A Return to Compassion and Mercy For All


There are many Muslims across the world who feel that we need to re-examine our current tradition of slaughtering an animal to commemorate the sacrifice of Abraham. If you are at this page then it is likely you have, at some point, attempted to reconcile animal sacrifice with the Islamic tradition of compassion and mercy.

Many Muslims are privately or publicly advocating for an end to this tradition. Their reasons vary from a concern for animal welfare. To recognizing how the livestock industry contributes to climate change. To a need to give their money towards more sustainable solutions for the poor.

The purpose of this page is to display a collective of voices from across the Muslim world of people who would like to see an end to animal sacrifice during Eid-al-Adha

You can become a part of creating change. Please leave a comment (short or long).  Include your name, and if you would like, your country, age and occupation. You will absolutely inspire someone else. Someone who may be on the fence. Someone who does not want to sacrifice an animal and feels they may not have another choice. 


Click here to leave a comment

Remember to keep your comments respectful.

Thank you for your time and for caring.

42 comments:

  1. Seth عبد رافي AdkisonSeptember 24, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    I do not think that animal sacrifice is something that should be done period. Supposedly the sacrificing of an animal is humane but I honestly think that is rubbish because there is no way to humanely slit an animals throat period. Allah does not need our sacrifices period. We are just being cruel for the sake of being cruel and hiding being the thought that Allah commands this. He does not command us to kill His creatures.

    Seth عبد رافي Adkison
    28, United States

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    1. Fantastic! Thank you my friend for your understanding! God cannot be cruel to his animals and there is no way he commands us to kill and eat them either!

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  2. I converted to Islam almost 20 years ago because I was attracted to the compassion and mercy in the Quran and the teachings of the beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). For anyone who does not know the Prophet was a very strong advocate of the rights of animals in a time when animals were seen as things to be used. The Quran also speaks with great respect for the lives of all living creatures. Since I'm a convert I have a different understanding of this sacrifice. I think its a cultural tradition and it is not necessary. I don't believe this is part of the practice of Islam. I do not participate in this and give my money to charities that offer more than a days worth of food to the poor.

    Larry (Khalid) Arnold
    68, USA

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  3. Let me say this first: I am not a vegetarian. It might seem odd that a person who eats meat is suggesting that the animal sacrifice for eid al-adha is not necessary. But I am most concerned with ethical sourcing of our food. The slaughter on the Eid is not some romanticized individual slaughter of a family's sheep out on a farm. It is a massive and often highly mechanized slaughter of animals in inhumane conditions. Despite the fact that the own of this page is Canadian, these are not the concerns of Muslims living in North America who have the luxury to take such positions. Any web search will demonstrate that these are concerns of Muslims globally who are speaking to the horrors of the treatment of animals in their own countries. The Eid slaughter is unnecessary:

    1. From a legal perspective, there are opinions that only a representative of the umma needs to perform the sacrifice for the whole of the umma. In the same way, the representative of the family slaughters the sheep for the whole family; in fact, families can pool their resources together for one animal for slaughter. If Muslims are going to consider it an obligation, then only one animal needs to be slaughtered for the entire umma to fulfill the ritual.

    2. Muslims against the Eid slaughter have argued that the excesses of money that is spent on slaughtering an animal should be directed to poverty relief measures instead. These measures would ideally prove longer lasting than the meat the poor receive as charity on that one day.

    3. The slaughter at the Hajj is a whole other level of unnecessary brutality. One animal is slaughtered for each person. That is millions of animals slaughtered on Hajj! The hajjis never see the animal. They buy a ticket for someone else to slaughter the animal for them. This is a massive slaughter with no humanity to it at all. Reports from the old days speak of men being up to their knees in the blood of animals they were killing, dragging live animals into the pit of blood to be killed. Now the process is mechanized and the blood washed down drains, but has the brutality changed? This massive amount of meat produced by this egregious slaughter is supposedly sent to the poor in Muslim countries, but there are reports that much of this meat is not accepted by the target countries and rots.

