Across the Islamic word, Eid al-Adha (the Feast of Sacrifice) will be marked this year for three days starting November 5 or 6, depending on the visibility of the moon, which marks the beginning of an Islamic month. Eid al-Adha is celebrated to commemorate the Prophet Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God. In the run-up to the annual event, goats, cows, sheep and oxen are being sold at a market in Karachi, as is the practice across the Islamic world.
However, in the Pakistani market this year, these sacrificial animals have been named after Indian movies such as Bodyguard and Gajini, Bollywood suggestive dance scenes such as Sheela ki Jawani (the youth of the girl called Sheela) or Munni Badnam Hui (how the girl called Munni became infamous) as well as after U.S. Admiral Mike Mullen who retired recently and CIA agent Raymond Davis who killed two Pakistani nationals in Lahore. It seems some animals have been imported from the U.S., or it may be that their sellers are claiming so in order to attract good prices.
While some Pakistani buyers are willingly purchasing these animals as a mark of status and pompousness, some Islamic circles in Pakistan resent this development in the deeply religious society of Pakistan and blame it on cable television that beams hundreds of Indian movies and songs into Pakistani homes every day. According to a report in the Urdu-language Pakistani daily Roznama Ummat, some Islamic clerics and religious-minded Pakistanis are worried over such a development in Pakistan's Islamic society and resent the sacrificial animals being named after Hindu actors and actresses.
Following are excerpts from the report:
"Islamic Clerics Say That Linking the Pious Act of Sacrifice with Films and Actors is an Act of Grave Sin Because the Act of Sacrifice is Purely Done in the Name of Allah"
"In order to boost the price of their animals [meant for sacrifice on Eid Al-Adha], the brokers of the Sohrab Goth Cattle Mandi [market of Karachi] have named their animals after film heroes, Indian films and American spy Raymond Davis. And, rich people are showing interest in buying such animals which look beautiful and strong.
"After attaching the names of actors and films to the animals for sacrifice, a new trend is also being witnessed: People are showing interest in buying the animal with the name of their favorite heroes and heroines. For example, if a rich person is a fan of [Indian actress] Katrina Kaif, he takes interest in buying the cow named after her. Islamic clerics say that linking the pious act of sacrifice with films and actors is an act of grave sin because the act of sacrifice is purely done in the name of Allah.
"[Urdu-language daily] Ummat carried out a survey in this regard and came to know that cows, oxen, goats, sheep and camels are being brought to the aforementioned Mandi from throughout the country. The numbers of animals arrive in lakhs [one lakh = 100,000] a couple of days before Eid, the market having begun a month before Eid.
"So far, 22,000-25,000 animals, most of them cows and oxen, have been brought [to this market of Karachi]; while the numbers of goats and sheep hardly reaches one thousand. Two to three thousand animals are being brought here on a daily basis."
"The Beautiful and Strong Animals Reared By the Big Cattle Farmers and Generally Priced High are... Placed in VIP Blocks [of the Market]"
"The beautiful and strong animals reared by the big cattle farmers and generally priced high are also brought along with other animals from across the country in the cattle Mandi, which covers over 100 acres of land, and these cattle farmers are placed in VIP blocks. Their cattle are kept in niche tents. Animals from over 200 cattle farms, including the Dil Pasand Cattle Farm, Shah Cattle Farm, Lasaniya Cattle Farm, Sakran Cattle Farm, and Jerry Cattle Farm are kept here. The animals include cows, oxen, rams and goats.
"As the day of Eid comes closer, the cattle Mandi [market] is taking the shape of a Mela [fair] and with the setting of the sun, the splendor reaches its height and it seems as if it is daytime in the cattle Mandi. People from the city take to the cattle Mandi in their vehicles with family members and friends at night. Among them, there are people who buy animals and there are also those who only go to watch.
"The city folk, with women and children, who buy cheap animals, also make it a point to visit the VIP block to watch the animals of different cattle farmers where they find the servants parading these beautiful and strong animals in the tents under the sharp search lights.
"It was found in the special survey that the photos of the animals, which were brought there, along with their names written… [also had] the name, address and phone number of the cattle farmers on each tent. While the price of the general cows and oxen ranged from 30,000 to 1.5 lakh Rupees [about $1,700 maximum] in the lower price category, the price of the cows and oxen of these cattle farmers in VIP blocks ranged from five to 20 lakhs [about $5,700 maximum]."
