Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

January 2006
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Bakrid

The True Spirit of Qurbani (Sacrifice)


In Islam, all that is demanded as a sacrifice is one’s personal willingness to submit one’s ego and individual will to Allah.


Islam’s attitude towards ritual slaughter is not that of blood atonement, or seeking favour with Allah through another’s death, but rather, the act of thanking Allah for one’s sustenance.


“`Eid Al-Adha” is at the doorstep, many rams, cows, camels, of course, are tied to be slaughtered. What is the concept of sacrifice in Islam?


Actually, there are many misconceptions filling the mind of many non-Muslims, who fail to perceive the significance and wisdom behind acts of worship in Islam. That is why addressing those misconceptions becomes obligatory in order to erase distortions about Islam.


“Sacrifice is not a pillar of Islam. We must look at the occurrences in a contextual manner, understanding not only the pre-Islamic institution of sacrifice, the Quranic reforms concerning this practice, and the continuance of sacrifice in the Muslim world, but also the context in which the Quranic revelations occurred. For it seems that with many people, both non-Muslims and Muslims alike, context is the key that they are missing.


What was the situation in pre-Islamic Arabia with regard to animal sacrifice? Not only did the pagan Arabs sacrifice to a variety of gods with hopes of attaining protection or some favour or material gain, but so, too, did the Jews of that day seek to appease the One True God by blood sacrifice and burnt offerings. Islam, however, broke away from this longstanding tradition of appeasing an “angry God.” The notion of “vicarious atonement of sin” (absolving one’s sins through the blood of another) is nowhere to be found in the Quran. Neither is the idea of gaining favour by offering the life of another to Allah. In Islam, all that is demanded as a sacrifice is one’s personal willingness to submit one’s ego and individual will to Allah.


One only has to look at how the Quran treats this subject, to see a marked difference regarding sacrifice and whether or not Allah is appeased by blood. The Quranic account of the sacrifice of Ismail ultimately speaks against blood atonement. Allah says: “Then when (the son) reached the age of serious work with him, he said: “Oh my son! I see in vision that I offer thee in sacrifice: Now see what is thy view!” (The son) said: “Oh my father! Do As thou art commanded: Thou wilt find me, if Allah so wills one practising patience and constancy!” So when they had both submitted their will to Allah, and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead for sacrifice, We called out to him, “Oh Abraham! Thou hast already fulfilled the vision!” Thus indeed do We reward those who do right. For this was obviously a trial and We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice.” (As-Saffat: 102-107).


Notice that the Quran never says that Allah told Abraham to kill (sacrifice) his son. Here, it teaches us that Abraham had a dream in which he saw himself slaughtering his son. Abraham believed the dream and thought that the dream was from Allah. However, in Abraham and Ismail’s willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice-Abraham of his son, Ismail of his own life-they are able to transcend notions of self and false attachment to the material realm, thus removing a veil between themselves and Allah.


As far as the yearly tradition that has followed this event, that is, the sacrificing of a ram to commemorate Abraham and Ismail’s great self-sacrifice, we must understand it and the Quranic verses that pertain to animal sacrifice, in relation to the time and place circumstances under which these revelations were received and how people were trying to make a personal sacrifice by sharing their limited means of survival with the poorer members of their community.


That is to say, the underlying implication of Islam’s attitude towards ritual slaughter is not that of blood atonement, or seeking favour with Allah through another’s death, but rather, the act of thanking Allah for one’s sustenance and the personal sacrifice of sharing one’s possessions and valuable food with one’s fellow humans. The ritual itself is not the sacrifice. It is merely a method of killing where the individuals kill as quickly as possible and acknowledge that only Allah has the right to take a life and that they do so as a humble member of Allah’s creation in need of sustenance just like every other species in Allah’s creation.


Allah also says: “To every people did We appoint rites (of sacrifice) that they might celebrate the name of Allah over the sustenance He gave them from animals (fit for food). But your God is One God: Submit then your will to Him (In Islam): and give thou the good news to those who humble themselves.” (Al-Hajj: 34).


“This is the true end of sacrifice, not propitiation of higher powers, for Allah is One, and He does not delight in flesh and blood, but a symbol of thanksgiving to Allah by sharing meat with fellow humans. The solemn pronouncement of Allah’s name over the sacrifice is an essential part of the rite.”


Allah says further: “ It is not their meat nor their blood, that reaches Allah: it is your piety that reaches Him: He has thus made them subject to you, that ye may glorify Allah for His guidance to you: And proclaim the Good News to all who do right.” (Al-Hajj: 37).


“No one should suppose that meat or blood is acceptable to the One True God. It was a pagan fancy that Allah could be appeased by blood sacrifice. But Allah does accept the offering of our hearts, and as a symbol of such offer, some visible institution is necessary. He has given us power over the brute creation, and permitted us to eat meat, but only if we pronounce His name at the solemn act of taking life, for without this solemn invocation, we are apt to forget the sacredness of life. By this invocation we are reminded that wanton cruelty is not in our thoughts, but only the need for food”.


