Malaysians enjoy Feast of the Sacrifice

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Haji Hassan Che Kob, 64, the chairman of the Jami’Ilhuda Kampung Melayu Ampang mosque. (AN photo by Fadza Ishak)
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Norchahaya Hashim, 60, a retired government servant. (AN photo by Fadza Ishak)
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Malaysian children look at cows due to be slaughtered during the Eid Al-Adha festival in Kuala Lumpur on August 11, 2019. (AFP)
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Updated 12 August 2019

Malaysians enjoy Feast of the Sacrifice

  • Animal sacrifice is an important activity for many local Muslim communities in Malaysia during the Hajj celebration

KUALA LUMPUR: In a country where about 60 percent of the population are Muslims, the Feast of the Sacrifice day holds a significant meaning for the community in Malaysia.

The mosque takes center stage as locals perform their ritual sacrifice and gather for special prayers.

One example is the Mosque of Jami’Ilhuda Kampung Melayu Ampang, situated in one of the few Malay enclaves in the capital city. At dawn on Sunday, hundreds of Muslims flock to the mosque for a special morning prayer.

The majority of the residents are Malay-Muslims, however there are pockets of Indian-Muslims community as well as refugee and migrant Muslims.

“We do the ritual sacrifice for the Hajj celebration every year,” said Hajji Hassan Che Kob, 64, the chairman of the mosque.

“This year we have 23 cows and one sheep to be slaughtered.”

He told Arab News that the cows are purchased by the local community for the Feast of Sacrifice. “We are selective about the vendors, we only choose the best-quality cows (that are) large-built and affordable.”

“The real meaning of sacrifice is a sacrifice of ourselves, our time and our material wealth for Allah,” Hajji Hassan said. Weeks before the Hajj celebration, the mosque announces the purchasing of cows to residents.

The cost of each cow is usually shared by a maximum of seven people, referred to as ‘the participants.”

“This is part of the Islamic virtue,” said Norchahaya Hashim, 60, a retired government servant. Every year she buys a cow and donates it to the mosque for sacrifice. This year was no different. “This is to emulate the virtual acts of Prophet Ibrahim and Prophet Ismail,” Norchahaya said.

“I always encourage our friends and family to purchase a cow for sacrifice during the Hajj celebration. We would usually put aside some money every month to afford it,” she said.

Animal sacrifice is an important activity for many local Muslim communities in Malaysia during the Hajj celebration. It is also a spectacle; curious young children and local people watch the ritual sacrifice take place at the compound next to the mosque.

In less than half an hour, all 23 cows and one sheep were slaughtered, and the meat was divided into smaller chunks for the participants, the mosque staff, the poor and nearby residents.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the mosque, staff were busy cooking and chopping meat and vegetables at the makeshift kitchen. The food was served for the local community as part of the celebration for the feast.

“The sacrifice meat is fresh and tastier, the mosque staff would usually make soups and curries out of the meat chunks,” said Norchahaya, who, as one of the participants, was given 2 kg of meat. “Many residents will come here throughout the day and night for the Feast of Sacrifice because of the community atmosphere.”


Somalia struggles after worst flooding in recent history

Updated 14 November 2019

Somalia struggles after worst flooding in recent history

  • At least 10 people went missing when their boat capsized after the Shabelle river burst its banks
  • More than 250,000 people across Somalia were displaced by the recent severe flooding
MOGADISHU, Somalia: Ahmed Sabrie woke up to find his house half-submerged in fast-rising flood waters.

Frightened and confused, he herded his sleepy family members onto the roof of their home in central Somalia as scores of thousands of people in the town, Beledweyne, scrambled for their lives. Clinging to an electric power pylon by the edge of their roof, the family watched as their possessions were washed away.

“I could hear people, perhaps my neighbors, screaming for help but I could only fight for the survival of my family,” the 38-year-old Sabrie, the father of four, recalled.

As one of his children, unfed, wailed the family waited for more than 10 hours before a passing rescue boat spotted them.

Authorities have not yet said how many people died in the Somalia flooding last month, the country’s worst in recent history and the latest reminder that the Horn of Africa nation must prepare for the extremes expected to come with a changing climate.

At least 10 people went missing when their boat capsized after the Shabelle river burst its banks. Local officials have said at least 22 people in all are presumed dead and that toll could rise.

“This is a catastrophic situation,” Mayor Safiyo Sheikh Ali said. President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, who visited the town and waded through submerged areas, called the devastation “beyond our capacity” and pleaded for more help from aid groups.

With no proper emergency response plan for natural disasters, local rescuers used rickety wooden dhows to reach trapped people while helicopters provided by the United Nations plucked people from rooftops. African Union and Somali forces have joined the rescue operations and the Somali government airlifted food.

“Many people are still trapped in their submerged houses and we have no capacity and enough equipment to cover all areas,” said Abdirashakur Ahmed, a local official helping to coordinate rescue operations. Hundreds are thought to still be stuck.

With more heavy rains and flash flooding expected, officials warned thousands of displaced people against returning too quickly to their homes.

More than 250,000 people across Somalia were displaced by the recent severe flooding, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council.

Beledweyne town was the worst affected. Several thousand people were sheltering under trees or in tents.

“Floods have destroyed more than three-quarters of Beledweyne and submerged many surrounding villages,” said Victor Moses, the NRC’s country director.

Aid groups said farms, infrastructure and roads in some areas were destroyed. The destruction of farmland near rivers is expected to contribute to a hunger crisis.

The possibility of further damage from heavy rains in the coming days remains a concern, according to the International Organization for Migration.

Parts of the Lower Juba, Gedo and Bay regions, where IOM has supported displaced populations for years, have been affected. Many displaced people were stranded without food, latrines or shelter.

“In Baidoa, people have moved to high ground where they are in immediate need of support,” said Nasir Arush, the minister for humanitarian and disaster management for South West State.

Survivors like Sabrie now must struggle to rebuild their lives.

“We’re alive, which I am thankful to Allah for, but this flood disaster wreaked havoc on both our livelihoods and households so I see a tough road ahead of us,” he said from a makeshift shelter built on higher ground outside town.