Eid-ul-Adha (the Festival of Sacrifice) is celebrated throughout the Muslim world as a commemoration of Prophet Ibrahim’s (PBUH) willingness to sacrifice his son for God.
This three-day festival, which occurs every year on the 10th of Zul Hijja on the Islamic calendar at the end of the Hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca, provides many valuable services to the individual Muslim and to the Muslim community. It inculcates a sense of sacrifice and compassion in the giver. Traditionally, the giver has to give up an animal, an important source of food and income in the early history of Islamic civilization. This tradition served a social purpose in providing meat, one of the few protein-rich foods in early Islam, to the poor. Even well-to-do Muslims consumed meat sparingly, perhaps once or twice per week, while the poor ate it only on the two Eids, when it was donated from the sacrifices.
Currently, the high Islamic standard of compassion to animals is often violated by those who provide sacrificial animals because they use cruel methods such as the mass transport of sheep in severely crowded, filthy conditions from Australia. These animals are denied adequate space, food, water, and medical attention during their lengthy overseas journeys. Such treatment would seem to violate Islamic teachings.
Furthermore, there are many other sources of high-quality protein foods freely available today. Many more poor people can be fed with better-quality food on the same US$40-150 (average cost of a sacrificial animal) if that money is spent on vegetarian foods like beans, lentils, rice, and so on.
We present the following articles, written by Muslims who have seriously reflected upon the practice and problems of animal sacrifice during the contemporary period. Their responses range from calls to reform the transportation and treatment process of sacrificial animals to movements away from animal sacrifice in favor of other support for the poor, such as providing vegetarian foods, well-water projects, educational support, or the care of orphans.
Sheikh Farid Wagdi
Al-Hafiz B.A. Masri writes in Animals in Islam (p. 117), that the well-known Sheikh Farid Wagdi wrote, “[T]here may come a day when Muslims shall have to substitute the rite of animal sacrifice with other methods of giving alms.”
Cooking Tips for a Healthy (and Delicious!) Eid
Many of the typical Eid al-Adha recipes are heavily based on meat. By following these simple tips, you can use modern meat substitutes to provide the same taste to the recipes that you have always loved but without the cholesterol, fat, hormones, antibiotics, and other harmful substances in meat. Instead, you will get a healthy dose of phytochemicals and fiber, neither of which are found in meat. Plus, you still get a healthy amount of low-fat protein.
- Replace ground or minced beef with Boca Meatless Ground Burger, or Gimme Lean Ground Beef Style replacements. You can use all of these crumbles exactly as you would beef. Look for them in the frozen section or refrigerated-produce section in supermarkets. They are especially good in kabobs!
- You can order Chinese vegetarian “beef” chunks, and even “lamb” chunks, at vegieworld.com, where you will also find vegetarian versions of salmon, shrimp, squid, and even eel!
- Or replace beef or lamb chunks in stews with seitan (“wheat meat”) or textured vegetable protein (TVP). Both of these can easily be found in health-food stores.
"There is not an animal that lives on the earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, but they form communities like you. Nothing have we omitted from the Book, and they all shall be gathered to their Lord in the end" - Al-Qur'an, 6:38
"Whoever is kind to the creatures of God, is kind to himself." - The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), narrated by Abdallah bin Amru in Bukhari and Muslim collections