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Aid Moubarak Said

What is this about? Even before the Qur’an was revealed, the tribes of Mecca were celebrating the Feast of the Sacrifice, which commemorates Abraham’s near sacrifice of his son. This is the same story known to Jews and Christians from the Old Testament (Torah), only the Qur’an states that it was Ishmael, Abraham’s firstborn son, and not Isaac who was designated as the sacrifice. God commanded Abraham to take his son to a remote spot and slit his throat, but as Abraham was about to obey, an angel appeared and indicated a sheep that was caught in the branches of a nearby bush. Abraham sacrificed the sheep instead, and to this day, the head of each Muslim family sacrifices a sheep once a year to commemorate the miracle. The tradition has been passed down in an unbroken line for thousands of years, and as long as there are Muslims on earth it will continue.

These photos are from Fez, Morocco on February 2, 2004. Like all Islamic holy days, this festival follows the lunar calendar, so each year it takes place ten or eleven days earlier on the Western calendar. This year, by coincidence, it falls on the last day of the year, December 31.

Even for families of modest means, who eat very little meat at other times of year, it is a matter of pride to participate in Eid al-Adha. The neighborhood where these photos were taken is a popular district of tenements and narrow streets. Each family buys its sheep a day or two ahead of time, and brings it home to live in the house until the day of the sacrifice. They put some straw in the kitchen or a spare bedroom, and leave a bowl of water for the tethered sheep. Usually the sheep is calm until the fatal morning, but somehow it knows what will happen that day. At dawn, the sheep in all the apartments up and down the street start bleating. This is mixed with the call to prayer and readings from the Qur’an. It is said that the sheep are happy to be sacrificed. It’s true, they are nervous, but there is a tranquility you can feel in the air.

Here is Sura 37:101–109 that speaks of Abraham’s sacrifice.

    We gave him the good news of a boy, uncomplaining. And when [his son] was ready to work with him, he said, “My son, I have seen in a dream that I must sacrifice you. Now look, what is your view?” He said, “My father, do as you are commanded. If Allah wills, you will find me to be steadfast.” Once they had both surrendered, and he had thrown [his son] down on his forehead, We called out to him, “Abraham! You have already fulfulled the vision!” Thus surely do We reward those who do good. For it was an obvious test, and we ransomed him with a tremendous sacrifice. And among the later generations we left this for him: “Peace be to Abraham!”

I’m sorry I won’t be with my friends this year, even though we are having our own holidays right now in the U.S. Anyway, I wish you all Aid Moubarak Said and Happy New Year.

UPDATE: “I offer my soul to God as a sacrifice, and if God wants He will lift it up.” — Saddam Hussein, 1937–2006. He was executed just before dawn because it is illegal in Iraq to execute someone during Eid. What do you think, is this justice, or “victors’ justice”?


Comment from B2
Time: December 30, 2006, 06:45

Aid Moubarak Saïd to you and all moroccon friends and hearts :)
Happy new year two .. and best wishes to all your family and friends :)

Comment from jilal
Time: December 30, 2006, 07:46

Passe moi le bouzelluf et ,ne montre jamais cette pic a brigitte bardot.

Comment from Amine
Time: December 30, 2006, 08:51

Aid Moubarak sa3id for ALL Muslims around the World !

Comment from Liosliath
Time: December 30, 2006, 14:59

Um, do you think you could have put those photos after a “More” prompt? Not everyone wants to look at a sheep slaughter without warning, you know. (Though it is educational, and appears to have been quickly and mercifully done.)

Comment from eatbees
Time: December 30, 2006, 15:52

@jilal — In God’s second miracle, as Muslims everywhere prepared to sacrifice the sheep, angels came to each family and announced, “In that bush over there you will find a badinjan (eggplant). Eat that instead….”

@Lilosliath — The feeling of taking this ritual for granted is what I’m trying to express here. The head of the family (father or oldest brother) wields the knife, then the women get right in there and start dismantling the sheep, which hangs by its legs on the terrace for three days until it’s all eaten. First the heart and liver, then the head, then the rest of the meat, each in its designated time and manner…. neighborhood boys roast the heads on charcoal in the street below. You’re right, of course, that the slaughter is done quickly and in one stroke. If not, it is said that Allah does not accept the sacrifice….

@B2 & Amine — Welcome, friends! Marhababikoum!

Comment from Liosliath
Time: December 30, 2006, 20:12

I know the ritual. I also know that they expected to have only half the sheep needed for sacrifice available in Morocco, so the other half probably came from Australia/New Zealand. You may be aware of the horrendous conditions that those animals endure on their journey, and though it’s said that animals should be killed in a halal way, it often doesn’t happen that way.

And I think Abraham was an idiot.

Comment from eatbees
Time: December 30, 2006, 20:23

I’m not sure that Abraham was even a historical person (although God said he was, so he was, right?). But why, exactly, are you mad at him? Was it for kicking Hagar and Ishmael out of the tent after Sarah gave him his second son? Or you just don’t like patricarchs in general?

