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Recently, blogger Anila Muhammad posted “Should Muslims Reconsider Animal
Slaughter on Eid?” on the Canadian edition of the Huffington Post.1 She
claims that some animal advocates are asking this question. Of course it is an
activist’s right to raise such an issue, even though it could be offensive to practicing
Muslims. In reality, however, the majority of Muslims neither know of
such a proposal, nor would they consider its possibility. Boldly claiming that
some Muslims are calling “for an end to animal sacrifice,” she cites these “notable
animal advocates” and, full of passion and confidence, states that “many
Muslims do not see the tradition of sacrifice to be serving ‘their understanding
of Islam.’” Intriguingly, she cites several Qur’anic verses and presents her
own understanding of them – an understanding that happens to contrast
sharply with the widely accepted narrative of Muslim scholars who base themselves
on the Prophet’s actual practice and understanding.
Although she presents the arguments from several perspectives (viz., intellectual,
religious, social, and economic), I suggest that instead of “pretending”
to know the Qur’an and Islamic worldview, she should have stuck with
her activist perspective and thus avoided a response from Islamic intellectuals.
But the way these activists keep citing the Qur’an to legitimize their arguments
and claiming to know better what Muslims should do not only suggests little
familiarity with Qur’anic content, but also exposes them to a rigorous and fair
criticism from real scholars of the Qur’an and Islam ...