It’s that time of the year again and here’s a chance to upgrade the social status. We can wonder if it ever occurred to our ancestors as they roamed the vast Arab plains that performance of the sacrifice ritual on Bakra Eid would have the effect of hitting two birds with one stone or did their naïveté only lead them to hope to earn brownie points with the Lord? We are much smarter of course- we do not let the romance corrupt our sense of duty: the Almighty wants us to spend in His way freely and we comply as humble servants. In addition to performing a religious duty, we revitalize the economy by creating new jobs each year on this auspicious occasion. Our Muslim brothers reap the benefits: not only do we allow first-timers a chance to try their hands at animal sacrifice and an outlet for negative energy building up as they deal with inflation and unemployment, we also allow them some time to think if pursuing such a career fits well with their in-born skills and traits. After all, man has been a hunter for a significant part of history and that is how he survived, part of the logic behind the writer being able to write this article in the first place and the reader being able to read.
Over time though, his taste buds have become more sophisticated and his defenses have crumbled against the allure of exhibitionism. Bigger, better, bolder—anything to make him stand out; it doesn’t matter if the prices of animals in the Bakra Market shoot to exorbitant levels. Few things in life come without a cost: earning God’s favor is certainly on the list if not at the top and if a momin can afford it, he should definitely indulge himself. Bulls, cows, goats, sheep, camels—line them up, show them off. Let the games begin! It doesn’t matter if Butt Sahib across the street is offended by the sheer grandeur of the bulls that Chaudhary Sahib will offer for holy sacrifice- Chaudhary Sahib probably needs God’s help more than the latter, his tax details have been keeping him up most nights. He will probably send some meat to Butt Sahib’s place to evade the bad karma and Butt Sahib can work on his strategy till next Eid to take his adversary down.
The spirit of sacrifice has only grown over the years. Look around! We as people have taken it upon our frail existences to serve as God’s army in varying degrees and with that goal in our minds we are forgoing many worldly desires. The more pious from amongst us have taken their roles as His vicegerents with great nonchalance, telling us what is holy and what is profane- it is their ‘no nonsense’ policy that puts them at the apex position. Nizam-i-Mustafa tops the list; talks will do no good, drive out the infidels and wipe the earth off people who threaten to mess with the order of things. With all else covered so far, the only issue of concern is the complacent attitude of municipal corporations that take no notice of the discarded animal parts rotting on the streets on Eid-ul-Azha. “Cleanliness is half of faith” reads a Hadith, dear brethren!
By Abid Basheer