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Qurbani: Act of Sacrifice

Animals Qurbani, also known as Udhiyah (اضحية), is the Islamic practice of animal sacrifice, performed during the festival of Eid al-Adha (عيدالاضحى). This act commemorates the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim (AH) to sacrifice his son Isma’il (AH) as an act of obedience to Allah. The practice is deeply rooted in Islamic tradition, with references found in both the Quran and Hadith.

References from Quran:

فَلَمَّا بَلَغَ مَعَهُ السَّعْيَ قَالَ يَا بُنَيَّ إِنِّي أَرَىٰ فِي الْمَنَامِ أَنِّي أَذْبَحُكَ فَانظُرْ مَاذَا تَرَىٰ ۚ قَالَ يَا أَبَتِ افْعَلْ مَا تُؤْمَرُ ۖ سَتَجِدُنِي إِن شَاءَ اللَّهُ مِنَ الصَّابِرِينَ

“Then, when (the son) reached (the age of) (serious) work with him, he said: “O my son! I see in vision that I offer thee in sacrifice: Now see what is thy view!” (The son) said: “O my father! Do as thou art commanded: thou will find me, if Allah so wills one practicing Patience and Constancy!” (Surah As-Saffat, Ayah:102)

This ayah highlights the importance of obedience and submission to Allah’s will, core principles in the Islamic faith.

Another relevant ayah is in Surah Al-Hajj  which underscores the significance of Qurbani:

وَلِكُلِّ أُمَّةٍ جَعَلْنَا مَنسَكًا لِّيَذْكُرُوا اسْمَ اللَّهِ عَلَىٰ مَا رَزَقَهُم مِّن بَهِيمَةِ الْأَنْعَامِ ۗ فَإِلَـٰهُكُمْ إِلَـٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ فَلَهُ أَسْلِمُوا ۗ وَبَشِّرِ الْمُخْبِتِينَ. لَن يَنَالَ ٱللَّهَ لُحُومُهَا وَلَا دِمَآؤُهَا وَلَـٰكِن يَنَالُهُ ٱلتَّقْوَىٰ مِنكُمْ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ سَخَّرَهَا لَكُمْ لِتُكَبِّرُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ عَلَىٰ مَا هَدَىٰكُمْ ۗ وَبَشِّرِ ٱلْمُحْسِنِينَ ٣٧.

For every community We appointed a rite of sacrifice so that they may pronounce the Name of Allah over the sacrificial animals He has provided for them. For your God is only One God, so submit yourselves to Him ˹alone˺. And give good news ˹O Prophet˺ to the humble. Neither their meat nor blood reaches Allah. Rather, it is your piety that reaches Him. This is how He has subjected them to you so that you may proclaim the greatness of Allah for what He has guided you to, and give good news to the good-doers.

Sura Al Hajj, Ayah: 34, 37

Above ayah emphasize the spiritual essence of Qurbani — it is not the physical act of sacrifice that matters to Allah, but the piety and obedience behind it.

Reference from Hadith:

The Hadith literature provides further insights and elaborations on the practice of Qurbani. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is reported to have said:

مَا عَمِلَ ابْنُ آدَمَ يَوْمَ النَّحْرِ عَمَلاً أَحَبَّ إِلَى اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ مِنْ هِرَاقَةِ دَمٍ وَإِنَّهُ لَيَأْتِي يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ بِقُرُونِهَا وَأَظْلاَفِهَا وَأَشْعَارِهَا وَإِنَّ الدَّمَ لَيَقَعُ مِنَ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ بِمَكَانٍ قَبْلَ أَنْ يَقَعَ عَلَى الأَرْضِ فَطِيبُوا بِهَا نَفْسًا ‏”

“The son of Adam does not do any deed on the Day of Sacrifice that is dearer to Allah than shedding blood. It will come on the Day of Resurrection with its horns and cloven hoofs and hair. Its blood is accepted by Allah before it reaches the ground. So be content when you do it.” (Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadith no.  3126)

This Hadith emphasizes the spiritual rewards and significance of the act of sacrifice.

Another Hadith underscores the importance of performing Qurbani for those who can afford it:

«مَن كان له سَعَة، ولمْ يُضَحِّ، فلا يَقْرَبَنّ مُصَلّانا»

“Whoever can afford to offer a sacrifice but does not do so, let him not come near our prayer place.” (Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadith no. 3123)

This Hadith highlights the obligation of Qurbani for those who are financially capable, indicating its significance as an act of worship and community solidarity.

Significance and Practice

The act of Qurbani is not only a physical manifestation of faith but also a means of promoting social equity and charity. The meat from the sacrificed animal is traditionally divided into three parts: one-third for the family, one-third for relatives and friends, and one-third for the needy and poor. This distribution ensures that the blessings of Qurbani are shared widely within the community, fostering a sense of unity and care for others.

In conclusion, Qurbani is a deeply meaningful practice in Islam, rooted in the examples of the Prophets and reinforced through Quranic ayahs and Hadith. It is a reminder of the virtues of obedience, piety, and charity, serving as a crucial aspect of Muslim worship and communal life.

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