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About our Pilgrimage Journey to Mecca - PART V

About our Pilgrimage Journey to Mecca  - PART V

 

 

Published in December 4, 2019

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy

 

 

 

 

Fifthly: about the sacrificial animals:

1- Within our previous writings, we have suggested that instead of offering sacrificial animals inside Mecca, pilgrims may donate the price of such animals to any of the poor in their respective countries or in any other countries struck by famine. We have been wrong in such a view or suggestion. The Quran tells us most distinctively that offerings (i.e., sacrificial animals) must be made inside Mecca only and to be consumed by rich/poor pilgrims and poor Meccans only; this meat is not to be given to, or distributed among, others elsewhere at all.

2- At the time when we wrote this erroneous view, we were influenced by what was being said about years ago about too much meat of sacrificed animals during the pilgrimage season, the prosperity of Saudi Arabia and the adversity and poverty in other countries, the prospect of producing canned meat from the offerings made by pilgrims, and the rumors about some swindlers who took money from pilgrims within the claim of purchasing sacrificial animals which were never bought and offered at all.  

3- We and our wife and two sons discussed this topic in the suite of the hotel in Mecca within our pilgrimage journey. Our wife saw that it is best to distribute the money/price of the offerings among the poor inside the Sacred Kaaba Mosque especially the low-rank workers and dustmen (most of them are Asians). One of our sons suggested sending such money to the poor and the destitute in Egypt. The Egyptian friend of our son said that a Saudi bank offers the service of taking the money of offerings from pilgrims to distribute such money among the poor in other countries and that some abattoirs take the money of offerings from pilgrims and then sell the cattle and rams to other people in half the price.  

4- Our own decision, after much discussion and deep thinking, was to buy rams slaughter them at the abattoir, and to distribute their cooked meat among some people in Mecca and inside the Sacred Kaaba Mosque; a small part of this cooked meat will be consumed by us as per the Quranic commands. Hossam, with the help of his Egyptian friend, bought three medium-sized rams and oversaw their slaughter and preparation in an abattoir. The cooked meat of two rams was distributed among people; the meat of the third ram was sent to a restaurant to be cooked and consumed by us. We ate a small part of this cooked meat, inside the suite of the hotel, to apply these Quranic commands: "...So eat from it, and feed the unfortunate poor..." (22:28); "...Then, when they have fallen on their sides, eat of them and feed the contented and the beggar..." (22:36). Hossam went with his Egyptian friend to the Sacred Kaaba Mosque with the rest of the cooked meat in a tray to leave it to people. On the very next day, the tray was left, empty and clean, against a wall. We think this is the best way to deal with how to offer and distribute the sacrificed animals. Let us explain this topic further within the Quran in the points below.

5- The Kaaba is situated in a mountainous area with no vegetation; the Lord God has provided with water of the Zamzam well so that the guardians of the Kaaba would provide water for pilgrims; the polytheistic Qorayish tribesmen during Muhammad's lifetime used to brag of this and the Lord God has addressed the following to them: "Do you consider giving water to pilgrims and maintaining the Sacred Mosque the same as believing in God and the Last Day and striving in God’s path? They are not equal in God’s sight. God does not guide the unjust people." (9:19). In order to provide food for pilgrims, the Lord God has imposed offerings on pilgrims inside Mecca, and He allowed exchanging benefits within trade inside Mecca: "That they may witness the benefits for themselves, and celebrate the Name of God during the appointed days, for providing them with the animal livestock. So eat from it, and feed the unfortunate poor." (22:28); this means merchants are allowed to work inside Mecca and sell their different merchandise. The Lord God has addressed the following to the Quran-haters inside Mecca: "And they say, “If we follow the guidance with you, we will be snatched from our land.” Did We not establish for them a Safe Sanctuary, to which are brought all kinds of fruits, as provision from Ourselves? But most of them do not know." (28:57). Centuries ago, Abraham supplicated to the Lord God to make provisions reach Mecca: "“Our Lord, I have settled some of my offspring in a valley of no vegetation, by Your Sacred House, our Lord, so that they may perform the prayers. So make the hearts of some people incline towards them, and provide them with fruits, that they may be thankful.”" (14:37); within his supplications, Abraham asked for provisions only for monotheists, but the Lord God asserts that His provisions are for all humanity in this world regardless of their faiths; the torment is for disbelievers in the Hereafter: "When Abraham said, “O My Lord, make this a peaceful land, and provide its people with fruits - whoever of them believes in God and the Last Day.” He said, “And whoever disbelieves, I will give him a little enjoyment, then I will consign him to the punishment of the Fire; how miserable the destiny!”" (2:126). This matches with the fact that pilgrimage is for all peaceful people regardless of their doctrines, sects, and denominations; the same applies to feeding pilgrims inside the Sacred Kaaba Mosque regardless of their beliefs and their (dis)belief.

