Reverence for Cow
In Hinduism cow is thought to be sacred and is held in high esteem since time immemorial. Steps to preserve cow slaughter have been observed by rulers and civilians from time to time. Mughal Emperor Humayun, Akbar, Jahangir and others imposed selectively restricted bans on cow slaughter.
Bahadur Shah Zafar banned the butchery of cows, forbade the eating of beef and authorized for anyone found killing a cow the terrible punishment of being blown from a cannon.
Hyder Ali, the Sultan and de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore, made cow slaughter an offense punishable with the cutting of the hands of the offenders.
Reverence and protection of cow have been in practice for a very long time, and keeping this in mind, Muslim rulers imposed ban on its slaughter. A movement of cow protection was launched by a Sikh sect too, in Punjab in about 1870.
In recent past, leading Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband appealed Muslims to avoid cow slaughter on Eid al-Adha in states where it is banned as a mark of respect for the feelings of Hindus.
Refraining from hurting anyone’s feeling is part of religious duty. If a cow is so much revered by a community, should not members of other communities take care of their feelings?
Should not one change food habit since it hurts the feeling of millions of fellow citizen?
A common Hindu treats cow as its mother and holds it in high esteem, is this reason alone not enough to stop any community from India to say big NO to cow slaughter?
BJP is in power today, it may not be tomorrow. Let any so-called secular or so-called communal party come to power, Muslims should act wise and start making decisions that are going to have long-lasting effects. In continuation of the reverence and respect of the feelings of millions of fellow citizen, Muslims should move a step further.
Ulemas of all school of thoughts existing in India, despite any difference they have, should come on a platform on this issue and unanimously issue a fatwa against the consumption of cow meat as formidable and unlawful.
All Muslim religious and social organizations would then carry forward the word from one corner to another. Imams of all masjids would be asked to announce the revoke of cow slaughter in jummah khutbah, reaching villages after villages.
It is argued that cow slaughter is banned in one part of India but allowed in another. It is also argued that India continues to be the world’s largest exporter of beef. True, but Muslims shouldn’t get into it, but get out of the shadow of this vicious politics.
They should stand by a common Hindu and empathize with them. If they oppose cow slaughter, Hindu’s faith will be honored, and Muslims’ moral and religious duties will be fulfilled. This step will bring Muslims closer to their Hindu counterparts.
Love breeds love and hatred breeds hatred, it’s a cycle. This step will definitely unite two alienated hearts and will bring positive changes between the two communities in the long run. This move will be ever remembered and appreciated even by the deadliest critique of Muslims. It will also close forever a convenient window of malign and torture against Muslims.
[The writer Asif Moazzam Jamai works at Dept of English, University of Bisha, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.]