Sialkot: The word qurbani embraces vast scope of meaning. This is derived from word qurb (nearness). Therefore the act of qurbani denotes the nearness to Allah Almighty. Technically, the word qurbani refers to the sacrificing of animals on the occasion of Eid al-Adha with a view to achieving the nearness to Him. In the wider context, it means sacrificing everything one possesses in the way of Allah like life, wealth, honour and comfort etc. The 162nd verse of Sura al-Anam states: "My prayers, my hajj (pilgrimage) and sacrifice (with all my acts of worship) and my life and my death are for Allah alone Who is the Lord of all the worlds."
Historical background of slaughter
The act of slaughtering lawful animals as a means for achieving nearness to Allah Almighty dates back to the time when Hadrat Adam came to the world. The Holy Quran has made mention of the first sacrifice offered in the way of Allah by the sons of Hadrat Adam, Habeel and Qabeel. Although these sons of Adam started the tradition of slaughter but it gained eternal popularity through the incident that involved Hadrat Ibrahim and Hadrat Ismail. This slaughter is the reflection of the greatest slaughter offered on the face of earth. Thus in order to commemorate the sacrifice offered by Hadrat Ibrahim and Hadrat Ismail till the Day of Judgment, the Muslims were enjoined to perform the act of slaughter on 10th of Dhil-Hajj during every Islamic year.
Aims and Objectives
Slaughtering is not merely a ritual but it is a means to the following ends.
1. It is the Sunna of Hadrat Ibrahim, which has been invested with permanence among the followers of Islam and they have been enjoined to perform this act practically in order to revive its spirit. As Allah Almighty says in the Holy Quran: "And We have appointed a sacrifice for every people". (al-Hajj, 34:22)
Allah Almighty has given the status of worship to following the Sunna of Hadrat Ibrahim. Hadrat Zaid Bin Arqam reports that the Companions asked, "O Prophet of Allah! what is this slaughter. He replied: It is Sunna of your father Hadrat Ibrahim. The Companions asked: will we get any reward from this slaughter. He replied: you will get reward against every hair (of sacrificial animals). The Companions asked: if it be lamb. He replied: still you would get reward against every hair." (Sunan Ibn Maja)
Hadrat Abu Huraira reports: "When the Holy Prophet would make up his mind about the slaughter, he would buy two lambs of black colour and horns having good bodily health. He would slaughter one of them on behalf of every one from his Umma who believed in Oneness of Allah and finality of the Prophethood and he would slaughter the other one on his and his children's behalf." (Sunan Ibne Maja)
Hadrat Hanash reports: "When I saw Hadrat Ali slaughtering lamb, I asked him as to what it was? He said: the Holy Prophet had advised him to offer sacrifice on his behalf. Therefore (in view of his advice) I am offering this sacrifice on his behalf." (Sunan Abi Dawood)
This stands established from this that the Holy Prophet slaughtered (animals) not only on his and his family's behalf but also on behalf of his Umma (religious community) till the Day of Judgment. Allah Almighty blessed him with this act for commemoration and revival of the Sunna of Hadrat Ibrahim. That is why he advised Hadrat Ali to continue with this act of slaughter on his own and Prophet's behalf. Hadrat Ali acted upon this piece of advice all his life.
Following in the footprints of Sunna of Hadrat Ibrahim not only keeps the memory of his actions alive but also inspires us to implement them in our lives. The Sunna of Ibrahim reminds the Muslim Umma of its commitment that it would leave no stone unturned to render any kind of sacrifice for the revival of faith. If this pledge is missing, then slaughtering is merely a ritual devoid of its substance.
2. The second aim of slaughter is to create the feelings of sacrifice among the Muslims. That is why Allah Almighty enjoined upon the Muslims to perform this act till the Day of Reckoning. This worship is known as Sunna of the Holy Prophet and Hadrat Ibrahim without any dispute. One hadith contained in Jami Tirmidhi is narrated by Hadrat Abdullah ibn Umar: "The Holy Prophet lived in the holy city of Madina for ten years and he did slaughtering (of animals)."
The real of aim of slaughter is to create and foster the feelings of sacrifice among the Muslims so that they should remain ready to sacrifice anything dear to them in the cause of Allah.
3. Every action leaves its impact upon human personality, self and heart, but there are specific actions, which are instrumental in achieving nearness to Allah Almighty. Slaughtering is also one such act but it can only succeed in fulfilling its purpose if it is aimed at winning the pleasure of Allah Almighty. He says in the Holy Quran: "It is neither the meat (of slaughtered animals) nor their blood that reaches Allah but it is the piousness that reaches Him from you." (al-Hajj, 22:37)
On this basis, the drop of blood of slaughtered animals does not yet fall on the ground when Allah Almighty accepts in His Company and rewards those who offer sacrifice. Hadrat 'Aisha narrates that the Holy Prophet said: "No act of a person is dearer to Allah on the day of slaughter than spilling of blood and that (slaughtered) animal would become alive again with his horns and forefeet intact. Allah Almighty grants high status to blood before it falls down on ground. You should be pleased with your slaughtering." (Jami Tirmidhi)
What is a prerequisite for acceptance of slaughter is the possession of good intentions and sincerity of heart. If an action, even though it may be a small one, is performed with full measure of sincerity, elevates its performer. And if the same action is devoid of sincerity and good intentions in spite of its enormity would be of no consequence near Allah Almighty. If the aim of slaughter is the demonstration of wealth, status and an attempt to impress others, such an action may deceive people but will not be rewarded by Allah Almighty. Contrary to this, a poor person can enjoy great esteem in the sight of Allah who is penniless but has burning urge to implement His Sunna of slaughter but is constrained to do this due to lack of wealth. Therefore, it is the intention, with which the act of the slaughter is performed, which is more important than anything else is. Allah Almighty says: "And he who honours the Signs of Allah (ie honoring those living beings, shrines, monumental sites, commands and prescribed duties known and recognized due to some association or link with Allah or Allah's servants), this (honoring) is from the piousness of hearts (only those submit themselves in honour of the sanctities, whose hearts have been filled with fear of God)."(al-Hajj, 22:32)
This Divine commandment dubs piety as state of heart. The sacrificial animals are sign of Allah because they are slaughtered for achieving nearness to Him. Since they have their association with Allah, that is why, they form part of signs of Allah. The Holy Qur`an says: "And We have made for you sacrificial animals (camels and cows etc) among the Signs of Allah." (al-Hajj, 22:36)
In the light of the dictates and commandments of the Holy Qur`an and Sunna, man can easily reach this conclusion that it is not the apparent shape or form of an object but the piety of hearts and inherent intentions, which is instrumental for achieving the nearness of Allah. The ultimate goal of qurbani is attainment of piety. If this is not achieved, then it is merely reduced to a ritual act. Therefore slaughtering should always be performed with the intention to achieve nearness to Allah.
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