Many Muslims could not take part in this year’s Qurbani celebrations because they were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yesterday, Muslims globally took part in Eid ul Adha festivities and Muslims here in Trinidad and Tobago also participated in their own way.
Qurbani means sacrifice.
Every year during the Islamic month of Dhul Hijjah, Muslims around the world slaughter an animal—a goat, sheep, cow or camel —to reflect the Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son, Ismail, for the sake of God.
But according to sheep and goat farmer Shiraz Khan, this year, Muslims could not participate in the way they usually would as they have in years gone by.
He told Guardian Media that he realised this because of a major decrease in his sales.
“I have lost fifty per cent of my customers because of the number of people who have been home for a long period of time and due to persons not working, it is more difficult now. People have less money and if they do work, they are not working the days they normally do and a lot of people have not taken part in the festival this year due to the pandemic,” Khan said.
“Due to COVID-19, we are affected drastically. You would have seen the many times they have increased feed and all the inputs like medicine because of foreign exchange and because of the major supplier who provides medicine for animals (his) building was burnt,” he said.
Khan added, “We are faced with a lot of challenges and the unfortunate thing is that we are not getting help from the authorities as to where we see any help to come from.
“We need to do what we can to help ourselves locally to increase our production and to reduce the tendency of foreign imports to make feed. We have the ability to and we have made our proposals to the post-COVID-19 committee and if we don’t take recommendations from the Muslim community, meat lovers will have to pay exorbitant prices.”
Khan lamented that he had to adjust his prices.
“I went up but tried to keep it at a minimum in the interest of not putting people under too much of pressure, because I am a Muslim also and farmer. We constantly see people coming who seeking help, especially some of the people on the lower end who have not been able to be employed because they have not been able to get off the ground,” Khan said.
The pandemic has also prevented many Muslims from travelling to Saudi Arabia, as is customary this time of the year.
“People are taking part in these Qurbani celebrations but not for just the sacrifice but the enjoyment of Eid. What is also happening is that Muslims cannot go to Saudi Arabia, so the best next action to honour a day like today is to do the sacrificing of the animals,” Khan said.
Khan explained that as part of the religious observance, most people will take one-third of the meat from the animal for their families, one third for their friends and the next one third to share with the poor.