الحمد لله رب العالمين
والصلاة و السلام على اشرف المرسلين
و على اله و اصحابه اجمعين , و بعد
All praises are for Allah, and peace and blessings be upon the final Messenger Muhammad (S.A.S).
The month of Dhul Hijjah is one of the sacred months in the Islamic calendar and the month in which the Hajj is done.
It is a month in which many acts of rituals are performed and great blessings and rewards are achieved from specific days/nights, and also from various acts of worship. It is in order to highlight these important practices and rituals that are done in this blessed month, these few pages have been written. It is hoped that the information given will be beneficial to all Muslims.
We ask Allah to accept this service for His cause.
Darul Uloom Trinidad and Tobago
DHUL HIJJAH – THE VIRTUOUS MONTH
Muslims have been favoured in many ways by Allah, and have been given opportunities to reap great blessings from the sacred days and months which have been highlighted in Islamic teachings.
The month of Dhul Hijjah is one of those blessed months which is known to be extremely virtuous in the sight of Allah. It is on account of this sanctity and holiness, Allah has ordered two great acts of worship, namely Hajj and Qurbani, to be done in this month. Millions of Muslims anxiously wait for the arrival of this blessed month, so that they may hasten to Allah’s beloved house in Makka to perform the pilgrimage, and others prepare themselves to offer their Qurbani to Allah in their homeland.
The Messenger of Allah (S.A.S) has spoken highly of this month, and has mentioned the great virtues that lie in the first ten days of the month. In this regard, Abu Hurairah (R.A) narrated that the Prophet (S.A.S) said,
مَا مِنْ أَيَّامٍ أَحَبُّ إِلَى اللَّهِ أَنْ يُتَعَبَّدَ لَهُ فِيهَا مِنْ عَشْرِ ذِي الحِجَّةِ، يَعْدِلُ صِيَامُ كُلِّ يَوْمٍ مِنْهَا بِصِيَامِ سَنَةٍ، وَقِيَامُ كُلِّ لَيْلَةٍ مِنْهَا بِقِيَامِ لَيْلَةِ القَدْرِ
“There are no other days in which doing good actions are more beloved to Allah than the ten days of Dhul Hijah, (i.e. the first 10 days), the fast of one day from it equals to the fast of one year and the standing by night in worship on any of these nights equals to the standing of Lailatul Qadr.”
Abdullah bin Abass (R.A) also narrated that the Messenger of Allah (S.A.S) said, ‘There are no other days in which good deeds are more beloved to Allah than on these days (that is, the 10 days of Dhul Hijjah). Upon this, the companions asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Not even Jihad in the cause of Allah? He replied, ‘not even Jihad in the cause of Allah, except that person who leaves with his self and wealth and does not return with any of it’. One narration also states that the Prophet (S.A.S) said, ‘There is no deed that is purer in the sight of Allah nor greater in reward than a good deed which a person does in the ten days of Dhul Hijjah.’
In another tradition, Jabir (R.A) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (S.A.S) said, ‘There are no days that are more superior in the sight of Allah than the ten days of Dhul Hijjah’. A man saked, ‘O Rasulullah! Are these ten days more superior or a similar number of days in Jihad for the cause of Allah?’ The Messenger of Allah (S.A.S) replied, ‘They are more superior than a similar number of days in Jihad for the cause of Allah, except that a person whose face is begrimed in the soil.’
Abdulah bin Abass (R.A) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (S.A.S) said, ‘There aren’t any days which are greater in the sight of Allah nor are good deeds more beloved to Allah in any days than the ten days (of Dhul Hijjah). Therefore, engage abundantly in reciting Subhanallah, Alhamdulillah, La ilaha illah and Allahu Akbar during these days.’
These traditions show how virtuous and blessed the days and the nights of the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah are in the sight of Allah. As such, Muslims should take maximum benefit of such precious and valuable time and do as much good deeds as possible.
In another tradition, it is recorded that ‘Aisha (R.A) said that there was a young man who at the sighting of the moon for Dhul Hijjah would begin to observe optional fast. The information reached the Prophet (S.A.S) who then summoned him and asked, “What is the reason you begin to fast (at the sighting of the Dhul Hijjah moon)”? The young man replied, “May my mother and father be sacrificed for you, O Prophet of Allah; these are the days of Hajj and other symbols of Islam. Is it not possible that through these acts of mine Allah will also include me in the supplications of those righteous people who are in the worship of Allah through their Hajj?” The Prophet (S.A.S) replied, “Certainly (Allah would include you), and for every day you have fasted, you will be rewarded by Allah as if you had freed 100 slaves, sacrificed 100 camels (for Allah in Qurbani) and given 100 horses to the Mujahideen to fight in the path of Allah”.
It is because of such virtues, which are promised for doing good actions during the course of the 10 days of Dhul Hijjah, Abu Darda (R.A) a great companion of the Prophet (S.A.S) used to say, “Pay special attention to the fast of the 10 days of Dhul Hijjah. During these days, supplicate much to Allah for His forgiveness and give much sadaqah, for I have heard the Prophet (S.A.S) saying, ‘Woe unto that person who is deprived of the blessings and goodness of these 10 days.” In another tradition reported by Abdullah Ibn Umar (R.A), he narrates that the Prophet (S.A.S) said, “There are no other days on which performing good actions are dearer and greater to Allah than the ten days of Dhul Hijjah. On these days, you should frequently recite such kalimahs as Laa ilaaha il-lal-laah, Alhamdu lil-laah and Al-laahu akbar.”
It is for this reason, the Sahabahs and pious predecessors engaged themselves constantly in these kalimahs whether they were walking, sitting, lying, in the market places or at home.
The Day of Arafah
Another outstanding merit of the month of Dhul Hijjah, is that the blessed day of Arafah falls in this month within the first 10 days.
This day which is the 9th of Dhul Hijjah is extremely great and virtous and the Messenger of Allah (S.A.S) has spoken highly of its virtues.
