Let’s say you have two children, and they both break a bone in the span of a few weeks.
You take them to the hospital, get casts or whatever they need and let their bodies do their healing work.
Then what?If you are like me, then you pray that God protects them and do not really think about it anymore.
But my landlords are not like me, and since their grandchildren recently each broke a bone, they felt compelled to do something about it.
Thus, on a recent afternoon I witnessed a sheep sacrifice in our front yard. They call it an “Adak Kurban”, and I think it is something similar to a freewill offering.
They explained to me that this is something Muslims do. The hope is that God will be pleased with the sacrifice and protect their family, i.e. no more broken bones or bad things happening (at least for a while- I do not know how long it is supposed to last?)
A normal scene in most front yards?
The evening before the event we went next door to pick out the sheep and negotiate a price with the shepherd. The final price was close to $300.
I witnessed sheep sacrifices many times when we lived in Central Asia, and apparently there is only one way to do it as the shepherd here did it exactly like everyone I saw do it there.
They begin by slitting the throat and spilling the blood on the ground. They sever the head and then cut off the front legs at the knees and begin the process of removing the skin. Next they hang it up by the hind legs and remove the skin in one piece. [Watch the video for the gory visuals.]
Then they remove all the innards and organs, chop the ribs, and begin cutting the carcass into pieces.
For the Adak to be legitimate, apparently all of the meat must be given to the poor. They divided the meat into nine pieces to distribute to widows in our village. I am still a bit unclear on what constitutes “poor”, but any widow seems to qualify in this case.
I asked why they decided on nine people. They had been debating about five or seven or nine. He said they thought about the widows they knew and ended up with nine. They could do as many as they wished as long as it was an odd number.
When I asked why, he said he did not know, just that their elders said it had to be odd, and they did not question it.
My landlords were in a good mood throughout the process and were noticeably excited to distribute the meat. They have shown love for their grandchildren and helped the poor in the process.
Will this protect their family? Does the blood of this sheep have a protective voice before God? Does it matter?
I asked another Muslim friend in Cappadocia about it, and he strongly disagreed with my landlord’s viewpoint. He was fine with them doing the Adak but felt that God did not need the sheep and would not protect them because of it.
I honestly could not follow his logic but he seemed to think about it from an ironically more humanistic standpoint explaining that they would feel better because they had done a good thing, but that they should not think God was playing a part in it.
I wonder if these are competing views within Islam or just random views held by my two friends?
Maybe one of you can help explain this more fully? If so, please do.
Regardless, this is another part of life in Cappadocia. When you visit take the time to ask a local about Adak Kurban and see if it jibes with my landlord’s practice.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the Adak Kurban, especially after watching the video.
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