Irfan Khan’s misconceived notion on Eidul-Adha

By Riyaz Arshad Nazish for,

Bollywood actor Irfan Khan’s arbitrary statement on Eidul-Adha is a classic display of his delusion and a selfish attempt to win media attention. The manifestation of the actor’s narrow view is being discussed in social media. Irfan Khan is a good actor with a fair command over the nuances of the trade but his mastery over the craft does not qualify him to speak on anything under the sun. Especially on the subjects he is far off. He is not the authority to speak on Hadith and its exegesis neither he represents the religion he belongs to. His commitment to his religion is never questioned nor is his apostasy criticised by any cleric. Therefore his attempt to question the sanctity or redefine the festival of Eidul-Adha on the basis on his skewed perception and trivial common sense is uncalled for. He is a fantastic actor who has managed to merchandise his acting skills after a long struggle with failure and anonymity. Such a soliloquy of an actor does not hold much water as his observations are based on sheer common sense. The tenants of Islam are not guided by common sense rather it gives direction to the senses of human being to realize the truth.

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Successful actors are generally surrounded by sycophants and glamour. Consumed by ephemeral recognition, most often they tend to believe that their success is an acknowledgement by the almighty for their self-made beliefs. This is reflected in their one-upmanship mannerism- a di rigueur attitude of self-idolism. His statement substantiates the fact that in pursuit of his dream, he left his academic vacuum intact therefore the actor seems to glorify his common sense. Instead of seeking knowledge he nonchalantly passed on his judgement. There is no dearth of information in books that could dispel his dilemma on the issue but the revered actor prefers his common sense to justify his half-baked understanding on the issue. However, the subject is not so complicated that it cannot be comprehended by ‘common sense’.

His statement that what wish gets fulfilled by buying a couple of goats from market and slaughtering is devoid of understanding the essence of it. To quote hadith and books at this point will only be futile as the upholders of ‘common sense’ may find it tedious to consult books.

The act of’ killing or slaughtering’ justifiably seems barbaric to human being. There are certain acts in Islam that accounts for a sin if not done on the premise of its tenants. For example, the act of making physical relation to derive physical pleasure is illicit, a sin, but the same act is a virtue if it’s conducted according to the prescribed formats of Islam. The same act, with your mate after marriage is not less than a pious deed because by the virtue of this two individuals are able to abstain themselves from a mortal sin of illicit relations to satiate their carnal urges. Similarly there’s a subtle difference between ‘killing’ and ‘sacrificing’. If the act of killing is always barbaric, should we call the Almighty barbaric too who created carnivorous animals?

Ideally, to inculcate and develop a sense of sacrifice, one should rear cattle, let an emotional attachment grow, let the cattle be precious to you hence making the act of slaughter becomes a matter of real sacrifice. It is neither the blood nor the meat that reaches to our creator but the ‘intention’ to be ready to sacrifice a precious attachment is important as detachment is equally inevitable. The purpose of Eidul-Adha is not for fulfilling any wish.

Instead of belittling the ritual of sacrifice, the actor should have used his common sense a bit further. Islam permits little relaxations to its followers in certain circumstances. For example, there is a prescribed way for ablution and offering prayer, yet there are relaxations too. If a person is suffering from any ailment or physical inability, he or she can perform prayer sitting on a chair or even sleeping on bed. Similarly if the modern life style does not allow one to rear cattle as people dwell in small flats or small houses, it does not mean that they should not at all buy and sacrifice on Eidul-Adha. If applied a little amount of common sense, one would wonder at the natural system of ‘demand and supply’. Every year millions of cattle are sacrificed all over the globe yet there is no scarcity of them whereas a number of other animals that are not sacrificed are on the verge of extinction. Sacrifice should not be mistaken for killing. Irfan Khan is a fine actor, he has made a niche for himself and such a position cannot be achieved without sacrifice and perseverance.

(Author is a graduate from AJK Mass Communication Research Centre and is teaching Television Production at IP university, New Delhi.)