Tuesday, 30 September 2008
Many Muslims to stay away from meat this Eid as mark of reverence to Mahatma Gandhi
September 30, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Many Muslims in the State have decided to keep off non-vegetarian dishes this Id-ul-fitr in case it falls on October 2, Gandhi Jayanthi, as a mark of reverence to the Father of the Nation.
Gandhi Jayanthi is a no-meat day and Muslims do not want to break the Rule. Id-ul-fitr may fall on October 1 or October 2 depending on the sighting of the new crescent. If the Id is celebrated on October 1, the traditional festival dishes will include non-vegetarian items like biryani. And what if the Id is celebrated on October 2? Then only wheat and milk items like vermicelli, besides the biryani, of course vegetarian, or bagara chawal (fried rice).
“Id celebrations have nothing to do with food. Id means offering prayers and charity. These two things are essential. Wearing new clothes and preparing dishes is just a part of the tradition and have nothing to with the religious rites. I will stay away from non-vegetarian dishes if the Id is celebrated on Gandhi Jayanthi,” says Syed Fazil Hussain Parvez, who edits the popular Urdu weekly Gawah.
All slaughterhouses in the country remain closed on Gandhi Jayanthi to allow only vegetarian diet as mark of respect to the Father of the Nation, who stood for non-violence and peace. But there’s no restriction on chicken stalls. The government has imposed ban on sale of beef and meat while sale of chicken is permitted. Though chicken sales are allowed, many Muslims do not want to include non-veg dishes in the Id menu.
Senior Islamic scholar Peerzada Shabbir Naqshbandi, who heads the All-India Religious Leaders’ Association, said he too would stick to the traditional wheat and milk dishes of the Id. “Mahatma Gandhi had done so much for the nation. We Muslims are particularly thankful to the father of the nation. It’s because of him India is secular and Muslims are safe.
It’s no great sacrifice if we stay away from non-veg for a day as mark of respect to Mahatma Gandhi,” he added.
Islamic scholar Hafiz Syed Shujath Hussain clarified that food items are an individual’s choice and the religion had no role in it. “Islam has laid down dietary laws. Muslims are asked to stick to them. Eating veg or non-veg depends on one’s preference. There’s no compulsion as far as food is concerned. One is free to eat the food of his or her choice. Linking food with the Id is not a correct practice. Id is a spiritual event while food is a mundane affair,” he pointed out.
Many Muslim scholars have left the choice of food to individuals. But they all agree that staying away from non-veg on Gandhi Jayanthi is a step in the right direction.
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