    These are just three reasons to say that it doesn't have to be this way. Animal sacrifice for the Eid is not inevitable, not necessary for ritual or faith, and can be stopped. To read more please see this page: http://www.islamicconcerns.com/IsVegetarianismUnIslamic.asp

    LS, Canada, Islamic Studies professor

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  4. I live in Pakistan and hate this time of year. I can not tell you how much I hate it. The animals that are slaughtered know what is happening. They are crying for mercy and try to get away. The slaughter of these animals I do not think is Islamic. There are many reasons. It is cruel, the animals are treated in very poor ways. The men who slaughter the animals do not care about what the animal feels. They make money on the Eid day depending on how much animals they can slaughter. So tell me do you think if someone is concerned about how much money they are making they will take the time and be kind to the animal. No. The people who buy the animals will buy 1 or 2 or more animals to show how much wealth they have. Then it becomes a display of wealth and not anything about Islam. I hhope and pray in the future this will end.

    Muhammad Adil
    Pakistan, Student, 19

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    1. Peace be with you. Thank you, for your compassion.

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    2. Oh my adil, you are so sensible ! Hope all people will think like you ! We should understand that allah has the power to take away men or animals if he wants to , we need not sacrifice them for him ! We need people like you ! And thank u compassionate muslims for this site ! I hope we can bring in a change ! It is people who are in this slaughtering business who are encouraging this murder , allah does not want this sacrifice ! And basically the goat does not know who allah or sacrifice means , so that sacrifice is meaningless bcoz the goat does not know why it is being killed ! Real sacrifice is that u donate your hard earned money to the poor on that day !

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  5. Hajj or other (Eid) slaughter is totally unnecessary, as well as barbaric. If people are too poor to afford to buy the animal to sacrifice it, they don't. So if you have the money to buy it, is it really necessary? I think not. Just my opinion, but doesn't it say somewhere in the Qu'ran that killing in the holy land is forbidden? So why sacrifice during Hajj. What is the difference between killing animals and killing humans. At Hajj, killing is killing. Just my opinion.

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  6. @Laury Silvers - thank you for that information about one animal for the whole ummah. I did not know that - perhaps that will make a difference for some families.

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  7. Stopped doing the animal slaughter for Eid many years ago! Happy to find that I am not the only one who felt this way and that there are many others who share this sentiment.

    SM
    USA, 45
    Computer Programmer

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  8. I have been sending money overseas on and off for this practice of animal sacrifice and have never felt right about it. I have been doing it for maintaining tradition. It is not right to kill a life for tradition. I regret keeping up the practice. May Allah S.W.T. forgive me for engaging in this ritual of sacrifice. Thank you for doing something about this issue.

    Maryam Khan
    Toronto, ON
    Social Worker/ Therapist/Student

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  9. "And there is no creature on [or within] the earth or bird that flies with its wings except [that they are] communities like you. We have not neglected in the Register a thing. Then unto their Lord they will be gathered." Quran 6:38

    I love this verse and it has stuck in my mind for many years. I didn't understand what it meant until I started researching and found out that animals, like us, socialize. Animals also grieve and experience pain. They care for each other. Mother goats, sheep, cows (all mothers) cry out for their children when their children are taken from them or injured in front of them.

    Imagine the level of pain and horror the animals who are going to be sacrificed experience. Just imagine. If you were to see your loved one about to be killed how would you feel? These animals that are sacrificed are so gentle and even when they are confronted with humans who are so brutal they do not fight back. They call out, I think, asking for mercy. I really believe this verse from the Quran is telling us that just like us, animals have connections and feelings and can experience pleasure and pain.

    Knowing what I know today about the lives of animals I can tell you that I 100% do not and will never support this ritual.

    Ayesha, 32, Canada
    Wife, Mother of 2, Homemaker

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  10. بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
    الحمد للّـه ربّ العالمينَ و الصلاةُ و السـلامُ على خيرِ خلقهِ محمّد وعلى آله

    I converted to Islam almost 3 years ago at the age of 21. I have been vegan for 5 years. There is nothing in Islam that requires consuming meat to be an obligatory act. Today I see most Muslims and non Muslims consume meat on a daily basis, but this is a cultural tradition and not a religious belief. Our Prophet was sent as a Mercy to All the Worlds (Quran 21:107) and most scholars estimate that he was what could be considered a "semi-vegetarian", evidence for this can be found in Malik's al Muwatta.