In this regard, the Prophet (S.A.S) is reported to have said,
مَا مِنْ يَوْمٍ أَكْثَرَ مِنْ أَنْ يُعْتِقَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ فِيهِ، عَبْدًا مِنَ النَّارِ، مِنْ يَوْمِ عَرَفَةَ، وَإِنَّهُ لَيَدْنُو عَزَّ وَجَلَّ، ثُمَّ يُبَاهِي بِهِمُ الْمَلَائِكَةَ، فَيَقُولُ: مَا أَرَادَ هَؤُلَاءِ
‘There is no day in which Allah sets free more souls from the fire of hell than on the day of Arafah. On that day, Allah draws near to the earth, and by way of exhibiting His greatness and grandeur, says to the angels, “What is the desire of these servants of mine?”
In another tradition, the Messenger of Allah (S.A.S) is reported to have said, ‘Besides the day on which the battle of Badr occurred, there is no other day on which Satan is seen more humiliated, rejected, depressed and more enraged (angered) than on the day of Arafah. All of this occur only because of the abundance of Allah’s mercy and His forgiveness to His servants which descend on this day’.
With respect to the day of Arafah, the Prophet (S.A.S) also spoke highly of the virtue of observing the fast of this day (for non pilgrims).
About this, he said,
صِيَامُ يَوْمِ عَرَفَةَ، إِنِّي أَحْتَسِبُ عَلَى اللَّهِ أَنْ يُكَفِّرَ السَّنَةَ الَّتِي قَبْلَهُ وَالسَّنَةَ الَّتِي بَعْدَهُ
‘The fast of Arafah expiates the sins of two years, the past and the coming year.’
Sa’eed bin Jubair has also narrated that,
سَأَلَ رَجُلٌ عَبْدَ اللَّهِ بْنَ عُمَرَ عَنْ صَوْمِ يَوْمِ عَرَفَةَ؟ فَقَالَ: كُنَّا وَنَحْنُ مَعَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ نَعْدِلُهُ بِصَوْمِ سَنَتَيْنِ
A man asked Abdullah bin Umar (R.A) about fasting on the day of Arafah. He replied, ‘While we were still with the Messenger of Allah (S.A.S), we used to consider it to be equivalent to fasting for two years.’
In another tradition, Abu Sa’eed Al Kudri (R.A) stated that the Messenger of Allah (S.A.S) said,
مَنْ صَامَ يَوْمَ عَرَفَةَ غُفِرَ لَهُ سَنَةٌ أَمَامَهُ وَسَنَةٌ خَلْفَهُ، وَمَنْ صَامَ عَاشُورَاءَ غُفِرَ لَهُ سَنَةٌ
‘He who fast on the day of Arafah, his sins for the year ahead of him and the year behind him are forgiven. And he who fast on the day of Ashura, his sins for a year are forgiven.’
It is therefore recommended that one should observe the fast of Arafah.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF QURBANI
We often hear the word ‘Qurbani’ or Sacrifice, but what does it really mean?
‘Qurbani’ comes from the root word ‘Qurban’ which literally means ‘every such thing or act which is a means of taking people closer to Allah. This can be a sacrifice of an animal, a Sadaqah or Khairat. Imam Abu Bakr Jasas explains that the meaning is even more general, and writes that every every good action or deed that takes a person closer to Allah is called Qurban. The reason is that Qurban means to sacrifice, and it comes from the root word (قرب), which means ‘to get closer’. Thus, it means that a person gets closer by means of sacrificing something. As for the technical meaning which is used in Shariah or Islamic law, Qurbani refers to that animal which is given as a sacrifice to Allah.
If one looks at the history of Qurbani, one will find that the act of sacrificing an animal with the intention of gaining nearness to Allah was present at the time of Adam (A.S.).
The first Qurbani or sacrifice was performed by the two sons of Adam (A.S) Habil and Qabil. About this, the Quran says:
إِذْ قَرَّبَا قُرْبَانًا
‘And remember when the two sons of Adam gave a sacrifice unto Allah.’
While giving the commentary of this verse, Hafiz Ibn Katheer mentions a hadith which is related by Ibn Abbas, in which it is stated that Habil (Abel) had given a sheep in sacrifice, while Qabil (Cain) had given something which had grown in his field.
Qurbani being an act of Ibadah, (even though it was present at the time of Adam (A.S.)), took a special form at the time of Ibrahim (A.S). This originated from a special incident that occurred in this great Prophet’s life, and was actually a test and a trial from Allah.
Therefore, as a means of remembrance of that great sacrifice which Ibrahim (A.S) had given, Allah made it an established practice in the Ummah of Muhammad (S.A.S).
This which took place in the life of Ibrahim (A.S.) was such an incident that history never saw the like of it, and there was nothing comparable to it. In order to understand the reality of Qurbani, one should understand the incident that took place with Ibrahim (A.S.) which serves as the origin of Qurbani.
The Quran mentions that when Prophet Ibrahim (A.S.) started his mission as a prophet of Allah, the first person he invited to the worship of One God, was his father Azar who used to make idols and was also an idol worshipper. Giving due respect to his father, he ask him to at least leave off idol worship. But Ibrahim’s father, instead of answering the call of this great prophet, expelled him from his house, and threatened to persecute him if he continued with the message. He said to Ibrahim:
لَأَرْجُمَنَّكَ ۖ وَاهْجُرْنِي مَلِيًّا
“I will indeed stone you, now get away from me for a good long while”.
Besides the father, the people also turned against Ibrahim (A.S.), and he was forced to leave the city due to the threats made by his father and the people. For his determination in preaching the truth, Ibrahim (A.S) had to face another trial when the people threw him in the blazing fire. The heat of this fire was so intense that even the birds flying far above were roasted and burnt. When Ibrahim (A.S.) was about to be thrown into the fire, Jibrail (A.S.) came to him and offered to help him. He said to the angel “if the help is from you, then I am not in need, for the one in whose cause I am being thrown into the fire, has full knowledge of what is taking place . Whatever he has destined for me, I am well pleased with it.’’
