Eid al-Satay Mubarak?


When I went to Jatinangor this afternoon, the smell of fresh satay lingers all street long. I can easily find smokey places, and I know what is going on there, barbeque. Two hours earlier, my mom warmly welcomed my neighbor who distributes bags of meat. She got a half kilo. Then suddenly she cleaned the meat and put them in boiled water. Voila, a big bowl of gule sapi (meat curry) for our dinner.

Wether it is satay or curry, the situation is annual. I remember when I was just a little boy, Eid al-Adha came exactly on December 31, a new year’s eve, so my neighborhood could have a BBQ party. We were happy, yes, definitely. But untill now, I still don’t know the relevance of satay to the spirit of Eid.

If we take a look the history of qurban ritual, it has no relevance with satay, or any food. In Islamic tradition, it starts when Abraham the prophet received God’s message trough his dream. God asked Abraham to sacrifice, literally kill, Abraham’s only son Ismail. Heavy heart, Abraham follow the order to perform qurban. But when his sword almost touched Ismail’s neck, God replaced Ismail with a lamb. This story tell us about Abraham’s obedience to God.

From that quranic story, muslims are asked to do qurban in the month of Dzulhijjah. While some doing a hajj pilgrimage, others who has enough money asked to buy lamb, cow or camel to be sacrificed. The meat then distributed to the poor, so they also can taste healthier and more delicious meal. This Eid simply asks us to learn how to give our most precious things, and ikhlas (giving without expecting). This also reduce poverty, promote social solidarity. In Indonesian, we called it gotong royong.

But now this annual charity has been changing the route. Sometimes we forget to give those bags of meat to fakir (the poor), and just bring them to our kitchen. Or maybe, okay, we give some bags to the poor, but we still forget about worldwide poverty we face recently.

What about hungry and dying people out there? Let alone about fake homeless people which got 10 million Rupiah per month. In fact, there are still real and actual poor people, that you can find them sleep in the front of minimarket everynight. How can you think about what you have to do with you meat, while they are not sure will get enough food for next lunch. You can imagine that they will search food in the same trash bin where you thrown expired satay a night before.

So this is exactly what Head of STT (College of Theology) Jakarta Joas Adiprasetya refer as glamourization of religion. We welcome a big religious day with too much preparation, misleading celebration. We spend more money. We forget the value within the day. So this is how secular people made religion as jokes. Because religious people are sometimes ridiculous.

I am afraid we lose the essence of this Islamic big day. Maybe we have to find different methods to celebrate this one. Anyway, happy Eid al-Satay, folks. Uh, sorry, I even forgot the real name. []