The Essence of Qurbani
History of Qurbani
Qurbani (Sacrifice) is an ancient form of worship that is prevalent from the time of Hazrat Adam (Alaihis Salaam). The first sacrifice to be offered was that of Haabil and Qaabil, the two sons of Hazrat Adam (Alaihis Salaam). Hazrat Bibi Hawa (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anha) used to give birth to twins and Haabil was born with Leewa while Qaabil was born with Aqleemah. In terms of the Shariah during that time, Aqleemah was unlawful for Qaabil but Leewa was lawful for him. But because Aqleemah was prettier Qaabil tried to marry her. He argued with Hazrat Adam (Alaihis Salaam) who eventually told both his sons to offer a sacrifice, and the one whose sacrifice is burned by a heavenly fire would be true and sincere. Thus Qaabil brought a heap of wheat and Haabil slaughtered a sheep and placed it on a mountain. A fire from an unknown source appeared and burnt the meat, leaving the wheat untouched. At this miraculous happening Qaabil became jealous and made a firm intention to kill Haabil. [Tafseer Noorul Irfaan]
Referring to this incident, Allah Ta’ala states in the Glorious Qur’an, “And narrate to them the true story about the two sons of Adam, when each of them offered a sacrifice (to Allah). It was accepted from one, but was rejected from the other. He (Qaabil) said, “I swear that I shall kill you.” The other (Haabil) said, “Allah accepts (the offering) only from the God-fearing.” [Surah 5, Verse 27]
From this verse we learn that the eating of sacrificial meat was not permissible for the previous Ummahs. Their accepted sacrifice would be burnt by fire from Almighty Allah, while the rejected sacrifice would be left to rot. The eating of sacrificial meat is a distinctive privilege of the Ummah of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). [Tafseer Noorul Irfaan] We can therefore see how Allah Ta’ala has bestowed His special favour upon us just because we are the Ummatis of His Beloved Rasool (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). Subhaanallah!
The month of Hajj and the day of Eid-ul-Adha remind us of the sacrifices of Hazrat Ibrahim Khaleelullah (Alaihis Salaam). Allah Ta’ala loved his act of devotion and sacrifice so much that He has made it incumbent on us to follow this beautiful Sunnah of Hazrat Ibrahim (Alaihis Salaam) till the Day of Qiyaamah. In fact sacrifices have been made for Allah Ta’ala since the time of Hazrat Adam (Alaihis Salaam) yet it was that of Hazrat Ibrahim (Alaihis Salaam) that Allah Ta’ala made incumbent on us to follow, further emphasizing how much Allah Ta’ala loved that act. From this we also learn that true devotion to Almighty Allah demands that one must be willing to sacrifice everything in the name of Allah, whether it be your wealth, family or life.
Qurbani instils in us selflessness, sharing and sacrifice and removes from us the carnal desire to hoard money. The intention of Qurbani is not to feed or eat the meat of Qurbani, but to fulfil a command of Allah Ta’ala and to renew the Sunnah of Hazrat Ibrahim (Alaihis Salaam). The Holy Qur’an bears testament to this in the following verse, “Neither their flesh reaches to Allah nor their blood, but your piety reaches Him.” [Surah 22, Verse 37]
Significance of Qurbani
Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) once said to his beloved daughter Hazrat Bibi Fatima (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anha), “You must stand in the presence of your animal sacrifice, and bear witness to it, for then you will be granted forgiveness, with the first drop of blood that drips from it, for every sin you have committed. (As you stand there) you must say ‘Inna Salaati wa Nusuki wa Mahyaaya wa Mamaati Lillaahi Rabbil Aalameen’” [Ghunyalit Taalibi Tareeqal Haq, Vol. 3]
What Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) told Hazrat Bibi Fatima (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anha) to recite in the above Hadith is a verse of the Holy Qur’an, the translation of which is, “Undoubtedly, my prayer, and my sacrifices, and my living and my dying are all for Allah Who is the Lord of all the worlds.” [Surah 6, Verse 162]
Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) once said, “Hazrat Dawood (Alaihis Salaam) asked, “Ya Allah, what will be the spiritual reward of a member of the Ummah of Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), who offers an animal sacrifice?” Almighty Allah replied, “As his spiritual reward, he will be granted ten good deeds for every hair (on the animal’s body), and ten bad deeds will be erased from his record. He will also be promoted by ten degrees.” Hazrat Dawood (Alaihis Salaam) then asked, “Ya Allah, what will be his spiritual reward when he carves open the stomach?” To this Almighty Allah replied, “When the grave is split open to release him, Allah Ta’ala will bring him forth secure from hunger and thirst, and safe from the terrors of the Resurrection. O Dawood, for every piece of its meat, he will be awarded poultry in the Garden of Paradise, and those birds will be the size of Bactrian camels. For every one of its forelegs, he will be awarded one of the steeds of the Garden of Paradise. For every hair on its body, he will be awarded a palatial mansion in the Garden of Paradise. For every hair on its head, he will be awarded a maiden from among the houries (of Paradise). Surely you must know O Dawood, that the animal sacrifices represent the riding animals (of Paradise), and that those sacrifices wipe out sinful errors and drive away misfortunes.” [Ghunyalit Taalibi Tareeqal Haq, Vol. 3]
Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, “Offer your sacrifices and feel happy about letting them go, for if someone takes his sacrificial animal, and turns it to face the Qibla, its blood and its hair will be preserved for him until the Day of Resurrection. When the blood falls into the dust, it is falling into Allah’s safekeeping. Spend freely, that you may be recompensed abundantly!”
