Eid al-Adha, Tunis, Tunisia

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Wandering deep in the maze of  Tunis’ medina, an urgent bellowing broke the silence of the deserted cobbled alleys. Rounding the corner I found a ram being tethered in front of a mosque. The tetherer explained that it was just before the start of  Eid al-Ahda, or the Feast of the Sacrifice, celebrated by Muslims worldwide to honour the willingness of the prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his young first-born son Ismail (Ishmael). He had brought the family’s sacrifice and was leaving it at the mosque.

Muslims who can afford to sacrifice an animal sacrifice their best halal domestic animals (usually a cow, but it can also be a camel, goat, sheep or ram depending on the region). The sacrificed animals, called aḍḥiya, have to meet certain age and quality standards or else the animal is considered an unacceptable sacrifice.

The meat is then divided into three parts. The family retains one third of the share; another third is given to relatives, friends and neighbors; and the other third is given to the poor and needy. The regular charitable practices of the Muslim community are demonstrated during Eid al-Adha by concerted efforts to see that no impoverished person is left without an opportunity to partake in the sacrificial meal.

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