By: Rogia al-Shafee
KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - For Sudanese the Muslim Kurban Bairam feast is a very dear event nobody should miss. On the occasion every household strives to buy and butcher a sheep or at least a goat.
For children the festivity is the best occasion of the year,
Thus, it amounts to shame and disobedience if one tries to skip this religious duty.
Children of poor families that cannot afford the price of this religious sacrificial Kurban Bairam sheep feel very low and upset.
This story speaks of an unusual incident that happened to two families living in the Eastern Haj Yousif suburb of Khartoum.
It so happened that a dedicated family man kept saving money all the year through in order to buy a good sheep for his family and on the holiday eve he lost it but was compensated with a better one that came to him out of the blue on the holiday morning.
As related to Sudanow by Alhaj Mahmoud, his neighbor and friend Mohammad Yousif continued to save money all year round to be able to observe this important religious duty and bring happiness to his children. And he did buy the sheep and bring it home on the holiday’s eve. But as he was trying to take the sheep down from a cart, the animal muscled itself of his hands and went on the run. He and his upset children went on its heels until it slipped into a house at the end of the lane. He knew the house and its dwellers: A newly widowed wife and her orphans who lived on charities. The innocent orphans were very happy to see a sheep get into their house and considered it their own. The joyful children started to shout out: “A sheep came to us. A sheep came to us!” It was the first Qurban Bairan they would spend in the absence of their father and, of course, a sacrificial sheep. Their mother was so thankful for him as she always knew him to be a dutiful neighbor.
Here Mohammad Yousif was so embarrassed to ask them to give his sheep back after he saw the happiness on their faces and quickly returned to his home. His wife and children were very much upset by what he did. This meant that they will spend the holiday without a sheep this time. His children continued to ask him whether he would buy them a new one. “Why are you silent father? Will you buy us a new sheep?” they kept nagging him.
He knew he could not afford even a single kilogram of lamb after he had spent all his savings on the lost sheep and the other requirements of the festivity. “God gracious. God is benevolent,” was all he could say.
On the holiday morning he went to the Bairam prayer. After the prayer he walked pensively towards his home. He wished not to look into those rebuking eyes of his children.
At the open square facing his home he saw a big truck carrying a heavy load of the best type of Sudanese sheep. The truck driver stopped and asked to help him unload the sheep to sell them at the place, because he had already dispatched his son to buy some requirements. He said they had lost a lot of time repairing the truck that broke on the road.
After they unloaded all the sheep, the trader asked: Did you buy your Bairam sheep?
He was embarrassed and after a short hesitation he said: No.
“Then, Mohammad, take the biggest and the best of these sheep. I had promised God that if my sheep would not perish out of thirst and road hazards, I would give the best one of them to the first person I would come across for free in thanksgiving. So take it. It is yours!”
The happy and tearful Mohammad took the sheep, wondering at the power of Allah to reward him for the happiness he brought upon the hearts of poor orphans. He then rushed with the good news to his children.
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