Qurbani in Islam
By Mawlana Ashraf Zaman
Prophets and Messengers were selected to convey the message of Allah to humanity. The most important message they have conveyed to us is that Allah is the originator of the heavens and the earth, and that there is a day of Judgment. We Muslims have, by the grace of Allah, chosen to follow the path of prophets with full submission and devotion as detailed in the Qur’an and the Prophet Muhammad (SAW)’s traditions. One of the ways in which Muslims show submission and devotion to Allah is by taking part in the Qurbani (ar. udhhiyah, slaughtering of the Eid sacrificial animal). The process of Qurbani demonstrates our utmost love for Allah, as it reminds us about the struggles of our father Ibrahim (AS) and his son Isma’il (AS).
The whole purpose of Qurbani is for us to experience it, and for our children to see its entire process. They especially need to see the bond developing between us and the animal, and then see us slaughtering it for the sake of Allah. We and our children need to see the sacrifice so that when we hear the words of Allah, “It is not their meat nor their blood, that reaches Allah: it is your piety that reaches Him) (22:37) – we feel this spiritual fulfilment. If we do not pass on this spiritual attachment, then they will remember Eid al-Adha as a day in which we give our money back to our family in another country or give it to a charity to take responsibility of the slaughter on our behalf. Indeed, the purpose of Qurbani and its spiritual bond will be lost.
It is correct that we try our best to make sure our relatives do not go without meat on the day of Eid, but the way things are in the U.K. – we can easily allocate some of our family member’s Qurbani both for home and abroad. I have mentioned the ideal scenario above. For children to get a glimpse of the process of Qurbani, what we can do is display the meat in front of them, share it with our neighbours (Muslims and non-Muslims) and tell them about its significance. Khalil Foundation is to soon take initiative by facilitating the opportunity to take people to the slaughter house so that they can do their own Qurbani or even witness it. May Allah give them the ability to do this. There are also other Muslims in the U.K. who have access to farms and practice this sunnah. If we really have the will to do it properly, insha’Allah there will be a way.
Rulings and rites of Qurbani
As for the other rulings and rites of Qurbani; owning nisab of sadaqatul fitr obligates Qurbani. The nisab is the minimum threshold that one has to own before the sadaqatul fitr is obligatory. This is calculated at 87.479 grams of gold or a combination of zakatable and non-zakatable (above necessity) assets which equal the value of 87.479 grams of gold (this is around £2427.54 currently). If a poor person gives Qurbani, it is still considered to be highly rewardable. There are scholars who say the nisab of silver should be taken into consideration and £30–£40 given to a charity to give Qurbani on one’s behalf.
The person intending to give Qurbani will avoid cutting his hair, skin or nails after seeing the crescent of Dhul Hijjah till one has done Qurbani. According to some scholars, this is mustahab (preferred) and others say it is wajib (necessary). It is mustahab on the day of Eid al-Adha to bathe, to put on one’s best clothing, and to wear perfume. One should also try to delay eating till after salah because the Prophet (SAW) used to refrain from eating until he returned from the prayer, after which he would start by eating from the Qurbani meat. Nevertheless, eating is not makruh (disliked) before eating the Qurbani meat. Takbiraat Al-Tashreeq starts from the fajr of the 9th till asr of 13th Dhul Hijjah, and the Qurbani becomes wajib upon a person by the entering of fajr time. People living in cities must do their Qurbani after Eid salah, and people who live in rural areas can do Qurbani after fajr has entered. If a city dweller sends his Qurbani to be done in the rural area, then they can do it after subh sadiq (true dawn). If it is given on behalf of a person in another city or country, then they have to make sure that the fajr of Eid day has entered for whom it is given for.
It is only wajib upon a person who has reached puberty, although nafl Qurbani can be given on behalf of children (but not from their wealth). Seven or less people can give a cattle or camel in Qurbani. The only condition is that they are all intending thawab (reward) with all of the seven portions, if one intends his portion to be other than thawab – then the Qurbani will not be valid for anyone of them. To keep fast on the 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th of Dhul Hijjah is makruh tahrimi. To pray nafl at home or in the masjid before Eid prayer is makruh, and after it in the masjid. Fasting any one day of the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah is like fasting the whole year.
This is a day in which greatness of Allah is announced, therefore one should proclaim the takbir (“Allahu Akbar”) on the way to the masjid loudly. One should express happiness and enjoy himself, as this is a day of invitation from Allah, and therefore we should also make a special effort in not doing things that displease our Lord. We should also not forget the suffering of our brothers and sisters in the hands of tyrants across the world, and keep them in our du’as.
May Allah give us tawfeeq to spend the day with expressions of submission, devotion, love, and happiness. May Allah bring good back to humanity by bringing back Muslims to His deen. All praise is due to the Lord of the universe.