Eid-al-Adha is a major Islamic holiday celebrated worldwide each year. While the holiday traditionally requires animal sacrifice, vegan Muslims across the globe have found a way to honor the spirit of Eid-al-Adha while remaining true to their ethics.
What is Eid-Al-Adha?
Known as the “Festival of Sacrifice,” it honors the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham in the Old Testament) to sacrifice his only son in an act of obedience before God. On this day, some members of the Muslim faith choose an animal – typically sheep, goats, cattle, or camels – for “Qurbani,” the act of sacrifice, in order to represent how God intervened at the last minute, delivering Ibrahim a ram to offer in place of his son.
Those who practice traditional Qurbani on Eid-al-Adha then divide the sacrificed offering into three parts, emphasizing a charitable spirit: one share is given to the needy, the second is shared with friends and neighbors, and the remainder is kept by the family.
Practicing vegan Qurbani
Several vegan Muslims from around the world spoke to The Daily Vox, an independent South African news site that uplifts voices of the younger generation, about how they practice cruelty-free Qurbani.
Anissa Buzhu, a 27-year-old Muslim residing in The Netherlands and a butcher’s granddaughter, says that Qurbani is less about animal sacrifice and more related to “reflecting on yourself and serving God by serving people.” On this day, Buzhu purchases vegan groceries to be donated to the local community.
“Helping others, I perceive as something you can do without animal products. Because, by that, we help our planet – which I consider to be the first revelation and God’s creation. These are all aspects Islam teaches us,” she said, adding that today’s factory farms are vastly different from the practice of using animals for food in ancient times.
31-year-old Reslane Khassouni from France agrees that Qurbani is about obedience before God: “On Eid-al-Adha, I wake up early, pray the Eid prayer, and pray the five mandatory prayers throughout the day. Sometimes I give money to charity organisations. I share also the dinner with my family.”
While many reported resistance from family and community members, Baya Tellai, a resident of Algeria, says that she and her sister, who is also a vegan, had an honest conversation with their parents about ethics. The family now shares a plant-based meal for the holiday instead while discussing its teachings.
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