    As Muslims we must do our best to emulate the Prophetic Sunnah, but we must also not cherry pick. The Prophet rarely ate meat, why do we eat meat every day? The Prophet didnt consume eggs and milk from animals raised on giant industrialized farms, where the animals are injected with hormones and medicine to keep them just healthy enough to keep producing. The Prophet didnt allow baby chicks by the thousands to be sent into a grinder while still alive as is standard practice of the egg industry.

    The Prophet didnt slaughter thousands and thousands of sheep on the hajj as is what happens every year in Arabia as more and more pilgrams flow into Mecca.

    For more in depth information on this issue, please refer tot he following article, I will post an excerpt from it and its link:

    "If someone lives in a desert climate, in a small village where meat-eating is an unchangeable reality and a matter of survival, then the issue of animal sacrifice has context and relevance. But for those of us living in the modern world, we have to seriously question practices that not only have lost meaning (in our present circumstances), but also are contributing to needless bloodshed and environmental destruction (not to mention the health problems incurred by meat-eaters).

    Furthermore, the majority of animals used for sacrifice during the Hajj are not even raised or killed in a Halal manner. These days, the numbers of animals needed are so high that the majority are imported from New Zealand and other countries. The raising of these animals (along with those for meat and wool export) is contributing to the environmental destruction of New Zealand's eco-system. Furthermore, these animals are shipped in brutally overcrowded conditions where large percentages regularly die from disease, being trampled, or heat exhaustion. This is not humane. This is not halal. And we can't ignore this reality. It's not enough to acknowledge that the situation is unfortunate. We as Muslims must not only change our own actions that help create this situation, but also speak out for the protection of Allah's innocent creatures. We're not living 1400 years ago, and whether some of us like it or not, the world is changing."

    http://www.islamveg.de/sacri.html

    "And there is no creature on [or within] the earth or bird that flies with its wings except [that they are] communities like you." Quran 6:38

    The Holy Prophet (s) said:

    “All the creatures are the family of God, therefore the most beloved of them to God, is one who benefits His family the most.”

    Nahj al-Fasahah, p. 27

    Zakariya Ali, 24
    San Jose, Ca
    Social Worker

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  11. Assalamu Aalikum,

    Personally, I'll add snippets of three articles. These articles have left me with hardly anything to add. Please see below.

    Wassalam.

    Junaid Jahangir,
    Lecturer in Economics
    MacEwan University
    Alberta, Canada

    1) http://www.dawn.com/2011/11/05/spare-the-cattle.html

    a) instead of going to the cattle market to pay the highest price for the best looking animal, we could pool in our mental and financial resources to help the displaced and the poor

    b) There are several Pakistani families in North America who honour Eid-ul-Azha by donating money, clothing and other forms of charity to the needy

    c) Focusing on other forms of sacrifice such as volunteering your time in an orphanage or educating the poor can be equally humbling. We haven’t been very kind to our Earth and we need to slow down the mercilessness with which we mistreat other species

    2) http://www.muslimsdebate.com/n.php?nid=5973&mid=521

    a) dozens of online groups have been established in an attempt to end the slaughtering of hundreds of thousands of animals.

    b) “We are no longer living in a Bedouin society and the historical context that was when the sacrifice began no longer exists across the Islamic world, so why do we persist in killing in the name of God beings that are to be respected?”

    c) Historically, Bedouin traveled with animals, ... Thus, the sacrifice was truly a sacrifice of giving. One was forced to give a part of their livelihood and through the sacrifice one-third of the meat ... It was symbolic of giving something close to one’s heart.

    d) Heba Montasser, an Egyptian meat-eater, said that while she doesn’t mind the slaughter, this “mass killing, in my view, is counter to Islam’s message of tolerance and understanding.”

    e) Mohamed Tarek, an Egyptian-American activist says ... the sacrifice may no longer be about community but maintaining a historical tradition that is no longer part of the modern Islamic society.”

    f) The Qur’an says “It is not their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah; it is your piety that reaches Him.” (Qur’an 22:37)

    g) For many activists, 22:37 should be taken as the beginning of ending the ritual slaughter of animals in the name of faith.

    h) “We don’t get closer to God by killing, we get closer to God by showing compassion and understanding, including to the animals that we use to live,” ...

