The Islamic Post Blog

EID UL ADHA: Excellence of Qurbani by ipinfo2
December 1, 2008, 8:33 am
Filed under: December Volume 1 - 2008, Magazine/ Culture, Religion | Tags: , , ,


Excellence of Qurbani

As the Islamic month of Dhul Hijja draws near, Muslims around the world will celebrate Eid-ul-Adha, or Festival of Sacrifice, to commemorate the willingness of Messenger Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son Ismail (Ishmael) in obedience to the Most High. Throughout history, mankind has been commanded to sacrifice things held dear to prove loyalty and love for the Creator of the World. For the lovers of the Almighty, sacrifice is synonymous with surrender. From the first Messenger of Allah, Adam, to the Holy Last Messenger and Beloved of Allah, Muhammad, all surrendered to the Almighty Creator by making great sacrifices with love and willingness. (May the peace of Allah be upon all of His Messengers.) In many countries Eid-ul-Adha is also referred to as the Qurban Eid. The word qurban, or sacrifice, comes from the Arabic word qurb. Qurb signifies nearness, closeness, approach, and the like. It should be mentioned that only by true submission to the Almighty can one achieve “nearness.”

The history of qurbani, the slaughtering of meat bearing animals after the Hajj pilgrimage, and dates back to the beginning of mankind with the two sons of Adam. When Cain and Abel had an argument, their father, Adam, commanded them to do qurbani to see whose sacrifice Allah, the Most High, would accept.

“And recite to them the story of the two sons of Adam in truth. When each offered a sacrifice, it was accepted from one, but not from the other. The latter said to the former, “I will surely kill you.” The former said, “Verily, Allah accepts only from those who have taqwa ( God-consciousness).” ( Holy Qur’an 5:27)

The Messenger Abraham (or Ibrahim, peace be upon him), who is known as the Friend of Allah, was also commanded to make a great sacrifice. He was told by the Almighty to sacrifice his son. In this, he did not hesitate for an instant, although we find the venerable Ibrahim to have prayed to Allah Almighty fervently for a son:

“My Rabb (Cherisher & Sustainer), grant me a son, one of the righteous.” So, We we gave him the glad tidings of a forbearing boy.’”(37:100)

After a few years, the venerable Ismail (Ishmael), a radiant son, was born to Ibrahim and his wife, the venerable Lady Hajirah (Hagar).Yet, when the Friend of Allah, Ibrahim, was commanded by his Lord to sacrifice his beloved son, the Most High found father and son obedient to the Divine command:

“And, when he (Ismail) was old enough to walk with him, he (Ibrahim) said: “O my son! I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering you. So, look, what you think?” He said: “O my father! Do that which you are commanded, if Allah wills, you shall find me of the patient.’’ (37:101-102)

In Tafsir Usmani we find: “As Ibrahim was pressing the knife to Ismail’s throat, the sound of takbir “Allah is Great, Allah is Great,” was heard coming from heaven. This was the voice of Angel Gabriel, who in Arabic is Jibrail (may the peace of Allah be upon him and the Holy Messengers of Allah). Allah had created a ram as a substitute sacrifice for Ismail then, summoning Jibrail from paradise, commanded Jibrail to take the ram to Ibrahim. The angel appeared in the heavens, bearing that ram and proclaiming the Supreme Greatness of Allah. When Ibrahim heard the voice of Jibrail, he realized that his trial was over. In grateful response, he glorified and extolled his Rabb with the words: “There is no god but Allah, Allah is Greater [than anything whatsoever].” The venerable Ismail also realized that the mercy of the All-Compassionate and Beneficent Allah had arrived. Saying: “Allah is Greater, and to Allah belongs all praise,” as he joined in the glorification. Then Allah, Glorified and Exalted is He, addressed His special friend, Ibrahim, with the following words:

“O Ibrahim! You have fulfilled the vision!’’ Verily, thus do We reward the doers of good. Verily, that indeed was a manifest trial.” And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice. And We left him among the later generations.” (37:103-108)

