial animal is not at all dear to the person who is performing the sacrifice. Either a person buys the animal the day before, or more likely, simply pays for an animal to be sacrificed in his name. This isn’t a real sacrifice at all. These people don’t care for the life of that animal, so it is meaningless. It is a cruel and inhumane act, which causes suffering, and it is not a real sacrifice, so it makes no sense.
Slaughter of animals for Bakr Eid is widespread throughout the world, including throughout India. In Chennai, in Tamil Nadu, it has recently be made illegal to slaughter animals in the street. They can be slaughtered only in a licensed slaughterhouse, which will greatly curtail the numbers that are slaughtered for Bakr Eid.
In Andhra Pradesh, many camels are still slaughtered as part of this celebration. In Delhi, where Mr. Jaleel lives, it is generally goats and buffaloes that are killed, not camels, and this is legal only in licensed slaughterhouses. It seldom happens in the streets. Though occasionally, in ghettoes where there is a majority Moslem population, it may occur.
Mr. Jaleel says that there are many Moslems who find this practice of animal sacrifice repugnant. Often they do not participate, but he calls on them to do much more than that. They must speak out against this inhumane custom to their friends and families.
He makes the point that animal sacrifice is not only done by Moslems; it takes place in other religions too, and one must oppose all animal sacrifice, not just that practiced by Moslems.
And so what is the best way for Moslems to observe Bakr Eid? Mr. Jaleel suggests that each person offer something that is important or that has value. Often, this may be money or resources. One may give a donation to a charity, and this gift will be of real benefit to society. By helping human beings or animals, it will be a genuine, positive sacrifice.
Is he making headway with his message? He admits that the going is slow. The custom of animal sacrifice “has been ingrained for many generations, so the pace of change is very slow.” Sometimes it takes many discussions with a person before they begin to understand. More open and more educated Moslems are more amenable to change. It is a big issue that needs a strategic approach. He gets a lot of help from individuals who are working towards the same goal.
Patiently and faithfully, he keeps going with his mission of spreading the word that God is compassionate towards both people and animals – and that Moslems are called to give a meaningful sacrifice to God, from the heart — not a sacrifice that harms animals.
If you’d be interested in volunteering to help with this outreach or if you’d like to contact Faizan Jaleel, he’d love to hear from you. He can be reached by email at email@example.com
To visit Faizan Jaleel’s blog, click here. http://faizanjaleel.wordpress.com/
Top photo: © Tsiumpa / Dreamstime.com
Second photo: / author: Jjron / Wikimedia Commons /” This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license”. / Dromedary camel in outback Australia, near Silverton, NSW.
Third photo: Sharon St Joan / Columns of one of the oldest mosques in the world, at Kilakarai, Tamil Nadu, India.
8 thoughts on “The real meaning of Bakr Eid”
To everyone who has made comments – Please be respectful in your comments, even if the person you are addressing was not respectful.
Mohammed Saleem is the kind of idiot that has brought this world to it’s current crisis; a world struggling to survive.
There are more goats, camels etc, because they are raised for slaughter. Tigers, lions etc, are not.
Regarding dog saliva, YOU are wrong; dogs are now part of therapy in most hospitals around the world, where some sane people still exist.
They are allowed to sleep with patients, simply because their energy is so soothing, that it abets cure.
Several people who have grown around pets, swear that they never experienced skin problems like acne, since childhood.
The trouble with people like MS is, that they never actually educate themselves.
They refuse to read and travel and interact with others, because deep down they are afraid that they are wrong.
Sorry .. its Mr. Faizan..
Mr. Saleem, truly before correcting someone you need to check your spelling first? Its not balence but balance. It’s not toung but tongue. And honestly its you who do not have the brain. Think about it. How can the Lord who is so kind and merciful ask you to kill animals mercilessly. True the Lord does not make mistakes. And so he gave you a brain to think which you are sadly not using. Instead you use your sense of discrimination to
call other people stupid which actually proves where you are coming from. Mr Faisan is a kind man and I salute his cause. Way to go Mr. Faisal.
Bogus & Stupid article. I thought something concrete would be there but It’s all Faizan’s own thinking and no where related to either logic or Islam.
First lesson for Faizan is to teach him how to write & pronounce Moslem. The correct word is MUSLIM not Moslem.
Secondly faizan it’s Allah has created the universe system where there is no mistake. If you stop eating goat, cow, camel etc. you will be flooded with such animal around you. Even eating these animals have you ever heard crisis of these animal. No. But tiger, bear, lion, etc Muslim don’t eat but still the count is less. Think first why such balence is there. It’s how universe is designed by almighty Allah to balence.
Third point shows that you do not have brain. You are now living with dog. Please check with any doctor that the liquid which keeps secreting from dog’s toung is how harmful.
There are multiple points which I can mention but first correct your basics then teach the world.
Best of luck
Faizan is not stupid. You are,Mr Saleem!
Expected standard response from a hardwired in-denial ‘moslem’. Probably the mosque mulla has told you that goats and cows reproduce in the wild and they have no natural predators, so humans have the responsibility to keep their population in check. Now let me educate you on a basic fact of meat industry (organised or unorganised). Goats, cows et al are domisticated and bred by humans in order to be consumed by humans. If we stop eating them, we will stop breeding them and their population will never increase. But the mosque mulla brainwashes you with the lame ‘population control’ logic to cover up his and your lack of control on your taste buds and appetite for animal flesh.
If Allah had wanted us to control animal population by means of consuming them, he would have asked us to eat Pigs, Dogs and cockroaches. And btw, what is your opinion on muslim population explosion which is actually the biggest challenge the world is facing? Do you preach family planning to your friends and relatives?
Well said Mr Siddiqui. I totally agree with your line of thinking