Next comes the sacrifice of the �idu�l-azhA.  The hAjji (pilgrim) could sacrifice a goat or a sheep, or a cow or a camel, �The Messenger of Allah sacrificed a cow on behalf of �Aisha� (3030).

It is permissible for seven persons to join in the sacrifice of a cow or a camel (3024-3031).  While sacrificing the camel, the hAjji should not make his camel �kneel down� but slaughter it in a standing posture and in a fettered condition �according to the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet� (3032).  Its left foreleg should be tied to its hindlegs.  Cows and goats should be sacrificed after making them lie down.

One who cannot go for hajj can send a sacrificial animal to al-Haram and earn merit thereby.  �Aisha reports: �I wove the garlands for the sacrificial animals of Allah�s Messenger with my own hands, and then he marked them, and garlanded them, and then sent them to the House, and stayed at Medina and nothing was forbidden to him which was lawful for him before� (3036).

As Muhammad�s affluence increased, the scale of his sacrifices also increased.  On his �umrah pilgrimage in the sixth year, his biographers tell us, he sacrificed seventy camels at Hodeibia.  On a similar pilgrimage the next year, he sacrificed sixty camels.  On the Farewell Pilgrimage in the tenth year, we are told by JAbir, �the total number of those sacrificial animals brought by �AlI from Yemen [where he had gone on a campaign against the Bani Nakha] and those brought by the Apostle was one hundred� (2803).  A little further on in the same hadIs we are told that Muhammad �then went to the place of sacrifice, and sacrificed sixty-three camels with his own hands.  Then he gave the remaining number to �AlI who sacrificed them. . . . He then commanded that a piece of flesh from each animal sacrificed should be put in a pot, and when it was cooked, both of them [�AlI and Muhammad] took some meat out of it and drank its soup.�

To his followers, Muhammad said: �I have sacrificed the animals here, and the whole of MinA is a place of sacrifice; so sacrifice your animals at your places� (2805).

Even Jehovah, the God of the Jews, whose Temple was a veritable slaughterhouse, had declared that He �desired mercy, and not sacrifice� (Hosea 6:6); but Muhammad�s Allah expresses no such sentiment.  Because Islam is so preponderantly Muhammadism, one of the consequences of the Prophet�s offering sacrifices is that sacrificing has become a sacred institution in Islam.  Thus we find in Islam none of that generous movement of the spirit against animal sacrifice that we find in some measure in most cultures.

author : ram swarup

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