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Question: If you are a vegetarian and an animal right activist are you still required to follow the animal sacrifice ritual of Eid-al-Adha? If you do not does that make you a bad muslim in any way? Plus are there alternative methods of showing your gratitude to God?

There is a difference between adopting vegetarianism as a kind of religion,  and choosing to be a vegetarian for the sake of highlighting the sound Islamic teaching of compassion to animals and preventing cruelty animals as well as for health reasons. While the former is not approved in Islam, the latter is.  Since Allah has allowed us to eat of the animal meat, therefore, to prohibit the consumption of meat is contradicting His laws. However, he did not say that eating meat is one of the essential tenets or requisites of sound faith. Therefore, a person may choose to eat it or not to eat them.

Furthermore, sacrificing an animal is only a sunnah and not an obligatory thing in Islam. We learn that from sources that even the caliphs like Abu Bakr and Umar did not always offer animal sacrifices.  Therefore, there is nothing wrong if you did not offer an animal sacrifice. You may do other forms of sacrifice.  Allah says, "[But bear in mind:] never does their flesh reach God, and neither their blood: it is only your God-consciousness that reaches Him. It is to this end that We have made them subservient to your needs, so that you might glorify God for all the guidance with which He has graced you. And give thou this glad tiding unto the doers of good:" (Qur'an: 22: 37).

Therefore, you are allowed to focus on other forms of sacrifice including the worthy cause of calling for compassionate treatment of animals and stopping cruelty.


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