Due to the loving friendship between Allah and his servant the venerable Ibrahim, a ram was substituted in the place of the venerable Ismail. Yet, the “great sacrifice” was not the ram, but the grandson of the Holy Last Messenger, Imam Hussein (may Allah’s peace be upon them) who would live many generations after. Imam Hussain, of the noble lineage of Ismail through his blessed grandfather, substituted himself and his family members to save the spirit of Islam, which was, indeed, the greatest of sacrifices. Imam Hussein refused to give his pledge of loyalty to the person who had wrongfully assumed the role of caliph, an openly perverted man and sinful drunkard, Yazid, son of Muawiyah. If Imam Hussein had submitted, the people of the time would have joined him assuming the course of action to be correct, and it cannot be surmised from this to what levels morality would have sunk.

But Yazid, the accursed traitor of religion and peace, was intent upon securing the pledge of Imam Hussein, even if it was obtained by force of bloodshed. In the end, Imam Hussein and his entire family, save a few who were spared, were martyred in a most brutal fashion during the first century of Islam. The lessons learned from the tragedy of Karbala, the desolate area where the massacre took place, imparted significant wisdom. Sacrifice is not always done after receiving a command to do so. Imam Hussein wore the spirit of sacrifice upon his shoulders, and acted by the initiative of his inner character true to the legacy of the chiefs of all Muslims, his grandfather, the Holy Last Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and father, the venerable Ali, by sacrificing, without being asked or told.

The slave of the Almighty submits to the molding of his character into the spirit of selflessness, even if it be at the price of his life and possessions. This is the spirit of qurbani during Eid-ul-Adha, which brings one near to the pleasure of the Almighty.

Requirements of Qurbani

Qurbani is wajib, or compulsory, according to Imam Abu Hanifah upon every non-traveler in his town of residence who possesses 613.35 grams of silver, or its equivalent in money, personal ornaments, stock in trade, or any other form of wealth which is surplus to his/her basic needs. Each adult member of a family who possesses that much wealth must perform his or her own qurbani separately. It was reported that the Beloved of Allah, the Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The first thing that we do on the day of the Eid is to perform the prayers. Then we go home and carry out our qurbani. Thus, whoever does those acts has conformed to our way. For those who slaughtered before it (the prayer of Eid ul Adha), then the meat slaughtered is for family members. It is not an act of qurbani.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)

The animals used for qurbani must be free from any form of handicap such as being blind, sick, lame, or undernourished. They must be slaughtered by a Muslim in the appropriate humane manner, adhering to the Islamic principles. It is preferable that the meat from qurbani be divided in three equal parts: one for the home, one for relatives and friends, and one for the poor and needy. The meat from qurbani can be distributed to Muslims or non-Muslims. The Holy Companion, Ans, reported that the Messenger of Allah, (peace be upon him) sacrificed, with his own hands, two white rams with black markings. He mentioned the name of Allah and recited takbir.

Upon performing qurbani, the Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him) would declare: “Verily I turn my face towards the One who created the heavens and the earth, as one upon the religion of Abraham, being upright, and I am not one of the polytheists. Verily my prayer, my life and my death are all for Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. There is no partner with him and I am one of the Muslims. O Allah, it [the qurbani] is Thine and for Thee, from Muhammad and his Ummah. In the name of Allah, Allah is the greatest.” He then slaughtered the cattle.

Hazrat Zaid bin Arkam reports that the Companions of the Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him) asked him: “Oh Messenger of Allah, what is the sacrifice?” He said, “It is the way of your forefather Ibrahim.” They asked, “What (reward) is for us therein?” He replied: “There is a reward for every hair. ”

The Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad, (peace be upon him) sacrificed his person and wealth in the service of others throughout his pristine, blessed life. During the ten years in which he lived in the holy city of Madinah, the Messenger of Allah performed qurbani in each of those years. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, his noble family, and brethren, who are the Holy Messengers of God.


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