This week yesterday, Muslims across South Africa prepared to celebrate Eid Al Adha, the day of Sacrifice in the Islamic Calendar.1 Depending on the siting on the moon in the lunar cycle Muslims will celebrate Eid on Wednesday or in the days that follow.2 Known as the Festival of Sacrifice, marking the conclusion of the Hajj pilgrimage, it commemorates the moment when Allah tested Ibrahim AS to Sacrifice his son to them command him to slaughter a Ram.3 The annual Hajj saw the number of pilgrims journeying to Mecca reach a record high of more than 2.5 million pilgrims.4 Slaughter for sacrifice demands the sheep for slaughter be done away from the other sheep, so they do not feel panic by the slaughter.5 The animal is given water beforehand to remain calm, and thereafter the process of slaughter should be swiftly done, with a sharp knife to its major blood vessels at the neck.6
Now Turkiye is funding charity on a large scale for Eid Al Adha Across the African Continent.7
Ilyas Bulut, coordinator for Turkiye Diyanet Vakfi (TDV), told Anadolu that 5,750 cows would be slaughtered in 11 locations in Uganda and distributed to the needy.
Bulut said the meat will be packed and distributed to the needy with the assistance of mosque imams. He said his organization will also reach out to correctional services facilities. Muslims with financial ability are required to sacrifice animals for the holiday which marks the conclusion of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. The significant religious observance commemorates Prophet Ibrahim’s act of obedience to God when he was willing to sacrifice his son. Muslims mark the occasion with prayer, feasting, and acts of charity.
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Rasulullah ﷺ said, ” Whoever relieves a believer’s distress of the distressful aspects of this world, Allah will rescue him from a difficulty of the difficulties of the Hereafter.”
The former Turkish ambassador to Uganda, Fikret Kerem Alp led a delegation to deliver donations by Turkish Muslims, to assist families in Uganda. “I served here for four years and now on the occasion of Eid, I return in order to celebrate the festivities and help out the beautiful people of Uganda. I hope I can invite more and more generous people to come and assist our brothers and sisters,” he told Anadolu. Current Ambassador Mehmet Fatih Ak emphasized the importance of solidarity and making those in need happy. “This is a day of utmost significance, not only for us, but also for humanity to remind ourselves of the sacrifices we make for the good of everyone. I want to seize this opportunity to call upon more sacrifices as we unite our efforts to fight poverty and maintain peace,” he said. (Turkish charities spread Eid-Al-Adha Joy of millions across Africa)
Turkiye is trying to assert its leadership in the Islamic World and is exercising soft power to do it. Although the country was badly hit by the earthquake this year, they are also protruding an image to the rest of the world that they can recover and engage across borders. The Festival of Sacrifice is a great opportunity for them to improve relations with not just Muslim countries but Muslim communities abroad. Turkiye is building up cultural influence through its engagement with the rest of the world. Although Saudi Arabia being the birthplace of Islam and the Gulf Monarchies such as the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and also Oman have had their influence in the African continent due either through there oil wealth, media influence or strategic prowess. Turkiye now is working to do the same not with oil money, but with some media influence and strategic prowess. Charitable acts also go a long way. Ankara is seeking to rebuild bridges long since burned. Not by conflict but by a voluntary enforced isolation by its own secularization from the Islamic World. The supposed new administration of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been trying to rectify this more or less. Of course Turkiye would also have interests in a country like Uganda and other African countries too. Uganda is a land locked nation located bordering Lake Victoria, but it has access to the sea through Tanzania. It is also ruled by an authoritarian regime, and is lacking in accountable governance, so Turkiye should be wary about having the direct dealings with the leadership in that country. But then again Eid is also a time for families, communities and peoples to come together through the remembrance of sacrifice, so good intentions above all else.