Qurbani - Sacrifice
Spirit 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 Zil Hijjah.
It is Sunnah (a symbolic obligation) practised by Holy 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 Quran. “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 (the son) reached the age of serious work with him, he said: “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).
This is the origin of the Islamic precept of sacrifice in fulfilment of God’s command provided in the Quran: “... to your Lord turn in prayer and sacrifice.” (108:2).
The aim of sacrifice, like all other fundamentals of Islam, is to imbibe piety and self righteousness. It also promotes the spirit of sacrifice for a right cause. To explain its purpose, God says in the Quran. “It is not their meat, nor their blood, that reaches God, It is their piety that reaches God”: (22:37)
Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) said: “On the 10th of Zil-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.” We propose to deal here with the precepts and practices pertaining to Qurbani, according to Hanafi Fiqh.
Qurbani is Fardh for :
Qurbani, like Zakat, is essential for one who has the financial means and savings that remain surplus to his own needs over the year. It is essential for one’s own self.
However, a slaughter of animal can also be offered for each member of one’s family. It may be offered, though it is not essential, for one’s deceased relations, too, in the hope of benediction and blessings for the departed souls.
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.
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 intent is to offer Qurbani.
Age of Sacrificial Animals
Sacrifice of goat or sheep less than one year old (unless the sheep is so strong and fat that it looks to be a full one year old) is not in order. Cow should be at least two years old. Camels shouldn’t be less than five years old.
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.
If the number of teeth intact exceeds the lost ones, it is permissible. If it has no horns by birth, or has less than one third broken horns it is permissible.
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.
Injunctions as to Skin, etc.
It is not permissible to give a portion of 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.
Injunction as to sacrifice giver
It is commendable that one who intends to offer a sacrifice should refrain from having a hair cut, a shave, and pruning of nails, from the 1st of Zil-Hijjah (upto the time he has performed the sacrifice).
In the first instance, one who proposes to offer sacrifice must make an intention to that effect.
Method of Sacrifice
The animal for slaughter should be laid on its left side facing Kaabah 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.
LIVING beings, other than humans, are like programmed robots. They do not deviate from the ways of life fixed for them. A particular bird has always been building its nest in the same particular way since time immemorial. There has never been a change. A tiger has, as always, been hunting down deer and such other animals in the jungles for his food. There has never been a change in the way he hunts. And, by the way, there is nothing immoral in the way he digs his teeth deep into his hapless prey’s neck, sucking its blood till it drops dead. It is but natural for him to do so. He would go hungry otherwise. He has no choice. He, like other animals, has to submit himself completely to Nature. Nature has not given him any freedom in this regard. Human beings, on the other hand, have a certain degree of freedom to choose their ways of life.
One such messenger was Abraham. God tested him by asking him to sacrifice his son Ismael. When He found both father and son quite ready for the sacrifice, He sent down to them a sacrificed goat. Abraham was informed that he had passed the test successfully and that there was no need then to sacrifice Ismael. The sacrificed goat was a token of Abraham’s success in the supreme test.
We, Muslims, celebrate Eid-ul-Azha or the Bakr-Eid all the world over to commemorate this success. It is a Sunnah and not an absolute obligation - to sacrifice a herbivorous animal, like a goat, on this occasion. Ideally, the sacrificial animal would be the one that we have been rearing as a pet for at least a few days, so that we start feeling some attachment towards it. We would then have a little taste of the real spirit of sacrifice behind the token.
We should never ever mistake the token sacrifice as the real thing. We should be ever ready for the supreme sacrifice of our dearest thing in this world at the call of God, our Creator. That is the ultimate test for salvation, which lies in complete submission, by one’s own free choice, to the Will of the One and Only Creator. That is the real spirit behind the token sacrifice.
The question of the perceived cruelty to the sacrificial animal may disturb some uneducated minds. The reference made herein above, to the tiger killing a deer for his very survival may give some peace to such minds. They can perceive therefrom that it is in the nature of things sometimes for one species of living beings to kill another, for sheer survival. The disturbed minds themselves would not be so much disturbed at killing mosquitoes; for, otherwise, they may not get sleep at night and may even get afflicted by some mosquito-borne diseases. Take the goat, the very animal commonly used for the sacrifice, for another example. Its flesh is used the world over as a common item of food by human beings. A little reflection would show that God has created goats in such large numbers, specifically for the purpose of providing human being with an item of food for them. Thousands of them are being killed every day for food, and yet there is no dearth of them in the world. Imagine what would happen if a ban were to be imposed on goat-slaughter, the world over. Perhaps there would be no food left then for even the so-called vegetarian humans.
Logically speaking, therefore, there should be no eyebrows raised for choosing the animals for the sacrifice. Experiments have proved that the Islamic way of slaughter is the most humane and the least painful to the animal being sacrificed. The cutting off of the main artery in the neck cuts the blood supply to the brain wherein lie the cells which make a living being feel any pain. The sudden cutting off of the blood supply makes the brain die instantaneously. So, no brain, no pain. Some such thing may also be happening in the case of the tiger digging his teeth into his prey’s neck, the prey instantaneously becoming brain-dead and thus feeling no pain.
Lastly, let us not forget that on account of this sacrificial practice thousands of the poor get the rarely available chances of enjoying the luxury of a meal of meat.
Muhammad Shafi J. Aga
THE Takbeer Allaahu Akbar, Allaahu Akbar. Laa ilaaha illallaahu wallaahu Akbar. Allaahu Akbar walillaahil hamd Translation: “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 that performs salaat with Jamaa’ah, and the one that 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 Takbeeraat loudly but softly. (Shami).
It is Mustahab (desirable) for those who read their salaat individually (men or women) and Musafirs (travellers) to recite these Takbeeraat softly.