On the occasion of Eid Al Adha, the Muslim Feast of Sacrifice, Moroccans, like any other Muslims, feel excited, take great delight in visiting their relatives, and above all think about buying a suitable ram that can cater to the whole family.
Sidi Ifni – Yet, it has been witnessed that they make a mountain out of a molehill, particularly when it comes to the size of the ram and its price. Some of them pride themselves on buying the fattest sheep in the neighborhood, while others conceal their ram because of its meager size and low price.
In Moroccan neighborhoods, if a family forgoes buying a ram, they appear strange and outlandish, particularly because it ostensibly breaks one of the principal conventions of society:celebrating Eid to the fullest. The question, however, is: Does Islam force Muslims to buy a ram? It is not an obligation, according to world’s clerics. Muslims should buy one if they can afford it. But, if they cannot, they are not obliged to do so.
Society, however, does not excuse those who cannot afford it. A large number of families buy a large ram, not necessarily because they can afford it, but because they fear potentially facing ignominy. In El Jadida, for instance, families compete to buy the fattest ram in the neighborhood. Sometimes, they even resort to selling furniture, such as refrigerators, beds, cupboards, pillows, just to earn enough money to be able to purchase a ram whose criteria can appeal, or perhaps surpass, those of their fellow Moroccans.
Some Moroccans resort to Prophet Mohamed’s hadiths to prove that buying a ram and celebrating eating it is Sunna and a sign of respecting Islamic rituals. They insist on this point to convince those who cannot afford it or those who choose not to buy one that a ram must, in fact, be slaughtered. The contradiction here is that these Muslims mention only the act of buying and slaughtering a ram, but they don’t mention that one-third must be given away to the poor and one-third must be given to friends.
It would be hypocritical of Muslims who insist on buying a ram to avoid pointing out that two thirds of the slaughtered ram must be given away. It would also be hypocritical of them to make a fuss about the issue of Eid Al Adha and forget about the poor who need help to provide for their children. It would be hypocritical to say things about Eid Al Adha that have no basis in Islam in order to make the act of buying a ram a necessity and not an option. There is no text in Islam that obliges Muslims to buy a ram. Islam states that if Muslims can afford it, they should buy it, and if they can’t, they are not obliged to buy it.
The mind-boggling matter is that many of us Muslims turn an option into a necessity, while we often transform necessities into options. We discuss Islamic rituals only when Eid Al Adha arrives, but not when prayer calls toll. In some homes, wives argue with husbands over the size of the ram. Children express their dissatisfaction with the ram. Wives begin to frown and grimace if husbands buy lambs instead of rams. Muslims ask one another about the price of their bought rams as though the price would determine how noble the act of slaughtering is. They ask about the meat quality as though the meat would determine who won God’s approval and who did not.
On the other hand, because of the short holiday given to the state employees on this occasion, some teachers have decided to stay and celebrate their Eid in their workplace in their own away.
They have broken the conventions and traditions by buying beef and meat as a sign of celebrating Eid. They are convinced that celebrating Eid is optional, not an obligation. This is why they have revolted against these old, baseless traditions that force families to make a mountain out of a molehill about the celebration.
Several people talked to Morocco World News about the meaning of Eid, its significance in their lives and its importance and value in social life. It is normal that some have insisted that it must be celebrated, while others have shrugged their shoulders over it and add that donating and helping the poor are the real signs of the celebration.
“For me, Eid Al Adha is not about buying a fat ram, slaughtering it and spending Eid days eating and devouring. Eid is more about doing something for our families, socializing, visiting parents, taking care of the poor and above all obeying Allah and our Prophet,” Adil Ghanimi, a Math teacher in Sidi Ifni, told MWN.
“Plus, I am not even traveling to my home city, Casablanca. I want to, but I don’t have enough time. I am going to call my family, wish them well, and that’s all. The distance is long, and six days isn’t enough for me. What I am going to do is buy some meat today and do barbecue on the day of El Eid. I am happy this way,” he added.
“I insist on buying a ram for Eid Al Adha, espcially if you have children. Our children must enjoy the celebration. We must socialize with people on the day of Eid, visit our relatives, get together for our meals, and follow our prophet’s teachings even if the celebration is not an obligation. Allah wants us to celebrate his blessings no matter how little,” a father of three from Agadir told MWN.
“Even the poor can afford small rams. They can get help from the rich and buy rams to equally celebrate and enjoy their Eid. The Feast of Sacrifice goes bland if there is no ram. Buying meat is not like slaughtering a ram. We must do the slaughtering to fully observe this Islamic ritual, “he added.
The Feast of Sacrifice, some clerics underscore, is not about how fat rams are or how much meat we eat. It is rather about how generous we are to the poor and how understanding of their living conditions we are, particularly during this holy celebration.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy
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Last update: August 8 , 2019