The outcome of the fire was that Allah made it cool, and made it a means of peace for Ibrahim (A.S.). About this, the Quran said:
قُلْنَا يَا نَارُ كُونِي بَرْدًا وَسَلَامًا عَلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ
‘And we said, ‘O fire be cool and a means of peace upon Ibrahim!’
‘The blaze which emerged towards the sky became a bed of roses for Prophet (Ibrahim A.S.).
Notwithstanding the fact that the unbelievers witnessed this great miracle, (instead of bringing faith in him), their hatred and disbelief increased. The result was that Ibrahim (A.S.) was forced to leave the city. At that time, while leaving he said:
وَقَالَ إِنِّي ذَاهِبٌ إِلَىٰ رَبِّي سَيَهْدِينِ
And he said, ‘I am migrating for the pleasure of my lord, He will indeed guide me to somewhere which is better.’
At that time, Lut (A.S.) who had already brought faith on Ibrahim (A.S.), joined him and they both left Iraq and migrated to Palestine.
Ibrahim (A.S.), now at the age of 86 years, was forced to leave his home and relatives, and went away in poverty where there wasn’t anyone to help him besides Allah.
At that time, he made dua to Allah saying ‘O my lord bless me with a good son.’
رَبِّ هَبْ لِي مِنَ الصَّالِحِينَ
Allah accepted his Dua and granted him a righteous son. About this, the Quraan says,
فَبَشَّرْنَاهُ بِغُلَامٍ حَلِيمٍ
‘And we gave him glad tidings of a forbearing son.’
This son was Isma’il (A.S), who grew up as a pious youg boy, and was eventually granted prophethood by Allah. Besides the fact that this ‘son’ was a great blessing from Allah, Ibrahim (A.S) was put to severe tests and trials through this beloved son.
The first test was that Ibrahim (A.S.) was ordered by Allah to take his only son Ismail and his wife, Hajra, and migrate to Hejaz where he was instructed to leave them. Hejaz was such a place where no sign of civilization could have been seen. Only desert was to be seen. No sign of water and food could be seen. Ibrahim (A.S.) was ordered to leave them at this place. He thus left them over there, and started back on his journey. He did not remain even for a short while to explain to his wife, as to why he was doing this. Hajra, seeing that Ibrahim (A.S.) was going away from the place, shouted to him and asked “ where are you going after leaving us in this deserted place’’. The friend of Allah, Hazrat Ibrahim (A.S.) did not look back. Then, Hajra taught that Ibrahim was a prophet of Allah and he would not do anything unless he is commanded by Allah.
So she then asked “is it a command from Allah?’’ Ibrahim (A.S.) answered in the affirmative. Hajra then replied that if it was a command from Allah, then Allah would take care of them. This was the first test, and Ibrahim (A.S.) was successful in it. He went away, but Allah took care of his family and provided for them. In addition, He granted them the spring of water which is called ‘Zamzam’.
The second and greatest test that Ibrahim (A.S.) went through, was that which the Quran itself gave an account.
About this, the Quran states;
فَلَمَّا بَلَغَ مَعَهُ السَّعْيَ قَالَ يَا بُنَيَّ إِنِّي أَرَىٰ فِي الْمَنَامِ أَنِّي أَذْبَحُكَ فَانْظُرْ مَاذَا تَرَىٰ
‘When this child (Isma’il) reached the age when he could now help his father in works etc., his father (Ibrahim (A.S.)) said to him, ‘my dear son, I have seen in a dream that I am sacrificing you. Say, what is your opinion about this.’
Ibrahim (A.S) had seen in a dream that he was slaughtering his son for Allah. Upon this, he told his son about it to see how his beloved son would react, since he understood from the dream that it was an instruction from Allah.
It is important to note that Ibrahim (A.S), after receiving the instruction from Allah, did not have to consult anyone on this. But here, consulting his son was full of wisdom. Firstly, it was done in order that the test of obedience to Allah could be seen. Whether Ismail (A.S) would fully accept the command of Allah for this sacrifice or not. Secondly, it was that if he prefers to accept the command of Allah, then his act would be full of Thawab and rewards, since the basis of being rewarded depends on a person’s Intentions. Thirdly, it was done so that the natural love that a father has for a son would not cause him to delay in giving the sacrifice, seeing that his son would have accepted the order to be sacrificed already.
Speaking about the sacrifice, the Quran says:
فَلَمَّا بَلَغَ مَعَهُ السَّعْيَ
‘It means that when the child had reached such an age where he started to help his father in works.’ It shows that it was not that the son was just born to his father and Ibrahim (A.S) was asked to sacrifice him. No! The child grew with the father; the father became fond of his child and loved his child very much. When the child (Ismail) grew to such an age where the bond and attachment between the father and son became very strong, and the child started to assist the father in little works etc., Allah decided to put the test upon Ibrahim (A.S) at that time. At this moment, the instruction to sacrifice his beloved son came from Allah.
Here, Allah did not want the sacrifice of his son, neither did Allah want the sacrifice of any human being. It was a test. Seeing that the son was the dearest and most loving one to the father, Allah wanted to test Ibrahim, to see if he was willing to sacrifice his most beloved son for His sake. According to some historical traditions as mentioned in Ruhul Bayaan, the son, Ismail (A.S) was 9 years of age at that time.
From this, one can well imagine what great test Ibrahim (A.S) had to undergo, and what great patience and forbearance was needed.
The great Prophet (Ibrahim (A.S) then ask his son about the sacrifice. He said:
يَا بُنَيَّ إِنِّي أَرَىٰ فِي الْمَنَامِ أَنِّي أَذْبَحُكَ فَانْظُرْ مَاذَا تَرَىٰ
‘O my beloved son, I see in a dream that I am slaughtering you. Tell me, what do you think.’
The son wasn’t any common man. He was Allah’s devoted servant, a true worshipper and a mountain of steadfastness and patience. Being from the blood and flesh of the great friend of Allah, the son was also filled with the spirit of sacrifice.
He thus responded to his father and said,
قَالَ يَا أَبَتِ افْعَلْ مَا تُؤْمَرُ ۖ سَتَجِدُنِي إِنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ مِنَ الصَّابِرِينَ
‘O my beloved father! Do whatever you have been commanded by Allah. You will indeed find me among those who have patience.’
Here, just as it was very difficult for Ibrahim (A.S) to cut the throat of his son, in the same way it was a great task for the son to give his life for the sacrifice. But Allah had chosen this family for his sake, and all were successful in their trials.
Here, one can see the conduct of a true servant of Allah, Ismail (A.S). He did not put the full confidence on himself, but instead, he left everything in the hands of Allah. As he said: سَتَجِدُنِي إِنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ
‘You would find me among the patient ones ‘Insha Allah’, (if Allah wills).’
Another point to be noted here, is his humility and humbleness. He humbled himself and said مِنَ الصَّابِرِينَ (You would find me among the patient ones). He did not say that ‘I would be patient’. Instead, he explained that patience and forbearance were not his qualities, but Allah had blessed a lot of his servants with these qualities, and he will be from amongst them. It is because of this humility and reliance on Allah, He (Allah) made this most difficult task an easy one.
A test which seemed very difficult for Ibrahim (A.S), was now made easy by the son’s reply. The son and the father both prophets of Allah, now took the first step to fulfil the command of their lord, and they came out from the house.
Satan, man’s enemy became angered, disturbed and annoyed. How can he see something like this happening? He decided to use all his tricks and schemes in order to stop Ibrahim (A.S) from obeying the command of Allah. Knowing that Ibrahim (A.S) was like a rock in steadfastness, and was firm in Allah’s command, Satan decided to go to Ismail’s mother first. He went to her and ask. Where did Ismail go? ‘She said, ‘He went with his father for some work?’ Satan then said, ‘it’s not like that, you are ignorant of what’s going on. His father took him to slaughter him.’ Hajra said, ‘Can any father slaughter his son.’ Satan said. ‘Yes, the father says that Allah has given him such a command.’ Hearing this, Ismail’s mother gave the same reply as Ismail and said. ‘Well, if Allah had given him such a command, then he suppose to obey the command.’
Being hopeless on this side, he went after Ibrahim (A.S) and his son who had already left Makka and were going towards Mina. First of all, Satan came to Ibrahim (A.S) in the form of a good old friend, but Ibrahim was a man of faith and piety, and Satan could not have any effect on him. After that, Satan went close to him in the form of a huge idol and stood in the way so that Ibrahim could not pass. Upon the guidance from Allah, Ibrahim (A.S) took 7 stones and stoned the Satan. On every stone, he said ‘Allahu Akbar’ before he threw it. Because of this, Satan moved away and went close to another spot where he stood, blocking the way. Ibrahim did the same as before. Satan again moved away and went close to another place. Ibrahim (A.S) did the same act again. Satan now moved from there, and went to the place where the sacrifice was to be done.
This incident is mentioned in Ruhul Ma’ani, which has been taken from the Riwayat (tradition) of Qataadah (R.A). It is also mentioned in Tafseer Ibn Katheer, taken from the Riwayaat of Ibn Abbas which is mentioned in Musnad Ahmad.
About the incident, the Quran mentioned:
فَلَمَّا أَسْلَمَا وَتَلَّهُ لِلْجَبِينِ
Referring to the sacrifice itself it says, ‘When Ibrahim (A.S) and his son were ready for this great sacrifice, and Ibrahim turned his son’s face towards the ground’ (less he might see his beloved son’s face and it may stop him from fulfilling this command of Allah).
In some Riwayaat, it says that Ibrahim (A.S) had sharpened the knife and put his full strength in slaughtering his son, but the knife was not able to cut the throat. Seeing this, Ismai’l (A.S) turned to his father and said, ‘O father, there isn’t any cloth for my burial, may be this is what’s troubling you, so please take of my shirt so that you can use it for my burial.’ Ibrahim was about to take of the shirt when suddenly he heard an unseen voice. About this, the Quraan stated:-
وَنَادَيْنَاهُ أَنْ يَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ. قَدْ صَدَّقْتَ الرُّؤْيَا
‘And we called him. O Ibrahim you have indeed proven your dream (which was a command of Allah).’
When Ibrahim (A.S) had proven that he was ready to sacrifice his only son for Allah, he became successful in this test, and Allah sent a ram from paradise which he was ordered to sacrifice.
This act was so dear and beloved to Allah that He made it a ritual upon the Ummah of Rasullah (S.A.S), as a remembrance of the great trial that this great Prophet and friend of Allah had to go through.
In this world, many things are used as signs of remembering someone. One sees a lot of statues in memory of so and so, and in remembrance of so and so. But, in the case of Ibrahim (A.S), in order to remember him, and in order to let his action be a living example until the day of Judgement, Allah made it an established religious practice upon the Muslims, so that every year at the time of Qurbani, one will bear in mind, the great trial that the friend of Allah had to go through.
In Mishkat, a hadith is narrated that once the Sahabahs asked the Prophet (S.A.S), as to what was the origin of Qurbani. The Prophet (S.A.S) replied that it was the Sunnah (the practice) of their father, Ibrahim (A.S). The Sahabahs then enquired, ‘then, what is the reward for us (if it is his sunnah). The Prophet (S.A.S) replied that for every grain of hair on the animal, one good deed is written in one’s book of good deeds.
When one looks at the incident of Ibrahim (A.S) and his son, one will see that Allah did not want Ibrahim (A.S) to sacrifice his son. Instead, He wanted to test him through something which he loved very much to see if he would give everything for the sake of Allah, as it comes in the Quran:
لَنْ تَنَالُوا الْبِرَّ حَتَّىٰ تُنْفِقُوا مِمَّا تُحِبُّونَ
‘You will never attain unto piety unless you sacrifice that which you love most.’
