Today, Muslims worldwide celebrate Eid al Adha, the Celebration of the Sacrifice, commemorating Abraham’s (yes, that Abraham) sacrifice (yes, that sacrifice) and marking the end of Hajj for the many millions who were fortunate enough to attend this year.
Eid al Adha is the major holiday in Islam, sort of akin to Christmas, but somewhat more somber and without all the decoration. It lasts for four days, during which we worship, sacrifice a sheep, goat, cow, or something, feast and feed neighbors and those less fortunate than us. This is my fourth year to celebrate, and while I’m still not really used to the changed and changing holiday schedule or the customs, InshaAllah I’m getting the worship part down…
May God accept our sacrifice and our other acts of remembrance, and may He bless us all in the coming year.
Back in 2013, my first Eid al Adha, Hana and I had been married for all of 6 weeks and I really had no idea what was going on. Hana and I put our names down via Amma for some goat meat from Texas King, and we spent the morning going house to house, probably eating too much. After, we went back home and just relaxed.
Or, that’s as much as Hana or I can recall…
Two years ago, some brothers got together, bought 100 or so goats at auction, found a small farm in south Irving that could accommodate the goats and a bunch of Muslim brothers. After the Eid worship service we piled into cars, went down there, stood around for awhile, and then one by one took our goats deep into the woods, patted them on the head, thanked them, laid them on their sides, and with a “Bismillah” and very sharp knife, slit their throats in a very particular manner to drain the blood properly, as God instructed us to do. Some helpful gentlemen were on hand to skin & gut the carcasses for us, and then a couple of brothers and I took our meat to a local butcher, who cut and bagged it up for us.
I took an old, expired single use film camera with me. The film in it was one of the first rolls I developed myself, and I made a rather large blunder: I didn’t fill the tank all the way, and so only the bottom half of the roll was submerged in developer-the top half got sloshed at every inversion, and maybe got some fume-development (if that’s possible). I originally processed these in Lightroom and shared a few in January 2015 to illustrate errors in film processing…. In preparation for this post, I re-scanned and re-processed the roll to see if I could eek out a bit more, and I did, sorta, but again, the best results really come only by converting to black & white.
Luckily, I also had the phone with me, and took a few a/b shots so you can see what the iPhone 5 made of similar scenes.
Last year, I fooled around and waited till the last minute. Amma got me in on a list at her cousin’s son’s wife’s cousin’s husband’s farm down in Sanger and after the prayer, I went with my father in law (Abba) and brother in law (Fami) and a neighbor (“the 99¢ store guy” whose name escapes me, may God forgive me) to the farm, expecting to have a similar experience.
Alas, there was a much larger crowd, there were no helpers on hand, and the four of us stood around for a couple of hours and then went home. (Fami returned the next day, sacrificed goats for all of us, skinned and gutted them himself, carved them himself, and delivered the meat to us, after sacrificing a cow up near Dennison or someplace: May God bless him for that!)
I took the Ricoh 35 ZF and the LC-A along and got a couple of nice pictures, but the LC-A had a screw loose (literally) and wasn’t winding properly, so I had a bunch of 3/4 frame overlaps, and the Ricoh was in its light leak phase. Plus, and this is the most important, I feel like I didn’t sacrifice much and didn’t really take do it right.
This year, I just got on a list at Texas King. InshaAllah they’ll sacrifice a cow and package up 1/7 of it for me and call me to come pick up the meat tomorrow or Wednesday. Today, we’re celebrating with the neighbors, going house to house and InshaAllah not eating too much. I have cameras on me and may share some pictures, or maybe not. Maybe I’ll wait till next year or the year after… or maybe I won’t shoot much of anything at all: After all, Eid al Adha is a day (days, actually) to celebrate and give thanks for the blessings God has bestowed upon us, and it’s meant to be a remembrance of Abraham and his sacrifice.
If you’re sacrificing or feasting today, may God bless you and accept your sacrifice on this blessed day, Amen! And if this is the first you’re hearing of Eid al Adha, come on out and join us! We don’t sacrifice in the backyard, so the squeamish don’t need to worry: we just eat and enjoy fellowship and remember our father Abraham. And if you’re never seen where meat comes from, if you’ve never hand-slaughtered your own dinner, try it sometime: I cried a bit when the friendly little goat died and each bite of it in curries and roast dinners was a clear reminder of sacrifice, blessing, mercy, and the wonders of God.