Slaughter in the Streets

I know this is late, but I’ve been really busy and traveled during Eid.  I used to complain years ago about how difficult it is to slaughter  islamically in America.  Which is one reason most people send money overseas instead.  Every year dh would slaughter a lamb in Egypt.  You can literally buy one in the streets of Cairo. We had a stall right outside of our apartment where they were housed and sold.

Of course dh would drive out into the country to get the biggest, ‘cleanest’ animal he could find.  Last year I missed most of Eid day traveling.  Once I was home most people had done with their slaughtering.  I had planned to take pics, but all I got was the blood in the streets, lol!

While I appreciate how easy it is to slaughter in Egypt,I did have some reservations about it being done in such a metropolitan area.  I mean, people literally do it in the streets.  All day you are walking around blood puddles, tails, etc.

My kids have seen slaughtering since they were small.  They’ve never had a problem with it.  LOL, dh usually lets them make friends with the animal.  Two years back, my youngest then 6yrs, rode on the back of the animal, later while we were packaging the meat, dh asked her, “aren’t you sad about the lamb being slaughtered.”  She said, ‘well yes, but I still want to eat it!’  In fact it has kind of been the highlight of the Eid.  It can be kind of graphic, particularly when a cow or a camel is slaughtered.  I’ve only heard about the camels, but we’ve seen several cows slaughtered.  It can be an overwhelming sight, even for adults, but the kids handled it well.  There are usually about 6 or 7 men, who literally jump on the cow, to get it down on the ground.  Then someone comes in with a knife and slashes as the neck.  Then everyone scatters.  Sometimes the cow gets up again.  If the cut was good, it will lay there, but kick, while buckets of blood pour from the vein in the neck.  It can kick for several minutes after its apparently gone.  After its still, they hook up a  water hose to it’s insides and empty it of waste (gross, I know) and then they removed the insides and skin it pretty quickly.  Finally the animal is applied to a hook and cut into pieces.

Just because it’s done in a muslim country does not mean that the rules of slaughter are always followed.  A sharp knife should be used to dispatch the sacrifice as soon as possible.  The knife should not be displayed or sharpened in front of the animal.  Animals should not be slaughtered in front of each other.  Of course they should not be mistreated.  All of this is in hadith, but I’m too lazy to search for them right now, maybe later I can post them.  In a poor country people don’t always keep the welfare of the animal in mind.  Many times the slaughter is done in plain sight of other animals.  I actually saw one poor sheep escape and take off down the street twice.  He knew his fate!  Here are some pics of the slaughter in Egypt.  I got them from a website in Australia dedicated to the welfare of animals.  Unfortunately, their purpose was to show how inhumane slaughtering is.  It really depends on who is doing it.  I believe slaughtering Islamically is very humane.

As you can see, any and every means is used to transport the animal, including the trunks of cars.

Finally, here is a pic of our animal this year, done in a slaughterhouse, by another muslim brother, since dh was just too busy with work.  Ah, that’s life.

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Tale of two Ramadans

I keep thinking about it, trying to analyze my feelings and figure out why this past Ramadan was literally the best I’ve experienced in 4 years (ie, since we left America).  The only thing I can figure is, the sense of not having any ‘place’ in Egyptian society really effected me more than I realized.  Despite being a minority, in religion as well as race in America, I can’t help but feel that I  belong here.  As much ease as I felt in regard to my kids and their Islamic upbringing, in Egypt thoughts of the future stretched out into a really bleak, lonely horizon.  We did make friends, but for the most part, they kept their ties with their countries, and would travel back and forth. 

Usually in Egypt, dh would go out to the masjid alone.  The closer neighborhood ones were usually small, with no space for women.  The larger masajid did have a space for women, and many Egyptian women do attend the prayers, especially in Ramadan.  But, if we all wanted to go, that usually meant a taxi, or a hike.  Not something I was interested in after fasting all day.  So the kids and I usually stayed home. 

This Ramadan, the masjid is right around the corner, literally walking distance.  I went to tarawih probably about 18-20 nights out of the month.  We didn’t socialize much, probably 3 iftars total (not counting the ones at the masjid), but that was more than in Egypt.  Almost every night I saw someone I knew at the masjid.  At a masjid not far from my house one of the Qaris during taraweeh was a boy man I knew as a preteen, all grown-up, married  and leading the prayer (btw, I’m not that old, I was about 19 when I used to know him).  At the same masjid, there is iftar dinner every night, I remember attending half of the month when I was pregnant with my first kid.  I have a history here.  It’s hard to completely leave that behind. 

Of course it is also a heck of a lot easier shopping, cleaning, even cooking here.  I still remember walking up those 5 flights of stairs, carrying my grocery bags (which I had walked home with).  Contrast that with walking right outside my door, stepping into my car and driving to the store.

We’ve discussed ways in which we might move again overseas, and for the most part I’ve rejected the idea of going back to Egypt.  To tell the truth, I’m not sure if I’d feel at home in any other country, but the life *might* be easier.  Dh did receive a job offer (for not much money) in another country, but he’s not excited about it.  We’ll just have to wait and see what Allah has planned for us.