HYDERABAD: With the ban on beef in some states and the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha triggering a fierce debate on cow slaughter across the country, a group of Islamic scholars in southern India has appealed to Muslims to avoid sacrificing cows, bulls and bullocks in the community's larger interest.
The scholars have advised Muslims to show pragmatism in the prevailing situation and instead opt for alternate animals permitted by the Sharia to ensure that peace is maintained and there are no impediments in their larger duty of "dawat-e-deen" of distributing food to the poor and the needy.
Backed by all schools of thought, the group has taken up the campaign through social media, meetings, pamphlets and Friday sermons in mosques in different states of southern India.
"Our message is that Muslims should not take law in their hands but desist from sacrificing cow, bulls and bullocks for maintaining peace. This will also help in introducing Islam to others," Syed Hussain Madani, an Islamic scholar heading the campaign, told IANS.
The scholar has suggested that the community should avoid sacrificing cows to protect life and property. People trading in cows, bulls and bullocks have been suffering loss of life and property and sometimes ending up harming others.
Madani quoted 'Hadith', or the sayings of Prophet Muhammad, that "There should be neither harming nor reciprocating harm."
Noting that the Prophet sacrificed two sheep on Eid-ul-Azha, he said: "Since the Prophet Muhammad is the best model for us, we should follow him. Sacrificing cow is allowed but it is not ‘afzal’ (preferable)," he said.
Every year, hundreds of bulls and bullocks are brought to the city for sacrifice on Eid day. Such animals are in huge demand because seven people can have share in each. At Rs.2,500 to Rs.2,800 each share, this works out more economical than Rs.6,000 to Rs.7,000 for a goat or sheep.
The scholars pointed out that sacrificing per se is not "farz" (obligation) but "sunnat" (practice of the Prophet). "Allah doesn't burden more than one can bear. There is ample room to avoid this (sacrifice of cow) in the prevailing situation when there are legal restrictions and communal disharmony over the issue," said Madani.
As many families take a share in such animals to distribute meat among the poor, Madani said that the poor may be helped in many other ways.
The ulema, while noting that slaughter of cow, bulls and bullocks are linked to the livelihood of a group, argue that the interest of the entire community should get priority.
"Prevention of means of 'fasad' (mischief) is better than the benefits we may get from certain things," said Madani.
The scholars are also of the opinion that the misconceptions about cow slaughter and the misinformation spread by some elements affects "Dawate-e-deen" and since this is an obligatory duty of every Muslim, it should get priority over sacrificing cow, bulls or bullocks.
"Some miscreants themselves sell cows and strengthen their economy but take legal action against those who buy cows and sometimes even kill the buyers. Desisting from the sacrifice of such animals will deny them an opportunity to indulge in mischief," added Madani.
Well-known personalities like Mohammed Abdul Raheem Qureshi, president of the Majlis-e-Tameer-e-Millat and assistant secretary of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Moulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani, Moulana Aneesur Rehman Azmi of Chennai, Moulana Mufti Nassem Ahmed Ashrafi, and Moulana Mufti Mahboob Shareef Nizami are backing the initiative.
The appeal also has the backing of Muslim political leaders and legal experts. It also made reference to a suggestion by some political leaders that giving up eating of beef for a couple of years will show its impact on the economy and those opposing it will be forced to amend the legislation.