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Animal Sacrifice Rituals & Religion

One of the key components of religion which I constantly questioned when I was a Muslim was the animal sacrifice rituals performed in the name of religion. Animal sacrifice has historically been part of almost all cultures, religions and civilisations. In ancient times, animal sacrifice remained valid and necessary as a medium means of communication with the sacred in order to establish a link and communion between the individual(s) and the invisible powers.

Often, religious and satanist animal sacrifice rituals involve a quick, humane slaughter which is far less traumatic than methods of commercial slaughter. Nevertheless, in my opinion, the fact a so-called “compassionate, benevolent, merciful, all-loving God” derives pleasure from his human creations engaging in the slaughter and sacrifice of some of his most beautiful creations, the lambs, the sheep, the cattle, the camels, the goats and the chickens. Why would an all-loving God endorse such heinous acts. Sure, if you want to fast Ramadan, give up having sex with your spouse (for a certain period of time), refrain from eating a food you love or an activity you enjoy (i.e. playing football, video games etc), for God’s pleasure, then yes, I see legitimacy in that form of sacrifice for a Divine Creator. However, I find no legitimacy in shedding the blood of an innocent animal in the name of a benevolent God. It’s very contradictory.

In defense of Animal Sacrifice, according to Islamonline.net

There are many misconceptions in the minds of non-Muslims, who fail to perceive the significance and wisdom behind acts of worship in Islam. Sacrifice is not a pillar of Islam. We must look at the occurrences in a contextual manner, understanding not only the pre-Islamic institution of sacrifice, the Qur’anic reforms concerning this practice, and the continuance of sacrifice in the Muslim world, but also the context in which the Qur’anic revelations occurred. For it seems that with many people, both non-Muslims and Muslims alike, context is the key that they are missing.

Islam, however, broke away from this longstanding tradition of appeasing an “angry God” and instead demanded personal sacrifice and submission as the only way to die before death and reach “fana’” or “extinction in Allah.” The notion of “vicarious atonement of sin” (absolving one’s sins through the blood of another) is nowhere to be found in the Qur’an. Neither is the idea of gaining favor by offering the life of another to Allah. In Islam, all that is demanded as a sacrifice is one’s personal willingness to submit one’s ego and individual will to Allah ——> Then why does Islam ask its followers to sacrifice animals???

One only has to look at how the Qur’an treats this subject, to see a marked difference regarding sacrifice and whether or not Allah is appeased by blood. The Qur’anic account of the sacrifice of Isma`il ultimately speaks against blood atonement. Allah says: (Then when (the son) reached (the age of) (serious) work with him, he said: “Oh my son! I see in vision that I offer thee in sacrifice: Now see what is thy view!” (The son) said: “Oh my father! Do As thou art commanded: Thou wilt find me, if Allah so wills one practicing patience and constancy!” So when they had both submitted their wills (to Allah), and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (for sacrifice), We called out to him, “Oh Abraham! Thou hast already fulfilled the vision!” Thus indeed do We reward those who do right. For this was obviously a trial and We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice.) (As-Safat 37: 102-107)

The sacrifice ritual is summarised in the following steps:

1. Islamic method of slaughtering animal

Zakkaytum is a verb derived from the root word Zakah (to purify). Its infinitive is Tazkiyah which means purification. The Islamic mode of slaughtering an animal requires the following conditions to be met:

2. Animal should be slaughtered with sharp object (knife)

The animal has to be slaughtered with a sharp object (knife) and in a fast way so that the pain of slaughter is minimised.

3. Cut wind pipe, throat and vessels of neck 

Zabiha is an Arabic word which means ‘slaughtered’. The ‘slaughtering’ is to be done by cutting the throat, windpipe and the blood vessels in the neck causing the animal’s death without cutting the spinal cord.

4. Blood should be drained

The blood has to be drained completely before the head is removed. The purpose is to drain out most of the blood which would serve as a good culture medium for micro organisms. The spinal cord must not be cut because the nerve fibres to the heart could be damaged during the process causing cardiac arrest, stagnating the blood in the blood vessels.