6- This is reinforced by the fact that hunting is prohibited for pilgrims during the state of Ihram: "O you who believe! Fulfill your contracts. Livestock animals are permitted for you, except those specified to you; but do not hunt while you are in the state of Ihram. God decrees whatever He wills." (5:1); pilgrims are to make offerings (i.e., sacrificed animals) and they are forbidden to hunt for food or for the purpose of making the offerings: "O you who believe! Do not hunt while you are in the state of Ihram. Whoever of you kills any intentionally, its penalty shall be a domestic animal comparable to what he killed, as determined by two honest persons among you - an offering delivered to the Kaaba. Or he may atone by feeding the needy, or its equivalent in fasting, so that he may taste the consequences of his conduct. God forgives what is past. But whoever repeats, God will take revenge on him. God is Almighty, Avenger." (5:95); this is asserted in the test, warning, and atonements mentioned here: "O you who believe! God will test you with something of the game your hands and spears obtain, that God may know who fears Him at heart. Whoever commits aggression after that will have a painful torment." (5:94). Eventually, for the sake of assertion, the prohibition of hunting for pilgrims in the state of Ihram is repeated here: "Permitted for you is the catch of sea, and its food - as sustenance for you and for travelers. But forbidden for you is hunting while you are in the state of Ihram. And fear God within piety, to Whom you will be gathered." (5:96); this means pilgrims can eat from the meat of offerings.

7- The meat of sacrificed animals must be offered and consumed only inside the Sacred Kaaba Mosque; this is inferred from the Quranic term (destination) within the contexts about sacrificial animals offered by pilgrims.

7/1: "And carry out the Hajj and the Umrah for God. But if you are prevented, then whatever is feasible of offerings. And do not shave your heads until the offering has reached its destination..." (2:196); the destination of offered animals is the Kaaba itself and not anywhere else even if one is prevented from entering into Mecca for some reason or the other; the prevented people must send the sacrificial animals to the Kaaba anyway.

7/2: When Muhammad and the early believers with him were prevented by the disbelievers of Qorayish from entering into Mecca as pilgrims, the Lord God has told them the following: "It is they who disbelieved, and barred you from the Sacred Mosque, and prevented the offering from reaching its destination...." (48:25); this means the offerings (i.e., sacrificial animals) must be sent to the Kaaba as their destination anyway.

7/3: In general, the Lord God says the following about sacrificial animals offered by pilgrims: "In them are benefits for you until a certain time. Then their destination is by the Ancient House." (22:33); hence, they are offered only inside Mecca, and never elsewhere, in order to feed pilgrims and the poor in general inside Mecca. Of course, the poor exist everywhere, and in the Quran, the Lord God commands paying the money Zakat to them; yet, the poor outside Mecca have nothing to do with offerings of pilgrims inside Mecca.   