    3) http://www.hijabman.com/journal/halal-zabihah-organic-eat-local/

    a) our tradition actually speaks not just about the way an animal is slaughtered but how it is treated during its life.

    b) new stream of ‘organic and halal’ meat suppliers like GreenZabiha, founded by Yasir Syeed.

    c) Would you dare treat any animal with disrespect if you fully understood that they are muslims…i.e., literally “those who submit to God?

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  12. Don't have any other comment than I would like to see this sacrifice end and I am very happy to see other people who agree.

    Amina Hussein
    USA

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  13. I eat meat, I know animals are slaughtered so I can eat meat. But this event is just plain wrong on so many levels. The points that were made by Laury Silvers pretty much sum up why this is so wrong. This ritual is just plain meaningless to so many Muslims (maybe all Muslims) and STILL we participate in it. That makes no sense!

    This ritual is based on the story of Abraham (PBUH) who was ready to give up something that was the center of his life. Killing an animal we have never seen, cared for. Or even personally slaughtered has NOTHING to do with giving up something that is the center of our world.

    Someone wrote on this site that if we really want to live according to Abraham's actions then we should consider giving up what is REALLY valuable to us (car, jewelry, property). I bet if people started giving up these types of valuable things then, as it says in the Koran "the condition of a people will change". Of course it's easier to kill an animal and think you're really doing something special : /

    Sahar, USA, 29

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  14. for some reason ancient barbaric tradition of human sacrifice on occasion seems more logical to me than killing innocent animals.

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  15. ASA - Thank you for this work.

    HA
    Alberta, Canada

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  16. so to please end this very much. not good for animals. not good for pepole.

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  17. We must think outside of the box . Recreating sacrifices evokes primitive tribal rituals , does it not ? I have witnessed Eid sacrifices across the globe and never did they seem holy or right.

    IA, America, Doula

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  18. Gökben Korkmaz
    Turkey

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  19. my God can't be pleased by slaughtering an animal.

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  20. my God can't be pleased by slaughtering an animal

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  21. so many good points are noted in these comments already, very happy to read them. So i hope i am permitted to write somewhat personally.

    I was 20 years old when i did my hajj sometimes during the 1980's, I had already served in Iran-Iraq war for 4 years prior to that, had seen more violence and blood than most people see in a life time. But when i walked into the vast area in Mecca where the animal sacrifice took place i was absolutely horrified! I have suppressed much of the memory like many other traumatic memories. But here i was looking at a vast desert as far as your eyes could see blood and dead bodies. Huge loaders would shove the dead bodies of sheep, cow, camel and goat onto the transport trucks, the scene could have been from a horror film, the truck dripping with blood from every corner of them filled to the brim with dead bodies of animals that had their neck cut off but heads still attached were driving everywhere. Looking for a sacrificial animal for themselves or on behalf of others people were walking among the blood and guts literally all over the place, so the trucks kept their horns blasting as they drove around, they had no choice but to drive over dead bodies, skulls were crushing and guts exploding under the weight of the trucks. I remember i was wearing sandals but literally up to my ankles were blood and content of animals' stomachs, the smell and sight and sound was just too much to bear even for me who used to boast about my tolerance for extreme violence. I just wanted to kill my animal as fast as i can and get out of that nightmare.

    there were people holding animals for sale right there in the middle of blood and gore. I quickly bought a lamb and thought i will kill it fast and get out of there. They guy dragged it into the bloodiest part of the ground, threw it down on the bloody ground and held it down and gave me the knife to cut the throat, all of this quicker than i am writing these few words describing it. I had no mercy or compassion for the animal, nor could i care much about the circumstances it was being slaughtered. Now, i had been involved in so much violence before that point, more than i care to share here, but i was just frozen, I could not cut the throat of this lamb! I think i was not prepared to deal with the shock of trauma i was experiencing. The guy who sold me the lamb and was sitting on it holding its body and feet got really upset because he had only a few seconds to spare for each killing, grabbed the knife from my hand and cut the throat of the animal, and to prevent it from thrashing about immediately bent the head back so the spine broke with a very loud noise, then stood up and demanded more money for doing the slaughter for me!

