VIEWER DISCRETION: Some of the images below contain blood and show the slaughtering of a goat.
In Islamic tradition, the prophet Abraham had a dream that he was supposed to sacrifice his son Ishmael for God. As the story goes, he was troubled and confused by the dream, though because it was a divine message, he decided to follow through with it. He told Ishmael about the dream, who replied that if it was God’s will, then he would accept it. Just before Abraham was going to sacrifice his son, God stopped him and sent a ram to sacrifice instead, grateful that Abraham and Ishmael had such strong faith.
Muslims believe that this happened on the day that has come to be known as Eid al-Adha, which always falls after the last day of the hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca. Traditionally, Muslim families would buy at least one ram, humanely slaughter it, and share a third of the meat with their family, another third with friends, and the last third goes to those in need. Wealthy families often buy a ram for those that cannot afford one.
For Muslims in Columbia, upholding this tradition isn’t always so easy, as there aren’t many goats to be found within the city. City codes also would make this ritual more difficult to observe. Every year, some members of the community go out to various farms in mid-Missouri to buy goats and carry out this tradition. Columbia native Hassan Yusuf, his brother, uncle, cousin, and a family friend, go to Larry Ferguson’s farm outside the town Tebbetts to carry out this ritual.
You can listen to our audio postcard to get a sense of what it was like to be there, and look through the gallery below. Viewer and listener discretion advised.