It's that time of the year again. Eid ul Adha.
The sort of forgotten Eid.
When we were growing up, this was a big Eid. All of a sudden cows (and goats) were everywhere. People compared sizes. Uncles got together and hatched plans on how to slaughter this bull because it was so wild. So they would have four people go this way, another four that way, lasso, pull and bam! the bull now lies on the side. A knife (which had been sharpened away from the bull's sight so as not to cause him trauma!) is now brought and placed against the bull's neck. The last thing I would remember from this sacrifice was the bull's stoic eyes as it stared - somewhat defiantly, somewhat resigned - before they became big, and then shut. Soon, the sands would become red and then water would be poured across to clean the area for the next sacrifice.
By the time we left for Canada, the government there had brought in regulations. No longer could you slaughter the animal beneath your building in the parking lot or on the sand nearby. You had to take it to a slaughter house, and so on.
Here, Eid was different. Everyone diligently waited for the Eid ul Fitr, as fasting is hard here. Everyone buys new clothes, jewelery, shoes and dress up for the occasion.
Qurbani Eid was different. All of a sudden, one day it's there. You go in the morning for prayers. Around 5 in the evening, your butcher calls you to pick up your meat. End of Eid.
Which brings me to a contentious issue: Should you give your sacrifice here, or back in desiland?
I have never believed the opinion that you don't really need to sacrifice an animal (because it is cruel). All you need to do is give that amount of money to the poor.
Well first, animals die so we can eat. It's a fact of life. When you do Qurbani you have to kill in the most humane manner.
Second, if Allah wanted you to have the option of spending the money rather than slaughter an animal, He would tell you so. He is pretty direct in most cases. So when He says we must slaughter a cattle, I think that's what He means.
So says Imam Mezba of the sect of Al-Blogifi.
So where to do it, here or there?
People who give the sacrifice back in desiland could have one of two reasons.
One, it's cheap. Let's face it - it's hard to part with 300 bucks when you could use another new digital camera or an ipod.
Or, most likely reason, they feel there's more poor there, so the meat and money generated due to this activity is better spent there. Noble reason.
However, I feel we have a responsibility to the community we live in, to our local habitat and to our poor neighbours. Zakat we can give to our poorer relatives over there.
The sunnah was to slaughter an animal where you live. Imagine if even one third of the 23% of Toronto that is Muslim slaughtered their zabihah here, and imagine if, as stipulated, one third of all those meat goes to the local food bank. Don't you think we would enjoy a good and fantastic reputation here?
Besides, there is one more advantage to sacrificing an animal here. You get to eat that meat. Which is also sunnah. I love these useful sunnahs.
I always opt for a goat. First, it's cheaper than a share of the cow. Second, you get the whole goat. So you can pick and choose which part of the meat you give to the poor and which one you keep.
Hey, no one said I was a saint.