The practice of animal sacrifice among the Muslim community outside of Hajj is old while many of us are not aware that this ritual during the Hajj time is an unauthorized practice for the non-pilgrims, i.e., for those who have not made the journey to the Sacred House to perform Hajj for God. They just reflect to the historical event, the dream of Abraham in sacrificing his son, which was substituted with an offering of animal sacrifice by the interference of God. God has not only interfered in the dream but He has also preserved it for the people of the later generations. Thus, the animal sacrifice becomes a Hajj time ritual among the Muslim community around the globe even among those who have not made the journey to the Sacred House. Every year millions of people outside of Hajj observe it as a religious rite not being aware of whether it is authorized or unauthorized practice. The practice of the animal sacrifice by the vast number of people around the world makes it a religious ritual that it is from God. However, Quran has detailed out the ceremonial acts of Hajj even specifying the situations of offering the animal sacrifice for the pilgrims to complete Hajj that can be confirmed from the careful review of the verses linked to the ritual of animal sacrifice.
Hajj in a nutshell
Quran has stated the nine steps of Hajj and its ceremonial acts along with the historical event connected to it while all the ceremonial acts of Hajj are limited to the Sacred House and the locations adjacent to itmentioning an offering of animal sacrifice with livestock to the ancient House (Shrine). Hajj and its ceremonial acts are so detailed in the Quran that we do not see such thorough details in case of the other primary rites prescribed for us such as Salat, Zakat and Siyam. Thus, Hajj is a great opportunity for the Muslims being once in lifetime event to observe it right way to purify themselves through remembrance and repentance to God as well as asking His forgiveness keeping in mind that idol worship nullifies their all works. On the other hand, the extended time period of Hajj every year, i.e., during the four sacred months (Dhul Hijjah, Muharram, Safar and Rabi’I) is also a God-given opportunity for those Muslims who wish to fulfill this obligation but it has been limited to a few days of Dhul Hijjah. Hajj has been detailed out in 41 verses of the Quran across 8 suras, even there is a mathematical confirmation from the verses and suras linked to the Hajj to be certain about its all ceremonial acts (see details in the table below):
Animal sacrifice, a ritual for the pilgrims
The attempt of Abraham to sacrifice his son for the sake of God on the basis of his dream was substituted with an animal sacrifice, and this event is preserved through two rituals: (1) animal sacrifice with livestock and (2) symbolic stoning in condemnation of Satan because of the dream being a Satanic trick. Thus, this event involving these two practices as preserved, is done at Mina on behalf of the Hajj pilgrims.
Animal sacrifice is a ritual for the pilgrims, which is to be fulfilled under certain circumstances. The circumstances are clearly stated in the verses of the Quran linked to the offering of the animal sacrifice, which are, in fact a subset of the verses connected to Hajj that deals with the details of the offering of animal sacrifice. Thus, the review of the relevant verses would help us to be informed of its authorized practice to avoid its unauthorized practice as tradition found among the non-pilgrims around the Muslim world:
- God has commanded us to complete the Hajj under both unusual and secure condition with no fear including exception and expiation. Under unusual situation, when the pilgrims are prevented from reaching the Sacred Masjid, they shall make an animal sacrifice including head shaven and shortening, but whoever is ill or has an ailment of his head can be expiated by fasting, giving to a charity or any sacrifice. Under secure condition, the pilgrims complete Hajj and ‘Umrah, and make an animal sacrifice, which can be substituted with ten days of fasting – 3 days while they are in Hajj and 7 days upon returning to home if they do not live nearby the Sacred Masjid:
[2:196] And you shall complete the Hajj and the `Umrah for God. So, if you have been prevented, then whatever has been obtained with ease from the animal of sacrifice, and you cannot shave your heads until the animal of sacrifice reaches its destination. So, whoever among you has been ill or with an ailment of his head, then expiation either by fasting or charity or sacrifice. So, when you have been secure, then whoever has taken advantage of the `Umrah to the Hajj, then whatever has been obtained with ease from the animal of sacrifice. But whoever cannot find, then fasting of three days during the Hajj and seven when you have returned. This is ten in all; that is for whoever of his family would not be near the Sacred Masjid. And you shall fear God, and shall know that God is severe in the retribution.
