Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sheep Slaughtering on Eid

These are the Days of Eid.

Happy Eid.

Eid Mubarak.

Eid Sayed.

For believers, this is the time of remembering the sacrifice we need to make in our lives to serve Allah.

For non-believers, this is the time the sheep are killed.

Well, it's true that sheep are slaughtered.

"Why do you kill the sheep?" asks the mom with the Happy Meals.

OK, good question.  Muslims slaughter the sheep to remember the time when Prophet Abraham/Ibrahim (peace be upon him) thought he had to kill his beloved son.  The prophet obeyed and the moment before the knife was to enter, Issac was spared.  Subhanallah!

"Wait a minute!" calls out the guy grilling the steak, "That's our story!  That's from the Bible!"

Right.  It is from the Bible and from the Torah and also from the Quran.

However, in the Quran,  Ibrahim is NOT asked to slaughter his son.  In a dream, The Prophet sees the sacrifice and upon waking thinks that he must carry out what he has seen.

Haven't you done that?

"Sure," says the kid chewing on a Slim Jim, "once I dreamed there was a dracula in my kitchen and when I woke up I had to go open all the cupboards just to make sure he wasn't in there."

Right, dreams are not reality.

In many ways, Happy Meals, steaks on the grill, and Slim Jims are void of reality too.  Those are meat products which came from an animal; a real, living, breathing animal.  Someone had to slaughter it. 

Yes, Lady munching the chicken Cesar salad, that meat arrived at your house on a styrofoam tray wrapped in plastic, but it started out as a cute baby.  That baby animal grew and when it was big enough it was killed.  It died.  You ate it.

Why did you eat it without considering the source?  It came from God.  Was it slaughtered in the name of God?  Before you ate it, did you eat it in rememberance of God?

Muslims do all that.  We are far from barbaric in our treatment of animals we slaughter.

OK, I don't personally slaughter animals myself.  I've witnessed one slaughter and that was enough for me.  I'm the chick who stayed---not just once but TWICE---on Scottish sheep farms so I could be close to the fuzzy fellas.  But last year, I witnessed a sheep being slaughtered so I could see and feel the moment of sacrifice.  For most of my life, I wouldn't eat mutton but now, I do.  If I was willing to eat it, then I wanted to be willing to see the process.  The animal's life ends so that we can live. 

The most amazing moment for me was seeing the slaughtering process stop.  The sheep was on the ground and it was scared so the process was brought to an immediate halt.  The animal was raised up and given water and calming words.  When it lay down again, then and only then was the sharp knife quickly brought down with "Bismallah". 

The sheep and the goat in the picture were real.  I really loved visiting them.  I gave them our food scraps.  I named them.  They were slaughtered this Eid.  They are gone.  I may or may not be able to eat their meat.

Next time you eat meat, please take a moment to remember the reality of life and death; of sacrifice.

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