Ibrahim (A.S) certainly proved himself, and was willing to sacrifice whatever he had for Allah’s sake.
It was in this regard, he said,
قُلْ إِنَّ صَلَاتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
‘Verily my prayer and my sacrifice, my life and my death, are all for Allah, the lord of the worlds.’
When Muslims do the Qurbani, it is expected that they sacrifice that which they love the most for the sake of Allah.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF UDHIYAH – QURBANI – THE SACRIFICE
Udhiya, commonly known and referred to as Qurbani, is a very great act of Ibadah (worship), and is very beloved to Allah. Originating from the great sacrifice which Ibraheem (A.S), the friend of Allah offered at his time, Allah instituted this practice to be part of the rituals done in the blessed month of Dhul Hijjah by pilgrims and non-pilgrims.
When one does ‘Qurbani’ he re-enacts the blessed act of Prophet Ibraheem (A.S), and recalls (to mind) the great sacrifice which this beloved Prophet was asked to offer to Allah. In this sacrifice, Ibraheem (A.S) was fully prepared, and had done everything to sacrifice his only beloved son by physically putting the knife on his throat for the sake of Allah.
This was indeed a most difficult test for Ibraheem (A.S). However, even though it was a great trial, he was able to show that Allah was more beloved to him than every single thing on the face of the earth, including the life of his only beloved son. Allah saw the strength of faith and obedience in His beloved Prophet (Ibraheem), and accepted his willingness to sacrifice Isma’il (A.S).
In exchange, Allah sent a ram from paradise and ordered Ibraheem (A.S) to sacrifice it instead of his beloved son. Thus, this great practice became a part of the religion of Islam, and was established with emphasis by the noble Messenger of Allah (S.A.S). Throught his entire life in Madina which lasted for ten years, the Prophet (S.A.S) did Qurbani every year for this entire period. Even when he was a traveller, he still did the Qurbani.
On the occasion of the farewell Hajj, he offered one hundred camels in Qurbani to Allah. He exhorted his followers to do the Qurbani, and reprimanded them for not doing it when he said,
مَنْ كَانَ لَهُ سَعَةٌ، وَلَمْ يُضَحِّ، فَلَا يَقْرَبَنَّ مُصَلَّانَا
‘Whoever has the means (ability) to do a Qurbani and does not do it, let him not come close to our place of Salaah for Eid Salaah.
It must be understood that Qurbani is an act of Ibadah (worship). It is done only for the sake of Allah, and must be carried out in the way prescribed by the Holy Prophet (S.A.S).
Qurbani is not a charity, nor is it done to feed the poor and needy. It is an independant act of worship which involves the sacrifice of animals and nothing else.
It should be done with the understanding that it will bring about the true spirit of sacrifice in one’s life. While physically doing the Qurbani, one should recall the great sacrifice that Ibraheem (A.S) did, and try to develop the willingness to sacrifice for Allah’s sake. If this is done, then Inshaa Allah, it is hoped that the true spirit of Qurbani will come into the lives of Muslims.
This however, can only be achieved when one does his own Qurbani (Sacrifice) or witnesses his Qurbani being doing. When one takes part in the slaughtering, sacrificing, distributing and partaking of his Qurbani, he is able to achieve all the blessings, rewards and benefits which the Prophet (S.A.S) spoke about.
However, when one sends his money in a foreign country to do his Qurbani, he becomes deprived of the true significance and benefits of doing a Qurbani for the sake of Allah.
Qurbani must not be treated as a ‘charity’ that is done to help the poor and needy in poor countries. To do Qurbani for this reason is totally wrong, and it is sinful to bring about such understanding. Muslims must be careful that they do not change the meaning, sprit and significance of Qurbani in Islam. Qurbani has nothing to do with feeding the poor and the needy. It has nothing to with where the meat is distributed and who gets the meat. It is an act of worship where one willingly offers his sacrifice to Allah and be present to witness this offering that he is dedicating and giving to Allah.
When one looks at the Qurbani of the Prophet (S.A.S), one will clearly see that the Messenger of Allah (S.A.S) was very keen to sacrifice his animals and to also witness the Qurbani that was done.
It is narrated that on the occasion of the farewell pilgrimage, the Prophet (S.A.S) did Qurbani of 100 camels. From this amount, he alone slaughted and sacrificed 63 with his blessed hands. This obviously was not an easy task for him, seeing that there were many difficulties involved in slaughtering the camels. The fact that these camels had to be brought from Yemen to Makkah, and then taken one after the other, to the place of slaughter at Mina. Along with this, the difficulties involved in the actual sacrifice by cutting the throat of each camel and putting them to lie on the ground, are to be considered.
One can well imagine the amount of difficulties and the length of time taken in slaughtering these camels. Despite all these difficulties, and regardless of the fact that the companions (Sahabahs) were prepared and ready to do the slaughter of these camels, the Messenger of Allah (S.A.S) himself chose to do his Qurbani, and in this way, went on to slaughter 63 of these with his blessed hands.
Through this, the Prophet (S.A.S) wanted to teach his Ummah that the great virtues and full benefits of Qurbani are achieved when one does his Qurbani himself, and he witnesses the slaughter that takes place.
Virtues of Qurbani
Doing the Qurbani is a very virtuous act in the sight of Allah.
In this regard, Aisha (R.A) says that Rasulullah (S.A.S) said:
مَا عَمِلَ ابْنُ آدَمَ يَوْمَ النَّحْرِ عَمَلًا أَحَبُّ إِلَى اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ، مِنْ اِهرَاقَةِ دَمٍ، وَإِنَّهُ لَيَأْتِيْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ، بِقُرُوْنِهَا، وَأَظْلَافِهَا، وَأَشْعَارِهَا، وَإِنَّ الدَّمَ، لَيَقَعُ مِنَ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ، بِمَكَانٍ قَبْلَ أَنْ يَقَعَ عَلَى الْأَرْضِ، فَطِيْبُوْا بِهَا نَفْسًا
“There is nothing dearer to Allah during the days of sacrifice than the sacrificing of animals. The sacrificed animals shall come on the day of Qiyaamah with its horns, hairs and hooves. The sacrifice is accepted by Allah before the blood reaches the ground. Therefore, sacrifice with an open and happy heart”.