- The first House was built in Becca (Mecca) for the people to perform Hajj fulfilling all its rituals:
[3:96] The first House established for the people is the one in Becca, a blessed and guidance for all the people.
- God has commanded us not to violate His rites referring to the sacred month, the animal sacrifice, what is garlanded with, nor those coming to the Sacred House for seeking His bounty and blessing. Hunting is permitted when they come out of Ihram. It is a transgression if they incite hatred among the people when prevented from going to the Sacred Masjid. They are to help one another in righteous works but they are not to help one another in committing sins and aggression:
[5:2] O you who believe, do not violate the rites of God, or the sacred month, or the animal sacrifice, or what is garlanded with, or those coming to the Sacred House for seeking bounty from their Lord and blessing. And when you come out of Ihram, then you may hunt. And let not you incite the hatred for a people when you are prevented from going to the Sacred Masjid that you transgress. And help one another in righteousness and piety, but do not help one another in committing sin and aggression. And you shall fear God, indeed, God is severe in enforcing the retribution.
- Hunting is prohibited during Hajj but if anyone kills the game animal on purpose, shall compensate it judging by the two equitable men, which need to reach the Ka’bah. The equitable compensation may be from a livestock, or expiation by feeding the needy or its equivalent in fasting:
[5:95] O you who believe, do not kill any game while you are in a state of Ihram. And whoever among you has killed it deliberately, then the recompense is to expiate with the same from the livestock that is equivalent to the game he killed being judged by two equitable men among you, as an offering reaching the Ka’bah or an expiation feeding the needy persons or its equivalent in fasting so that he may perceive the consequence of his deed. God has pardoned what has past but whoever returns, then God will avenge from him. And God is Almighty, Avenger.
- God has made the Ka’bah, the Sacred House to be a sanctuary for the people, the sacred months, and the offerings and garlandings. It is thus that we must understand that God is aware of what He has done.
[5:97] God has made the Ka`bah, the Sacred House to be a sanctuary for the people, and the Sacred Months, the offerings and the garlands. That is so that you may know that God knows what is in the heavens and what is in the earth, and that God is aware of everything.
- Hajj has been decreed for the people to the Sacred House (ancient Shrine) and an offering of animal sacrifice with livestock has been made a ritual for the pilgrims providing details of how to execute the service with livestock and what to do after the sacrifice. When it is sacrificed, its meat can be used to eat as well as to feed the needy and the poor while livestock provides many benefits to the people even before it has been sacrificed to the ancient Shrine:
[22:28] That they may witness benefits for themselves and can remember God’s name at specified days through which He has provided them with livestock of the animal. So, you shall eat from it and shall feed the needy and the poor.
[22:33] In it there are benefits for you for a certain period of time, then their place of sacrifice is to the ancient House.
[22:36] And the livestock, we have made them for you among God’s rites wherein there is righteousness for you. So you shall mention God’s name upon them in the line, so is when are down at their sides. Then you shall eat from it and shall feed the poor and the needy. It is thus that we have made them for your service that you may appreciate.
- Both animal sacrifice for God and stoning for condemnation of Satan associated with the historical event, the dream of Abraham in sacrificing his son. Since the dream was a satanic trick, was substituted with an animal sacrifice by the interfere of God when he was going to execute it. It was a difficult test for both of them while the event was preserved for the later generations as the offering of animal sacrifice with livestock:
[37:102] When he grew enough to work with him, he said, “O my son, I see in a dream that I am sacrificing you. What do you think?” He said, “O my father, do what you are commanded to do. You will find me, God willing, patient.”
[37:103] So when they both submitted, and he put his forehead down.
[37:104] And we called him: “O Abraham.
[37:105] You have fulfilled the dream.” It is thus that we reward the righteous.
[37:106] Indeed, it was a difficult test.
[37:107] And we ransomed him with a great sacrifice.
[37:108] And we left him in the later generations.
There are 15 verses across 5 suras that are thoroughly reviewed to confirm the offering of animal sacrifice to be an order from God for the Hajj pilgrims. If the verse and sura numbers of this set are added, the total is a multiple of 19 => 1387 = 19x73 (see details in the table below):
Note: The reference of animal sacrifice has not been directly mentioned in the verse 3:96, as included in the mathematical calculation but the Ka’bah has been designated as the first House, Sacred Masjid, Sacred House and the ancient House to establish a relationship for completing Hajj rituals including the offering of animal sacrifice.
