In both the Qur’an and the Bible, there is an emphasis on the offering of animal sacrifices in conjunction with prayer, fasting, alms-giving and other pious, cleansing activities. I can understand how praying, fasting, and donating charity helps to cleanse oneself of wrongdoing, but how does shedding the blood of a goat or a bull contribute to piety? How am I a spiritually cleaner person after slaughtering a poor little goat than before doing so? Do we just practice this activity simply out of obedience to a directive, the ultimate wisdom of which is unfathomable? Please explain.
Jazak’Allah for all your help.
Sacrificing an animal has been a part of the worship rituals in almost all religions. Even though Islam has clearly refuted the belief that the blood or the meet of the sacrificed animal is, in any way, used by the Deity, yet it has condoned, recommended and prescribed sacrificing as a part of its worship rituals.
Sacrifice, in fact, is symbolic of a person’s willingness and preparedness of sacrificing all his belongings and even his life in the way of his Creator, if ever the situation so requires. The sacrificed animal in this practice is actually a surrogate for and symbolizes the person offering the sacrifice. It is, in fact, this spirit of sacrifice which is not only a show of but also an impetus to piety.
I hope this helps.
June 24, 2002