Eid-e- Qurban: My Childhood Memories

Now people prefer to purchase a sacrificial animal just a day or an hour before the slaughter; it was not so then
"That long stay of the animal developed proximity with the family members that further enhanced a deep emotional bond. We the junior members of the family getting over-excited about the event."
"That long stay of the animal developed proximity with the family members that further enhanced a deep emotional bond. We the junior members of the family getting over-excited about the event."Aman Farooq for Greater Kashmir

"Even after the slaughter, due respect was given to its skin. It was tanned traditionally, oil and salt rubbed in it then it was hung on the main gate for a few days. It was then used as a prayer mat.”

The occasion of Eid-ul-Adha has a special significance because this day of sacrifice marks the climax of Hajj or Pilgrimage, the fifth pillar of Islam. This religious festival commemorates the historical event associated with the Prophet Abraham who was commanded by God, in a dream, to sacrifice his son, Ismail.

But while he was in the act of sacrificing his son, God sent the Angel Gabriel with a huge ram. Gabriel informed Abraham that his dream vision was fulfilled and instructed him to sacrifice the ram as a ransom for his son.

This religious festival has the same intention and propagates the universal message everywhere but as far as its celebration is concerned, it varies from place to place.

In the context of Kashmiri culture, it is being celebrated distinctively. Let me share a few of my sweet memories associated with this day.

The memories of Lokut Eid - Eidul Fitr – would be fresh and the elder members of the family started the preparations for Baed Eid - Eid-ul-Adha. During those days, people in rural areas generally made a selection of sacrificial animals from the privately owned livestock.

They chose the best among them for this noble day and those who didn’t have their livestock purchased the sacrificial animal a year before Eid-ul-Adha. They considered it a high privilege to keep it at home, and nurture it with utmost care and love.

That long stay of the animal developed proximity with the family members that further enhanced a deep emotional bond. We the junior members of the family getting over-excited about the event.

We used to take him to Kahcharia - an open grass field meant for grazing. We used each other‘s shoulders as the ladder to fetch green and fresh leaves for the innocent creature, and took him in our lap. In the intervening days, we used to take him to the nearby stream or a well, to drink and to wash his body with herbal grass.

We developed a separate shelter for him that we commonly call VOUR - a temporary small shelter within the cowshed made of log pieces. We spared a separate bucket for it for drinking and placing fodder, to ensure its sanctity and hygiene. Every family member gave their utmost attention to the sacrificial animal and decorated it.

Just a week before, timing was pre-fixed with the butcher or a person having the art of slaughtering. An elder member of the family or the Masjid Imam was called to recite the particular verses – Neeyat. Each family member including neighbors and friends remained present there to acquire spiritual benefits from that august event.

The expert chopped the meat on a round wooden log (Takhti-Mund), then started its distribution phase. We made rounds in and around the neighborhood, with the traditional wicker work buckets filled with pieces of meat, distributing the same among neighbors and relatives.

There was no fear, no big boundary walls, no locked doors, no traffic mess, and no dog menace. Long distances were covered shortly as we walked freely across the premises of each others’ houses and cherished every moment.

Now, things have changed. There is no open fields available in the neighborhood, no cowsheds, wells are dried, streams are polluted, houses are bordered by concrete walls, fear is looming everywhere, and kids are not able to move freely on roads.

Above all, People don’t have spare time for such occasions. Its activities have been reduced. Now, people prefer to purchase a sacrificial animal just a day or an hour before the slaughter. Some have devised alternative ways, they give a share of money to any institution to perform this obligation.

Even after the slaughter, due respect was given to its skin. It was polished traditionally, oil and salt were rubbed into it then it was hung on the main gate for a few days. It was then used as a prayer mat.

There was no rate issues, no bargaining. Both the seller and buyer considered it an Ebadat. But today, high rates are fixed. There is fluctuation in rates with no control.

Changes occurred and will occur in the processes of celebrations but the essence of any event should not be compromised. This festival has a clear message of piety, charity as well as equality which must be retained at any cost.

As Almighty Allah says, “Their meat will not reach Allah, nor will their blood, but what reaches Him is piety from you.” It’s reported from Hazrath Ayesha [may Allah be pleased with her] that the Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him] said: “The most desired deed that Allah loves is Qurbani.”

And on the Day of Judgment, this same sacrificial animal with its horns, its hairs, etc., will appear before us in the same way it was sacrificed. So, Allah has promised rewards over this. May Allah forgive us, elate us in the purview of our deeds, let our intentions set right, and accept our sacrifice as worship. Aameen.

Haroon Rashid Bhat is a teacher.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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