Eid II

Happy Eid to all. This being the “bigger” Eid culminating the holy pilgrimage. I had meant to write up a post on the Hajj but, uh, never got around to it. Instead, here is a decent write up of the ritual [and a visual one]. This Eid isn’t all fun and games like the first one. Largely because of the animal sacrifice. You gotta buy the animal, care for it, sacrifice it, cut and distribute the meat, fight off the many claimants of the skin. It makes me a vegetarian every year for at least 10 months. I understand that the act symbolizes Abraham and God engaged in the high-stake game of chicken but still I, for one, cannot wait for the time when this really does enter the symbolic realm. The animal prices go up every year. The meat distribution matrix slims down every year. It’s just a downward spiral. Let me crib my point from two bloggers on the scene in Karachi.

I hope Danial doesn’t mind that I translate a portion of his wonderful post on Eid:

The price of meat is so high that a poor man can hardly ever eat it. For the poor, this Eid is their only chance to eat all the meat they can. But is the meat distributed equitably to the needy? I had a conversation with Bablo’s mom on this topic. She said, “Look bhai, we only sacrifice one goat. And one leg goes to the future in-laws of my eldest daughter. One goes to my brother’s house. Since Babli is getting older and I have to maintain relations with my brother. And on top of that, all my relatives sacrifice cows and send me tons and tons of meat so don’t I have to send them more than two bites?”

Now you can guess for yourself how much and what cut of meat is left for the needy.

Sin puts the matter in a blunt, yet poetic manner:

In other news, Eid is coming up (AGAIN). Islam and it’s two Eids, known, affectionately and in literal translation, as “Big Eid” and “Little Eid”, are really beginning to get my goat. No pun intended, since this is the Eid during which all good Muslims are supposed to go nuts and slaughter livestock at home in order to symbolise√ñwell, slaughter and sacrifice. Quite frankly, the smell and sight of raw goat/cow/camel intestines and offal cooling slowly on the back lawn, next to my orchids, and the resultant hours spent in the kitchen trying desperately to package and distribute said meat to friends, family members and the “deserving”, is all rather abhorrent. Not to mention unhygienic. Sadly though, my family refuses to adopt our otherwise-tried-and-true technique of dealing with most matters; namely, throw money at the problem until it goes away. I don’t see why we don’t. The damn mounds of tripe and flesh reek, they taste awful, and it’d just be much more convenient to pay out the cost of the fucking livestock to a charity that may actually do some good with it. Poor people who can’t afford housing, or medical care, will, I suspect, not benefit greatly from being given five kilos of raw goat/cow/camel.

Have a good weekend, gentle readers. and have a cow.

update:Here is a beautifully imagined take on Eid by Bridal Beer whose blog world I am sinking in, post by post.

update 2:Thanks to new CM reader Rehan, here is an excellent gallery of the big Eid in Islamabad.

5 Replies to “Eid II”

  1. WTF. Aren’t today’s kids more educated and sensible.They are animal lovers. They are not idiot butchers who’ll continue to blindly follow this shameful barbaric inhumane ritual or crime called qurbani. They realise well that killing or finishing Allah’s another creation was never the intention of Holy Quran. If you have to sacrifice, then better sacrifice your own flesh or kids in the name of Allah. Why deprive other mothers of their progenies? The whole non-muslim world condenms this torturous religious act which has no logic or rationale other than satisfying your blood thirsty and hungry minds. Pure bullshit story is cited in support of this nonsense. If Allah can do the justice, the dying and suffering animals demand justice from Him.

  2. I am by no means an orthodox Muslim. In fact, it would be safe to say that I practice very little of the Islamic faith. But I, like Rehan who wrote the previous comment (he’s my roomate), am a Pakistani-American living in Islamabad, so I am able to witness the Eid festivities here firsthand. When I looked out on the street on Eid day, too many times I saw a fat old man in a blazer and pants standing over a lowly butcher-boy cutting up a goat for the fat man to distribute to his friends. After thinking about it for a while, and after reading various blogs written by Pakistani kids in Karachi, I’ve reached a conclusion. The youth of Pakistan, in recent years, has been exposed more to the West than ever before. Cable TV and cheap DVDs have made it possible for the average Pakistani kid to feel like a part of the Western world. This isn’t at all a bad thing, but I feel like it has progressed to a level that no one had initially suspected. You will be hard-pressed to find an average middle class teenager (whether Pakistan even has a middle class is a whole other argument) actually involved in any traditional, cultural, or religious cermonial activity on Eid day. Qurbaani is out of the question. MTV and American movies tell us it’s wrong to kill animals. It’s barbaric. It’s inhumane. But these same kids will then go out with their friends to the new Clifton McDonalds in Karachi and have fried beef to their hearts content. The prospects of maintaining a sense of identity and self-awareness have been pretty much depleted, simply because Paki kids have learned that it just “isn’t cool” anymore.

  3. Hey salaam,

    A belated Eid Mubarak to you! Great blog! Just found it but I’ll be sure to come back more now!

    I as an American living currently in Islamabad wanted to comment on the Eid situation. I’ve seen that many of the upper “elitist” pakistani families believe that “throwing money at the problem” seems to be the solution, and should be the same one practiced in respect to the qurbaani. Maybe its just the pakistani youth’s apathy because they grow up around this and want to be different. In California, where I’m from, almost every Muslim family takes part in qurbaani every year on Big Eid, and although our white neighbors and co-workers sometimes stare and think we’re weird and different, by doing the qurbaani we’re establishing and maintaining our identity, our culture, and our religious traditions. Maybe the elitist families of Pakistan will also someday feel secure enough with themselves to be able to take part in the tradition of the “lowly common man” rather than simply rejecting an old tradition to feel superior and more educated.

  4. Eid Mubarik to you too … enjoy ur bakra ;)

    hope all of us can share the blessings of Allah with those who are less fortunate.

    n hey i jus luved this blog, kooooool. you are doing ur research in history but ur professional background seems to be in computers… wats the deal ?

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