News Religion

Eid: Some feast while others face famine

Eid el-Kabir, regarded as one of the most important feasts in the Islamic calendar, provides temporary jobs for the youth in the north, who set up places to skin, sear and wash animals in readiness for the Feast of Sacrifice.

Also known as Eid ul Adha, the festival is celebrated every year. It honours the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son as an act of submission to Allah’s command. But before Ibrahim could sacrifice his son, Allah sent him a sheep instead.

The act of Qurbani – slaughtering an animal – is carried out after the morning Eid prayers.

A sharp knife is used to cut the jugular vein of the animal – usually a ram, goat or cow – to ensure a continuous and free flow of blood from the animal.

Once the animal is slaughtered, it can be taken to a market where mostly temporary workers skin the animals. The heads, bodies and legs of are seared to remove the fur. The animals are washed to remove the burnt marks made by the searing and then returned to the owner.

Ali Abbas, a resident and businessman of Maiduguri, told RNI reporter Abubakar Mustapha that every year at this time he worked at the Baga Road Market in Maiduguri.

He said it was not his occupation, but it gave him a chance to make some money “in this time of economic hardship”.

He charged 1,500 naira to sear a cow’s head, 700 naira for a ram’s head and 500 naira for a goat’s head, depending on the size.

“Once the animal is seared and washed, its owner comes to take it home to cook for the feast,” Abbas said.

Muhammad Saleh, an Eid celebrant, said he had offered his sacrifice in the morning and then went to the market to sear it and to sear other worshippers’ offerings.

“It has been a hard celebration for many in the north this year because a lot of people are living in poverty. The indigent can hardly afford to put food on the table every day, let alone have money to buy a sacrificial animal. They are struggling just to find food to eat, not what they can offer as a sacrifice,” he said.

“I know of many people who cannot make the sacrifice this year because of the state of the economy.”

Saleh said he had been searing animals at the market for about 10 years.

“I quickly offer my sacrifice in the morning and go to the market to set up the place for the work.”

He said he worked with 10 others. Some did the searing, some boiled water to wash the burnt skin off the seared animal. Part of the job was to skin the animal first. They used knives and a cutlasses to do this.

  • Eid el-Kabir begins on the 10th of Dhū al-Ḥijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar, and continues for an additional three days.  Families who can afford to sacrifice a ritually acceptable animal – sheep, goat or cow, or in some countries a camel – share the flesh among themselves, their family and friends and the poor. It is usually a time to visit friends and family and to exchange gifts. However, COVID-19 has largely put a stop to visits, meaning many celebrants wish one another over the telephone or via their computers.
  • Anyone who slaughters animals to worship Allah must do so with the best intention. The animals must be healthy and must have been treated ethically. Cows must be four years old, rams and goats must be at least a year old and camels must be six years old.
%d bloggers like this: