On the one hand, the novel Coronavirus (nCoV, which is a new strain, previously unidentified in the human body, causing fatal respiratory syndromes) is rising. On the other hand, the second largest festival of Muslims around the world is going on. As a matter of fact, the whole scientific faculty and religious institutions are praying for a miracle to happen which seems to be in future a little farther than we expect and we can only do better if patient.
So, in the mood of festivity, we are at a higher risk of making a gathering and littering the roads, which at any cost must be avoided, keeping in mind the past five months of trouble humankind has been put through. A little addition of sanity to the festive mood would do better for this time and every other time to come. Colleges, restaurants, factories, shops and even big industries are locked under the fear of the novel Coronavirus. Millions of people all over the world have lost their jobs, lost their homes, lost their mind, lost their patience and a lot more things to be stated.
As Bakra-Eid or Eid-UL-Azha is going on, the challenge of sacrificing a suitable sacrificial animal, especially a goat or ‘Bakr’ (in Urdu) is getting tough with the passing of days. The struggle is real because somewhere we failed to understand the seriousness of this contagious respiratory illness which continues to spread worldwide after taking proper measures. In her detailed article on the pandemic, the famous novelist and activist Arundhati Roy said, “The virus has moved freely along the pathways of trade and international capital, and the terrible illness it has brought in its wake has locked humans down in their countries, their cities, their homes.” It is quite clear the population of the world especially the powerful ones are helpless.
Millions of practising Muslims of the world celebrate the festival of sacrifice; Bakra-Eid commemorates the story of Prophet Ibrahim and his devotion to Allah. It has a historical and cultural significance where Allah asked Ibrahim to sacrifice the nearest one in his life and Ibrahim decided to sacrifice his dearest son Ismail. Though his love for Ismail was not questionable, the faith and love towards Allah were more than that of Ismail’s. He closed his eyes and put the sharp knife on the neck of Ismail to cut the neck of his son with his own hands. He opened his eyes and could not believe that Ismail was standing healthy in front of his eyes; a lamb was lying there in place of his son. Since then, as a symbol of Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son to Allah, Muslims all over the world sacrifice goats/sheep/camels and so on.
According to cultural facts and faith, the sacrificial meat has to be divided into three parts equally. One third is kept for themselves, one third is given away to relatives and well-wishers and the final one third is given to the poor and needy. As Allah says in the Qur’an, “It is not their meat, nor their blood, that reaches god. It is their piety that reaches.” It can be controversial in the present world of a pandemic in terms of hygiene grounds, but it can be seen throughout the world that besides this sacrifice and slaughter, people maintain proper hygiene. If we take the example of Egypt, Cairo’s government officials are working to avoid sacrifice on the streets, fearing the spread of different diseases through the discarded parts meat itself.
According to an article dated back on 16th August 2018 in the Khaleej Times. In the UAE, on the occasion of Eid-UL-Azha, 5000 Dirhams fine has been imposed for slaughtering animals in homes and makeshift places. Authorities across the whole country have urged people to slaughter sacrificial animals at accredited public abattoirs only and tailor-made iceboxes will also be provided by the slaughterhouses of Abu Dhabhi to keep meat and also avoid it going bad due to heat exposure during the transit process.
With the current Coronavirus pandemic situation in the world, the days are getting tougher for Muslims of the world as they have to deal with faith and pandemic hand in hand. Although, government officials of the world joined hands to tackle the serious issue of the Coronavirus. They also provided certain guidelines and rules in order to maintain proper social distancing and hygiene. The risk is quite high in the South-Asian countries like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Especially when the Population is affected badly by the virus in these countries; India is on number third in Coronavirus with around 17.5 lakh cases, followed by Pakistan is on number thirteen with around 2.8 lakh cases and Bangladesh is on number sixteen with around 2.3 lakh cases. In this emergency kind of a situation, as we are celebrating Bakra-Eid and in this time of crisis, people who come from lower strata suffer a lot.
Goat markets are popularly known as ‘Mandi’ in cultural language have been deserted because of the Coronavirus. Due to lockdown and with all necessary restrictions in various states, animal traders also suffered a huge loss.
First and foremost, we are the result of billions of years of the evolutionary process. And this global crisis is challenging the present generation on various levels like the healthcare system has been collapsed in the hands of coronavirus, the economy is dying with the passing of time, the discourse of observing a culture is changing almost every week with a new festival celebration, and the present political scenario has been shaped differently.
As Yuval Noah rightly said in his article, “Humanity needs to make a choice. Will we travel down the route of disunity, or will we adopt the path of global solidarity? If we choose disunity, this will not only prolong the crisis but will probably result in even worse catastrophes the future. If we choose global solidarity, it will be a victory not only against the Coronavirus but against all future epidemics and crises that might assail humankind in the 21st century,” here man should self introspect the current situation in a positive way.
We need to cut the amount of hate we are injecting in each other’s veins, we need to stop the blame game, especially religious minorities for every second thing, we need to trust science and its warnings, and we need to aware the people with all kinds of information and facts about the Coronavirus pandemic. May this festive zeal clear the chaotic air, may Allah accept our sacrifices and may peace prevail over the world.
(Views expressed above are strictly personal of the author)
Mohammad Anas is a research scholar of English Literature at Aligarh Muslim University. He loves reading and reciting Urdu poetry in his free time. He also admires the canon of English Literature, Mr Shakespeare to the core of his heart. He also loves travelling and meeting random people to record their travel experience. He can be reached at email@example.com