5. Blood is a good medium for germs and bacteria

Blood is a good media of germs, bacteria, toxins, etc. Therefore the Muslim way of slaughtering is more hygienic as most of the blood containing germs, bacteria, toxins, etc. that are the cause of several diseases are eliminated.

6. Meat remains fresh for a longer time

Meat slaughtered by Islamic way remains fresh for a longer time due to deficiency of blood in the meat as compared to other methods of slaughtering.

7. Animal does not feel pain

The swift cutting of vessels of the neck disconnects the flow of blood to the nerve of the brain responsible for pain. Thus the animal does not feel pain. While dying, the animal struggles, writhes, shakes and kicks, not due to pain, but due to the contraction and relaxation of the muscles deficient in blood and due to the flow of blood out of the body.

The slaughter ritual sounds pretty reasonable and shows some consideration towards the animal being sacrificed, but still, sacrificing animals in the name of God screams Lucifierianism/Satanism to me, no matter how much it is defended, justified and explained. But it doesn’t end there… there’s more:

In Islam, animals are sacrificed when children are born, its called an aqeeqah. I was born to my parents 7 years after they were married, and my parents were overjoyed with my birth they decided to show their gratitude to the Almighty Abrahamic God by sacrificing four sheep. Not, one, but four. Til this day, knowing four innocent sheep were slaughtered for my birth makes me sick to my stomach.

To celebrate a child’s birth, it is recommended that a father slaughter one or two animals (sheep or goats). One third of the meat is given away to the poor, and the rest shared in a community meal. Relatives, friends, and neighbors are thus invited to share in celebrating the happy event. This is traditionally done the seventh day after the child’s birth, but may be postponed to later. The name for this event comes from the Arabic word ‘aq, which means “cut.” This is also traditionally the time when the child’s hair is cut or shaved. – Source

Although some scholars forbid it in Islam, some Arabs and Muslims perform animal sacrifices when they have purchased a new house or car they sprinkle it with the blood of the slaughtered animal, so that evil spirits will be kept away in order to ward off the evil eye, and make the house or car blessed in order to avoid calamities and undesirable events.

I am still pretty disturbed by this practice. I cannot imagine the act of beheading somebody, let alone sacrificing an animal in the name of a deity and using religion to justify it. Not to mention it endorses animal cruelty. I’m gonna have to agree with Christopher Hitchens on his stance

Many religions endorse blood sacrifice, wherein innocent victims are killed or harmed to appease deities, specifically citing Judaism for its obsession with blood and sacrifice, particularly the goal of identifying and sacrificing of a pure red heifer (described in Numbers 19), the pursuit of which Hitchens refers to as “absurd”, singling out the goal of raising a human child in a “bubble” so as to “be privileged to cut that heifer’s throat”.

I still remember when I was 3-4 years old, my parents took me to a fish market and the day I watched the fisherman cut the fish, I cried. I have a lot of compassionate feelings towards animals I cannot see any kind of cruelty inflicted upon them. I hated the fact I was born into an Arab household because many Arabs are notorious for their meat consumption. I became a vegetarian 5 months ago. I must admit, being vegetarian is one of the hardest choices I have made, sometimes I get tempted to eat fish fillet, then there’s this spicy halal Chicken Luncheon my dad buys, but yeah… its a commitment worth making.

I’m saying everyone has to become vegetarian nor am I criticising meat-eaters. For me its a personal choice. Meat-eaters can always buy organic meat, which has been fed organic material, animals are left to roam the farm freely, they’re not given hormone injections and the animal is slaughtered ethically. I realise the vegetarian path isn’t easy for many and impossible for some, especially Arabs, and men. I don’t mean that to sound sexist, I know there are many men out there who are vegetarian. Growing up in an Arab household with a father and brother who constantly demand my mum cook beef or chicken proves this. Many Arab women don’t like to eat meat frequently, while some men will argue with their women repeatedly to cook more meat. I think the vegan path is harder, so I settled for vegetarianism.

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