Different religions and cultures share similarities as well as differences. without the exception of Islam. However, some similarities are not so similar, rather, they are products of misunderstood ideologies, teachings, laws, and ordinances.
Today, Muslim Faithful will, all over the globe, celebrate ‘Eid where thousands of Camels, Cows, and Rams will be ‘sacrificed’. This same religion of Islam is against pagan practices of offering sacrifices, humans or animals, to any deity. Thus, many critics of Islam have asked, ‘is Islam not in itself paganistic?’.
Following the advent of Jesus and the ‘CruciFICTION’ of Jesus, it is widely believed amongst Christians that Jesus Christ had died for the sins of humanity, therefore, previous Jewish practices of offering sacrifices to Jehovah for the expiation of their sins has become obsolete with Jesus being the perfect sacrifice.
Critics of Islam amongst the Christians liken the sacrifice of animals during ‘Eid by Muslims to Jewish practices, believing that Muslims are not saved since they do not accept that Jesus died for their sins.
It should be understood that the sacrifice of animals in the religion of Islam is different from other religious and cultural practices. Allah says in the Q’uran,
“We have made the animal offerings emblems of God for you. In them is goodness for you. So pronounce God’s name upon them as they line up. Then, when they have fallen on their sides, eat of them and feed the contented and the beggar. Thus We have subjected them to you, that you may be thankful.
Neither their flesh, nor their blood, ever reaches God. What reaches Him is the righteousness from you. Thus He subdued them to you, that you may glorify God for guiding you. And give good news to the charitable.” (Qur’an 22:36-37)
The verses above have answered the critics of Islam. Whether it is burnt offering or other religious and cultural practices where animals and humans are sacrificed to idols, placed in certain places considered sacred, the sacrifice of animals in Islam is totally different and cannot be linked to any pagan traditions.
In answering Christians who see the CruciFICTION of Jesus as the absolute sacrifice, it is important that we note the absurdity of the son of God having to die for the sins of mankind. We ask, ‘Why would a God who forbids human sacrifices offer up his son as one in place of animals?”
The Bible says,
“Parents are not to be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their parents; each will die for their own sin. – Deuteronomy 6:4″
“Yet you ask, ‘Why does the son not share the guilt of his father?’ Since the son has done what is just and right and has been careful to keep all my decrees, he will surely live. The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.
“But if a wicked person turns away from all the sins they have committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, that person will surely live; they will not die. None of the offenses they have committed will be remembered against them. Because of the righteous things they have done, they will live. Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?” – Ezekiel 18:19-23
These verses nullify the idea that Jesus came to die for the sins of humanity.
In Islam, only Allah forgives, in fact, there is no intermediary. A Muslim only needs to sincerely repent to Allah. Muslims do not sacrifice these animals to be forgiven their sins as it is obtainable in many world religions especially the association with ancient Jewish practices. Were it so, we have to sacrifice the animals every day or every week not twice in a year.
In addition, it is only in Islam that we have an organized system of worship including the festivals as they are acts of worship. All other religious practices, festivals are mere human thoughts, whims, and fantasies.
Bashir Lucas Samson Lukman