In another tradition, Ali (R.A) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (S.A.S) said, ‘O Fatimah! Come and witness your sacrificial animal (being slaughted), for surely, by its first drop of blood that falls on the ground, there will be forgiveness for you for every sin. Behold! It will be brought with its blood and flesh. It will then be placed in your scale (of deeds) multiplied 70 times.’
Abu Sa’eed (R.A) asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Is this reward specifically for the family of Muhammad, for they are worthy of having good set aside specifically for them, or is it for the family of Muhammad and for the Muslims in general? The Messenger of Allah (S.A.S) said,’It is for the family of Muhammead and for the Muslims in general.’
It is also narrated from Zaid bin Arqam, that the companions asked the Prophet (S.A.S),
قَالُوا: فَمَا لَنَا فِيهَا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ؟ قَالَ: «بِكُلِّ شَعْرَةٍ، حَسَنَةٌ» قَالُوْا: ” فَالصُّوفُ؟ يَا رَسُوْلَ اللَّهِ قَالَ: «بِكُلِّ شَعْرَةٍ مِنَ الصُّوْفِ، حَسَنَةٌ»
“What benefit do we get from it (sacrifice)?” He answered, a reward for every grain of hair or fibre of wool”.
From these blessed traditions, one can see how rewarding it is to do a Qurbani. Hundreds and thousands of blessings/rewards are given to a person for doing just a single Qurbani. Therefore, after reading about such great blessings and rewards in doing a Qurbani, one should try one’s best, and make an effort to do a sacrifice even though it may not be wajib (essential) upon him. These unlimited rewards are only given on the days of Qurbani when one offers a sacrifice to Allah. For every hair and wool that is on the sacrificial animal, one reward is recorded for the person doing the Qurbani.
Allahu Akbar! Just imagine the tremendous amount of rewards that are given for a single Qurbani. Even if a person wanted to count the strands of hair and wool on an animal from the morning to the evening, he will not be able to complete the count.
These rewards however, are only given on the days of Qurbani when one does a sacrifice. When these blessed days pass, one will not get this opportunity again, nor will he be able to achieve such great rewards so easily
It is also narrated that the person who sacrifices with a willing heart and with the intention of reward, that sacrifice will shield him from the fire of Hell on the Day of Judgement.
About this, Ali (R.A) narrates that the Prophet (S.A.S) said, ‘O People! Sacrifice and expect a reward from its blood, for surely, although the blood falls on the ground, it falls under the protection of Allah.’
Hassan bin Ali (R.A) also narrated that the Prophet (S.A.S) said, ‘He who sacrifices wholeheartedly and expect a reward for his sacrifice, it will be a barrier for him from the hell-fire’.
Allah looks at the heart of the believers in all their actions. Through their sacrifice, Allah wants to see the Taqwa, (piety) and Ikhlaas, (sincerity). Allah says,
لَنْ يَنَالَ اللَّهَ لُحُومُهَا وَلَا دِمَاؤُهَا وَلَٰكِنْ يَنَالُهُ التَّقْوَىٰ مِنْكُمْ
“The meat nor the blood reaches Allah, but it is the piety from you that reaches Him.”
The sacrifice would signify our willingness to give up our vain desires for Allah; our determination to submit to His will even though it may mean to sacrifice our wealth, our family, our lives, our comfort, our time etc. May Allah reward us with a blessed Eidul Adhaa.
RULING ON DOING QURBANI
Imam Tirmizi relates a narration about the sacrifice of the Prophet (S.A.S) as follows.
أَقَامَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ بِالمَدِيْنَةِ عَشْرَ سِنِينَ يُضَحِّي كُلَّ سَنَةٍ
“The Prophet (S.A.S) lived in Madina after the Hijrah for ten years and every year he did a Qurbani.”
It is also authentically reported that the Prophet (S.A.S) said,
مَنْ كَانَ لَهُ سَعَةٌ، وَلَمْ يُضَحِّ، فَلَا يَقْرَبَنَّ مُصَلَّانَا
“Whoever has the means (to do a sacrifice) and does not do it, let him not come to our place of Salaah.”
Based on the strong emphasis placed by the Prophet (S.A.S), many scholars have considered Qurbaani to be waajib on every Muslim (male or female) who is of sound mind, mature and possesses wealth on the Days of Sacrifice to the amount of the nisaab. (i.e. the minimum amount of wealth which makes zakaah compulsory on a person).
It is not waajib on a musaafir (a traveller according to the Shariah), nor upon a child or an insane person even though they may possess wealth.
RULES PERTAINING TO QURBANI
Qurbani is wajib upon a person who possesses the Nisaab. If a person does not have the Nisaab, then the Qurbani will not be wajib upon him. However, if he does Qurbani, he will be highly rewarded for it.
Qurbani is only wajib (essential) on behalf of a person (himself) when he has the Nisaab. It is not essential on behalf of one’s children. Even if one’s children (thoseunder the age of puberty) are rich, Qurbani will not be wajib on their behalf. If a person does Qurbani on their behalf, it will be deemed as an optional (Nafl) Qurbani. In this case however, the Qurbani will have to be done from the wealth of the person who is doing the Qurbani, like that of the father etc. Monies for this Qurbani cannot be taken from the wealth of the children.
If an animal was purchased for Qurbani and later it developed a certain defect whereby Qurbani is not permissible with it, then another animal should be purchased in place of this animal. However, if a poor person upon whom Qurbani was not wajib purchased such an animal, he does not have to purchase another animal. He could use the same animal that he had originally purchased.
If one, upon whom Qurbani was not wajib (essential), purchased an animal with the intention of Qurbani. Then, Qurbani will become wajib (essential) upon him.
