There’s an article today in the Jordan Times attempting to articulate the predicament many Jordanians have found themselves in this year: the rising price of Jordanian sheep. There has been a noticeable price difference between the local variety and the international variety coming mainly from Australia, and that difference is related the rising prices of fodder. I don’t know how many sheep get sacrificed during Eid Al-Adha, but Eid is, perhaps ironically, all together a day when people suffer economically. The consumerist drive has become a tradition of sorts, personified with the purchases of new clothes, larger consumption of food, giving gifts of money to children and female members of the the family, and perhaps family outings. For some families, this day alone may cost at least 500JDs and more.
The sacrifice of a sheep, at an average price of around 130JD to 150JD is a significant piece of the pie for the average Jordanian whose salary does not exceed 200JD. The sacrifice itself is supposed to be restrained by demographics, where typically the wealthier who are able to afford it, do so and distribute it amongst the poor. That is partially the point of it from a religious point of view. But that’s not the way it works, and I would guess that the majority of those making the Eid sacrifice are not very wealthy at all, but tradition-abiding, God-fearing, low-income driven Jordanians, i.e. the majority of the population. They are insistent on making the sacrifice and doing it themselves, the old fashioned way, in order to capitalize on the sunnah (way of the Prophet pbuh).
However, I think organizations like Tikkeyet Um Ali are just as credible in this day and age – religiously speaking. You pay 90JDs, you get a receipt, and it’s done. But a lot of people I’ve asked seem to indicate that you don’t know where they money really goes, and they might as well be taking your 90JDs and buying lollipops with it. Personally, I do have faith in Tikkeyet Um Ali as an organization, having seen the good that they’ve managed to do first-handed. You can often see the crowds of people around one of their bases in the balad, by the old Raghdan station. But in either case, I think a person’s religious duty ends upon entering in to this social contract with an organization that promises to deliver.
It is modern. It is convenient. It is mess-free. And the job gets done at the end of the day. More importantly, in these troubling financial times, it is comparatively very affordable. I think if the wealthier segment of society, starting with what middle-class there is, move more towards making the Eid sacrifice in this form and manner, it may help decrease demands on the stagnant supply of local sheep, and perhaps, in the long run, drive the prices a bit down for the more adamant.
But that’s just my two piasters.
On another note:
Eid Mubarak to you all!