It is quite clear from the Quranic passages above that the issue of animal sacrifice is in relation to the role animals played in Arabian society at that place and time (as well as other societies with similar climates and culture), in that humans are commanded to give thanks to Allah and praise Allah for the sustenance He has given them and that they should sacrifice something of value to themselves to demonstrate their appreciation for what they have been given (which in their case was the very animals on which their survival was based).

Takbeer-e-Tashreek


The Takbeer… Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar. Laa ilaaha illallaahu wallaahu Akbar. Allahu Akbar walillaahil hamd “Allah is most great. Allah is most great. There is no Deity besides Allah and Allah is most Great. Allah is most Great and Verily all praises are for Allah.”


It is waajib to recite this Takbeer audibly once after every Fard salaat from the morning of the ninth of Dhul Hijjah (Day of Arafah) till the Asr salaat of the thirteenth of Dhul Hijjah. The Fatwa is that the one who performs salaat with the congregation and the one who performs it alone are the same as far as this law is concerned i.e. it is necessary to recite the Takbeer. It is waajib on both male and female. Females should not say the Takbeer loudly, but softly.


It is necessary for men to recite these Takbeer in a moderately loud voice. Many people are not mindful of this: either they read it softly or do not read it at all.

Virtues of Sacrifice


In Islam, sacrifice, commonly known as Qurbani, means slaughter of a permissible animal in the name of Allah on the 10th, 11th or 12th of the Islamic month of Dhul Hijjah


It is Sunnah (a symbolic obligation) practised by Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) in an essential religious rite in memory of the sacrifice performed by Prophet Abraham. God put Abraham to a most difficult trial, the details of which are described in the Qur’an.


“O my Lord! Grant me (Abraham) a righteous (son)!” So We gave him the good news of a boy ready to suffer and forbear. “Then, when the (son) reached the age of serious work with him, he said, a”O my son I see in a vision that I offer you in sacrifice: Now say what is your view!” (The son) said: “O My father! Do as you are commanded: You will find me if God so wills, one practising patience and constancy!” So when they had both submitted their wills (to God), and he had made him prostrate on his face (for sacrifice), We called out to him: “O Abraham! You have already fulfilled the vision!” Thus indeed do we reward those who do right. “For this was obviously a trial and We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice: and We left (this blessing) for him among generations (to come) in later times: Peace and salutation to Abraham! (37:100-109).


Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) said: “On the 10th of Dhul Hijjah, there is no better act in the view of Allah than shedding the blood (of slaughtered animals). And verily sacrifice earns the approbation of Allah even before the drop of blood (of the slaughtered animal) falls on the ground. Hence you should offer it in good spirit. For every hair of the sacrificial animal, there is a blessing.”

Fiqh of Qurbani


Here are the precepts and practices pertaining to Qurbani, according to the Hanafi school of thought.



On Whom is Sacrifice Mandatory

Sacrifice during the days of Eid-ul-Adha is compulsory on all Muslims (male and female) who own wealth to the value of the Zakat Nisaab on these days of sacrifice (10th, 11th and 12th Dhul Hijjah). The Nisaab value is of gold or 612, grams of silver.

Whoever possesses this amount of wealth during this period should make the sacrifice.



What to Sacrifice

All the permissible (halal) domesticated or reared quadrupeds can be offered for Qurbani. Generally, slaughter of goats, sheep, rams, cows, and camels is offered.



Sharing

It is permissible for seven persons to share the sacrifice of a cow or a camel on the condition that no one’s share is less than one seventh and their intention is to offer Qurbani.



Age of Sacrificial Animals

Sacrifice of goat or sheep less than one year old is not in order. Cow should be at least two years old. Camels should not be less than five years old.



Disqualifying Defects

Sacrifice of an animal will not be in order if it is one eyed, or blind, or has lost an estimated one third or more of its eyesight, or estimated one third or more of its tail, or its ear has been cut off, or it is lame, or its bones have no marrow, or it has no ears by birth or its horns have been broken from their roots, or it has no teeth at all.



Distribution of Meat

One should eat the meat of the sacrifice, give it to relations and friends, (to non-Muslims also) and also to the poor in charity. One third should be given in charity, but if it be less it will not be a sin.



How to Use the Skin

It is not permissible to give a portion of the meat or the skin of the slaughtered animal as wages. They should instead be given to the needy in charity. Even the rope and cover of the sacrificed animal should be given away as charity.



Intention

In the first instance, one who proposes to offer sacrifice must make an intention to that effect.



Method of Sacrifice

Animal should be laid on its left side facing Kabah and its throat cut open with a sharp knife, and its blood allowed to drain. In the case of a camel, it should be allowed to remain standing after its left fore leg has been stringed. A sharp spear should then be thrust in its breast and in both sides of its neck, and the blood allowed to drain.