Once Hazrat Ali ibn Abi Talib (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) first recited the verse, “The day We shall carry the duty-bound (pious) towards the Most Affectionate as guests.” [Surah 19, Verse 85] He then went on to say, “And who will the guests consist of other than riders mounted on their thoroughbred camels? Those thoroughbred camels of theirs are now their sacrificial animals. (At the Resurrection) they will be provided with she-camels, the likes of which no creatures have ever seen, and these will be equipped with saddles of gold and bridles of chrysolite. Then they will transport them to the Garden of Paradise, so that they may enter through its gate.” [Ghunyalit Taalibi Tareeqal Haq, Vol. 3]
Ettiquettes of Qurbani
Qurbani is Wajib upon every Muslim male and female who is of sound mind, mature (reached puberty), not a traveller and possesses the amount of Nisaab. It is not necessary that the amount of Nisaab be in one’s possession for a complete lunar year as is the case for Zakaat. Qurbani is not Wajib upon a child or an insane person even if they own the amount of Nisaab. However, if a person on whom Qurbani is not Wajib, purchases an animal with the intention of performing Qurbani, it will then become Wajib to perform that Qurbani [Shaami]
The Ibaadat of Qurbani is prescribed only for three special days i.e. the 10th, 11th and 12th days of Zil Hajj. Qurbani may be performed on any of these days but the first day is better. It is makrooh to perform Qurbani at night. By giving in Sadaqah the equivalent amount of Qurbani during these three days will not compensate nor fulfil the Qurbani and one will be committing a sin for not fulfilling a Wajib act. Qurbani is a unique Ibaadat, and in the same way that Salaah cannot compensate for Fasting or Zakaat cannot compensate for Hajj, similarly Sadaqah and Charity cannot compensate for Qurbani. [Fatawa Alamgiri]
A person should show mercy and affection to the sacrificial animal and must not treat it harshly. Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, “You must treat your sacrificial animals properly, for they will be your riding animals on the Day of Resurrection.” A camel, cow or sheep can be sacrificed provided they have reached the necessary age for Qurbani and they are not defective in any way. If more than a third of the ear or tail of an animal is cut off, such an animal is not suitable for Qurbani. [Durre Mukhtar] A sheep or goat must be at least one year old, a cow two years old and a camel five years old.
When slaughtering, one should face the Qibla and ensure that a sharp knife is used so that the animal will not suffer. After slaughtering, the animal should not be skinned or cut up into pieces until it becomes completely cold. One animal should not be slaughtered in the presence of another animal. If an animal that has been selected for Qurbani gives birth before its slaughter or while slaughtering it, then the newly born animal should also be slaughtered.
With regard to the distribution of the meat, A’la Hazrat Imam Ahle Sunnat Imam Ahmad Raza Khan says that it is desirable to divide the meat into 3 parts: one for oneself, one for relatives, and one for the poor, or if he wants, he can eat it all of it or distribute it all. [Fatawa-e-Razvia] Furthermore, it is Haraam to sell the Qurbani meat and the slaughterer or skinner etc. cannot be given the skin or meat as payment for their services. A separate remuneration must be given.
Allah Ta’ala states in the Holy Qur’an, “And remember Allah during the numbered days.” [Surah 2, Verse 203] The ‘numbered days’ refer to the Days of Tashreeq which begin from Fajr of the 9th of Zil Hajj to the Asr Salaah of the 13th of Zil Hajj. [Tafseer Noorul Irfaan] It is Wajib to recite the Takbeer once, loudly immediately after every Fardh Salaah during these days, however it is better to recite it three times. The Takbeer to be recited is ‘Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar Laa Ilaaha Illallaahu Wallaahu Akbar Allahu Akbar wa Lillaahil Hamd’. It is Wajib on both males and females, but females should recite the Takbeer softly. [Shaami] However, if a person is a traveller (Musaafir) who has not made an intention to stay in the city then Takbeer is not Wajib upon him. [Durre Mukhtar]
May Allah Ta’ala grant us the Taufeeq to sincerely fulfil the Sunnah of Hazrat Ibrahim (Alaihis Salaam) and May Allah Ta’ala through His Infinite Mercy accept all our Qurbani and Ibaadaat, Ameen.