Slaughtering animals for offerings and COVID -19 (Part II)

Pamelia Khaled:

The goals and objectives of this article are to provide an overview of the slaughtering or sacrificing animals for religious practices across the world including Islam

……(Continued after part I)


Since ancient times, Religious education contributed to developing the learners’ selves and their intellect. This education consistently engages learners in prayer activities since their childhood. The motto of religion is to teach the learner to be a soulful person. It explains and teaches that one must be a righteous person and kind to each living being. When we love others, it helps us to shape ourselves. As a part of the World religion, parents at home and teachers can train learners to practise following Morning Prayer to explore how prayer can be beneficial for children. The loving-kindness prayer is similar in some ways to the prayer of world religions. Thus, for learners of any religious background, loving-kindness prayer practice could help understand the self and mindfulness in learning and daily living.

We must provide a meaningful explanation of slaughtering to teach young; otherwise, they will not understand the benefits of offerings animals are, or there is a deep meaning of sacrificing from a religious perspective, or there is an alternative loving-kindness prayer. Years ago, I read a few stories of primitive ideas of slaughtering children in the name of God Ma kali and Allah. Two children were snatched from mothers’, as the fathers were suggested in a dream doing so. Mother’s secured laps lost the meaning of peace and love for God’s calling, possibly for delusion and mental problems.

An example of this would be like a child visualizes or dreams of killing, sacrificing or offering life in the name of the Lord, which could create a huge disturbance and a great deal of trauma in a child’s mental world. It may turn religion and dreamwork in a negative direction. In an educational setting, slaughtering dreams (some meditative or similarly de-stressing activities/prayer) should be monitored to determine if forms of visualization assist children or damage their psychological world. There are some soft rules to slaughter animals for Eid purposes, such as one animal can be bought by a few families together. This way, meat consumption can be less, and the environment can be safe. But for this year, none of these rules apply. 

Dealing Coronavirus, religious conventions can be reformed after discussing with the Islamic scholars and clerics. I believe it will be a prudent idea not to sacrifice mass animals at this crucial moment. 

At this moment, when mass people do not have medical assistance, regular foods and clean water, there is no need for meat products processing for Eid festival and unskilled distribution arrangements for the poor. 

The weak Eid meat processing and distribution system in Bangladesh would spread the virus and kill many people. So, the Muslim countries, including the Bangladesh government, can discuss with the clergy member and make the right decision. 

The government can declare: this year, for Eid purposes, the public should not buy or slaughter animals at home. Only registered particular meat producers can slaughter animals and provide meats for Eid consumption, and they also can supply to the impoverished community in a disciplined manner. 

One animal slaughtering in a traditional way requires 5-10 people, so in Bangladesh, there should not be gathering of more than two people as they are facing stage 1, and the death rate of doctors and the public is at the peak. 

To avoid otherness, establish a sustainable environment, and show our love to animal kingdom massive, competitive slaughtering on Eid-ul Azha occasion could be reduced to 7-16 people, even more, to sacrifice one animal. As we know, this tradition passed to Muslims since long ago, during Prophet Muhammad’s time. The sacrifice of animals was optional, not mandatory in Islam; however, it can be modified in a different fashion employing a new rule- rules of love to animal kingdom and environment. We can educate ourselves on why it is necessary or not necessary for a Muslim, what extent slaughtering can be done, and still not slaughtering animals on Eid day can be meaningfully celebrated, followed by prayer during the pandemic COVID 19. 

According to Khaled Abou El Fadl (2016), Muslims today seem to be under the misimpression that the whole point of Eid Ul-Adha is either to slaughter a sheep or to pay for the slaughter of the sheep. The point of Eid Ul-Adha is not the sheep or the meat; the point is sharing and community and above all, brotherhood and sisterhood in the true sense of the word. To my knowledge, among the classical jurists, it is well-established that money can be dispensed directly to the needy so that they may feed themselves in the way that they see most fit, and one does not need to be limited to the distribution of meat. In fact, some jurists have allowed the distribution of whatever food material is most expensive and unattainable by the needy, be it meat or some other consumption item.” According to the Islamic Scholar Hasan Mahmud, Islamic scholar (2020), Qurbani is not FARJ/mandatory. However, scholars are divided on its nature – Wajib or Sunnat-E Mmuaqqada. There is a Sharia law specifying who is to slaughter. It is only for people who live in the vicinity where they perform their Hajj. “Some Western Muslims are also against the practice, with the Vegan Muslim Initiative arguing there is no scriptural basis for slaughtering animals, and that the ritual confuses the Koranic and Biblical accounts of Isaac’s near-slaughter” (SUN, 2019).


 I feel strongly about the importance of meaning full explanation of an authentic practice of slaughtering for young people. I believe that any rigid tradition or ritual can be problematic for children. I am interested in further exploring how these practices can be safely monitored and guided to ensure their safety for children and to maximize their potential to encourage journeys toward mindfulness, toward a love of the self and others, and toward a personal understanding of and relationship with one’s God. In Islam, “the proper Sunnah is that if one is a meat consumer, then after having slaughtered an animal, the meat must be distributed according to the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) in Eid Ul-Adha. If one has not slaughtered an animal, they can provide money for an animal to be slaughtered and distributed to the poor according to the Sunnah of the Prophet, or they can contribute money to needy families so that they can purchase the meat themselves” (Khaled Abou El Fadl, 2016).

He further mentioned that “the initial idea was to bring the various classes of society together in a social event where the poor dine with the rich, eating the food items of the rich at the same table. In other words, the Sunnah was to slaughter animals, and then to share the meat with needy families in festive social events. Today, Muslims have transformed the practice so that it has lost much of its original meaning.”

To read Part I of the article, Click Here.

The writer is a Doctoral Candidate working on peace and conflict resolution through science at Curriculum Studies and teacher, Development department, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (UofT), and working as a Teaching Assistant, Sociology department, University of Toronto.


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