In a first, Muslim groups issue Bakrid guidelines in Yogi Adityanath’s UP

The guidelines aim to avoid any controversy over the sensitive issue of animal sacrifice in the BJP-ruled state.

Traders from Rajasthan waits for customers to buy goats ahead of Bakri eid at Deonar Bakra mandi, Govandi in Mumbai, India.

Muslim organisations in Uttar Pradesh have for the first time asked community members to follow a set of guidelines during next month’s Bakrid, aiming to avoid any controversy over the sensitive issue of animal sacrifice in the BJP-ruled state.

Eid al-Adha or the ‘Feast of the Sacrifice’ – popularly called Bakrid – will be celebrated on September 2 by the state’s Muslims, who form an estimated 19% of UP’s 20-crore population.

After winning an overwhelming mandate earlier this year, the BJP government led by chief minister Yogi Adityanath has clamped down on slaughter of cows, an animal considered sacred by a section of Hindus.

Self-styled vigilante groups have also attacked people they accuse of cow slaughter for consuming beef.

Over the past few days Muslim organisations have published advertisements in Urdu newspapers – including the leading one such as Sahafat, Inquilab and Urdu Sahara — asking community members to avoid confrontation over animal sacrifice, a ritual that is an integral part of the festival.

The Jamiat-Ulema-e-Hind — that claims to be country’s largest Muslim organisation — has urged Muslims not to offer sacrifice of “white animal”, widely understood to be cow.

“Kisi bhi halat main safed janwar ki qurbani na karein (under no circumstances should you sacrifice white animal),” read the appeal.

While Muslim groups have mostly ruled out cow or camel sacrifice, the RSS-backed Muslim Rashtriya Manch has even questioned the very practice of ‘qurbani’, saying that even sacrificing goat was as bad as triple talaq.

Sources said as that many Muslims, confused on whether to offer sacrifice individually or in groups, have also been flocking to clerics for advice.

A 40-page book by Iran-based top Shia cleric Sayyed Ali Hosseini Sistani, commonly known as Ayatollah Sistani, answering the commonly asked questions on sacrifice is in great demand among the Shias.

“Those who say animal sacrifice is prohibited don’t know their religion. But, it’s only mandatory during Haj. Other than that it’s linked to one’s wealth,” said noted Islamic scholar Masoodul Hasan.

“Other than the situations of Haj and wealth, sacrifice is described as ‘mustahab’, meaning an act that is appreciated by the sacred Islamic law (Shari’ah) but there is no harm if one doesn’t. In other words, if done it is greatly appreciated and rewarding in religious sense but no problem if one omits it,” Hasan said.

He said for qurbani to be made mandatory for Shias, they own 40 ‘ser’, equivalent to nearly 37 kilogram of silver or equivalent wealth.

Sunni cleric Khalid Rasheed Farangi Mahali said animal sacrifice was mandatory for Sunnis, if someone possesses 52 ½ kilogram of silver or equivalent wealth.

Mahali said a group of Muslims met director general of police Sulkhan Singh over the issue.

“It’s true that because of stray incidents by cow vigilante groups, there is general apprehension among the community. That is why we met the DGP who assured us of security, saying there was no ban on traditional sacrifice. We told him that we will disengage with those offering sacrifice of animals banned by the government,” said Farangi Mahali.

Additional director general of police (law and order) Anand Kumar said instructions for strict vigil during the festival have been issued. The police’s social media cell is also keeping a watch to prevent any ‘mischief’ through social networking sites.

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