The verses linked to the offering of the animal sacrifice have been reviewed and analyzed, which can be summarized as follows:
- The set of verses linked to the offering of the animal sacrifice is a subset of the Hajj verses.
- The verse, 2:196 is very crucial to understand animal sacrifice to be a ritual of Hajj, and in it is the commandment of Hajj and ‘Umrah specifying the animal sacrifice with an opportunity of expiation.
- The pilgrims shall make an animal sacrifice if they are prevented from reaching the Sacred House or whoever continues the ‘Umrah to the Hajj. But whoever has no animal to sacrifice, then he shall fast for three days during the Hajj and seven days upon returning to home if his family does not live nearby the Sacred Masjid.
- The origin of the animal sacrifice is the dream of Abraham in sacrificing his son, which was substituted with the offering of animal sacrifice by the interference of God.
- The first House established in Becca (Mecca) is the Ka’bah, has been made the Sacred House to be a sanctuary for the people, the Sacred Months, the offerings and the garlandings.
- God has made the rites and He has commanded us not to violate the sacred month, or the animal sacrifice, or what is garlanded with, or those coming to the Sacred House for seeking bounty from their Lord and blessing.
- Hunting is prohibited for the pilgrims when they are in a state of Ihram but it is permitted for them when they come out of Ihram.
- Whoever has killed the game animal on purpose shall compensate with the equitable compensation from a livestock, or shall expiate by feeding the needy or its equivalent in fasting.
- The offerings of the animal sacrifice have been detailed with livestock, which provides many benefits to the people before it has been sacrificed to the ancient Shrine.
There are other reasons that we may also reflect to better understand the order of animal sacrifice not to be the order for the non-pilgrims. When hunting is prohibited during the Hajj to conserve the wildlife, then the order for the non-pilgrims to offer an animal sacrifice with livestock does not make any sense from the perspective of livestock conservation. While God teaches us in the Quran that Hajj shall be performed at any of four sacred months, and if it were managed for the people to visit the Sacred House every sacred month instead of just a few days of Dhul Hijjah to perform Hajj, the non-pilgrims had to make the animal sacrifice four times a year, which would be hardship on them if the animal sacrifice would be an order for them. The precise commandment of the offering animal sacrifice is in the sura al Hajj while history, detailed steps, restriction etc. about Hajj are found in the other suras. Both animal sacrifice for God and stoning for condemnation of Satan are done at Mina by the pilgrimsas preserved being the historical event of Abraham’s dream but a satanic trick.
In addition to the gist listed in the summary of the review analysis, there are logic behind the prohibition of hunting throughout Hajj for conservation of wildlife, the extended time period of Hajj during the four sacred months, the placement of order of animal sacrifice in the sura al-Hajj, livestock preservation and the practicing of the two preserved rituals by the pilgrims at Mina to be sure that God has decreed animal sacrifice for the pilgrims not for the non-pilgrims. Thus, those who have not made the journey to the Sacred House to perform Hajj for God are not required to offer an animal sacrifice during the Hajj time, and by doing that constitutes a man-made innovation and is the violation of God’s commandment in the Quran.
However, the animal sacrifice has been decreed to be a ritual for the pilgrims with an opportunity of expiation by fasting, feeding the needy or giving a charity including any other form of righteous work.Thus, the animal sacrifice is not even obligatory for the pilgrims, then how come it would be obligatory for the rest of the people who have not made the journey to the Sacred House should be a big concern for those who seek truth from God using His reminder for the world, a guidance to become righteous.
Moreover, the mathematical confirmation with a subset of Hajj verses consisting of 15 verses across 5 suras covering the animal sacrifice leaves no room for any doubt that the order of the offering animal sacrifice is for those who have made the journey to the Sacred House to perform Hajj for God. Thus, the practice of animal sacrifice during the Hajj time among the non-pilgrims in the Muslim community around the world is a man-made tradition being misled by the Satan and his allies, which can only be avoided if the truth from God makes a spark in the hearts of those who always think of God to stay with Him to be guided to the straight path to reach the right destination.
Peaceful Friday, salaam and God bless.