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    The spirit of sacrifice

    i dunno, it's been years and years (and years) since i've seen first-hand the sacrifice being done in Pakistan... is it still like the author describes it, that's debatable.

    What's not debatable, i think, is the last line of her article.

    Beast of burden, Mimi Khan, Dawn, 12 February 2004

    It is truly remarkable how as a nation (not race) we are at the height of our piety when it comes to observing traditions and customs; it is almost as though we seek redemption and salvation by adhering to what is preached, which for a change is practised. However, somewhere in the enthusiasm of it all, we lose the meaning and the purpose, and thereby the spirit.

    As newspapers reported prior to Eidul Azha, the prices of cattle shot up sky high, making it virtually impossible for most people to afford an animal. Smallish goats are said to have sold for Rs5,000 whereas the more decent looking ones were priced at Rs10,000, not that there was any ceiling, because they also sold for as much as Rs50,000 to Rs75,000.

    As for the cows, well there can be as many as seven shares each worth approximately Rs5,000 if not more. The sacrificial cattle included goat, sheep, lamb, cow, buffalo, ox and camel.

    I cannot help but wonder who's sacrificing what and for whom. The average person cannot aspire to purchase a sacrificial animal, so his sacrifice lies in his limitations to perform the holy ritual. As for those who are seen driving away with rather meaty game stuffed in their boots do so while gloating at the prospects of earning plenty of sawaab.

    The less fortunate can only remain in anticipation of receiving tit bits of the sacrificial meat, since the choicest parts/portions are mostly exchanged between relatives and friends. Meanwhile, the 'leftovers' are mostly distributed in the neighbourhood, and a token share (which is meant to be one-third) is stuffed into polythene bags to be given to the beggars who come to the house or sent to some basti - this is their moment of being able to savour meat and give thanks to the generosity of the qurbani wala.

    It's one thing when the city turns into one big bakra mandi, it is quite another when your next-door neighbour turns his back alley into a temporary pen, soon to be converted into a slaughter house. I doubt these animals are ever fed as generously, or force fed for that matter, at any other time, but because they are such a heavy investment, they must yield maximum profit, i.e., meat. Due to the circumstances surrounding apartment complexes, people have even been known to keep their animal inside their flats, for fear of theft or some other misdemeanour.

    Goats bleat, cows moo, I don't know what a camel does, moan perhaps, but as this sacrificial soul waits to be led to the knife, it goes hoarse probably crying for mercy. During this time the beast serves as a form of amusement to kids who cannot entertain themselves enough by brutally throwing stones at it and the gutsy ones will even poke and pull at it.

    Often this wretched creature is the subject of animated chatter between neighbours. For all you know they may be comparing the number of hair their respective animals have, or other physical attributes for that matter. I wonder what becomes of the poor chap whose goat was tethered to a pole just outside his front entrance, when some trigger happy blokes came along and shot it dead. Fair game, would you say?

    The morning of Eidul Azha, I was still asleep when I heard the most heart wrenching guttural wailing coming from under my bedroom window. Of course I knew what it was, but what made my hair stand on end was how human it sounded. Traces of the blood bath remain splattered on the freshly white washed walls.

    Mind you it's not over once the animal has been carved up and the allotted portions distributed; there is then the issue of discarding the unwanted pieces, despite the human's ingenuity at coming up with recipes for every imaginable part of the anatomy, from sirri right down to the pai, after all we don't dominate the food chain for no good reason. The innards are conveniently dumped on road sides, as a result stray dogs, cats, flies, etc., also get a taste of sacrifice, until the waste is collected and I'm told used for chicken feed.

    I am most perplexed. How can people expect to be exonerated of their sins and earn reward by merely buying and consuming meat which is part of their daily meals? Surely it's not so simple, all you have to do is look around you and you'll see what I mean. In my opinion it is those who try to get through this life, one day at a time, without losing their soul, who are the ones who actually know what it means to have the spirit of sacrifice.

    #2
    my brother was in pakistan at the time of Eid-ul-Adah... and he's taken a few short movies of the qurbani and tens and tens of pictures of animals being slaughtered.... its horrible knowing that this creature a few minutes ago that u were patting, in the next will be in ur tummy! aaagh.... but what can ya do...

    Comment


      #3
      Nadia_H, First, I don't know which area this Mimi Khan lives in, but she paints such a dismal picture of the whole thing that it makes my skin crawl...True, she points out what goes on, but there is little alternative unless the government can step in to regulate prices...As for the cleaning process, the innards are usually taken care of the next day...I don't know what she is talking about...

      Second, there is a reason one must have a little knowledge about one's faith before one says anything...She is saying how the rich can buy so much and distribute it for Thawab while the poor don;t have that facility...That's wrong and goes completely against the ideology of Islam...

      It doesn't matter how much a poor person gives, it is entirely upon the intentions of the person...Whether it is a truckload or a handful, the intentions are all that count...

      Sadzzz: The sacrifice is to relive the trauma of what Hazrat Ibrahim :as: went through when he was about to slaughter his son, Hazrat Ismail :as:...This is really not the spirit of sacrifice that you go a week before, grab a cow or a goat by the ear, and bring it for sacrifice...Some even go as much as bring it only a night before...

      In reality in many households and in India especially, goats are raised from birth, and then nourished and taken care of for a few years until the owner comes to love the goat as his own child, and then he is supposed to slaughter it, so he can at least get a microscopic feel of what Hazrat Ibrahim :as: went through as he was about to slaughter his only child which he had in very old age...

      This was a test for Hazrat Ibrahim :as: which he passed with flying colors and endeared himself to Allah :swt: and earned the title of Father of the Prophets...Is it any wonder that every Prophet after him ever born came from his progeny?
      Focus not on who you are but what you do...
      ])>:::}-:Salams:-{:::<([

      Comment


        #4
        Lajawab,

        i'm sorry i didn't mean to offend you (or anyone) by posting the article. Of course, everything depends upon niyat. Only Allah Knows who will get how much sawaab... and it will be determined by Him Alone, without regard to the material wealth of anyone.

        Sorry for causing any offence. It was unintentionally done.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Nadia_H:
          Lajawab,

          i'm sorry i didn't mean to offend you (or anyone) by posting the article. Of course, everything depends upon niyat. Only Allah Knows who will get how much sawaab... and it will be determined by Him Alone, without regard to the material wealth of anyone.

          Sorry for causing any offence. It was unintentionally done.
          HAHA! Come on man...Did I sound as if I was offended? None taken...

          And sorry if I sounded offended...Didn't mean to...

          Deja Vu, but seems I have had this conversation with you before...
          Focus not on who you are but what you do...
          ])>:::}-:Salams:-{:::<([

          Comment

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