Niger's Udhiyah Barbecue

By Alaa Abul-Enein
Alaa Abul-Enein, IOL Staff

"Muslims in Niger sacrifice Udhiyah collectively," Abdou told IOL.
CAIRO – When Muslims around the world sacrifice animals act of worship during `Eid Al-Adha, which marks the end of hajj, Muslims in the Western African country of Niger will do that with style.

"Unlike what happens in other countries where people usually slaughtered animals in their homes, Muslims in Niger sacrifice Udhiyah collectively," Ali Abdou, a higher education adviser in Niger, told IslamOnline.net.

He added that after performing the `Eid prayers Muslims get together to make their sacrifice.

"The residents of reach district or neighborhood choose a specific location and all Sheep are brought to the place," Abdou explains.

"Either one person slaughters all the animals on their behalf or each person slaughter his own Udhiyah."

A financially-able Muslim sacrifices a single sheep or goat or shares six others in sacrificing a camel or cow as an act of worship during the four-day `Eid Al-Adha, which starts on Friday, November 27.

The ritual commemorates Prophet Ibrahim's willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail to Allah as an act of obedience and submission.

The Udhiyah meat should be divided in three equal parts, one each for one's own family, friends and the poor.

It is permissible that someone in another country could perform the sacrifice on one's behalf.

The Udhiyah sheep is left for hours to roast slowly.


While most Muslims distribute the third of Udhiyah meat among the poor row, Muslims in Niger have their own way of doing things.

After the slaughter, each person skins his Udhiyah, usually a sheep, and starts grilling it on wooden stakes.

The whole sheep is left for hours to roast slowly so that each fleshy part acquires that flabbergasting taste of barbecue bonfire.

"At the evening, every family takes its barbecued Udhiyah back home," says Abdou.

He explains that Muslims in Niger do not distribute the Udhiyah meet on the first day of `Eid Al-Adha.

"We do that on the second day and distributed the meet ready for relatives, friends and the needy."

Muslims make up 80 percent of Niger’s 15 million population, while the remaining are followers of Christianity and indigenous beliefs, according to CIA Fact Book.

Historians differ on when Islam first entered Niger.

Some suggest it was in the first hijri century with Companion Uqbah bin Amir, who was one of the commanders of the Muslim forces that took Egypt.

He also served for three years as the governor of Egypt before being ordered to mount a naval expedition to the island of Rhodes.

Other historians say Islam came to Niger seven centuries later by North African traders.

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