THE CULTURE AND CUSTOM OF THE BAJAU ETHNIC THE UBIAN TRIBE: SACRIFICE FOR THE DECEASED
The Ubian tribe is among the earliest community that live in Banggi Island in the Kudat Division on Sabah north, as well as in Sandakan and Semporna areas on Sabah east. They still practice traditional livelihoods and strongly adhere to custom and mixed traditional and Islamic beliefs.
According to this tribe beliefs, if a sacrifice for the deceased fails to be implemented then the deceased is unable to go to Padang Masyar (an open area in heaven where the deceaseds congregate after resurrected) as he has no sacrificed animal as his transportation, preferably a goat, as this sacrificed animal is not shared according to Islamic rites. This belief is continuously practiced by the elder generation but not in whole by the younger ones parallel to Islamic teachings.
The goat, visualised as the deceased, is looked after in the house by close family members a week before it is sacrificed. It is believed that this action will enable them to meet in heaven with the owner of the sacrifice. While in custody the goat is given food that sometimes may be the favourite meals of the deceased while still alive.
BATHING THE GOAT
The goat is bathed and cleansed and sprayed with aromatic scents by the religious leader before it is sacrificed, accompanied by recitals of Quranic verses.
HANDING OVER THE GOAT AS SACRIFICE
Representative of the deceased hands over the goat as sacrifice to the religious leader witnessed by family members, with the following recite:
Peace is upon you, religious leader. I am representing my family to hand over this goat as a sacrifice for my late (relation of the deceased to the hander) for this year because of Allah The religious leader requests for the deceased name, age and the date of his death. The religious leader receives the sacrifice with the following recite:
Peace is with you too. I receive this goat as a sacrifice for this year because of Allah.
DONNING THE GOAT
After the religious leader recites prayers, the goat horns are tied with three rounds of cloths that symbolise a person Islamic leaning, leadership, and that he is a male. The cloths corners are coloured yellow with fresh turmeric that symbolise Allah supremity and majesty. The goat is made to wear a sarong as a symbol of the last clothing believed to be worn to Padang Masyhar. If the deceased is a female then the goat is adorned with a head scarf
SLAUGHTERING AND CUTTING THE MEAT
Slaughtering is done according to normal process but accompanied with the following recites written on a piece of paper:
This is the sacrifice for the late (name of the deceased) for this year, as performed by the wife/husband and her/his children because of Allah.
The paper is buried together with the animal blood and believed to be as a passport to enter Padang Masyhar.
The slaughtered goat flesh is ballooned first using the stalk of papaya leaves, believed to shoo away bad genies or ghosts. Then only the meat is cut according to weightage and distributed among the rightful.