Actor Irrfan Khan has landed himself in a controversy over remarks on the Islamic ritual of ‘qurbani’, or sacrificing animals on Eid-al-Adha, while he was in Jaipur for the promotion of his upcoming movie Madaari.
“Jitne rituals hain, jitney festivals hain, hum unka asal matlab bhool gaye hain. Hamne unko ek tamasha bana diya he. (We have forgotten the real meaning behind rituals and festivals and have turned them into a spectacle). Qurbani ek bahut ahem festival hai… it means sacrifice. Goat was then a prime source of food and there were many who went hungry. So you had to, in a way, sacrifice something dear to you and distribute it to people,” Khan said in Jaipur on Thursday.
“But today if you bought two goats from the market, and have nothing to do with them (no attachment), how is it sacrifice? It is common sense: anyone who is sacrificing should ask themselves, if you take life of something else, how will you get sawab (reward in the context of Islam) for it? Aap jaan kisi aur ki le rahe ho, aap qurbaan usko kar rahe ho, aapko punya kaise milega bhai? It is common sense,” the actor said.
“So we should understand why our festivals and rituals were really started. If we don’t understand it, it can be misused,” he said.
The comments drew criticism from clerics. Rajasthan’s chief quazi Khalid Usmani said, “The comments display a lack of Islamic knowledge. He probably got carried away emotionally while speaking on the subject. If he indeed wanted to make comments on the issue, he should have first apprised himself thoroughly of the subject.”
All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) member Maulana Khalid Rashid Farangi Mahali said, “The comment seems to have been inspired from the current atmosphere in the country regarding consumption of meat. Sacrificing an animal on Eid-al-Adha is a symbolic gesture. It is to instil passion in a person so that one is ready to step up when called upon by the family or nation for sacrifice. His comments are baseless.”
AIMPLB member Zafaryab Jilani said, “He is not an expert on religion… Today, goats and other animals are sacrificed in a symbolic gesture; the intention is still sacrifice. If he says that one should really sacrifice something dear, then one can’t go and kill their child, else people will call him mad. Going by his comments, it seems he made them sarcastically,” Jilani said.
The clerics’ reactions provoked a rejoinder from Irrfan on Friday. He tweeted, “Pls Bhaiyon, who r upset with my statement, either u r not ready to introspect or u r in a hurry 2 reach 2 a conclusion.”