In Kindergarten, my son learned in the Islamic Studies class:
“On Eid Al Azha we please Allah by sacrificing animal in memory of Prophet Ibrahim’s obedience to Allah. “
My son, like other kids, was expected to learn this by heart at the age of 5. But he came back,
“How can Allah be pleased by killing an animal?”
Honestly I had no plausible answer to give to a 5 year old then, so I told him, “Just learn it.”
My Mom warned: “Expain to him Hz Ibrahim’s story. Don’t agree with him, he’ll become a rebel.”
I had no answer, so I preferred to keep shut too.
However, I found some sense in his question. And my conscience pricked.
A few years later, I began to confide in him,”I agree with you.”
“But then why don’t you do anything? “ he questioned.
Again I was clueless.
About the age of 9 years , he was sent to Pakistan in his Hajj Holidays( we lived in Makkah Saudi Arabia), to witness Baqr Eid firsthand. Probably we thought once he sees this happening everywhere, he would flow with the tide too.
In Pakistan, he had a gala time visiting Bakra Mandi (cattle market) with uncles and cousins. They came back with a fleet of 4 goats. Each boy was assigned to take care of one goat. The fed, played and raced their goats in the lawn all day. They even named them after the Ninja Turtles.
They bought accessories like bells and necklaces and adorned the pets with them.
When his cousins were off to school, he looked after all four goats with utmost loving care.
The Bakr Eid came and passed. All the goats were sacrificed, one by one, in the same lawn where they galloped all day.
We received complaints that our son is timid and he refused to see the animal being sacrificed, when other kids of his age did the ‘throat cutting’ job for their respective animals. He even did not eat the chops and Biryani made out of his pet.
After a two week’s trip he came back home with the memoirs of Michaelangelo-his bell and the plastic necklace his pet goat wore before it was sacrificed. And along them were loads of complains of how heartlessly were the pets sacrificed, and the stink that persisted for days, by the guts of the goats splattered all over the city.
Along with this came a message for us from his Grandfather and Uncles:
“He should be a strong man.”
My husband concurred. I disagreed, quietly.
In grade 9, while learning Islamiat for O levels he came up with an idea, one day:
“Can’t we do an Ijtihad (consensus) on sacrificing on Eid Al Adha ?”
“Okay you try the Ijtihad ( consensus) .” I permitted.
He talked to his friends, and they mocked,”You say this because you can’t see blood.”
Not even one agreed.
“There cannot be Ijtihaad, as in that each and every person must agree.” he had learnt it in the lesson on Islamic Jurisprudence.
“I don’t care what others say or do, but I will never sacrifice a goat on Eid, and that too myself. I will donate as much amount to charity. It will not only help the needy, save an animal’s life but save me from feeling guilty and sick. And I know this will not displease Allah”, he took a firm decision.
This was about four years ago. And each year he repeats the same view when Baqr Eid approaches.
And to let you know, this is a boy who never missed the Juma ( Friday) prayers in his two years of High School in Canada just because, “the govt has arranged it especially for us Muslims, and if we do not, it would be such a shame that the Canadians care for our religious obligations , but we do not.”