"In many ways writing is the act of saying I, of imposing oneself upon other people, of saying listen to me, see it my way, change your mind. Its an aggressive, even a hostile act. You can disguise its aggressiveness all you want with veils of subordinate clauses and qualifiers and tentative subjunctives, with ellipses and evasions with the whole manner of intimating rather than claiming, of alluding rather than stating but theres no getting around the fact that setting words on paper is the tactic of a secret bully, an invasion, an imposition of the writers sensibility on the readers most private space."
Joan Didion, Why I Write.

Monday, November 15, 2010

It's religion!!

PAWS Eid Campaign 2010:

For Eid-ul-Azha sacrifice this year, join PAWS and help restore the lives and livelihood of people affected by the floods. Buy a goat – and this year, instead of sacrificing it, send it back to a village to replace what was lost and help people back onto their feet. Goats can provide an ongoing income for families through the sale of milk, ghee, meat and kids, as well as supplement their own diet and agriculture.”

The PAWS campaign has already been hailed with so much applause and praise, and while it might sound like the most convincing idea this time of the year, I would like you to read this:

PAWS Mission Statement:

PAWS aims to create a more just and equitable relationship between humans and animals in Pakistan. We recognize that humans have a responsibility towards their environment and fellow species and aim to preserve and protect animal populations; their integrity, diversity, welfare and wellbeing. We also believe that the natural environment is a shared heritage for humankind and seek to create, promote and preserve ecologically sustainable relationships globally.

In case I need to elaborate, PAWS is aimed at looking after the welfare of animals, and killing something is definitely not counted as its welfare. I do not doubt their intentions; I just want the people to think more rationally towards the suggestion.

We celebrate Eid-ul-Azha in the memory of the sacrifice made by the Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH), who was ready to slaughter his beloved son, according to the will of Allah Almighty. It was a test of submission to Allah’s will, which Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) passed. Allah Almighty was so happy with him, that the sacrifice of an animal became a part of our religious rituals, to be performed by every Muslim who is capable of it, from that time onwards.

Qurbani is actually the demonstration of our total submission to Allah’s will. The intention behind a Qurbani is to express our complete obedience to His commands, that we are willing to sacrifice anything for Him, just as Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) did.

So, why on earth are we comparing something which is so dear to Allah Almighty, and is told to be done once in a year, with charity that we can do round the year? Islam does not bar us from charity, does it?

Just think for a while. Are we really disagreeing with Allah’s order of sacrificing an animal on Eid, because we think that we are wise-enough to find a better alternative to something that has been told to us by Allah Almighty? Do we really think that the Qurbani of an animal is an inhumane act, and is against animal rights?

Allah is the Creator. He has created everything; humans and animals too. Who are we to decide that we should not kill an animal because it is cruel, when Allah has ordered us to, and the act of Qurbani is dear to him? Allah, who has even devised the exact way in which an animal should be slaughtered, so it does not cause him pain. He is surely the most Merciful; and He knows what we know not.

If I particularly talk about the present situation, why did we have to wait until Eid to think about the flood-victims, when we could have helped them in this way, or in many other ways before Eid? And while it might sound funny, we could have sacrificed many barbecue dinners which we had, for that reason.. no?

Even during the life of our beloved Prophet (PBUH), there certainly were people who required the animals for other domestic needs, Qurbani was offered. If we are so passionate to do charity, we should, in million other ways, which I don’t need to count, and the reward is promised, but why should the axe fall on something prescribed by the Almighty? Aren’t we making a mockery of this sacred ritual? We are not ridiculing anyone else but ourselves, aren’t we?

It is very sad the way this Quranic verse is being used, which only tells us that out spirit behind the Qurbani is what counts before Almighty Allah, and He doesn’t need the flesh or blood of the animal, which is so easily understandable. I must say, it does not tell us that we can replace the act of Qurbani with something else. And we should not try to change the essence of the word of God. Should we?

Qurbani might have changed from sacrifice to fad, but that also cannot be the reason of replacing it with something else. Allah knows the Niyah, and he knows who has sacrificed in the true spirit of it, and who has not.

Before taking this suggestion by PAWS, and now many writers after this, so seriously, I would just like you to look simply into the matter, you don’t need much brain to do that, and you don’t need much emotion either.

Sacrifice the animal in the will of Allah, eat the meat yourself, give it to your relatives, and give it to the poor, as prescribed. For surely Allah knows best.

I’m not a religious scholar, and trust me, I don’t need to be one to understand this simple thing.