A few years ago I visited Malawi, a tiny landlocked country in south eastern Africa, squashed between Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique and Tanzania. I was visiting an orphanage and school for about 200 young boys and I was asked by our benefactor at the time in the UK to speak to these students privately about their experience and treatment at the school, without some of their teachers being present. Inevitably, the conversation turned to food and the boys complained that they did not get enough variety in their meals, especially meat and fish. The staple was Nsima, which was ground up corn served with Vegetables or tiny fish. So I asked how “How often do you have it with meat?” the 200 children looked at me as if I was making fun at them...”on Eid” said a couple of them.
The answer itself was not surprising, it was the way in which it was expressed, as if to say “when else are you expected to eat meat you strange man!”. They were not complaining about not having meat everyday or every week as they had ONLY ever had meat on Eid since the day they were old enough to eat. If someone donated Qurbani great, otherwise Nsima it was. FYI, I ate Nsima whilst there, unless soaked in something it is almost impossible for a foreign digestive system to take in.
Whenever Qurbani season comes around, I remember that visit to those kids and reflect on not only how lucky and grateful we should be but how content they are to have meat just that one time in a year.
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Look at those below you and do not look at those above you, for it is the best way not to belittle the favours of Allah.” (Bukhari & Muslim)
Whoever and wherever you decide to give Qurbani this year, don’t forget to mention the millions of others that we cannot reach except with our prayers.
“He who supplicates for his brother in his absence, the appointed Angel says, ‘Amin and may the same be for you too'” (Sahih Muslim)
Eid Mubarak to you and your families. May Allah bless you and keep you safe. Ameen