spare the poor goat or lamb or cows life. The purpose of sacrifice is to understand the spirit of parting with what you hold dear (your wealth), it is not some muqabla against four-legged animals.
Please pause and think … That, after all, is what religion should make us do rather than blindly following ritual.
According to the many organizations that will perform the sacrifice for you if you live abroad, the cost of one goat/sheep is US$ 160 in the US (that is more than one month’s salary for a college educated Pakistani professional). The price in Pakistan is cheaper, but not by much. Only the well wheeled can afford it. The Poor cannot even budget for a kilo of meat a month.
Is there a better way to ‘sacrifice’ the 150-200 dollars or the Rs. 10,000 or more in the name of Allah that is useful to His bandas? A way that captures the spirit of sacrifice that qurbani entails and helps us meet our religious obligation as well as the social welfare and redistribution that is its deeper purpose?
The Qur’an reminds us that Allah looks at intent not the blood. Maybe we too should pay heed to the intent of qurbani? For those who want to sacrifice this writer instead, please read Chapter 22, Verse 37 from the Holy Qur’an (I have looked at translations by Marmaduke, Yusufali, Asad and Usmani) and they all talk about your own devotion, piety, God-consciousness and taqwa that reaches Him.
The meat from the sacrificial animal is intended to be divided into three parts: 1/3rd each for your self, family and friends, and for the needy and the poor. I would suggest we fore go our share, and give the whole amount to the poor including poor relations. Charity and alms should be given throughout the year, and many people do. But with this added emphasis around Eid ul Adha I would suggest we consider giving more to the poor including poor relations.
Allah looks at intent not the blood. What better way to celebrate this Eid?
On my last visit I saw a lot of people drive up to a certain “hotel” (Pinglish for restaurant) and pay the owner X rupees to feed X number of hungry folks lined up outside. That is a noble idea. But would it not be better better to teach them to fish?
A manual sewing machine for a widow or unemployed poor woman? Tuition Fees or books for a poor student? Some money to ease the days for the unemployed people? A small monthly stipend to the poor that may bring a ray of hope in their lives and may perhaps deter them from abandoning their children to the fogs of terrorist factories?
We can think of many ways to make Him happy and spare the lamb. May Allah bless you and your family.
Note: This is based on an earlier post published on temporal’s blog Baithak.