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The Importance of Prophetic Qurbani

by Musa Bukhari

Our salvation lies in our ability to follow the Prophet (SAW)’s footsteps closely. This is a general rule as Allah explains in the Qur’an:

“Say, [O Muḥammad], ‘If you should love Allāh, then follow me, [so] Allāh will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allāh is Forgiving and Merciful.’” (3:31)

Allah also tells us in the Qur’an:

“There has certainly been for you [and is] in the Messenger of Allah an excellent example for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often.” (33:21)

We all want to attain the love of Allah through doing as much good as we can. Our deeds are worthless unless they are done with sincerity. And they are also worthless unless they are done in accordance with the sunnah of the Prophet (SAW). The Prophet (SAW) taught us how to walk the footsteps of Ibrahim (A), so in doing the rites of Hajj, we are not only following Ibrahim (A), but also Allah’s Beloved Messenger, Rasulullah (SAW). Through doing so, we attain Allah’s Love and Pleasure.

The Importance of Qurbani

While the Days of Dhul-Hijjah are open to all and any types of good deeds sanctioned in the Shari’ah, the Prophet (SAW) gave us guidance regarding specific acts of worship, and the Qurbani is one of them.

The Prophet (SAW) said: “There is nothing dearer to Allah during the days of Qurbani than the sacrificing of animals. The sacrificed animal shall come on the Day of Qiyamah with its horns, hair, and hooves (to be weighed on a person’s good deeds). The sacrifice is accepted by Allah before the blood reaches the ground. Therefore, sacrifice with an open and happy heart. (At-Tirmidhi)

This hadith is incredible, because it makes things tangible and easy to quantify. If a person has a hard time connecting with the spiritual significance of the Qurbani, then this makes it easier to make that connection. Imagine if while slaughtering we remembered this hadith (or even while giving the payment online)! How much more would our hearts rejoice at giving for the sake of Allah? “Sacrifice with an open and happy heart…” What a beautiful reminder from the Prophet (SAW) to us not only about what to DO but HOW to do it.

Only Offer What is Pure

Allah says in the Qur’an:

“Allah only accepts (the offering) of those who have taqwa (are sincerely devout).” (5:27)

The Prophet (SAW) echoes this in his hadith:

“O people, Allah is pure and He only accepts what is pure. Verily, Allah has commanded the believers as He has commanded His Messengers. Allah said: ‘O Messengers, eat from wholesome foods and act righteously, for I know what you do’ (23:51). And Allah said: ‘O you who believe, eat from wholesome food We have provided for you,’ (2:172). Then, the Prophet (SAW) mentioned a man who traveled far, becoming disheveled and dusty and he raises his hands to the sky, saying, “O Lord! O Lord!” Yet his food is unlawful, his drink is unlawful, his clothing is unlawful, and he is nourished by the unlawful, so how can he be answered?” (Sahih Muslim)

When it comes to Qurbani, we do not offer animals that we have acquired wrongfully, or bought with haram wealth. We also cannot offer animals that are not halal to eat, such as pigs. We are required to offer halal and tayyib animals to Allah for the sacrifice.

(BEFORE Qurbani): NO Cutting the Hair or Nails

The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “When the ten days (of Dhul-Hijjah) start, and one of you intends to sacrifice, then let him not cut his hair or his nails.” (Muslim)

Do Qurbani AFTER the Eid Salah

The time of Qurbani begins at the time after the Eid prayer, and the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said specifically: “whoever does it beforehand, it’s not accepted.”

The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said in a khutbah, “the first thing we do on this day is we pray, i.e. the prayer of Eid and then we return back then we perform our slaughter or sacrifice and whoever has done so, then they have followed my sunnah.” (Bukhari)

The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) would sacrifice the animal(s) straight after the Eid prayer and the first thing he would eat is the meat cooked from it.

SECOND QURBANI: A Forgotten Sunnah

‘Amr ibn ‘Awf reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “Know that whoever revives a tradition from my Sunnah if it has died out after me, he will have a reward like those who act upon it without diminishing any of their rewards. Whoever innovates a misguided heresy not pleasing to Allah and His messenger, he will have a sin like those who act upon it without diminishing any of the people’s burdens.” (Sunan At-Tirmidhi)

A forgotten sunnah of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) is that he would sacrifice a second animal on behalf of a believer who was not able to afford the sacrifice. (Tabarani and Ahmad)

The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) advised his cousin and son-in-law, Ali (R.A.) to practice this as well. When Ali (R.A.) was asked why he was sacrificing two rams, he said, “The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) enjoined me to sacrifice on his behalf, so that is what I am doing.” (Abu Dawud)

This sunnah practice of making a second sacrifice on behalf of someone else who could not do so gained popularity with the Sahabah and was continued by the early Muslims.

It is also sunnah to say while sacrificing the animal for someone else, “O Allah, accept it from so-and-so.”

Slaughter the Animal Quickly and Painlessly

The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “There is an ajr (reward) for helping any living creature.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

In Islam, we are stipulated to be kind not just during an animal’s life, but also in its time of death.

The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “Verily Allah has enjoined goodness to everything; so when you kill, kill in a good way and when you slaughter, slaughter in a good way. So every one of you should sharpen his knife, and let the slaughtered animal die comfortably.” (Sahih Muslim)

Sharpening the knife and killing the animal quickly is one of the ways to a painless death. Allah created the animals for our use, so that we may eat from them, ride them, and use them as we need. It is part of our duty to Allah to treat His creation the way He wants us to treat them. We must make sure to follow the guidelines of the Prophet (SAW) to the best of our abilities while we slaughter the animal.

The person doing the Qurbani must remember to sharpen the knife, say “Bismillah, Allahu Akbar” as the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, and to slaughter the animal as quickly as possible.

May Allah give us the tawfiq (guidance and ability) to do qurbani exactly the way the Prophet (SAW) did and taught us to do. May Allah purify our hearts and give us the reward according to the best of what we did. Ameen.

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