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Hajj (Pilgrimage) & Sacrificing

 

Hajj (Pilgrimage) & Sacrificing

Hajj (Pilgrimage) involves certain religious rites that should be performed at particular times and at certain places. Among these rites is the sacrifice of whatever cattle or sheep the pilgrim can easily afford. Pilgrims of diverse races, customs and social levels are anxious to follow the Sunnah of the Prophet -peace be upon him- by slaughtering the sacrificial animals by themselves.


Some of these animals are left at their place of slaughter without being utilized with the result that the discarded meat finally becomes a menace to public health and the environment.

In the past when the number of pilgrims was small, comparatively few animals were slaughtered and their meat was therefore fully utilized. With the beginning of the age of modern transportation (ships), the number of Moslems undertaking the hajj journey increased substantially. When pilgrims finished the hajj rites and were ready to return to their countries, they would not, however, be able do so until the ships carrying the new pilgrims in the following Shawwal or Dhul Qi'da carried them back home. This implied that consequent increasing numbers of slaughtered animals would be fully utilized to meet the pilgrims' needs for meat during their long stay in the Harams.

 

More recent advances in transport, the stability achieved by King Abdul Aziz, the founder of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia -May Allah have mercy on him-, as well as the facilities and services provided by the government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, have all resulted in an immense increase in the numbers of Muslims undertaking hajj.

 

The pilgrims' attitude towards the sacrifice of animals is of great importance. The manner they act and behave while performing this religious rite is determined by a variety of factors, namely the customs characteristic of and observed by different races , the varying notions about sacrifices as well as the tendency to unconsciously follow the crowd.

 

A pilgrim does his best to perform hajj so properly that he may even be driven to excess because of anxiety about being remiss and in order to avert dubiousness especially about controversial matters. Unfortunately, however, many pilgrims are not attentive to the requirements that should be met by sacrificial animals. Anxious only to shed the blood of sacrificial animals, some pilgrims buy animals that are unfit to be offered as sacrifices. This might be attributed to some pilgrims’ ignorance of the Shari’ah rules governing the buying and slaughtering of sacrificial animals. Moreover, the majority of pilgrims leave the slaughtered animals at their place of slaughter, not making use of their meat because of overcrowding and the extremely hot weather.


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