“Their flesh and their blood reach not Allah, but the devotion/piety
from you reaches Him. Thus have we made them subject to you that you
may magnify Allah that He has guided you …” (S22:vs37)
“There is not an animal on earth, nor a being that flies on
its wings, but forms parts of communities like unto you. Nothing have
we omitted from the book, and they shall all be gathered to their Lord
in the end.” (S6:vs38)
2. Food and water must be freely available.
3. Upon purchasing animals, look at their general appearance and the conditions in which they are kept. Do not accept thin, sickly injured animals or those kept in poor conditions. (If one does so to relieve the suffering of the animal, bear in mind that one may have to spend lots of time and money to restore the animal back to health. This is good, but the animal may not be ready for Qurbani.)
4. Animals should not be stressed, beaten or chased in any way. Keep dogs away, and give new animals time to adapt.
5. Visit farms when you are not expected, and notice how the animals are kept and handled. Are the kraals/pens clean? Is there enough food and water?
If you are not happy with the conditions, go elsewhere. This will encourage farmers to improve their animal husbandry. Raising one’s own animals a few months before Qurbani helps one develop a bond with and sense of pride in the animals. Sacrifice then means so much more. If one cannot raise one’s own animals and chooses to go the Qurbani farm route, one should try to purchase animals a few weeks prior to Qurbani. Ask if you may partake in the feeding and watering of the animals. This will also develop a bond between you. Children develop stronger bonds with animals than adults, and they should be sensitized with regard to the spiritual significance of Qurbani.
“When you must kill a living being, do it the proper way—when
you slaughter, use the best method and sharpen your knife so as to cause
as little pain as possible.” When the Prophet (pbuh) saw a man
sharpening his knife in the presence of the animal destined for slaughter,
he said, “Do you intend inflicting death on the animal twice—once
by sharpening the knife within its sight and once by cutting its throat?”
2. Knives should be sharpened often, be of sufficient length (45 centimeters for cattle) and be kept out of the animal’s sight.
3. Lay the animal in the direction of Qibla with his or her neck over a hole or drain for the blood to flow into. Do not stand or place your foot on the animal. If the animal is very big, ask people to help restrain the animal by gently kneeling or holding the feet.
4. Slaughter swiftly with no more than three strokes across the level of the throat, cutting all major blood vessels and the throat and esophagus (wind and food pipes). Let go of the animal, and allow him or her to kick in order to allow blood to flow freely (while saying the du’a for Qurbani or slaughter).
5. Acknowledge that only Allah has the right to take life and that we do so as humble members of Allah’s creation because we are in need of sustenance, just like every other species.
6. Bleeding should continue for at least six minutes for cattle and five minutes for sheep and goats.
7. Wash away the blood before bringing in the next animal. The smell of blood causes more stress.
8. Remember that these animals come from Allah and go straight to Jannah (paradise). If we neglect or mistreat them, we will be held accountable.
Many Qurbani farms and large abattoirs do not adhere to these guidelines
because of the large number of animals slaughtered there. Can this meat
be considered halaal? With such large numbers, the essence of Qurbani
is easily lost, with most hujaaj not even seeing the animals slaughtered
in their name. Eid-u-Adha is three days long, and Qurbani can be done
during this period.
The process of slaughtering and dressing (skinning and disemboweling) should be as clean as possible:
2. Animals should be completely dead before skinning commences.
3. Areas for slaughtering and dressing should be washed throughout the process.
4. Carcasses must be washed with a high-pressure hose or hose pipe to remove all contamination and then chilled as soon as possible.
5. If no chilling facility is available, arrange to take the meat to a butcher or cold storage facility.
6. Failure to adhere to these basic hygiene guidelines can result in meat spoilage and can cause food poisoning.
7. Offal and hides can be donated to the poor and needy and should not be buried.
If one cannot or chooses not to offer Qurbani, one may offer other means of sacrifice. Providing a water well for an impoverished village, sponsoring and educating an orphan or sponsoring a teacher provides longer-lasting relief from poverty than a few parcels of meat, which are easily consumed within a week or two.
In Islam, all that is demanded as a sacrifice is one’s personal willingness to submit one’s ego and individual will to Amighty Allah (swt).
The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on animals and Islam, visit www.IslamicConcern.com.
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