Outsourcing Qurbani

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A new concept in the centuries old Islamic practice of offering sacrifice of animals on Eid-Ul-Azha is gaining popularity in Kashmir. S Ikhlaq A Qadri reports.

Muslims throughout the world offer sacrifices of animals on Eid-ul-Azha in continuation of the Abrahimic tradition.

The popular practice is to sacrifice sheep or cattle and divide the meat into three equal parts: Two to be distributed among neighbours and relatives and the third to be kept for self.

From last few years the way of performing Qurbani is changing as some outsource it. The practice is hugely followed in Saudi Arabia during Hajj as the number of people performing the sacrifice is so huge that the meat can’t be managed.

This is also practiced in some other parts of India like Uttar Pradesh.

In Kashmir various religious institutions like Darul Aloom Bilaliya Lalbazar, Darul Aloom Sopore and Darul Aloom Raheemiya Bandipora are carrying out this job for those who can’t do it themselves for various reasons. These institutions fix the amount keeping in view the cost of the animal and other related expenditures.

In Srinagar city Darul Aloom Bilaliya, Lalbazar have been doing collective Qurbani (sacrifice) for the last eight years. They say the people’s response has been “overwhelming” and number of people opting for Qurbani in such a way is increasing with each passing year.  This year Bilaliya has fixed Rs 4000 for Qurbani of a Sheep/ goat and Rs 1500 for cattle. A sheep or a goat can be sacrificed by one person only while seven can share a cattle.

The animals are purchased from villages. This year around 160 cattle and 120 sheep/ goats were sacrificed on behalf of people in Darul Aloom Bilaliya. Around 1240 people performed Qurbani through Bilaliya this year.

“This is for the people who can’t do Qurbani in their home,” said Molvi Muhammad Aslam of Darul Aloom Bilaliya, “But we maintain that best way is to do it at personal level. This is done in order to save a person who qualifies for Qurbani from sin of not performing it.”

Syed Muzaffar, who did Qurbani this way for the first time is having all praises for the new system.

“I was busy in office, couldn’t get time earlier to purchase sheep, later on when I went to market, I found nothing worth buying. I was very tense, than a friend of mine told me about this way of performing Qurbani, I felt blessed. Deposited money and also participated in Qurbani there.”

Muzaffar says, he will continue the practice.

Those who choose to participate in the process of Qurbani are called and they can take home their share of the meat, says an office bearer at Bilaliya. There are people who only deposit money and don’t come after that, he adds.  The institute performs most of the Qurbani in far flung areas like Doda, Banihaal, Kishtawar, Ganderbal, Tral and the meat is distributed there only and mostly among the poor.

Talking about benefits of this procedure, Aslam said, “It is good for people who are not able to distribute, who can’t get the animal or the one who is in travel.”

“Besides”, he added, “in some cases there are seven people in family who want to sacrifice a bull, but are not able to get that, they can come to us and we arrange it for them.”

The people who resort to this practice of outsourcing are contended and feel happy the way it is carried.
Since I found this way of performing Qurbani, I found this as satisfactory and convenient,” said Manzoor Ahmad of Lalbazar, who chose to do the sacrifice through Bilaliya.

The oldest Darul Aloom of valley, Darul Aloom Sopore, also follows the practice of outsourced Qurbani. This year around 700 people performed Qurbani through the institute.

“Though we have been doing this (collective or outsourced Qurbani) for years, it has gained popularity among masses more recently,” said Maulvi Bashir Ahmad, who heads the seminary.

“We distribute the meat mostly among the poor,” he added. Talking about the benefits of outsourcing he said, “This is good way for the families who cannot afford the whole animal.”

The practice is also followed at Darul Aloom Rahamiya.

People seem to be taking to the idea of outsourced Qurbani.

“I was perturbed what to do and how to distribute the meat. There are so many considerations which deviate from the real concept of sacrifice,” said Javid Ahmad, an engineer by profession. “This way I at least can save myself from so many avoidable social, should I say evils, associated with the distribution of sacrificial meat,” added Javid. Many people in Kashmir use the occasion to flaunt their affluence.

“I was shocked to see  whole sheep hanging in the home of one of my relatives on Eid, when I enquired, they told me that it has been sent by their son’s in-laws,” said Dr. Aijaz Ahmad, who believes that by outsourcing Qurbani the Bidaat (ills) creeping into the distribution of meat may be kept at bay. Another man sitting besides Dr. Aijaz disagreed, terming it as an excuse to escape from religious responsibility.

“Tomorrow we will outsource every religious obligation under the ruse that we are not able to do justice with it or that bidaat may creep in.”

The Muslim theologians and the teachers at Darul Aloom’s maintained that “best way of Qurbani is to do at personal level at home.”

About Author

A journalist with seven years of working experience in Kashmir.

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