    (The system does not allow me to post more than 4000 characters, so i will split my post into 2)

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  22. I am sorry to be writing about this experience, but i have a point to make. I went on for another 20 years eating meat until 4 years ago i went totally veg. My point is that I challenge any one to slaughter the animal that they eat. I believe most people cannot put the knife to the throat of a lamb and take its life away from him. Thats why some Muslim scholars even say that the sacrificial animal should be raised by the person who is doing the sacrifice. Many people are comfortable with dropping bombs on people from 20,000 feet in the air, or command a drone into a wedding party in Pakistan from the comfort of a building in Arizona, or torture of the prisoners and mentally ill etc. etc., but hardly people can do this themselves. I guess thats why we create Jack Bauers to do the dirty work for us. the same way very few people can stretch the neck of a chicken and put the knife to it just to satisfy their meat addiction.
    I still love meat, i love the smell of it cooking, the taste of it as i sink my tooth in it and the feeling of it in my stomach. But I refuse to eat the tormented flesh of an animal on compassionate grounds, knowing full well that all life is scared, as the Quran teaches, and if the Quran is to be believed animals are an "ummah" just like us, they praise their creator, they even talk like us (Sulaiman was given the gift to communicate with birds and animals, Quran records of the ants speaking!).
    Mahdi Tourage
    Associate Prof. of Islamic Studies, Western University, London ON

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    1. Congratulations for writing this Mahdi. Great post!

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  23. As far as I know and understand, none of the Quranic descriptions of Paradise depict the Divine Garden as flowing red with blood, screams of pain, the stench of death ,and tables full of butchered flesh. On the contrary, the Divine Proximity and Presence is accompanied by images of flowing rivers of unpolluted water, trees and delicious fruits,etc.

    Al-Salaam and al-Islam primarily suggest the heavenly attributes of Peace, Compassion and Mercy, so why do we delay in embracing these peaceful attributes which are contained within our very own spiritual soul? As the person above has noted, "my God can't be pleased by the slaughtering of an animal".

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  24. Wow! Imagine my surprise to know there are other Muslims who are thinking like me. What great responses you have here! The story above by Mahdi Alvi is just heartbreaking to read, but I am so glad you posted your story since people need to read it and understand using animals on Eid is NOT let me repeat NOT part of Islam. And thank you to Laury Silvers for such good reasoning… I agree… let’s give our money to a cause that will help people for years and years. I have given my money…money that I have been told to use to slaughter an animal… to the Edhi foundation in Pakistan. I believe my money is put to better use giving it to Edhi than slaughtering an animal so SOME of the meat can feed a FEW people for maybe a DAY or two. Also want to say thank you for the person who posted about God not needing the sacrifice of an animal. I mean, come on! People!….why would Allah need this?!?! WHY would Allah need us to kill millions and millions of animals. There’s a verse in the Koran about Allah not needing the blood of animals…look at that! EVEN the Koran is saying Allah does not need us to kill animals on Eid.

    Every time I ask this question to Muslims I never get a good response. The only think I get is…well, we need to feed the poor which pretty much sounds like a cop-out for killing animals (a hell of a lot of that meat doesn’t even get to the poor). Or the line about well Abraham did…to which I want to say, well, if Abraham jumped off a bridge…ok, sorry about that…don’t mean to be disrespectful to anyone…just was trying to provide some reasoning around this (I love all the Prophets). Keep up the good work everyone, you are all wonderful and you have really inspired me!!!!

    Nadia, 38
    USA

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  25. I have expressed much of what you have outlined above in my FB status update of today, and have shared the above link. I am in complete agreement with the intellectual philosophy behind this opinion. I also refuse to participate in the animal slaughter and instead choose to donate towards causes close to my heart such as education for girls, access to clean water and healthcare for the underprivileged.

    I wish you luck in your endeavor. May Allah accept your gift of Time and Knowledge.

    Thanks & Peace!

    Fez Meghani
    USA, CCO

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  26. I have always found the story of Abraham scarificing his son to be just odd. What kind of God would need anyone to kill their own son just to prove their loyality. As a Muslim, growing up hearing this story I did question it but I never recieved a reply that I was reasonable. Still to this day I can not understand how we can accept this story and not feel that there is something wrong here.

    Wasn't it during the time of ignorance (jahiliyyah) that people used to scarifice animals and humans on occassion? I would ask Muslims to really think long and hard about this and ask yourselfs why do you want to continue with a practise that was part of the era of ignorance.