"There were a Pair of Important Oxen Imported from the U.S. At a Tent, Which were Named after American Spy Raymond Davis and General Mike Mullen"
"The important thing that was noticed regarding these animals was that these cows and oxen, which were brought for the important act of performing the obligation of the Sunnah of Abraham, were named after Indian films, Indian personalities and American spies. There were a pair of important oxen imported from the U.S. at a tent, which were named after American spy Raymond Davis and General Mike Mullen; and they were priced at 15 to 18 lakhs Rupees [approximately $2,070 maximum].The people who visited the tent were being told that five oxen of Red Ringers and Black Ringers races were imported from … [the U.S.].
"For the first time, oxen have been imported from the U.S. At another tent, there were cows named after [suggestive Bollywood dance scenes and] Indian actresses like Dimple, Sheela, Munni, Chunnu, Ladli, Mini, Kumkum, Maharani, Khushboo, Gulabo; and people were being briefed about the weight and price of those cows.
"At a few tents, there were oxen named after Indian films [and Bollywood characters] like Gajini, Bodyguard, Shahenshah, Chulbul Pandey, Dabang and Chandra Mukhi while others had names like Gilly, Homi, Jasmine and Gangoes.
"A responsible person from a cattle farm told [Roznama] Ummat that people from Karachi and all over Pakistan are interested in Indian films and Indian heroes and heroines. He said that he has named his cattle after them to sell animals. People are also coming to us after reading their names on the board and are asking us to show Sheela, Munni or Basanti [all characters from Indian movies]. And then they brag before their friends and wives and children to that this time they would give the sacrifice of Katrina [Kaif, the top Bollywood actress]."
"[When Asked About] What They Wanted to Show by Sacrificing the Cows and Oxen Named after Hindu Actors and Indian Films... the People with Religious Bent of Mind Expressed Much Anger over It"
"When people were asked in this regard as to what they wanted to show by sacrificing the cows and oxen named after Hindu actors and Indian films for the religious purpose, the people with religious bent of mind expressed much anger over it. They said that the cable television has caused damage to our society and we are learning the customs of marriages and other festivals from watching Indian films and drama, we are also sacrificing our important religious obligation because of it and are buying such cows and oxen which are named after Indian films and actors for the sake of worldly cheap popularity and pomp and show.
"They were of the opinion that Ulema [Islamic scholars] should inform people so that no unreligious things could happen. Haji Sultan, 75 years of age, said he wonders what is happening with our people that they are buying animals named after Indian film actors with much pride [despite this practice being unpious, irnoically] … for performing the Sunnah of Abraham; the buyers will be wasting their money also [as there will be no reward for such unpious activity].
"Where the flood-affected people across the country are deprived of meals two times a day, it would be extremely inappropriate to spend lakhs [hundreds of thousands] of Rupees just for show and cheap popularity. Mahboob, a citizen, said that there should be a ban on naming the animals for sacrifice after Indian film personalities or Indian films.
"Some of the people expressed intense reactions while some others were showing their interest in buying cows and oxen named after Indian film and film personalities. The servants of the cattle farms said that they give milk, almond and ghee [butter] to these specially-reared animals daily and that these animals are priced high because of the money spent on them in this situation of price hiking."
Islamic cleric Mufti Naeem: "The Animals, Named after Indian Films and Hindu Actors... Their Sacrifice is Illegal As Per Islamic Sharia…"
"In this regard Ummat contacted [prominent Islamic cleric] Mufti Naeem, who said that it is illegal to sacrifice animals named after Indian films and Hindu actors that are being sold in the Mandi as per Islamic Sharia, for these animals would be sacrificed in their names only and sacrifices done in the name other than Allah is unlawful. He also said that the trend of buying costly animals in the city is also wrong, as Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) had said that sacrifice is based on one's intention.
"Presently, big and costly animals are bought just for ostentation and the sacrifice by such people is not valid when it becomes a matter of an inferiority complex for the people who buy cheap animals. It should be discouraged.
"Mufti Muneebur Rahman said in this regard that giving sacrifice is a religious obligation and naming the animal meant for sacrifice after Indian films and actors is not right. It is the intention that counts in the sacrifice, but one should take care in religious affairs.
"Ummat contacted [Islamic scholar] Allama Mirza Yusuf Hussain who said that animals are being sold for the important obligation of the Sunnah of Abraham in the Mandi but by naming them Hindu names in general and the names of Hindu actors and Indian films in particular, the sellers are showing their love for the Hindu religion. He said that the sacrificial animal should not be ridiculed."
 Roznama Ummat (Pakistan), October 17, 2011.