If Qurbani was Wajib (essential) upon a person, but he allowed the three days of Qurbani to pass and did not do the sacrifice, then he must give the value of one goat or sheep in charity. If he had already purchased a goat/sheep but did not sacrifice it within the three days, he must give that animal in charity without slaughtering it.
If a person does Qurbani on behalf of a deceased person out of his own will in order to consign rewards to the deceased person, it will be permissible for this person to consume the meat himself, feed others, and also distribute it to whomsoever he wishes. However, if a deceased person had made a will that a Qurbani be done on his behalf from his money, and the Qurbani was done, then all the meat of this Qurbani will be given in charity on behalf of the person.
If a person was not present and someone did the Qurbani on his behalf without his permission/instruction, the Qurbani will not be valid on behalf of that person (who was absent).
The Qurbani of a pregnant animal is permissible. If its young one comes out alive, it will be necessary to slaughter it as well.
THE DAYS OF QURBANI
The days of Qurbani are the 10th, 11th and 12th of Dhul Hijjah. The actual time commences from after the Eid Salaah and ends just until before sunset on the 12th of Dhul Hijjah.
Although it is allowed to do sacrifice during the nights, it is however not advisable to do so. The sacrifice done before Eid Salaah is not proper. The best day to do the sacrifice is the day of Eid, the (10th), then the 11th and then the 12th.
THE QURBANI ANIMAL
Qurbani can be done with camels, oxen, buffaloes, cows, goats and sheep.
A camel must be at least 5 years old; oxen, buffaloes and cows must not be less that two years. One of these animals will suffice as seven shares (i.e. seven people may slaughter one) but all must have the intention of Qurbani and not for the acquisition of meat.
Goats must not be less than one year old. Sheep should also be one year old. However, a sheep less than one year old but resembling the size of a one-year old can be sacrificed.
Animals for sacrifice must be free from defects such as:
- blindness in both or one eye,
- animals born without ears or a third or more of an ear or the tail cut off,
- a horn broken off from the root,
- majority of teeth have fallen out,
- animals that are squint eyed,
- animals with total lameness of one or more legs,
- animals sick and weak so that they cannot walk to the place of sacrifice.
Note: Animals which are castrated or those born without horns or part of the horn is broken can be used for Qurbani.
THE QURBANI MEAT
The meat of Qurbani can be divided into three parts. One part for the family, one for relatives and friends, and one for the poor and needy. This division is only mustahab (commendable) and is not compulsory. As such, it is allowed that all the meat be kept for oneself and the family, if one has a large family.
The meat can be kept for any length of time.
The meat of animals which is shared should be distributed by weight and not by estimation.
The price of the animal for slaughtering must be fixed before slaughtering and not determined by the weight of the meat.
It is permissible to give the meat of Qurbani to non-muslims.
It is Haraam to sell the Qurbani meat. The skin or meat of the Qurbani animal cannot be given to a slaughterer or skinner as a payment. It is allowed that the skin be kept for personal use or be given away with the niyyat of sadaqah (charity).
According to the Hanafi Jurists, there are seven parts of lawful animals that are considered as foul and are abominable (Makruuh tahriimah). [Based on a Mursal tradition from Mujahid]
They are: Flowing blood; penis; testicles; vagina; glands; bladder; and gall bladder (bile).
RULES AT THE TIME OF SLAUGHTERING
– It is preferable for the owner of the animal to slaughter the animal himself provided that he is able to slaughter. If he cannot do it, then one may delegate another Muslim who is acquainted with the laws of slaughtering.
– If one has delegated another, then it is desirable that the owner or sharer of the animal be present.
– The Islamic slaughtering requires that the gullet, windpipe and the two jugular veins be severed. At least three out of the four must be cut together with the recital of the name of Allah.
– The knife should be very sharp. It should not be sharpened in front of the animal.
– An animal should not be slaughtered in the presence of another.
– An animal should not be dragged to the place of slaughtering
– An animal should not be slaughtered with such force that the head is severed or the knife reaches the spinal cord.
– After slaughtering, the head should not be cut off nor should the animal be skinned until it is completely dead.
اَللهُ اَكْبَرُ اَللهُ اَكْبَرُ لَا إِلهَ اِلَّا اللهُ وَ اللهُ اَكْبَرُ اَللهُ اَكْبَرُ وَ لِلّهِ الْحَمْد
Al-laahu akbar Al-laahu akbar, Laa ilaaha il-lal-laahu wal-laahu akbar, allahu akbar wa lil-laa hil hamd
It is wajib upon males and females to recite this takbeer once after every fard salaah from after the Fajr salaah of the 9th of Dhul Hijjah until after the fard of Asr salaah of the 13th.
The takbeer should be recited whether the salaah is performed individually or with Jamaah. Males will say it in a moderate voice while females will recite it softly.
SUNNAH ACTS ON THE DAY OF EID UL ADHAA
– to awake early in the morning,
– to perform ghusl and miswaak,
– to wear one’s best clothes,
– to apply Itr (perfume),
– to abstain from eating anything before Eid Salaah until ‘sacrifice meat’ is available,
– to recite the takbeeraat audibly while going for Eid salaah,
– to go for Eid salaah in one route and return by another,
– to go early for Eid Salaah
THE METHOD OF SLAUGHTERING
When the animal is laid down facing the Qiblah recite:
اِنــِّىْ وَجَّهْتُ وَجْهـِى للـَّذِىْ فَطَرَ السَّمَوَاتِ َواْلاَارْضَ حَنِيْفًا وَّمَا اَنَا مِنَ الـْمُشـْرِكِيْنَ
In-nii waj-jah tu waj hi ya lil-la dhii fa taras-sa maa waa ti wal arda hanii faw-wa maa ana minal mush rikiin.
‘Certainly I have directed my face truly towards Him who created the Heavens and the Earth, and I am not from those who ascribe partners to Allah.’
