This Eid, choose life

Published: November 16, 2010
Send livestock, not dead meat, to flood-hit areas, suggest aid workers.  PHOTO: Mohammad Noman/Express

Send livestock, not dead meat, to flood-hit areas, suggest aid workers. PHOTO: Mohammad Noman/Express

LAHORE: When the banks of the Indus overflowed and caused the worst floods in recent history in Pakistan this summer, millions of poor families lost not just their homes and loved ones, but their most precious economic resource: livestock.

So as Eidul Azha approaches, many Pakistanis are dedicating their sacrifice to the survivors of the floods. But instead of paying to have a goat slaughtered and the meat sent to the flood-hit areas, some are sending the whole animal instead.

“You have to ask yourself, ‘What do they need right now?’” says Ayesha Raja, who is coordinating efforts to donate livestock. “The floods caused the greatest damage to livestock, which is what people depend on for their livelihoods.”

“There are some people who are both donating livestock and sacrificing animals,” said Tamkinet Karim, director of the Bali Memorial Trust, which is sending goats and cows to widows in villages devastated by the floods. “It’s a personal thing. If people aren’t comfortable with donating livestock, we give them the chance to pay for a sacrifice.”

Mahera Omar of the Pakistan Animal Welfare (PAW) organisation has started a website and a donation initiative through Facebook in Karachi, though she is also getting donations from other cities.

“The floods wiped out almost 1.2 million large and small animals in Pakistan,” she said. “This has left people struggling for food and the scarcity will continue in the long run. It does not make sense to sacrifice more animals.”

An individual who donated to PAW lauded the initiative to send livestock to the flood-hit areas as innovative. “Why not give people a way to earn multiple meals instead of giving them a one-time meal which will have no long-term impact on their lives?”

Another Lahori who works with a civil society organisation and is planning to donate livestock said that many people were uncomfortable replacing the sacrifice with donations for religious reasons. “I’ve heard many people discuss it but they assume that Islam does not allow it,” she said.

Islamic scholar Muhammed Rafi Mufti said the initiative was commendable and would earn Allah’s blessings as an act of charity. But, he said, it was not the same as sacrificing an animal.

“You will not get the credit [sawab] related to sacrifice,” he said, adding that the sacrifice was not a duty [faraz].

Jamia Naeemia chief Raghib Naeemi differed, saying the sacrifice was compulsory. “If you do not sacrifice an animal then you should not go to Eid prayers because it is closely linked with the action of sacrifice. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) did not miss a sacrifice once,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 16th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • Humanity
    Nov 17, 2010 - 2:25AM

    When the spirit of Islam is hardly to be found in what the mullah preaches, it is no surprise that their focus is on the outwardly shell of rituals.

    Donating the livestock to the needy would make a world of difference to these people. It would give them hope and dignity.Recommend

  • Nov 17, 2010 - 12:42PM

    Well, I think it is a beautiful and truly an innovative idea to donate livestock to the flood affected people. And I think people just like to be stuck in these useless debates of whats right and wrong, whats allowed whats not.. You are suppose to perform an act of sacrifice, which can be in any way!
    Wonderful effort! Wish you all the best in that! Recommend

  • Anonymous
    Nov 17, 2010 - 2:07PM

    And how to explain this to the illiterate educated who want a spanish bull for 200k?Recommend

  • Mawali
    Nov 17, 2010 - 5:52PM

    That would be the humane thing to do! Life for life! Great idea and this should perhaps become the ritual from now on!Recommend

  • Waqar
    Nov 17, 2010 - 7:06PM

    Every act is judged according to it’s intention and if the donor originally would have sacrificed an animal for themselves or their family, but then decides to donate to the needy, I’m sure by the Almighty’s decree they will be rewarded for it.

    There are also those who have a solemn and sincere desire to make a Qurbani, but do not have the means to pay for it, they surely would also be rewarded.

    “He who saves one human life, it is as if he has saved the whole of humanity.”

    It would be a humane and charitable act to donate a livestock to a family in dire need knowing that the impact it makes is in between choosing life or death.Recommend

  • Danish Qadimi
    Nov 17, 2010 - 8:18PM

    The price of livestock is artificially inflated right now and will likely fall come Saturday. Perhaps this idea can be brought to fruition. Those who can do it, can donate either animals or find the right NGO to send money to for this purpose. Recommend

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