The Chosen One

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Now that I’ve grown up and become strong, I like to muse, while grazing in the pasture, on my juvenile days. I think the phase was the happiest of my life. I had no work to do and could amble beside my mother, who was a fine white “pahadi” sheep. Most of my time was spent in the green meadows of Sonamarg, where I nibbled the tender grass and capered about, while my mother was steadily grazing.

I loved those happy times, but my mother constantly reminded me of the inevitability, that I would soon be sold to some mutton dealer who would engineer my end. She used to tell me that we had a short life span as God has made us a natural source of nutrition for human beings. Humans used to relish our meat and get warmth from our skin. However a fortunate lot amongst us was sacrificed in the way of the Almighty on the occasion of the “Eid-ul-Azha”.

Today as I see my friends being sold to the mutton dealers, either for supply to the city’s restaurants or for a wedding, I realize the truth in my mother’s statement. The thought of parting away from the green pastures and my friends dispirited me, but at the same time there was a constant hope and a meek wish to be one among The special class of the Qurbani sheep, so that I ‘d have the privilege of getting sacrificed on the pious occasion.

Finally my wish was answered one fine day, when a kind gentleman came to purchase a sheep for Bakra Eid. With my smart and healthy appearance, he at once spotted me and purchased me for some 5000 bucks. With a deep sense of pride and happiness, I left the flock and was driven to his home in a load carrier. The cacophony of the city welcomed me and suddenly I missed my peaceful abode.

As we reached the gentleman’s residence, I was greeted by excited voices and gleaming smiles of two little kids, who were rushing towards me, as if they had found a new playmate in me. I was pleased with the warm welcome I received.

I was kept in an old car garage, where a servant came regularly to feed me with hay and some leftover vegetables. Many a times, the children would come and playfully pat me and bring a surprise treat for me –the dried corn. They regularly took me to their garden for a stroll, but once, I spoiled the flower beds and these leisure walks were cut down. I loved when the kids used to come and play with me. The solitude which haunted me in that old garage had vanished off now and I began to love the people and the place.

However the care and the warmth, I received was ephemeral as the great festival of Eid was approaching. I realized the rationale meaning of the festival and the Qurbani – demonstration of total submission to Allah and a proof of complete obedience to Allah’s will, even if it meant parting away from your life or loved possessions. The green pastures and my friends whom I had left behind some three months back, were not the only loved ones I had now, but this family had become all the more beloved.
A silent sadness crept in as days passed by. On “Arfa” the little kids applied henna on my white fur, and later bathed me with warm water and perfumed soap, and kept me in the warm sun. The orange henna shined vibrantly on my bright white coat. I could see the excitement in their eyes, partly on behalf of the accomplishment of bathing me and partly because of Eid, the following day. I tried to capture all the voices, excitement and laughter deep within my heart because I knew I would never ever hear them again.

As the rays of the sun entered the old garage the next day; besides brightening up the dark room it brought into light the fact that my last day had come. Though melancholy filled my heart, I began to gather myself by pondering over how lucky I was to have been chosen for the pious Qurbani. My life was definitely better than other fellow sheep, who became a dinner meal for a grand wedding. In contrast, I would have the privilege of getting distributed to a large number of families who would receive me, in form of a tabruk with respect and reverence. A part of my self would also go to the poor and needy, who don’t even have two proper meals a day. Finally my skin would be send to some “Darsgah”, who would sell it and utilize the money for the betterment of the darsgah. All this gave me a sense of pride and contentment.

My thoughts were all of a sudden disturbed by the opening of the squeaky garage door and my eyes caught sight of an unknown tall figure, whom I quickly recognized to be the butcher who would assist me in my journey to the other world.

All my courage gave way and I felt very weak. I tried to escape and ran hither and thither, but the butcher grabbed me and then a voice from within, reminded me of the pious duty I would fulfill by obediently laying down my life in the glorious path of Allah and I meekly followed the butcher.

As they were preparing for the qurbani, I saw the little kids- this time not with the exuberant looks, but with pale white frightened faces. As the butcher sharpened his knife the younger among the two kids started crying with constant pleads to her father saying, “Papa isse Zabah mat karo”. The elder one tried to act mature but as the knife drew closer to me, a tear ran down his cheek and he covered his face with two little hands.

My eyes were filled with tears seeing the kids. I would really miss them. For one last time, I looked at them till my face was turned towards the Qiblah and I heard the words “ bismillaahi-allahu-akbar” being recited aloud. And down came the knife on my throat.

My heart still pumped blood, though with reduced plunge and this time out from the body. The last breath I took struggled to reach my lungs. My time was over and now my soul had to begin it’s journey for heaven – the divine reward for my sacrifice.

No doubt, my life in the green pastures was happy, but my life as a qurbani bakra and the hereafter are the happiest.

(C) Aqsa Mushtaq

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~ by candidmusing on December 31, 2007.

5 Responses to “The Chosen One”

  1. Che Wondmai Ma Panun Zoo !!

  2. 🙂 Good one 🙂

  3. Oh! The smileys don’t look that good for the sad event! 😦

  4. brilliant!!!

  5. wow!

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