Kurdish cleric urges Gaza aid instead of Eid al-Adha sacrifice

Mullah Kamaran Ali, a Sunni Kurdish cleric from Sulaimaniyah, called for Kurdish Muslims and Kurdish pilgrims currently in Saudi Arabia to aid the people of Gaza. [Photo provided to TNA]

A prominent Kurdish cleric from the Iraqi Kurdistan region has called on Muslims to prioritize sending aid to the beleaguered people of Gaza over the traditional animal sacrifices for Eid al-Adha

Mullah Kamaran Ali’s appeal underscores the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza amid ongoing conflict and blockade.

It is more virtuous to send money to the beleaguered people of Gaza than to buy cattle for slaughter during the Muslim holy feast of Eid al-Adha, a Kurdish cleric from the Iraqi Kurdistan region recently said.

Mullah Kamaran Ali, a Sunni Kurdish cleric from Sulaimaniyah, called for Kurdish Muslims and Kurdish pilgrims currently in Saudi Arabia to aid the people of Gaza, who are facing famine due to Israel’s blockade and continuous military aggressions since October 7.

“People in Gaza are suffering immensely, and we have seen videos of them eating grass out of desperation,” the cleric told The New Arab. “Therefore, it is the duty of Muslims to send money to those in need through trusted charities, instead of sacrificing animals.”

Ali’s plea comes amid the ongoing Israel’s war on Gaza, which so far killed over 36,700 Palestinians and wounded at least 83,000 others since October. The Israeli bombardment has devastated the enclave, levelling entire neighbourhoods. The people of Gaza face famine as the Israeli army maintains an embargo on all border crossings, and there have been reports of Israeli settlers sabotaging aid packages intended for the Palestinian population.

“God willing, sending aid to the people of Gaza is more virtuous than sacrificing animals here, or even in Mecca,” Ali said in a Facebook post on Monday. He emphasised that according to Islamic jurisprudence, aiding those in need takes precedence over ritual sacrifices in times of crisis.

Ali also highlighted that the philosophy of Hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam, is to unite Muslims from different nations, languages, and ethnicities worldwide. He noted that Prophet Mohammed himself led the Hajj during his lifetime, and his successors continued this tradition. Ali said that if the Muslim world today were united under one leadership, neither Israel nor any other oppressor could commit genocide in Gaza or elsewhere.

Hajj is a sacred pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia that every Muslim must undertake at least once in their lifetime if they are physically and financially able. Each year, millions of Muslims from around the world embark on this significant spiritual journey to cleanse their sins, come closer to Allah, and experience the unity of the Muslim community.

Following the completion of the Hajj pilgrimage, Muslims worldwide celebrate Eid al-Adha, a four-day festival that begins with the sighting of the new crescent moon. Eid al-Adha commemorates Prophet Ibrahim’s devotion to God and his willingness to sacrifice his son, Ismail. According to the story, when Ibrahim prepared to make the sacrifice, God intervened, substituting Ismail with a ram. During Eid al-Adha, people honour this act by sacrificing animals, known as Qurbani.

Ali’s call for action spotlights the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and urges the Muslim community to divert resources from traditional celebrations to aid those suffering from conflict and deprivation.

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