The Spirit of Sacrifice


 Eid-ul-Azha is the most prominent festival for the Muslims. This festival is a symbol of joy and revives Islamic traditions and refreshes the faith and belief of the Muslims in Allah, Prophet (SAW), Prophet Abraham (AS) and the Holy Qur’an. It is celebrated to remember the sacrifice which Prophet Abraham (AS) offered to please Allah and obey His command. This festival is an occasion of supreme happiness because Allah provides them a chance to love each other, express solidarity and importantly to atone for their sins. This day for the Muslims is not only for merry making but a day to celebrate spiritual success which they achieve by offering sacrifice of their wealth in the form of animals. This day is a kind of rebirth and regeneration of spiritual and religious values. This day reflects that the Muslims avow to sacrifice their wealth, interests, animals, property, time and particularly their life for the cause of Allah and Islam. They promise to uphold the traditions, values and beliefs of their ancestors. They also promise to forget about past conflicts, discords and offer sacrifice for each other.

The festival of Eid-ul-Adha is also the day of sacrifice (Qurbani) which is celebrated immediately after the HAJJ on 10th of Dhil-Hijja to express happiness after the accomplishment of the Holy Pilgrimage to Allah’s House Ka’aba. The Muslims from 9th of Dhil-Hijja to 13th Dhil-Hijja until Asr Prayer recite special verses (Takbir) to express Greatness of Allah.
 “Allah is Great, Allah is Great. There is no god but Allah is Great. Allah is Great and all praises are due to Him.”

  The history of offering animal sacrifice is as old as human history itself. In the primitive times man offered sacrifice of animals even of human beings to express his faith, devotion and spirit of sacrifice and humility. The man would even offer sacrifice before idols, gods and deities to please them but as soon as the blessing of Islam came, man was directed to restrain himself from such irreligious and unislamic acts. He was made to understand that idols, gods and deities have had no power and it is Allah alone who is All-powerful, Creator of everything and Helper of humanity. The command of Allah refined and reformed the sentiment of sacrifice of human beings and changed it into a spiritual and moral act. The Devine law prohibited any such sacrifice which was offered to other than Allah.

 The first sacrifice of human history was offered by the two sons of Adam (AS), Abel and Cain. The Holy Qur’an says,
“And tell them accurately the story of the two sons of Adam. When the two offered their sacrifices, the offering of the sacrifice of one was accepted but that of the other was not accepted” (Al-Qur’an, five, V.27)
Abel offered the sacrifice of the best ram out of his flock happily for the sake of Allah and whereas Cain offered a portion of useless corn unwillingly. The sacrifice of Abel was burnt up by a fire from heaven and this was a sign of its acceptance, but Cain’s offering was left and rejected.

The sacrifice (Qurbani) is a unique kind of act in Islam, the example of which is not found in any religion. Hazrat Abraham (AS) readily accepted Allah’s Will and Command to sacrifice His son Hazrat Ismail (AS) and when he (AS) was ready to place his knife on the neck of his son, Allah was pleased with the humility and submission and with His grace and grandeur send an animal (sheep) to Abraham (AS) to offer sacrifice. Since then the Muslims on every Eid-ul-Adha sacrifice animals to obey Allah’s Will. The animal is sacrificed after the Eid Prayer is offered and the sacrifice can be done on the IST day of Eid and on the two following days called          Ayyam-al-tashriq. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an;
 “And for every nation have we appointed a ritual that may mention the name of Allah over the beast or cattle that He hath given them for food; and your Allah is one Allah, therefore surrender unto Him. And give good tidings              O Muhammad (SAW) to the humble whose hearts fear when Allah is mentioned” (Al-Hajj V.34-35).

 Allah wants to see the deed and intention of His worshipper only and is not interested in the blood or meat. He is interested in the Spirit and piety of the Muslims. He wants that there be a Spirit of sacrifice in the Muslims when his neighbours, community and dear ones are in trouble and misery. He should be ready to offer sacrifice for the cause of humanity. The Holy Qur’an says,
 “Their flesh and their blood reach not Allah, but the devotion from you reacheth Him. Thus have We made them subject unto you that ye may magnify Allah that He hath guided you. And give good tidings (O Muhammad SAW) to the good”. (Al-Hajj V.22-23)
 Prophet (SAW) says about the act of sacrifice (Qurbani) “The person who possesses necessary means and does not offer sacrifice, he ought not to come to the place of Eid Ground (Idd Gah)”. (Abu-Hurairah (RA).

 Prophet (SAW) again says that “On the sacrifice day (Qurbani), Allah likes most the blood of animals which are sacrificed”. The animal for sacrifice should be without any blemish or defect and must be healthy, strong and stout. In case the camel is sacrificed, it must be five years old, the cow two years old, the goat and the sheep not less than one year. Our beloved Prophet (SAW) says, “Don’t sacrifice but a musinnah (year-old animal) unless it is difficult for you to get it. In that case sacrifice Jadha’ah (one six month’s old she-ram)” (Muslim). One goat or one sheep can be sacrificed on behalf of one man or the household but a cow or a camel can suffice for seven persons. Hazrat Jabir (RA) reports that Prophet (SAW) said, “Sacrifice of a cow suffices for seven persons and that of a camel also for seven persons” (Muslim). The following verse (Prayer) is recited on the animal which is to be sacrificed.

 “Verily, being submissive, I have turned my face towards One, Who created the heaven and the earth upon the religion of Abraham (AS) and I am not among the Polytheists. Undoubtedly, my worship, my sacrifice and my life and death are for Allah alone, the Creator of the worlds. He is One and there is no partner with Him. And this I am commanded and I am the follower and the Muslim. O Allah! It is thine and for thine, from Muhammad (SAW) and his community. In the name of Allah, Allah is Great”.
 After the animal is sacrificed, the Prayer is recited again.
“O Allah! accept the sacrifice from me as You accepted from your beloved Prophet Mohammad (SAW) and your friend Hazrat Abraham (AS)”.
 The sacrifice reflects that we submit ourselves to Allah and the sacrifice on animals is a rehearsal for us to prepare for other sacrifices. The sacrifice is not only confined to our wealth and cattle but it involves everything including our life. We can not please Allah by sacrificing an animal and He is pleased with the Spirit of submission and our obedience to His commands which He has given in the Holy Qur’an. He is pleased with us when we isolate ourselves from the evil doings, immoral actions and other irreligious acts. He wants us to sacrifice our comforts and luxuries and take the path of righteousness which may involve difficulties and hazards.

  The spirit of sacrifice demands that we should safeguard the interests of our own people and religion and try to rescue the whole mankind from the misery. We should prefer Allah’s pleasure than the pleasure of any worldly king or superpower. Through the ladder of sacrifice, we should try to create friendship with Allah and not hamper from any sacrifice when the call comes in any form. We should be ready to sacrifice our own time and our wealth to preserve the commands and Sunnah of our beloved Prophet (SAW). It should make a person remorseful and his inner soul ought to be cleaned from the disease of malice, jealousy and animosity. It should relieve and release us from the chains and slavery of evil. It should make us believe in the kindness and power of Allah only. And when we understand the Spirit of sacrifice, we will not sell our community and religion to please any world’s ruler or king.

(Feedback at Farooq_peer@yahoo.com or drfarooqpeer@gmail.com)

Lastupdate on : Wed, 17 Nov 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 17 Nov 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 18 Nov 2010 00:00:00 IST

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