It was nine years ago when I spent my first ‘Id in that valley here, the first ‘Id of my life. Subhanallah.
At that time I was Christian, I was a architecture student on professional formation. I was discovering Moroccan life and culture. I was a common western girl, open to everything new, with the ambitions of a seeker. And I was a vegetarian.
And you know, ‘Id el Adha is the feast of the sheep.
It is a celebration of God’s mercy upon mankind. It happens in memory of Prophet Abraham (as), who was called by Allah to sacrifice his dear son Ismail to prove his faith. And because of Allah’s mercy, Who then offered Abraham a sheep to kill instead, Muslims remember this day every year by praying, obeying to God and by slaughtering a sheep as well.
So it is one of the most important feast days for Muslims, it is a day of gathering together in worship and peace, it is celebrated with the slaughter of a sheep and by sharing and eating a lot of its meat – I mean really a LOT.
So in 2002, when I still was a Christian vegetarian with no idea about ‘Id, about peaceful animal killing and no interest in meat eating, all of this was very new and very uncommon to me.
But I was eager to learn. And this day should become a lesson of my life:
The obedience and deep faith of the Muslims who joined together in the early morning sunshine on the top of a hill, to pray and to serve God.
The brotherhood of the village’s men who met in front of the mosque to peacefully deal with problems and to organize the village’s year to come.
And especially the slaughtering of the sheep in the courtyard of the family’s farm was a lesson greater than everything else.
I’ve never thought that killing an animal could become a beautiful, silent act of worship, but indeed it was:
The peacefulness of the whole atmosphere.
The quiet obedience of the sheep to offer himself in the name of God, the Almighty.
The soft “Allahu akbar” said before the very sharp knife cuts through the windpipe to take immediately every life out of the animal.
The silent running of the red warm blood out of the sheep.
The meditative proficiency of my father in law who knows every slaughtering step by heart, mashaallah, and who cut the whole body with impressive knowledge.
The cleanliness of the meat and how every part of that animal offered itself as if it would like to say: “take me and enjoy me in the name of our God”.
The cat that impatiently waited to leak what was left.
– I was totally taken by the beauty of the whole scene in every detail, subhanallah, and I knew that I have to taste this meat.
This was the day when I slowly left my vegetarian life and more and more understood about faith, devotion and a deeper meaning and connection of all things.
It was the mark of the beginning of my journey to Islam and to this valley. Allahu akbar!
The ‘Id day, with all the praying, with the slaughtering and the being together at the family’s house, became a tradition to me and my little family. Alhamdulillah.
And it is the ‘Id of 2002 which I remember every year from new, with thankfulness, wonder and awe.
Labbaik Allahumma labbaik.