Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Slaughter and Sacrifice

Surah No. 108 in The Holy Qur'an
Al Kauthar (Abundance)

1. To thee have We granted the Fount (Of Abundance).
2. Therefore to thy Lord turn in Prayer and Sacrifice.
3. For he who hateth thee He will be cut off (from Future Hope).

Translation by Yusuf Ali.

The Aidiladha celebrations this year was merrier than normal because of the ibadah korban that we held within the compound of our family home in Mersing. It is the first time our family has organised a Qurbani (sacrifice of animals) of this scale. It is my first time being involved in the slaughter of cows because all my previous experience in korban involved sheep or goats.

But before I go into detail of our Hari Raya Haji celebrations, just a brief revision on this ibadah of Qurbani. The sacrifice of animals in Islam is the slaughter of permissible animals in the name of Allah on the 10th, 11th or 12th of Zulhijjah in the Islamic calendar. The aim of sacrifice, like all other fundamentals of Islam, is to imbibe piety and self righteousness. It also promotes the spirit of sacrifice for a right cause. To explain its purpose, God says in the Qur’an : “It is not their meat, nor their blood, that reaches God, It is their piety that reaches God”: (22:37).

The permissible animals referred to are domesticated quadrupeds, meaning goats, rams, cows or camels. For the larger animals (cows and camels), it is permitted for the single animal to be shared by up to seven persons. The meat from the sacrificed animal shall be distributed equally to three groups of people : one-third for the poor and needy, one-third for friends and relatives (including non-Muslims) and the final third for the sacrifice-giver's own consumption.

Blogger Zendra has posted an informative write-up on the historical perspective of animal sacrifice in Islam as extracted from the Islamic Voice website -> Re-inventing Zendra.

Our majlis korban this year involved the slaughter of three cows, meaning the participation of twenty-one family members that spanned 4 generations. Heading the list is the patriarch of the family, my father-in-law Haji Md Amin Bin Abdul Karim who is 95-years old. The youngest participant is a 6-month old great-grandson named Qhamarull Suhayl Bin Suhainizam.

My son Angah, giving some soothing words to the first candidate

Cow no. 2 was the largest one

The third cow, giving its handler Sopi, a tough time

The organisation of the slaughter and meat-distribution was headed by our uncle who we fondly call Pak Anjang. The first cow went under the knife at around 10.30 am, after Aidiladha prayers. In terms of size, it was the smallest of the three. It was quite tame and could be led to the slaughter pit quite easily. The second cow was the largest. The third cow put up the most resistance. It took us almost half an hour of roping and pulling before the animal could be subdued. Seeing this spirited fight, some of us joked that the animal reflected the stubbornness of its owners :-)

The slaughter process was done by the time of Friday noon prayers but the more complex process of skinning and cutting the meat resumed after the prayer break. On the whole, the part meant for distribution to the poor came to about 70kg. The beef was cut and packed into 1kg portions and sent to needy households in Kampung Sri Pantai, Mersing. The portion meant for individual consumption actually works out to only about 4.8% of the total meat obtained from each cow (one-seventh part of one-third of whole cow).

Separating skin from meat

Chopping the bones into smaller pieces for the soup

Almost no part of the cow was wasted. Some neighbours wanted the heads while the feet were booked well in advance. The ribs which still had slivers of meat stuck on them, were chopped into smaller pieces and were cooked into a soup in a very large pot. The soup and some bread (french loaves) were then brought to the mosque for consumption by the congregation after Isyak prayers.

Having a hot bowl of beef soup with bread after a hard day's work was like heaven, especially in a large gathering of family members. I probably had 3 or 4 bowls that night.

The next morning, when the pot has cooled down, you can see blobs of solidified fat floating on the surface of the soup. Crap, I thought. Some of those things are probably clogging up my blood veins by now. Better watch my meat consumption for the rest of the week... or perhaps I should resume my weekly swimming sessions to burn off the fat.

More pics can be seen at my Facebook profile -> Fadhil Isma


D said...

thank you for this very educational post. My children thought they were really 'cool'!! :)

mamasita said...

What a nice Raya Qurban..thank you for sharing your lovely nicely documented! Mana gambar you all sebat soup??

VersedAnggerik said...


bersedia lah untuk cholestrol level to skyrocket during these festive seasons...

Anonymous said...

That was a very informative piece. Used to see it from afar. My classmate once told me the Cow legs were a prized item -they would singed it to remove the tiny hairs and cooked it in soup. The large bones, ligaments and gel and herbs really make a wonderful broth.

That was a great family gathering you all had.


Zendra said...

Good job, Oldstock. You've captured the spirit of Korban in this account.

Swimming? No need to contemplate, just do it man!

Tommy Yewfigure said...

Oldstock, what do u guys do with the hides? Heheh I can imagine those blobs of solidified fat, yeah the white gluey stuff that hard to wash off too!

Oldstock said...

Salam D,

Hadn't intended this post to be educational.. more as a historical record for future reading, but you're welcome anyway.

Err... which part did your children thought as cool? The cows? Hehehe :-)

Oldstock said...


Gambo kitaorang sebat sup takleh disiarkan... sebab takde protokol langsung, hahaha!

Oldstock said...


I'll probably be not eating any red meat for this whole month, hehehe...

Aduh, asyik green salad je pun boring jugak.

Oldstock said...


Yes, the legs are a prized item, but only to those who have the patience to process them, as in the way you have mentioned. All 12 pieces were booked even before the cows went under the knife.

Oldstock said...


Ok... I'll do it (the swimming, I mean). Maybe I'll start tomorrow :-)

Oldstock said...


The hides were the only pieces left that had no takers... so we had to dispose by burying them. Which was quite a pity because the 2nd cow had a lovely skin.

pakmat said...

..salam oldstock.. in Bachok hides of qurbani cows are collected at points predetermined by the mosque com'ttee..proceeds from the sale is used for sedekah purposes..
..easy on the lemak, man...

Oldstock said...

Salam Pakmat,

I guess here in Johor, not too many people are in the leather business.

Kadang-kadang, bila dah sedap sangat makan, terlupa kejap pasal lemak yg berlebihan tu :-)