The Supplication of Sacrifice

Lay down the animal parallel with the direction of the Qibla and utter the following prayer first:

“Behold I have turned my face earnestly towards Him Who originated the heavens and the earth and I am not of polytheists. Behold, my salat, my offering, my living and my dying are all for Allah, Lord of the worlds. No partners hath He, concerning this I have been bidden and I am of the Muslims O Allah! (I offer this) to you and You gave it to me”.



After reciting this prayer, say

‘Bismillahi Allahu Akbar’. (In the name of Allah Who is Great) and cut the throat of the animal with a sharp-edged knife. Having performed the slaughter, read this prayer:


“Allah! Accept this sacrifice offered by me as Thou accepted the sacrifice offered by Thy friend Abraham and that offered by Thy loved one Muhammad. May Peace and blessings descend upon both.”


Although it is permissible to let someone else perform the slaughter of your sacrificial animal, yet it is better if you perform this act with your own hands. While you perform the slaughter, try to think and feel in the same way as you express through the words you utter at the time of sacrificing the animal i.e all that we have got belongs to Allah and it is all to be spent in His way only. The act of sacrificing the animal in His name is in submission to His will and if ever required we shall readily sacrifice even our own life in the way of Allah and shall be grateful to Him that He conferred upon us the honour of martyrdom by affording us an opportunity to shed our blood in His name.

Reflections from Raichur
By Mohd Mukarram Farooque


The AMAN WELFARE TRUST, RAICHUR, has been striving to introduce Islamic teachings on Quran and Hadith along with Computer Education for boys and girls.


The primary aim of education is to prepare and to qualify the new generation for participation in the cultural development of the people, so that the succeeding generations may benefit from the knowledge and experience of their predecessors. Education is a means to understand the past strivings and development of man. This is why, the Muslims of the past laid great stress on education and the religious education formed the basis and core of their society. But when the Western education was made obligatory in the Islamic world during the colonial period, the educational institutions relinquished the responsibility of moulding the righteous citizens, who would build up a healthy society, and the task of the curricula remained nothing more than the mere transfer of knowledge. Unfortunately, the syllabus used in the Western world was imposed on the Islamic countries. So there arose the need to initiate and promote Islamic spirit and accordingly build up the mind of the youth. Many felt concerned about the education of Muslim children and put forth a great deal of individual efforts in this direction.


The AMAN WELFARE TRUST, RAICHUR, has been striving to introduce Islamic teachings on Quran and Hadith along with Computer Education for Boys and Girls with a scholarship of 50% fees for a combination of 2 courses of 6 months duration. The Courses are: Islamic Teachings, i.e., Deeniyath – Brief Study of Quran & Hadith. Computer Education, for which the Computer Training programs will be organized through CMC LTD., - Computer Maintenance Corporation, (A TATA Enterprises), under the following modules


Software – *Certificate in Information Technology *Hardware – Certificate in Computer Hardware and Operating Systems. *DTP - Certificate course in Desk Top Publishing. *Multimedia – Certificate in Multimedia. For both the above-mentioned courses certificates to the successful candidates on completion of the courses will be provided by CMC Ltd.,(Computer Education) and AMAN WELFARE TRUST, RAICHUR (Deeniyath).


The AMAN WELFARE TRUST, RAICHUR was founded in 2004 by a group of dedicated professionals, experienced in the field of educational development in Information Technology (IT) for almost 2 decades in the city of Raichur. Looking at the present scenario of Social, Political, Religious and Economical conditions of the Muslim Ummah, the Trustees of AMAN WELFARE TRUST, RAICHUR, have taken the initiative to impart technical skills and a sense of awareness to improve the knowledge of Islam among boys and girls. Realizing the present situation, AMAN WELFARE TRUST, RAICHUR, has launched certain new packages, which will help the Muslim Ummah to compete with any rapid and gradual change in the IT field and also gain basic knowledge on Islam.


The syllabus for Deeniyath will be covered in 6 Months duration along with the CMC Computer Education Course and a separate Certificate on successful completion will be issued by AMAN WELFARE TRUST, Raichur.


For further details about application forms, contact AMAN WELFARE TRUST, First floor, Dr. Shankar Gouda Bldg, near Ek Minar, Raichur

Ph:08532-309455/08532-230586/08532-311003. Email:adsraichur@ yahoo.com

The First Ten Days of Dhul-Hijjah


Ibn Abbas (RA) reported that the Messenger (Pbuh) said: “There are no other days on which good deeds are more beloved to Allah than on these Ten Days” He was asked: “Not even Jihad in Allah’s way?” He replied: “Not even Jihad in Allah’s way; except for a person who went out (for Jihad) with his self and wealth and came back with none (i.e., lost all for Allah).” (Al-Bukhari).

Fasting on the Day of Arafah


Abu Qatadah reported that the Messenger (Pbuh) said: “Fasting on the Day of Arafah expiates the sins of two years: the past one and coming one”.