111 510 510 libonline@riphah.edu.pk Contact

Time for sacrifice

It is that time of the year. Soon in every nook and corner of the city you will hear the cries of goats, cows and other animals that the residents have brought home for sacrifice to commemorate Eidul Azha. The Eidul Azha is occasion to commemorate Prophet Ibrahim’s devotion to Allah SWT and his readiness to sacrifice his son, Ismail. At the very point of sacrifice, Allah SWT replaced Ismail with a ram, which was to be slaughtered in place of his son. This command from Allah SWT was a test of Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness and commitment to obey his Lord’s command, without question. Therefore, Eidul Azha means the festival of sacrifice.

Apart from its religious significance it has deep social significance because the meat of the slaughtered animal has to be distributed according to certain rules that direct the owner of the slaughtered animal to give one portion to the destitute and other portions to less privileged relatives, neighbors and friends. This provides an opportunity to the less privileged in society to eat meat, a commodity which they can ill afford throughout the year and now with soaring inflation eating meat by even the middle classes on a regular basis is an uphill task.

The presence of animals in every neighborhood also raises the level of contact between neighbors in all communities. Over the years our society, specially in affluent areas has become secluded to the extent that people in some cases are not even aware who lives in the apartment one floor down. This was not so in the early days of Pakistan. In Jacob Lines (Lines Area) where I spent my childhood everyone knew each other. These were government barracks and each house had a number so the lady of each house was described by the number of her house such as 10 number wali Khalajan and 11 number wali Khalajan, etc. This was such a close knit community that if someone’s child was heard crying all the Khalajans would get perturbed and ask each other why that kid is crying and if they could somehow contribute to providing whatever that kid desired. In those days there was also no concept of charging exorbitant amounts for sacrificial animals. I remember my father bringing home a goat which cost just 22 rupees. We named him Azmat and all five brothers and sisters cried wholeheartedly when this goat was sacrificed. This is real spirit of sacrifice and that is why believers are asked to personally tend to the animals so they can generate a closeness to the animal and at the time of sacrifice have an emotional attachment with the animal.

Getting back to the subject of closeness between neighbors on this occasion I have seen neighbors who never speak to each other suddenly engaged in animated conversation with each other on the subject of what price they paid for their animal and what food will be best for that particular breed and of course the multi-million dollar question of how to get hold of a butcher early in the day on Eid. If you have a reliable butcher on call who will on your directions also perform for others than you will be a much sough- after figure on Eid day.

How big is this event can be judged by the fact that last year across Pakistan nearly 8.1 million sacrificial animals worth 26.5 billion rupees (251 million dollars) were sold for the Eidul Azha festival. These statistics were provided by the Pakistan Tanners Association (PTA). After the sacrifice and after eating mouthwatering dishes the occasion also gives a big boost to the economy. Money exchanges hands and hides bought by tanneries are turned into leather, which is subsequently shaped into attractive leather garments that are exported all over the world. Cattle breeders get worth for their years of dedication to raise animals, butchers make a lot of money and even though for just a few days the poor get the nourishment they cannot afford throughout the year.

A word of advice to the proud owners of cattle. It is incumbent upon the owner to make sure that the animal he or she sacrifices is sound and without any faults such as broken teeth, etc. This means taking good care of animals and keeping them in a safe environment. Unfortunately, some people tie their animals to electric poles or around loose wires on the ground which could become a grave safety risk for them and others.

Let us gear up for another exciting economy boosting Eidul Azha which is just around the corner. The only thing that worries me is the shifting of the Animal mandi from super highway to Northern Bypass which recent experiences shows is not very safe. Hopefully, the law enforcing agencies will plug all the gaps and people from Karachi will be able to see, select and buy animals in safety and comfort.

Zia Ul Islam Zuberi, "Time for sacrifice," Business recorder. 2023-05-27.
Keywords: Political sciences , Animal mandi , Social significance , Eidul Azha , Meat , Goats , Cows , Prophet Ibrahim , Ismail , SWT , PTA

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *