Maldives’ celebrates Eid with record number of goats sacrificed

This year’s Eid celebrations in the Maldives saw the holiday’s traditional prayers and feasting accompanied by a record number of goats slaughtered in the capital Malé.

The Islamic Foundation of Maldives (IFM) arranged for the importing and slaughter of over 175 goats on Thursday, a record number for a country in which this large-scale practice was uncommon just a few years ago.

Signs appeared around the capital in the days leading up to the holiday advertising the ‘uluhiya’, or slaughter – a word previously unfamiliar in the Dhivehi lexicon – providing a telephone number for anyone who wanted to join in the festivities.

A representative of the IFM explained that the organisation had surpassed its previous efforts this year after its founding in 2009.

“In 2010, we only had 20 goats. In 2011, we slaughtered 80 goats and two cows,” he explained.

“Next Eid we will slaughter a camel – this will be good for the public as it will be the first time this has been done.”

Combined with the activities of other Islamic organisations in the country – most notably the Jamiyyathul Salaf – the number of animals sacrificed came to well over 200.

Traditional practice dictates that the animals be slaughtered by having their throats cut, before the body is drained of blood. After this, the animal is cut up with some meat divided amongst friends and family and some distributed to the poor and needy.

The foundation member explained that, owing to the relative affluence of the Maldives , it was difficult to determine needy individuals and so the meat was distributed to whoever was in attendance.

Local media reported that some meat was being sold for MVR 400 a piece (US$25), but the IFM member said he did not know about this, saying: “Selling [the meat] is not encouraged.”

He explained that, due to the practice being uncommon to the Maldives, Bangladeshis were employed to do the butchery after the animal was killed, although locals were given the opportunity to cut the animal’s throat themselves if they had paid for the animal first.

Goats are often kept in the Maldives’ smaller islands but are an unusual sight in the capital. They are often sacrificed in naming ceremonies.

“People who bought the animals were given the opportunity to slaughter them,” he said, explaining that the animals cost around MVR 3500-4000 (US$227 – US$260) each to purchase in Male, more than double their cost prior to shipping from India.

“When sacrificing, the condition is to kill it at once without damaging or hurting in any other way,” he said, adding that the animals were prevented from seeing the others being slaughtered and that they were adequately fed and watered before the sacrifice.

“I find it hard to watch,” he added, “but others come and watch it for entertainment.”

The animals were brought into the country three days prior to the sacrifice, being kept near to the petrol shed on the south of the island before being sacrificed on an adjacent plot of land.

The foundation member said that three goats had given birth after being brought to the country, making them unsuitable for sacrifice.

Those animals that were not bought and slaughtered by individuals were sacrificed on behalf of the foundation. The IFM then arranged for a large feast at the nearby Maafanu Madrassa for which 2,000 people were expected. Inclement weather on the day was blamed for the smaller attendance – estimated at around 1,200.

The act of sacrifice and the giving away of the meat – practiced throughout the Muslim world – is intended to symbolise the Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his only son to show his obedience to Allah.

The IFM was founded with the stated aim of raising Islamic awareness and organising social activities within the Islamic framework in order to “ensure the religious and social development of each and every individual of Maldivian society,” according to its website.

The Maldives has embraced Islam with increasing fervour in recent years. The 2008 constitution saw the practice of Sunni Islam become mandatory for Maldivian citizens as well the establishment of a state ministry to handle Islamic affairs.

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23 thoughts on “Maldives’ celebrates Eid with record number of goats sacrificed”

  1. This Uluhiya was not a new thing and it was practicing in Maldives for many years. However, Maldives was not a rich country and many people did this with chicken in the past not with Goat or cow or camel.

    Since people can afford to have cow and goats and people are using these animal now a days.

    We used to have huge feast to celebrate Eid in Islands and a lot of activities including music festivals and traditional dances and other activities were arrange by all the Island communities. But sad things is now those cultural activities were not seen in many part of of the Maldives but some Islands are trying to revive them.

    This article is either politically written to show that Islamic extremism is taking over the Islands or the writer has not bothered to understand anything about this or he does not want to know.

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  2. What the heck is wrong with minivan and goat slaughtering???

    Aren't cows, pigs(yuck), bulls and chickens slaughtered and butchered every day by the civilized west for their meat???

    Minivan and it's bungling reporters, get over this and do some insightful journalism??? you morons???

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  3. Nice job Islamic Foundation of the Maldives. This NGO is the only religious NGO propagating Islam without a political gain. Go IFM Go.

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  4. What slaughtering a number of goats is what this Islamic Foundation thinks needs doing in the Maldives? How about trying to do something about the number of poor people begging near the market, or doing something about the record high number of child abuse going on in this country or doing something about the number of drug addicts in this country? Something useful instead of this show.

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  5. The name says it all. Minivan is the official platform to revile islam and offend people's belief. But MDP will not benefit from this islamophobic rants minivan spews out every few days. MDP big shots has to rein-in Minivan if they are serious about winning elections. You cannot win hearts and minds by offending peoples beliefs. its very simple actually.

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  6. There's nothing wrong with slaughtering goats, cows, camels or chicken. As someone else has already pointed out, this is done all over the world, including the so-called "developed" world, in slaughter houses, and sometimes under not-so-humane conditions.

    All these ideas are noble, i.e. with the aim of bringing disparate people together. As ever, there are people here on this forum and elsewhere who are trying to look for differences amongst us rather than seeing what unites us.

    We all destined to live and die on these god-forsaken islands, with precious little resources. Our numbers are growing every year, together with an ever increasing community of foreigners. We face new challenges, and if Islam can help us live in harmony, then that's all good.

    Putting the microscope on certain behaviours of Muslims will always please some people; i.e. the enemies of Islam. Islam is more than about the belief in Allah (whether He exists or not), and following prophet Mohammed (whether he was a real prophet or not).

    Some may say that Mohammed was a clever opportunist, a businessman who saw a venture and improved upon the mistakes of the Christianity and Judaism that came before him. He wrote down a fine book, taking away a lot of the non-sense that was in the Bible. It's all good, whether we believe all this to be driven by some divine power or not.

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  7. Good thing they atleast slaughtered these animals. This will keep these idiots from slaughtering each other or the infidels in the near future.

    Also, I find it funny how these extremely insecure muslims got offended by this article. No wonder the islamic world is in ruins. They get offended over the simplest things.

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  8. This slaughtering of goats, cows and, next, a camel, is a barbaric pagan practice. Islam cannot hide the barbaric paganism that is at the center of its belief system. And, no, this cannot be compared with the husbandry and slaughter of animals for food. It is simple barbaric paganism.

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  9. I find it amusing that Daniel's focus was only on the ritual slaughter of goats.

    What about the communal prayer service?

    What about the festive family gatherings over a hearty meal?

    Ah well I guess shock and awe is what draws journalists. Perhaps this is Daniel's first exposure to a muslim-majority society where ritual slaughter of goats is not something to write home about.

    However new cultures and practices must be treated with academic interest and I can't say Daniel did a bad job.

    Of course Minivan would report anything involving IFM more positively. Considering IFM's close ties to the MDP and the admirable job IFM preachers and members have done promoting President Nasheed and the MDP in island communities.

    Several IFM members have also swelled numbers at MDP street demonstrations. I think its about time the MDP returns the favor to IFM.

    Also, the MDP should stop masquerading as a liberal secularist organization abroad. After all any political party in the Maldives is required to present an Islamist image to the current voter.

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  10. What is the meaning of Allilah, does anyone know? Why do we always have to follow the moon, is there anything unknown?

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  11. I wonder how many were raped prior to their slow inhuman tortuous bleeding to death..... ?

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  12. @bryam on Sun, 28th Oct 2012 11:19 PM

    "And, no, this cannot be compared with the husbandry and slaughter of animals for food. It is simple barbaric paganism."

    The animals ARE slaughtered for food! Remove the Islam-o-phobic glasses and you might see clearer. The ritual or "pagan" part of this is the symbolism associated with prophet Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son to god.

    Now, whether one believes in Abraham's story or not, the fact is that these animals are killed for food. Stop this holier-than-thou attitude. Humans have maimed, killed and slaughtered other species for as long as we've been roaming this earth. Nothing different here.

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  13. @Moshaib,

    you are one confused lad???

    Why do you wear clothes when you can go naked on the streets?

    Why do you go to jobs when you can stay at home and then can dream about money pouring on your head?

    Why do the Americans celebrate Halloween and insist their children wear false teeth and be like zombies
    when all of this is just some imaginary nonsense?

    Why do the public spend their hard earned money to watch a fake hero (like superman, batman; who wear their undies outside)when no such heroes roam around the earth, saving humanity???

    Why does evolution theory suggest that man came from apes but we have apes and humans now???

    Why do some scientists believe in a God particles existence but refuse to believe in a God(the heck, who made up the God particle???)

    hope you try not to find out the answers for these????

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  14. proof that MDP will loose any up coming elections already appearing ...
    check this link below

    http://www.sun.mv/23625

    Its actually very simple. As long as MDP bigshots and its mouthpiece (Minivan) is islamophobic, common people will be MDPhobic.. that is they will not vote for them.

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  15. "Why does evolution theory suggest that man came from apes but we have apes and humans now???

    Why do some scientists believe in a God particles existence but refuse to believe in a God(the heck, who made up the God particle???)"

    More proof for how uneducated these inbred muslims are.

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  16. @wives and concubines,

    you, some kind of a deranged islamophobic stalker commenting and judging every other commenter speaking here. Don't you have anything else to do???

    I would suggest you go, check yourself with a shrink??that would be helpful!!!

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  17. What the heck is this show off and waste by deranged beardiees. The funny thing is goats are not indigenous and are imported to Maldives and it cost around 6000-8000 per goat. These Beardies are insane, next time bring in a Camel and an Elephant to slaughter.
    Meat is processed in factories not on a football pitch or your dirty back yard. Where is the health ministry, they should ban such unhygienic practices.

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  18. @Hello

    yeah, and i suppose you know where the wolves and apes came from. From a God particle, eheeeehe??!!

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  19. Ummm, dogs were bred from wolves. Do you see any poodles in the wild, you silly boy?

    What makes you think I don't believe in God? I simlpy said your question was silly.

    You can refer to a basic biology textbook to answer your questions. Peace.

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  20. @Hello,

    am not judging anyone here??(like some of the commenters here slandering something for just nothing, what do they get from all these hatred)the fact i want to highlight is that people do silly things and it's not just muslims.
    BTW thanks for the info.
    Peace

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  21. Animal slaughter is indeed common. I only find it quite sick if you "watch it for entertainment". People who enjoy killing and slaughter are indeed barbaric and I would love and enjoy to slaughter all of these low harted maggots.

    This is not at all bound to religion by the way. Cruelty and sadism is a part of human kind, over places and through ages, it always travels with mankind.

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