Baqara – Sacrificial Bull Issue

 

The Glorified Allah commands: “And when Musa said to his people: Surely Allah commands you that you should sacrifice a cow; they said: Do you ridicule us? He said: I seek the protection of Allah from being one of the ignorant.

[2.68] They said: Call on your Lord for our sake to make it plain to us what she is. Musa said: He says, Surely she is a cow neither advanced in age nor too young, of middle age between that (and this); do therefore what you are commanded.
[2.69] They said: Call on your Lord for our sake to make it plain to us what her color is. Musa said: He says, Surely she is a yellow cow; her color is intensely yellow, giving delight to the beholders.

[2.70] They said: Call on your Lord for our sake to make it plain to us what she is, for surely to us the cows are all alike, and if Allah please we shall surely be guided aright.
[2.71] Musa said: He says, Surely she is a cow not made submissive that she should plough the land, nor does she irrigate the tilth; sound, without a blemish in her. They said: Now you have brought the truth; so they sacrificed her, though they had not the mind to do (it).
” (Al-Baqara/ The Cow 2/ 67-71)
 
The word ­­­___(baqara) is the singular of ____ (baqar) and means cow. The male is called ___=sevr[1]. The expression _____= tusiru’l-arda used in the verse shows that this cow is male, because ____ =sevr and ___=tusiru are both derived from the same root. ______= (vela tesqi’l hars) is the second proof. Such “A cow that nor has worked the ground neither has watered it.” In other words: able to accomplish these tasks but has not done them. This can be nothing else but a bull. The verbs are feminine because ______ is a stress for feminine words.
In Memphis the bull called Apis was worshipped. Memphis is an ancient city located by the river Nile, 35 km at the South of Cairo. This belief later spread to other regions of Egypt, too. Apis was one and when it died it was believed that its spirit passed to another bull. The new bull was searched in fields by the priests and was located and found by the identifying signs[2]. In the Old Testament this topic is related with these expressions:
“Make an announcement throughout Egypt.
Proclaim it in Migdol, Memphis, Tahpanhes.
Take your position and prepare to do battle
For the enemy army is destroying around you.[3]” (Jeremy 46/14)
The verses of Al-Baqara command to sacrifice a bull with Apis’ characteristics. Thus that superstitious belief would be demolished. Because, when Musa (a.s.) went to Tur for 40 days the sons of Israel made the statue of the calf and worshipped it regardless Haroon (a.s.) “And they were made to imbibe (the love of) the calf into their hearts on account of their unbelief.” (Al-Baqara/The Cow 2/93) Otherwise, they would not have searched for a way not to sacrifice that bull.
Hindus respect the cow. If it enters a mosque it is complicated to pull it out. It is reported that in India the number of cows is approximately 250 million. Also it is reported that the Indian leadership has been trying hard to put the cow into its normal status but has not been successful[4]
 This is one of the points why the Feast of Sacrifice being celebrated by Muslims every year is important. They exhibit their continuous distance from people who worship and see them as blessed by slaughtering them: “There does not reach Allah their flesh nor their blood, but to Him is acceptable the guarding (against evil) on your part; thus has He made them subservient to you, that you may magnify Allah because He has guided you aright; and give good news to those who do good (to others).” (Al-Hajj/Pilgrimage 22/37)
The important thing about  sacrifice is to let its blood run. Consuming the meat on your own or sharing it with the poor is not as important as this.
Thus even the people who do not use the meat of the sacrificed animal, do not eat it at all or do not give it to the poor are counted for having made his offering. On the other hand, the person who delivers tons of meat to relatives, friends and poor without cutting it himself is not considered to have made his sacrifice.


[1] Fahruddin er-Razi, Tefsir-I kebir, the Coment of the 64th and 65th verses of the surah Al Baqara
[3] Nof is the other name of Memphis. This issue takes place in the maps adjoined and footnotes of the Holy Book (The Holy Book, New Edition, Istanbul 2001)

 

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Date: Nov 4, 2010