Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Eid Ul Adha : The unabridged story of a dream

A short biblical story of a man who was commanded by god in his dreams

It is that time of the year, when about 30% of the population in my country is in full joy, celebration and forgiveness. Most of the streets in northern part of Skopje, soaked with the blood of hoofed 4 legged animals, are filled with men walking side by side with their sons, going house to house in celebration. I have always wondered why instead of sacrificing animals in public display, one cannot just simply buy meat? Hence, this conscious tension led me to do a little research into the story of how Eid Ul Adha (or as it is known here as Bajram) came to be.

Please be warned however! Although I have numbed down the violence in the story to the best possible effect as to not lose context, I would still rate it as PG 18. Anyway, it all started out 4-5 millennia ago (before man invented todays modern religions) in a place called Canaan (somewhere in modern-day Israel).

A self-declared religious guy called Abraham (originally Abram in Hebrew or Ibrahim in Arabic), after a full days work in the desert decided to call it a night. Although he had a mild headache from all the desert sun reflecting off his head, little did he (or anyone for that matter back then) know that overexposure to the high heat and UV factor of the sun could mess up cognitive abilities. Nonetheless, he crept under the sheets with one of his wives and fell fast asleep.

All of a sudden, in his sleep, the man heard a voice calling out to him: 'Abraham!'. Lowe and behold, it was god himself speaking to Abraham in his dreams.

'What the....', thought Abraham.

'Here am I' said god sounding like Yoda from Star Wars. 'Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I shall tell you.' (Genesis 22:1-2, R.S.V.)

Abraham was confused at first since his only son for 13 years was called Ismael! But since god works in mysterious ways ( I mean wtf he can beam thoughts into the guys head whilest he's asleep)

But being a deeply obedient believer and loving of his god, he decided to obey the request, beamed into his head through his dream. So, he got up and went to his friends to explain what god had commanded him to do. Curiously enough Abraham's friends didn't have any objections as to what he was about to do. In fact they supported his exemplary devotion to the god which spoke to him in his dream. However, he had one more person to convince. His 13 year old son Ismael, who was chosen by god to take one for the team! I mean, he couldn't just drag the kid to a mountain and cut open his throat just like that. He had to at least explain to him why first!

Abraham immediately went to Ismael and explained to him his dream about slaughtering him. Surprisingly enough Ismael was thrilled at this idea. In fact, he was so cock-a-hoop about it that he couldn't wait for his dad to get on with it!!! So, off they went, blissfully rejoicing at the fact that they will be carrying out the good gods will.

At the sacrificial stone, Abraham pulled out his knife (which he had prepared earlier for the solemn occasion), whilst his Ismael made himself comfortable on the slab of stone. In no time at all, Abraham was cheerfully at his son's throat, eyes closed, cutting like there's no tomorrow! At that point, he opened his eyes to check on his progress and to his dismay, he witnessed the most unbelievable thing! God had pulled a Houdini on Abraham. He had replaced his son Ismael with a lamb! The good god's intentions had only been to test Abraham's faith in him. Indeed, Abraham passed the test with flying colors. Ismael was kind of relieved to hear this. And so, both father and son

They lived happily ever after (the old fart lived to be over 170 years old apparently).

The End!

Moral of the story:

I am not really sure about this one, but apparently this is story is why the celebrations on Eid Ul Adha are about. Of course since several millennia passed from that time, there have been a little additions and instructions appended to it, as to what to do with the meat of the poor creature being slaughtered etc. But nevertheless that is the story in a nutshell.

Millions of people follow this demented ritual every year in the name of a god who somehow feels pleased every time a hoofed 4 legged animal gets decapitated.

I hope this has been an interesting and informative read.

Until next time!