8- The Lord God has imposed the protection of sacrificial animals (marked by being garlanded) to be offered in Mecca by pilgrims; no one is allowed to steal them; they must be secured along with pilgrims heading to Mecca: "O you who believe! Do not violate God’s rituals, nor the Sacred Month, nor the offerings, nor the garlanded, nor those heading for the Sacred House seeking blessings from their Lord and approval..." (5:2); this is in order to make sure the offerings of sacrificial animals would reach their destination; namely, the Kaaba itself.

9- The Lord God links the sanctuary of time and place (i.e., the four sacred months of Hajj and the Kaaba, respectively) to the sacredness of the offerings (i.e., sacrificial animals) here: "God has appointed the Kaaba, the Sacred House, a sanctuary for the people, and the Sacred Month, and the offerings, and the garlanded. That you may know that God knows everything in the heavens and the earth, and that God is Cognizant of all things." (5:97).

10- Sacrificed animals offered by pilgrims are part of the rituals imposed by the Dominant Lord God and His rituals must be revered by the pious believers: "We have made the animal offerings rituals of God for you. In them is goodness for you..." (22:36); "So it is. Whoever venerates the rituals of God - it is from the piety of the hearts. In them are benefits for you until a certain time. Then their destination is by the Ancient House. We have appointed a ritual for every nation, that they may commemorate God’s name over the livestock He has provided for them..." (22:32-34).

11- As this is part of rituals imposed by the Dominant Lord God, they are mentioned among the details about Hajj rituals linked to the remembrance of the Holy Name of Allah here: "That they may witness the benefits for themselves, and celebrate the Name of God during the appointed days, for providing them with the animal livestock. So eat from it, and feed the unfortunate poor. Then let them perform their acts of cleansing, and fulfill their vows, and circle around the Ancient House. All that. Whoever venerates the sanctities of God - it is good for him with his Lord..." (22:28-30).

12- Hence, to venerate such rituals is a sign of piety: "So it is. Whoever venerates the rituals of God - it is from the piety of the hearts. In them are benefits for you until a certain time. Then their destination is by the Ancient House. We have appointed a ritual for every nation, that they may commemorate God’s name over the livestock He has provided for them..." (22:32-34). Sacrificing or slaughtering such animals is a ritual linked directly to piety: "We have made the animal offerings rituals of God for you. In them is goodness for you. So pronounce God’s name upon them as they line up. Then, when they have fallen on their sides, eat of them and feed the contented and the beggar. Thus We have subjected them to you, that you may be thankful. Neither their flesh, nor their blood, ever reaches God. What reaches Him is the righteousness from you. Thus He subdued them to you, that you may glorify God for guiding you. And give good news to the charitable." (22:36-37).

13- Of course, Hajj is available for the duration of the four sacred months of the lunar calendar (Zu Al-Hijja, Muharram, Saffar, and Rabei Awwal) and the Umrah is available for the whole lunar year. This means pilgrims (who can afford the journey) are there all year long around the Kaaba. Those pilgrims offer the sacrificial animals and they consume the meat and feed others from it as well; they give shares of this meat to other rich and poor pilgrims and the poor people who reside in Mecca: "...Then, when they have fallen on their sides, eat of them and feed the contented and the beggar..." (22:36); "...So eat from it, and feed the unfortunate poor..." (22:28).  

14- This matches with the nature of Islam in terms of behavior (i.e., peace or peaceful demeanor); pilgrims who offer sacrificed animals feed others from this meat and consume part of it themselves. They invite peaceful others to eat from this meat regardless of their denominations (or their monotheism/polytheism) as faith is judged only by the Lord God on the Last Day. This is why the ones invited in the Quran to consume this meat are not described as faithful, pious ones but as (contented, beggar, and unfortunate poor). It is a moving scene to see Muslims in terms of peaceful behavior of different sects, doctrines, tongues, races, and colors share a meal consisting of the meat of the offerings, while thanking the Lord God for His provisions granted to them especially the offerings of sacrificial animals as part of the rituals of pilgrimage imposed by the Lord Allah. It is great to allow this to continue all year long within Hajj and Umrah as per the lunar calendar. 


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