A boy waits for customers at a cattle market in Al Manashi village, ahead of the Muslim festival of sacrifice Eid al-Adha, in Giza, on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt August 8, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
CAIRO – 9 August 2019: Eid Al-Adha (The feast of sacrifice) is the most significant feast for Muslims worldwide, during which they slaughter cows, sheep, and camels, and give some meat to the poor and the relatives.
Al-Adha marks the end of the Hajj (pilgrimage) to the holy city of Mecca.
For many years, the Egyptian government has encouraged people to slaughter the cattle inside the slaughterhouses by enabling free slaughter services.
It has also warned that those who slaughter their cattle in the streets will pay a fine that varies from one year to another and from one governorate to another.
However, the government’s attempts to regulate slaughtering cattle in Al-Adha have always failed. Once Eid prayers end in the early morning of the first day of Eid, Muslims rush to butchers, stand in circles around the cattle. In few minutes, blood starts to run down the streets.
The government argued that such an action pollutes the environment and helps spreading diseases to the slaughtered cattle’s meat. In addition, cattle are not checked by vets just before they are slaughtered.
Islam is a religion of civilization, cleanliness, and beauty; this religion never called for an action that would hurt other people and harm public interest, Magdy Ashour, an adviser to the Grand Mufti said ahead of last Adha.
Ashour added that slaughtering cattle in the public streets during Eid is a sin as it hurts people. He also affirmed that the Quran and sayings of Prophet Muhammad warned against hurting others.
Egypt Today could explore the reasons why people do not obey the government’s regulations and insist to slaughter their cattle in the streets.
Mostafa Abu Kholba, a citizen from Menoufia, told Egypt Today that he did not know that there are slaughterhouses supervised by the Agriculture Ministry, criticizing that the government did not launch enough awareness campaigns on the matter.
He said that the government’s slaughterhouses would likely be so crowded. He added that his family members would like to witness the sacrifice, affirming that it is extremely hard for him to take them to the government’s slaughterhouse.
Ali al-Gebally, a citizen living in Cairo, told Egypt Today that he does not mind to hand his cattle to one of the government’s slaughterhouses. He also complained that the private butchers take a lot of money to slaughter and skin cows. Butchers may take up to LE 2,000 ($112), according to Gebali.
He also argued that the government’s slaughterhouses may be too busy to skin and cut the cow, adding that they would probably only slaughter the cow. He also claimed that many beggars stay outside the slaughterhouses, adding that he does not like to donate meat to those he does not know.
Cairo governorate warned against the slaughter of Eid Al-Adha sacrifices in the streets of the capital, in order to preserve the cleanliness of the streets and the aesthetic appearance, stressing that those who violate the law will pay a fine of LE 5,000 ($302).
In an interview with Egypt Today ahead of last Adha, MP Ebrahim Khalif said that the fine is imposed on violators on all days except the first three days of Eid Al-Adha, adding that punishing violators will disappoint people and spoil the happiness of Eid.
For his part, Parliamentarian Mohamed al-Damti said earlier that the government’s decision to ban slaughtering in the streets in Eid Al-Adha is inapplicable in view of the difficulty of censorship, adding that the decision requires awareness campaigns as it is included under the category of community behavior.
MP Mohamed Salah Abu Humalia affirmed that this decision is difficult to implement, noting that if officials control main streets, they will not be able to reach the lanes.
Yehia Kortam, a member of the Cairo Chamber of Commerce, said that the government’s slaughterhouses in Cairo and Giza for example cannot receive all the cattle that need to be slaughtered during Eid Al-Adha.
He asserted that Cairo has four slaughterhouses in Helwan, Basaten, and Mo’asasat Al-Zakah.
On the other hand, Souhag governorate is known for its 27 slaughterhouses although the area of the governorate is half that of Cairo.
Muslims celebrate Eid Al-Adha every year, honoring the obedience of Prophet Ibrahim to God when Ibrahim was ordered to sacrifice his son Ismail. God provided Ibrahim with a ram to sacrifice instead just before Ibrahim sacrificed his son.
In Islam, the sacrificed animal during Al-Adha is divided into parts, in order for the animal’s owner to be able to give a share of the meat to the needy people.