Being a Muslim, When Irrfan Khan protested Animal sacrifice on Eid, and spoke for Animal rights

Irrfan Khan
Irrfan Khan was the only B'wood actor, who wanted reforms in Islam

Renowned actor Irrfan Khan passed away at the age of 53 on Wednesday. His demise left Bollywood in shock. The actor was admitted to the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani hospital in Mumbai when he drew his last breath. Irrfan Khan is survived by his wife Sutapa Sikder, and two sons namely Babil and Ayan.

The actor is not only known for his versatile acting but also known as a fearless speaker, who had time-and-again expressed his idea of practising religion, despite being well aware of the fact that he would be admonished by the hardliners. The 53-year-old actor was the only Bollywood actor, who wanted reforms in Islam. According to him, many ritual things need to be changed in the religion which people blindly follow.

In the year 2016, actor Irrfan Khan’s statement on the slaughtering of animals on the celebration of Ramzan and Muharram sparked massive controversy across the country. His remark questioning sacrifice of animals during Eid-uz-Zoha invited sharp reaction from Muslim clerics and then he faced flak on social media.

He took to Twitter to share his opinion, “For me religion is about personal introspection , it’s a source for compassion, wisdom and moderation and not for stereotyping and fanaticism. Clerics don’t scare me !! Thank God I don’t live in a country governed by religious contractors (thekedars ) #FREEDOM,” the actor tweeted.

The same year, Khan participated in a debate with Republic TV founder Arnab Goswami to express his views on Islam and his own way of practising his faith. In the debate, Irrfan had shared his experience of being a Muslim and topics such as Ramazan and Roza were also discussed along with the issues of terrorism and the global perspectives. Other clerics were also present on the show.

The debate was held on “Animal Killing Controversy” that erupted after actor Irrfan Khan had made certain comments on sacrificing animals during the Islamic festival of Bakrid. In 2016, Irrfan Khan had attended an event in Jaipur where he made a statement against Islam religion that in today’s practises, the actual meaning of Qurbani (sacrifice) has been lost.

He went on to say that purchasing a goat from the market and killing it after two days is not ‘Qurbani’. He had added that the essence of the Islamic festival is about giving up, sacrificing something that is important to oneself. Following which, Khan faced widespread flak from Islamic clerics and even the AIMPLB for his remarks.

While speaking to Arnab Goswami, Irrfan Khan said, “We don’t see the whole picture. There is a huge chunk of the Muslim population that is fighting against terrorism. We only see Muslims in India. When you go abroad, you see there are people who are fighting terror… and trying to put Islam, the way they have understood, in the right perspective”.

“The way I have understood Islam is through some incidents. And there are various delicate experiences that teach you these philosophies, which have multiple layers. It’s not a single dimension and that’s why it continues for years and years,” he said, revealing some incidents that he heard in his childhood.

Irrfan Khan added that the ideas have become transactional and the seeking part has been eliminated in the religion. “Mercy and compassion are the basis of Islam”, said Irrfan Khan as he spoke about the misconceptions people have about Islam and terrorism.

The actor was suffering from Neuroendocrine tumour, an unusual type of cancer. He had earlier disclosed about his disease he was struggling with. Several Bollywood celebrities extended their condolences to Irrfan’s family on social media.

Magnificent actor touched the pinnacle of his career when he was part of many Hollywood projects, from Jurassic World to Slumdog Millionaire. Irrfan Khan was the only actor in the world to be part of 12 oscar-winning movies. It is indeed a mind-boggling record.

On Saturday, Irrfan’s mother Saeeda Begum passed away in Jaipur. Unfortunately, the actor couldn’t attend the funeral owing to the nationwide lockdown. Meanwhile, filmmaker Shoojit Sircar tweeted his condolences for the extraordinary actor.

Dharam Sikarwar
Writer, historian, and activist Dharam Sikarwar is a very active author The Youth. He writes on national and international issues, environment, politics. He is an avid book reader as well.