My Chinese Village (Part-4)

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Our Animals
We are farmers here in Gonja village. Al-Hamdulillah, by careful use of the underground water and our natural streams and rivers, we can grow many kinds of fruits and vegetables. The surrounding mountains and their forests provide us with a chance to hunt and trap animals there. One of my uncles is an expert hunter. All his life he has been hunting and trapping wild rabbit, marten and fox. Sometimes he is in the mountains for several
*This is an old, hand-written page of a Qur'an with its interpretation in Chinese language. My grandfather brought this Qur'an from eastern China years ago when he travelled  there as a young man. A large Muslim population who are ethnic Chinese live in areas outside of Uyghuristan. For them, a Chinese language interpretation of the ayahs helps them better understand the Holy Qur'an. Al-Hamdulillah, I can read Arabic well and can even understand some of the Chinese written here. In Uyghuristan, we must study both Uyghurje and Chinese at school.*
months on end. He cooks and eats rabbit meat and returns to the village with the animal skins.

The fur of these wild animals is beautiful and in the illustration you can see some fur hats for sale along with our traditional prayer hats or takkiyahs. I read how the North American Indians and Eskimos (two groups who also originated in east Asia) hunted animals. Some people say it is cruel to hunt wild animals. In the Holy Qur’an, Allah says in surah al-ma'idah.

O you who have attained to faith. Be true to your covenants! Lawful to you is the [flesh of every] beast that feeds on plants, save what is mentioned to you [herein after]: but you are not allowed to hunt while you are in the state of pilgrimage. Behold, Allah ordains in accordance with His will.

My uncle uses a yak or a "ship of the plateau" when he travels up into the high mountain valleys. This animal is truly amazing! It looks like a very hairy, short-legged ox. Because it has excellent balance, the yak is a wonderful pack animal and can carry loads of up to 50-60 kilograms along dangerous mountain paths. The animal’s long hair is used to make rope, cloth and even felt matting.

Yaks are milked in the summer. The milk is very rich and makes good butter. In the villages in the south of Uyghuristan, a thick tea/soup is made of boiled milk, tea, salt and yak butter.

Masha Allah, the yak is superbly adapted to the harsh mountain environment. Short legs let it climb over rocky heights. It has powerful lungs, too. Its blood cells are smaller than those of normal cattle and has three times as many of them. A yak's blood, therefore, can carry more oxygen. The animal's long hair helps insulate its body. With no sweat glands, the yak is truly unique. My uncle tells me that yaks even travel over snow in single file; a head yak leaves foot prints that guide all others behind it!

As I grow older, and learn more about my interesting world, I understand that like the yak, we Uyghurs, are also perfectly adapted to our environment, Al-hamdulillah.  

To read the next part of this story, click here.

Luqman Nagy

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