Balance fun with safety on Eid

Published June 15, 2024
Illustration by Sumbul
Illustration by Sumbul

Once again, it is that time of the year when goats, sheep, bulls and camels mark their presence in each neighbourhood of the country. People prepare for the sacrifices they will be offering on Eidul Azha with a lot of zeal.

Youngsters are the most enthusiastic lot in this, and rightly so. Firstly, as a coincidence, it is their summer break and, secondly, their fondness for animals is unquestionable. After all, at which other time of the year would they get a chance to spend so much time and be in such close proximity with animals?

But it is peak summer and the temperature is crossing record highs this year. Thus, adopting a reasonable approach regarding Eid preparations and activities, in particular those related to the animals and their slaughter, is essential.

In the following paragraphs, let us look at some aspects that should be kept in mind throughout the Eid holidays in order to enjoy it fully without facing any hardships.

Maintain personal hygiene

Taking care of hygiene is one of the most important and, unfortunately, one of the most ignored aspects during Eid. In each household, not just children, but adults too offer sacrificial animals company for long hours. People feed, touch and caress the animals and, sometimes, they even forget to wash their hands later on and proceed to have meals with dirty hands.

Being around sacrificial animals also lead to shoes and clothes becoming dirty not just with dust, but animal filth too, and people, particularly children, go inside the house without washing or taking off those shoes. So germs and filth enter the house, leading to spread of diseases. Therefore, it is important that washing hands thoroughly with soap should be a must-do activity after coming home from outside and before having anything to eat. And kids, remember not to put fingers in your mouth or touch your face with the unwashed hands that had touched the animals.

You must keep separate shoes to wear outside where the animals are tied, and keep a pair at the entrance of the house that you can change into once you enter the house. Better still, if there is a water tap just outside the house, wash your feet and shoes/slippers before coming in.

Lastly, always change your clothes once you are done with everything, especially before going to bed. Taking a shower before doing this is highly recommended.

Remember the precautions we were all taking during peak Covid-19 pandemic? It’s time to become particular about hygiene now in the same way to minimise the spread of germs.

Don’t trust animals blindly

It is common to see children holding the ropes of goats and sheep, and some youngsters even show overconfidence in handling the reins of bulls and camels. Remember, you can’t trust animals, since they can be distracted and can act out of their natural instincts unexpectedly, which could lead to potential harm or injury if proper caution isn’t exercised.

Unfortuna­tely, each Eid, we come across many incidents of animals, especially the cows, bulls and camels, getting out of control and harming their handlers and the general public. All of us should be vigilant while handling the animals.

Firstly, children should try to have an adult around when being near sacrificial animals, especially those with horns. Secondly, one should never get too close to bulls, cows and camels; they can cause injuries with their heads and legs.

Thirdly, whoever is holding the reins of big animals should maintain a distance from the animals. The rope also shouldn’t get wrapped multiple times around one’s hand so that, in case the animal gets out of control and starts to run, its handler would be able to let go off the rope and not be dragged by the uncontrollable animal.

Lastly, when the slaughtering is taking place, everyone gets excited and gets close to witness everything, but you must keep a safe distance. There are many chances of the animal giving a fight and getting out of control, leading to injuries to people standing close by.

Illustration by Faraz Ahmed
Illustration by Faraz Ahmed

Be compassionate towards animals

Children often request their parents to bring home the animals a few days before Eid so that they can take care, play and have fun activities with those animals. But, unfortunately, not all kids are caring and loving, they tease and leave their animal under the open sky without any food and water for long hours.

Make sure that the rope the animal is tied to is not short, so that it is not difficult for them to move about or sit. Also avoid pulling their ropes aggressively or trying to ride on them. These animals have been bought for a noble cause and need to be treated with care and gentleness.

I would recommend to bring home the animals only when you think you are ready to take care of them or else buy them a couple of days before Eid, since it is easier to care for these animals for a short while. Bringing them a night before the day of Eid is also a good option. Also, one should remember that Eid is falling in summer and that animals also feel the severity of the weather, just like we do. It is important that we arrange for a shade for them and give them food and water frequently.

Children shouldn’t witness the act of slaughtering

Slaughtering involves a sharp knife running across the neck of an animal, animal moans and a large quantity of blood being spilled. Therefore, very young children shouldn’t witness such scene, since it has a negative impact on their still developing sensitive minds. Therefore, it is the duty of parents and elders to ensure that slaughtering of the animal is done away from the sight of children.

Listen to your appetite

During the days of Eid, it is really common for people to eat more than what they normally do, and this can sometimes even land them in the hospital! Therefore, while there are plenty of dishes at each meal time, and an abundance of meat, overeating should be avoided. Also, having a glass of cold drink with a meaty meal might be a reasonable option but, once again, drinking too many carbonated drinks should also be avoided.

These etiquettes will go a long way in helping us enjoy all the three days of Eid, instead of getting sick due to indigestion soon after the first meal.

Say a big ‘no’ to showing off

It is very common for children, and even elders, to boast about the number and the price of the animals they slaughter. And they do this in front of their friends, colleagues, neighbours and even their maids and servants. This not only puts the reward they would be getting from Allah at stake, but it also hurts the feelings of those who cannot afford to buy a sacrificial animal. So, it is really important to understand that having the capacity to afford an expensive animal, or more than one animal, for slaughter, or even having the money to offer a sacrifice, is a blessing from Allah.

When one thinks of it that way, he will be sure to share the sacrificial meat with his friends, neighbours, relatives and the poor. That, in the true sense, is required from this festival.

In a nutshell, Eid is a festival that we all should enjoy, but without compromising on the duties and necessities of this occasion. It should not be an adventure where taking all sorts of risks is allowed. Adopt a balanced and rational approach, take good care of yourselves and your families, attend to the needs of the animals and always remember to include the poor members of society in your celebrations.

Have a happy and safe Eid!

Published in Dawn, Young World, June 15th, 2024

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