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    1. I think there is a fallacy in the belief of 'sacrifice'. Abraham was ready to slaughter his son on God's command. Since he passed the test from God, the child was replaced by a sheep. If muslims have to commemorate that event, they have to actually put their own child under the knife and let God decide. Using a sheep/cow in the first place actually signifies their lack of trust in God. Irony of the faithful? I know I am sounding outrageous but can anyone deny this logic?

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    2. Asgie - that is a great idea. I bet the slaughtering would stop if it came down to this.

      If a guy came up to me and said he had a dream and God was telling him to kill his son I would call child protective services. I don't get why we can't use common sense when reading these stories in the Quran, Bible or any other book.

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  27. If anyone wants to know what happens to the animals shipped from Australia for slaughter take a look at the video below. This is so disturbing and let's not forget this happens all over the place

    I hope we can end this type of madness.

    http://www.liveexportshame.com/news2/index.php/topic,8152.msg10235/topicseen.html#msg10235

    Uzma, 23, USA, Student

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  28. Please accept the compliments of Quaker Concern for Animals in Britain. We are committed to our interfaith policy and are heartened to read so many compassionate comments on this subject.
    Thanks everyone!

    Khudaar hafis.
    Marian.

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    1. i have great respect for the Quaker community. thank you for your kind words.

      Peace

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    2. Thank you! Anila and any of the correspondents on this blog - would anybody like to send me a piece on this issue which I could include in our Quaker Concern for Animals (in Britain) newsletter and/or our web site, to be entitled something like 'Compassionate Islam'?
      You can contact me via our web site.
      Kind regards,
      Marian.

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  29. I personally am not a muslim but i have been reading a lot about slaughtering of animals. It happens in Hinduism so as it does in Islam for reasons like better fortune, God's grace and many others. I don't challenge the sentiments of the people involved but i am not in favor of slaughtering of animals in order to serve to God. As i have read, there are many interpretations to what is written in Quran and according to many slaughtering is not been talked about or even if it is then there is nothing called merciful death. and no celebration or good fortune can be brought about by first making a creature undergo the torture of being transported and subsequently beheaded.
    I lament the fact we as human beings (presumed to be the most rational creatures) value our lives the most and are scared at the thought of death and go to the extent of killing an another creature for our well being. Height of being selfish.
    I request our fellow people Hindus/Muslims to kindly do good to earn good fortunes.
    Akhilesh
    25 yrs
    India

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  30. Oh my adil, you are so sensible ! Hope all people will think like you ! We should understand that allah has the power to take away men or animals if he wants to , we need not sacrifice them for him ! We need people like you ! And thank u compassionate muslims for this site ! I hope we can bring in a change ! It is people who are in this slaughtering business who are encouraging this murder , allah does not want this sacrifice ! And basically the goat does not know who allah or sacrifice means , so that sacrifice is meaningless bcoz the goat does not know why it is being killed ! Real sacrifice is that u donate your hard earned money to the poor on that day and also make that day enjoyable for goats as well ! Let all animals and men rejoice on eid ! Please try to bring a change as soon as possible !

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  31. Hi,

    I am so heartened by the author and the comments so far.
    I run a website Animal Welfare Org whose purpose is to stop animal cruelty.
    The whole worldwide meat industry will collapse in on itself soon for various reasons, mainly when the world wakes up to the unacceptable cruelty that goes on behind those walls.
    Religious slaughter methods practiced by many Jewish and Muslim faiths is particularly horrific.
    I do not believe this is what Allah wants.
    I think the only way forward is to invite all the leading lawmakers to redefine and standardise slaughter to be 'humane'
    (I.e. instant. Less than 1 second) by issuing a Fatwa.
    Until that time it would be advisable to become vegetarian.
    I would love for you to write articles for my website.
    Please contact me if you would do this for the animals!
    Thank you for raising awareness of this subject.

    Animal Welfare Org
    Follow me on Twitter @forkoffcruelty

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  32. I am not a Muslim, but am an animal welfare advocate. I have sat and cried at my computer reading of this beautiful compassionate movement within the Muslim community. Thank you.

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  33. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  34. My take and write up on it

    (My take on) Abraham's spooky story

    http://zindagi-ki-diary.blogspot.com/2013/10/my-take-on-abrahams-spooky-story.html

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