We Need To End Eid Slaughter
Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion

FROM Sammer, The Vegan Muslim Initiative
July 2020

I strongly feel it is highly irresponsible and negligent to continue Eid animal slaughter today.... If they could fulfill their udhiya in novel ways that did not require them to kill animals 1400 years ago, why can’t we?

think outside the box

I’d like to share a few quick thoughts this Eid-ul Adha.

I’m not going to discuss the devastating impact raising and killing animals is having on the animals and environment. This is detailed in the article Don't Kill an Animal This Eid.

Please familiarize yourself with it if you would like a little background as to why I strongly feel it is highly irresponsible and negligent to continue this practice today.

Instead, I want to speak from the heart as I feel this issue is symptomatic of much larger problems within our community. Simply put, we very much need to halt, have a moratorium or at the very least, re-examine this practice.

Many Muslims still argue udhiya is required because “the Prophet and His Companions did it”. This is hardly an argument particularly when we are mass killing tens of millions of animals on a single day! There is no doubt in my mind if he (pbuh) were alive today and saw this, that he would not allow it.

Secondly, the Prophet (pbuh) lived in a materially and substantially different time. Udhiya was NOT considered obligatory by many of his closest and most iconic companions with several of them preferring to help the needy in different ways rather than killing an animal:

Fat’h al-Bāri adapted from ‘Selections from Fath al-Bāri by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalānī’ translated by Tim Winters. It is authentically reported in the sunan of Bayhaqī that Hudhayfa bin Usayd said :

.لقد رأيت أبا بكر ، وعمر وما يضحيان كراهية أن يقتدى بهما

I saw Abū Bakr and Umar would not perform Udhīyah (sacrifice) disliking that they’d be followed (by people in this tradition).

They specifically did not want people imitating them thinking it is obligatory.

It is also authentically reported in another tradition, that Abū Masūd al-Ansarī said :

إني لأدعُ الأضحى وإني لموسر ، مخافةَ أن يرى جيراني أنه حتمٌ عليَّ

I abstain from offering Udhīyah even though I am able to offer it, fearing that my neighbor would think that it is obligatory upon me.

He specifically did not want people imitating him thinking it is obligatory.

Ibn Abbas (widely considered the best Qu’ran interpreter after the Prophet) offered udhiya in a different manner:

It is authentically reported in Sunan al Bayhaqī:

عن عكرمة مولى ابن عباس: كان إذا حضر الأضحى أعطى مولىً له درهمين فقال: اشتر بهما لحماً وأخبر الناس أنه أضحى ابن عباس

Ikrima narrated that if Ibn Abbas were to observe Udhīyah, he would give two Dirhams to his slave and say : buy meat out of it, and inform the people that this is the sacrifice (udhiya) of Ibn Abbas.

Ibn Hazm has authenticated and narrated from the Tabi’ī Imam, Faqih Sa’īd bin al-Musayab and Imam Shā’bi that they both have said :

عن سعيد بن المسيب والشعبي وأنه قال : لأن أتصدق بثلاثة دراهم أحب إلي من أن أضحي .

As spending by three Dirhams in charity, is more dearer to us than to sacrifice (udhīyah). –al-Muhalla

It is authentically demonstrated from Bilāl when he said :

مَا أُبَالِي لَوْ ضَحَّيْتُ بِدِيكٍ ، وَلأَنْ أَتَصَدَّقَ بِثَمَنِهَا عَلَى يَتِيمٍ أَوْ مُغَبَّرٍ ، أَحَبُّ إِلَيَّ مِنْ أَنْ أُضَحِّيَ

I wouldn’t care if I slaughter a rooster, because spending that cost to an orphan or a poor person, is more dearer to me than to offer udhiyah (sacrifice). –Musannaf Abd al-Razzāq, the Sanad has been classified as “Sahih” by Allama Abu al-Hasan al-Sulaymanī and Sh Mash’hūr Hasan)

Are these not the closest companions of the Prophet who understood his directives and commands best? Yet even so, they simply did not believe this was a required action and found other ways to fulfill the objective; which has always been about feeding the needy.

So if they can fulfill their udhiya in novel ways that does not require them to kill animals 1400 years ago, why can’t we?

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