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How to Explain Eid Slaughter to Non-Muslim Friends

Having different holidays from your friends and family is complicated enough.

With many multi-religious families already squabbling over eating halal versus mainstream meat and other sensitive issues, the ritual of slaughtering on Eid Al-Adha is easily misunderstood.

Take a moment to explain Eid Al-Adha slaughter to your non-Muslim friends and family. As always, we will find that we have more in common than differences.

Here are the four main points to share about Eid Al-Adha:

1. The Meaning

Eid Al-Adha translates as “Festival of Sacrifice” and is actually bigger or better celebrated than the Eid after Ramadan, so it is also called Eid Kabir, the “Big Eid.”

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2. The Belief

Every family that can afford to sacrifice a sheep (goat, cow, or even a camel) during the days of Eid should do this to commemorate the Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to follow God’s command to sacrifice his own son.

Just as in other religious traditions, God stopped the killing by replacing the son with a sheep.

3. The Slaughter

The halal method of sacrifice is truly a humane way to harvest meat, unlike stunning, electrocuting, or other abusive methods.

How to Explain the Eid Al-Adha Slaughter to Non-Muslim Friends and Family

Firstly, in order to sacrifice the animal, it must be in a healthy condition, meeting the following requirements:

  • Free of disease
  • Not blind, one-eyed, or with a major loss of vision
  • They cannot be missing more than half their teeth.
  • They cannot be missing a third or more of their ear or tail; likewise, their horn cannot be broken off from its root.
  • They must be able to walk.
  • They must not be too thin.

When a healthy animal is selected, there are further considerations to follow:

  • Animals should not see each other being slaughtered.
  • The knife used to slaughter shouldn’t even be sharpened in front of the animal.
  • The knife used to sever the animal’s artery should be very sharp, and the person doing the slaughtering should be trained and/or assisted so that the animal dies as quickly and painlessly as possible.

4. The Charity

Many families around the world, even in the US and Europe, cannot afford to eat meat every day.

During the Eid Al-Adha holiday, families who slaughter also must distribute a third of their meat to those in need.

Another third is “gifted” to friends and neighbors. In this way, those who are secretly in need may still receive meat.

It is not their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah; it is your piety that reaches Him”(Al-Hajj 22:37).

Though Eid Al-Adha may look like an extravagant holiday with people dressing up and eating lots of food (only a third of their own meat, though!), actually the most important point to Eid Al-Adha is to be like the Prophet Abrahim, and always trust in Him fully.

From the archives.

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