اِنَّ صَلاَتِىْ وَ نُسُكِىْ وَ مَحْيَاىَ وَ مَمَاتِىْ لِلّهِ رَبِّ الـْعَالَمِيْنَ لاَ شَرِيْكَ لَهُ وَبِذلِكَ اُمِرْتُ وَ اَنَا مِنَ الـْمُسْلِمِيْنَ اَللهُمَّ مِنْكَ وَ لَكَ
In-na salaatii wa nusukii wa mahyaa ya wa ma maati lil-laahi rab-bil ‘aalamiin. Laa sha rii ka lahu, wa bi dhaa lika u-mirtu wa a-na minal mus li miin. Al-laa hum-ma min ka wa laka.
‘Verily my worship and my sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the worlds. There is no partner for Him, and with that I have been commanded and I am from the Muslims. O Allah, this sacrifice is from You and is for You.’
Then the slaughter will begin. While slaughtering the animal one should only read:
بِسْمِ اللهِ , اَللهُ اَكْبَرُ
Bismil-laahi Al-laahu Akbar
‘In the name of Allah, Allah is the Greatest.’
Immediately after the sacrifice, the following dua is read:
اَللّهُمَّ تَـقَـبَّـلْهُ مِنِّىْ كَمَا تَقَبَّلْتَ مِنْ حَبِيْبِكَ مُحَمَّدٍ وَ خَلِيْلِكَ اِبْرَاهِيْمَ عَلَيْهِمَا الصَّـلاَةُ وَ السَّلاَمُ
Al-laa hum-ma ta qab-bal hu min (nii) ka maa taqab-bal ta min habiibika Muham-mad, wa khaliilika Ibraahiim, ‘a-lai hi mas-salaatu was-salaam.
‘O Allah accept from (me) like you have accepted from Your beloved Muhammad (S.A.S) and Your friend Ibraheem (A.S)’
Note: At this point the name or names of those whose Qurbani is being done should be called. If one is reciting the Dua in Arabic then instead of the word (Nii) in brackets, the name or names of those for whom the sacrifice is done are mentioned.
 Tirmizi, Hadith No.758, Pg.357, Vol.1, Altaf and Sons
 Bukhari, Hadith No.969, Pg.263, Vol.1, Altaf and Sons
 Majma o Zawaaid, Hadith No.5553, Pg.562, Vol.3, Darul Fikr
 Tibrani in Al Kabeer, Hadith No.11116, Pg.2787, Vol.8, Muassasah Rayaan
 Tanbeehul Ghafileen
 Ahmad, Hadith No.5447, Pg.365, Vol.2, Maktabah Tijariyyah
 Muslim, Hadith No.3288, Pg.568, Darussalam
 Muatta Imam Malik, Hadith No.944, Pg.575, Vol.3, Maktaba Bushra / Kanzul Ummal, Hadith No.12104, Pg.72, Vol.5, Muassasah Rayaan
 Tirmidhi, Hadith No.749, Pg.354, Vol.1, Altaf and Sons / Ibn Majah, Pg.551, Vol.1, Maktaba Tijariya / Similar narration in Muslim, Hadith No.2746, Pg.476, Darussalam
 Majma o Zawaaid, Hadith No.5145, Pg.437, Vol.3, Darul Fikr
 Majma o Zawaaid, Hadith No.5142, Pg.436, Vol.3, Darul Fikr
 Surah Maidah, Verse 27
 Surah Maryam, Verse 46
 Surah Anbiyah, Verse 69
 Surah Safaat, Verse 99
 Surah Safaat, Verse 100
 Surah Safaat, Verse 101
 Surah Safaat, Verse 102
 Surah Safaat, Verse 103
 Surah Safaat, Verse 104-5
 Ibn Majah, Pg.226, Published by Qademi Kutub Khana / Similar narrations are reported in Ahmad, Hadith No.19303, Pg.78, Vol.7, Published by Maktaba Tijariya / Sunan Al Kubra, Hadith No.19016, Pg.485, Vol.9, Published by Dar el Hadith
 Surah Al Imraan, Verse 92
 Surah An ‘aam, Verse 162
 Tirmizi, Hadith No. 1507, Pg. 644, Vol.1, Published by Altaf and Sons / A similar narration is reported in Ahmad, Hadith No. 4955, Vol. 2, Pg. 282, Published by Maktaba Tijariya
 Ibn Majah, Pg. 226, Published by Qademi Kutub Khana / Similar narrations are reported in Ahmad, Hadith No. 8280, Pg. 207, Vol. 3, Published by Maktaba Tijariya / Dar Qutni, Hadith 4743, Pg.500, Published by Reesalah Publishers / Hakim, Hadith No. 7727, Vol.5, Pg. 156, Published by Qademi Kutub Khana
 Ibn Majah, Pg.226, Published by Qademi Kutub Khana / A similar narration is reported in Tirmizi, Hadith No. 1493, Pg. 639, Vol.1, Published by Altaf and Sons
 Targeeb wa Tarheeb, Hadith No.3, Pg.160, Vol.2, Darul Fajr u Turath
 Ibn Majah, Pg.226, Published by Qademi Kutub Khana / Similar narrations are reported in Ahmad, Hadith No.19303, Pg.78, Vol.7, Published by, / Sunan Al Kubra, Hadith No.19016, Pg.485, Vol.9, Published by Dar el Hadith
 Tibrani in Awsat
 Muajamul Kabeer, Tibrani, Hadith No.2736, Pg.681, Vol.2, Muassasah Rayaan
 Surah Hajj, Verse 37
 Tirmizi, Hadith No. 1507, Pg. 644, Vol.1, Published by Altaf and Sons / A similar narration is reported in Ahmad, Hadith No. 4955, Vol. 2, Pg. 282, Published by Maktaba Tijariya
 (Ibn Majah, Pg. 226, Published by Qademi Kutub Khana / Similar narrations are reported in Ahmad, Hadith No. 8280, Pg. 207, Vol. 3, Published by Maktaba Tijariya / Dar Qutni, Hadith 4743, Pg.500, Published by Reesalah Publishers / Hakim, Hadith No. 7727, Vol.5, Pg. 156, Published by Qademi Kutub Khana)