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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The Ugly American?

We took a walk the other day to a new park, one recommended by a sister who lives close-by.  It was just fives minutes away, and we were the only people there, at first.  On our way home, a man watching from the adjoining apartment complex, first stared, then asked, “What, are you guys in a gang or something?”  The question was so ridiculous to me, that I just ignored him.  There was a change in his demeanor at once.  “Well you look damn stupid.  Don’t bring your a** around here again, or I’ll kick your a**.”  Of course I ignored him and concentrated on getting my kids out of there, all the while they are asking questions.  Such as, “Mom, why is that man saying that?”  I tried to explain the best I could, while they insulted the man and said what their dad would do to him if he were there. 

I thought about it later and considered it odd the man never once insulted Islam or muslims directly.  For all I know he had no idea we were muslims.  It could be his question was serious and he really wanted to know why we were dressed as we were.  Perhaps his anger came from feeling foolish that I ignored him.  Allahu alim, maybe I missed a teaching opportunity.   I’ll have to be more careful in the future about dismissing questions I think are stupid.  Dh put the burden on me and said I never should have been walking in this area (slightly rednecky).

I seem to generate more comments than previous years.  While in a restroom in Walmart an older woman came and stood in front of me, just looking.  I thought maybe she wanted something behind me, but then she started speaking; “You know, a person can’t tell if you are a man or a woman under all that.”  Me, looking at her blankly.  She went on, “You could have a bomb or a gun under those clothes.”  At this point, I interjected that anyone could carry a gun, even she.  She might have one in her handbag.  “I don’t have a gun, “she protested.  But you could have one, I argued.  She advised me to think about her comments.  I have, but not in the way she probably meant.

Travel tips

I am not really a seasoned traveler.  But I have picked up some things.  First, don’t worry if your bags are a little over the weight limit.  Most airlines won’t charge you for a pound or two.  And whatever you can’t fit in your checked luggage try to throw it into your carry-on.  I think typical allowance is up to 45lbs!  Sure, you’ll end up carrying it around, but you won’t have to pay extra.  I’ve even seen people carry more than two bags onto the plane, without any penalty.  They might just ask you to put one in plane-side check-in, but I don’t think you’ll have to pay.  Another thing not to worry about is those small connector planes.  You know, where the overhead luggage is too small to fit anything in?  They’ll just check it for you, and hand it back to you when you exit the plane. 

Use the bathroom in the beginning of the flight.  Especially for long international flights.  It starts looking like a pig sty after a while. 

Try and learn the terminology on your ticket.  It’ll let you know whether or not you get extra screening before you actually get in line. 

If you are traveling from Egypt, try and get a multiple reentry visa.  That’ll let you get back into Egypt without buying a temporary visa at the airport, and your current visa will be good till it expires.  It costs 61LE and you can get it in about 3hrs from Mugamma.

Once you get back in Egypt, there are travel companies offering rides from the airport, but they are extremely expensive.  I was told 57LE for about a 15min trip.  If you don’t mind walking out a bit you can find a black and white taxi (they are forbidden from waiting directly outside of the terminal).  You might want to negotiate terms first.  Even if it’s a short trip, drivers expect more if you are coming from the airport.

My last trip, a driver ran up to me, offering a ride.  I was leery at first, cause I didn’t see his taxi right away.  The last thing you should do, especially as a woman alone, is get in an unmarked car with some guy offering a ride.  Anyway, I asked him how much he wanted, and he waved the question off.  My mistake.  On the way out of the airport ( and Cairo airport is a city itself), he picked up an elderly couple.  They negotiated a rate of 20LE to Misr Jedida (Heliopolis).  I took note of this and when I got out, I handed the driver 20LE.  Misr Jedida is farther, no way was I gonna pay more for  a shorter ride.  He jumps out of the car, of course he wanted more, 40LE to be exact.  I said, NO WAY.  A crowd is forming now.  That’s what happens in any dispute here.  A bunch of people crowd around to mediate, or just to watch.  I complain that I never agreed to 40LE, and ask why are the Egyptians paying 20LE, he says ‘malish dawa’ (sp?), or none of your business, lol.  We finally agree on 30LE, which is not bad, considering with the travel companies you pay around 60LE.

I’ll add more stuff as I think of it, inshallah.

Taqaballahu Minna wa Minkum! (May Allah accept it from us and you)

ramadan

My guilty secret…

Few days ago, I decided to get a jumpstart on shopping, and purchase meat before prices are jacked up for Ramadan.  It seems like lots of Egyptian housewives had the same thought, cause there were lots of people at the butcher, buying lots of meat.  And they had raised the prices already.  Oh well. 

After getting the meat, I stopped into Metro for some fresh ginger, and you can only find fresh ginger at a few grocery chains in Cairo.  On the way to the check out, what did I see, but TWIZZLERS! 

twizzlers

I LOVE twizzlers!  I haven’t had any in about two years.  So never mind the price of about 13 Le, I bought a bag, and plus two chocolate bars.  So that’s about 20 LE’s just to satisfy my cravings.  Just to put it in perspective, I can buy fruit or veggies for a whole week for 20 LE’s.  Or a whole chicken.  Or pay the gas bill for three of four months.  Food is generally very affordable (except meat), as long as you stick to what is locally produced.  I don’t usually splurge on imported sweets/snacks.  I mean, who has 50LE’s ($10) to pay for a bag of Tostito nachos?  Or 45LE’s for chocolate chip cookies.  But alhamdulillah for the ability to have a lil taste once in a while.   

When it rains, it pours..

This is not about rain, there hasn’t been any in Cairo in a few months.  It’s about all of us (except dh) being sick as dogs from some sort of bug or food poisoning.  I lean towards that latter and believe the culprit was a meat pizza.  Try to imagine projectile vomiting by three kids, plus diarrhea, nausea, and fever and you’ll get an idea of the last three days.  Just when it seemed everyone was getting better, I got the chills, nausea, running to the bathroom.  Alhamdulillah, I feel somewhat better, after sleeping the WHOLE day and limiting my food to toast and tea.  Good thing, cause after a hiatus, the kids started vomiting AGAIN.  You can be sure it’ll be a loooong time before I order anything to eat from outside, inshallah. 

Assalaam alaikum, Alhamdulillah, Inshallah

I’ve heard a lot of people speak about how ‘unislamic’ muslim countries are.  Granted, there are many negatives, sometimes worse than what you’d experience in the States.  The positive is there however, for whoever wants to see it. 

 I remember reading an email of a transcribed lecture in which a shiekh was giving reasons for making hijrah.  One reason was the many ‘small’ benefits of being around others of your faith.  Just giving salaams is a small act of worship, and one you are much more likely to perform where most of the people around you are muslim.  It adds up.

Recently our phone was not working.  No idea why.  Asked the kids Arabic teacher to call ‘Central’, because even after more than a year of study, ‘ammiyah’ still sounds like jibberish to me.  I don’t know what she said, but very next day, we had someone at the apartment to fix the phone.  About an hour after the technician left we got a call: ‘Telephone yushagal (working)?’.  Me, ‘Na’am’.  Then, ‘Alhamdulillah, massalaama.’ 

Seems like such a small thing, but in what other environment would a telephone company employee thank God that your phone is working?  And wish you salaam before hanging up? 

Same experience with internet company.  DSL went out with no notice.  Dh calls the company.  The rep says, ‘We’re having some trouble but inshallah it’ll be fixed in an hour.’

I could dwell on the inconvenience of not having internet, but I’d rather remember that he said it would be on when God wills.  And it was.