Comment from Liosliath
Time: December 30, 2006, 21:13

I’m not “mad” at Abraham. He’s just not someone I’d want to emulate in any way. Even if it’s just an allegory (and who really knows!) I still think it’s crap.

Do you mean all patriarchs, or the Avot in particular?

Comment from eatbees
Time: December 30, 2006, 21:39

@Liosliath — After giving it some careful thought, I think I mean the Hebrew patricarchs, the ones with long beards, wild eyes and a staff.

I thought of another thing that’s not to like about Abraham. He let the Pharaoh sleep with his wife by saying she was his sister (Genesis 12:10–20)! But the Qur’an says that Jews messed with the Holy Books and distorted their original meaning, so of course that didn’t happen… if Abraham existed at all… my head hurts.

If I wanted to emulate Abraham, I would do it like this! (For those of you who don’t know your American history, this is a famous anti-slavery revolutionary from the mid-19th century.)

Comment from Liosliath
Time: December 30, 2006, 22:25

Yeah, because he got a big chunk o’ change from the Pharaoh for her. Jerk. And that’s RICH that the Muslims accuse the Jews of distortion – hadith and sunnah, anyone?

That painting of John Brown made me laugh – madmen are funny. That is, unless they’re the President!

Comment from adel
Time: December 30, 2006, 22:56

You really could warn us against those bloody photos… :/

Comment from Yahia
Time: December 31, 2006, 15:52

I’m scared to death by the pics
Na! I think some commenters are right about them, but “Aid Moubarak” anyway!

But here’s a little something about Saddam’s execution:

Comment from eatbees
Time: December 31, 2006, 17:03

@Adel — Okay, you have a point, sometimes you put up pictures of goddesses or other pretty things, and I give you a sheep slaughter! Sorry, it’s not a fair exchange….

You still haven’t told me what my Arab name should be, in your opinion….

@Yahia — No need to be scared, you’re not a sheep! :) Anyway, isn’t this to remind us (sons of Abraham) to be glad we’re not the ones being slaughtered?

About Saddam, the dark symbolism, did they choose this day on purpose…!? I found another cartoon on the same site you linked to, that explains the Israel/Palestine situation pretty well….

Comment from Amine
Time: January 1, 2007, 00:22

Happy Eid and New Year! Great site with cool links :)

Comment from omarsoft
Time: January 1, 2007, 02:58

Aïd moubarak saïd à tous le monde ! ;)

Comment from Yahia
Time: January 1, 2007, 14:14

I laughed so much at that cartoon before!! Latuff is a great cartoonist. He expresses reality in one image, where thousands of words can’t !! I love that guy!

Comment from adel
Time: January 1, 2007, 15:44

Marcel is Arabic name! I was sarcasm when I asked you about your Arabic name

Comment from eatbees
Time: January 1, 2007, 16:52

@Adel — Marcel is a Latin name. It is a form of the name Marcus that was very common in Roman times, such as Marcus Aurelius the philosopher king (that’s what I am, a philosopher king with an invisible empire run by angels!). It’s also related to Mars the god of war. It’s true that Marcel Khalife is Lebanese, but he’s from a Christian family so his name is Western. Do you know any Arab Marcels besides him?

Anyway, try not to be sarcastic or horns will grow from your forehead!

Comment from Liosliath
Time: January 1, 2007, 21:10

“The boy’s name Marcel is pronounced mar-SELL. It is of French origin. Variant of Marcellus (Latin) “little warrior”, from Marcus. The source of these names is Mars, the Roman god of war.”

Little warrior! I love it!

[also feeling my head nervously for horns, since sarcasm is a fault of mine]

Comment from adel
Time: January 1, 2007, 22:31

Hum! Marcel Khalifa may be Christian but still Arab, speak Arabic and sing in Arabic… I don’t know what Arabic name to pick for you, but if you want (pagan) Moroccan name… I would pick up Agurzil, a name I would be very proud to have it myself

Comment from Liosliath
Time: January 1, 2007, 23:31

Hm, interesting that you gave him a Berber name…

Comment from adel
Time: January 1, 2007, 23:44

> Liosliath
I see… you done your homework :)

Comment from eatbees
Time: January 2, 2007, 00:02

I did my homework too. Agurzil is the God of War! Then a Berber Queen took the name to fight against Muslims. Do you want me to drive the Muslims from Morocco? Or just strike down the man who hit you yesterday with a sword? (May I ask, by the way, how a man can be walking around Rabat with a one-meter sword and not be noticed?)

Comment from adel
Time: January 2, 2007, 00:23

That Berber Queen is one of my heroes, of course I don’t want to kick any Moroccan out of Morocco

I think they have trick to hide it within cloths, it was Eid anyway, a lot of people hand long knife during this day

Comment from Wydadi
Time: January 2, 2007, 12:44

sunday,bloody sunday!!!

Comment from eatbees
Time: January 3, 2007, 16:41

@Wydadi — :P

Comment from Wendell
Time: January 3, 2007, 21:00

This is such an odd blogsite… The postings are usually mildly interesting. But the commentary! Always, rich, informative, intriguing and, frequently, hillarious!


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