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Why Muslims slaughter animals on Eid-Ul-Adha

By Benard Sanga and Ishaq Jumbe | July 20th 2021
Some of the 308 cows at the Mokowe Jetty in Lamu County on July 19, 2021. The cows are being ferried to Lamu Island and other areas within Lamu County as a donation by Al Khair Foundation for disadvantaged families to enable them celebrate Eid Al Adha which will be celebrated on July 20, 2021. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

Thousands of Muslim in the country are today set to celebrate Eid Ul-Adha, the second significant religious festival of Islam after Eid-Ul-Fitr that marks the end of the fasting period of Ramadan. 

Eid Ul-Adha or the feast of the sacrifice marks the final day of the annual Muslim pilgrimage called Hajj, where Muslims travel to Mecca. It takes place in the 12th month of the Islamic lunar calendar.

“It is the ceremony to celebrate the sacrifice of Nabii Ibrahim, when he set out to sacrifice his son Ismail who was substitute with a goat,” explained Sheikh Rishad Ramadhan of Masjid Jibra.

On Friday, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i declared today, July 20, 2021, a public holiday to mark Idd-Ul-Adha. Chief Kadhi Sheikh Shariff Ahmed Muhdhar also said the last month according to the Islamic calendar starts today.

After the Eid prayers, Muslims slaughter animals as a remembrance of Ibrahim’s readiness to slaughter his son. Sheikh Rishad said the animal must be of good health and a certain age.

“The slaughtered animal is divided into three equal portions: one is for one family use, neighbours and friends and the final portion of the less privileged in the society,” he said.

Yesterday Deputy President William Ruto donated 150 goats to be shared between the Muslim clerics in Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale counties. 

At Mombasa’s Kikowani open-air market prices of the goats and sheep shot up yesterday following increased demand from Muslim faithful and other well-wishers.

“The price for a buck doubled from Sh6,000 to between Sh12,000 and Sh15,000. A doe (adult female sheep) goes for between Sh6,000 to Sh8,000,” said Hassan Mohamed.

He said traders buy the animals from interior parts of Tana River, Kilifi, Kwale and Taita Taveta counties to meet the demands during this festive season. 

 “Pilgrims in Makka throw stones to mark the stoning of the devil when he tried to influence Ibrahim to disobey Allah. “The rest of the Muslim world join with them today in sacrificing a goat, sheep, cow or camel in commemoration of the sacrifice,” said sheikh Ramadhan.

Sheikh Yusuf Abdi a scholar said that the sacrifice should then be divided to feed the poor, neighbours, and part of it should be used to feed the people of the household.

“The main difference between Eid-Ul-Adha and Idd-Ul-Fitr is that the latter is the celebration of the fasting season while Eid-ul-Adha which is also known as Idd Ul Hajj marks the culmination of the annual pilgrimage,” said Sheikh Abdi.

Sheikh Aboud Mohammed of Majid Jundan said the ceremony’s unique feature that is very important is the takbirat.

“The saying Allahu Akbar begins on the day of Arafat and it continues right through to the third day after Idd making the recitation of the phrase last five days,” says Sheikh Aboud.

Unholy practices

The scholar also said it has been recommended that Muslims dress in good clothes and everyone should strive to ensure their family has a good festive time.

“It has, however, been forbidden to take the fun too far and engage in haram (unholy) practices,” warned Sheikh Aboud adding that prayers should be done on open grounds and not in mosques.

“Although it is permissible to pray in a mosque the ideal setup would be a field which can accommodate the entire Muslim community from one area so that they can have one unified congregation,” says Sheikh Aboud.

He said others guidelines include the slaughtering process which must begin with a short recitation of the Bismillah literary ‘in the name of God, the merciful and compassionate’.

“One must ensure that the animal is facing Makka before a very sharp knife severs the main arteries in the neck,” said Sheikh Aboud.  

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