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Friday, October 15, 2004

EID-ul-Adha & Qurbani

Almighty Allah says in the Holy Quran, Chapter 22 Verse 34 :"And to every nation we have appointed acts of devotion (sacrifice) that they may mention the name of Allah on what He has given them of the cattle quadrupeds; and your God is one God, therefore to Him should you submit, and give good news to the humble whose hearts tremble when Allah is mentioned, and those who are patient under that which afflicts them".

The act of sacrificing an animal is regarded as affecting the heart, as it is connected with righteousness, with submission to Allah, with humbleness of the heart, and patience under sufferings. So when one slaughters with the proper accompanying Intention and not for the sole purpose of eating the flesh on this occasion, one is again complying with the laws in the Holy Quran and completes yet another of the pillars of Islam. The animal sacrificed is symbolic of the animal in man (man's nature). So, when he slaughters, he is reminded of the necessity to eliminate that "animal nature" which he has within him. It actually signifies the sacrifice of the sacrificer himself, and becomes the outward symbol of his readiness to lay down his life in the cause of the Supreme Creator of the universe.

This sacrifice by the Muslims throughout the world on this particular occasion, is intended to let Muslim hearts beat in unison with the hundreds of thousands who have gone on Pilgrimage to Mecca (which is also a pillar of Islam and is compulsory on Muslims who can afford going there). They re-enact, as it were, the beautiful incident of old, where Almighty Allah had commanded Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) to sacrifice his then only son. On finding him obedient and prepared to act on His command, Allah submitted a ram for him to slaughter instead of his beloved son.

Our Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) confirmed this act, and always covered his head with respect during sacrifice. He would lay the animal down and gently stroke it, then, placing his foot on the body and uttering the words "In the name of Allah, Allah is Great. O Allah! This is a sacrifice from You and is for You" he would speedily severe its throat, allowing the blood to flow readily with the least possible pain to the animal.

The sacrifice is done after the I'd prayer is over . The chosen animal must be free from any apparent physical defect and must be fully grown and healthy. In the case of a goat or sheep, one suffices, but if it a camel or cow, seven may be partners thereto.

Because many poor and beggars in the community cannot afford to sacrifice, this occasion allows for charity, and when the sacrifice is over the meat is divided as is necessary (one third minimum be allotted for distribution to the poor), the meat is delivered to the homes of the poor so that they too can enjoy and participate on this day of festival.

As Islam does not permit wastage, whatever is left over of the meat may be dried, cured or prepared, so long as it is consumed and not wasted. The skin also must be disposed of and the funds used for charity.

Almighty Allah says in the Holy Quran, Chapter 22 Verse 37:"Nor their flesh, nor their blood, reaches Allah,but to Him is acceptable observance of duty on your part".

QURBANI: SOME IMPORTANT MASAA'IL

WHY SHOULD ONE MAKE QURBANI?

According to Tirmizi Shareef and Sunan Ibn Majah, Hazrat Ayesha (radi Allahu anha) stated that Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said, "The son of Adam does not do any action on the day of Qurbani which is more pleasing to Allah than the sacrifice of animals; and he will come on the day of Qiyamah with it's hairs, horns and hooves (for reward); and the blood (of the sacrificed animal) certainly reaches Allah before it falls down to the ground. So make yourselves purified therewith."

In another Hadith related in Sunan Ibn Majah, Zaid bin Arqam reported that the companions of Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) asked, "Oh! Messenger of Allah, what is this sacrifice?" He said, "The way of your forefather (Prophet) Ibrahim (alaihis salaam)." They said, "What is for us therein, O! Messenger of Allah?" He said, "There is one reward for every hair." They said, "For wool, O! Messenger of Allah?" He said, "There is one reward for every strand of wool!"

WHEN MUST QURBANI BE MADE?

1. Qurbani or Sacrifice is carried out from the 10th of Zil- Hijjah (i.e. from the day of Eid-ul-Adha) after the completion of the Eid Salaah and Khutba, till sunset on the 12th of Zil- Hijjah. The times of preference for Qurbani are the first day, i.e. the 10th of Zil-Hijjah from the completion of the Eid Salaah, followed by the second day and lastly the third day.

2. If for some reason, animals purchased for Qurbani are not slaughtered in the time and duration of the Qurbani period, i.e. 10th, 11th & 12th of Zil-Hijjah, then such animals must be donated alive to charity.

WHO SHOULD MAKE QURBANI?

1. It is Waajib for every Muslim male and Muslim female who:-

(a) has attained puberty (Baaligh)

(b) is of sound mind (not insane)

(c) possesses Nisaab for that moment in time, not necessarily for one Islamic calendar year (Nisaab is the value of excess wealth which makes a Muslim liable for Zakaah i.e. The possession of, or equivalent capital value of seven and half tolas gold (+ -3 ounces) or fifty two tolas of silver (+ - 20 ounces)

(d) To make sacrifice in the Name of Allah

2. It is Waajib according to Imam-e-Azam Abu Hanifa (radi Allahu anhu) and Sunnat-e-Mu'akidda according to other Imams for Muslims to make Qurbani.

3. It is Waajib only for each Muslim male and female to make Qurbani for himself or herself; and not Waajib for him or her to make Qurbani for any other member of his or her family. It is only his or her duty to guide or instruct them to make Qurbani if they meet with the conditions of item in 1. above.

4. In the same manner as Sadaqat-ul-Fitr, Qurbani is a Waajib obligation for Muslims every year on the occasion of Eid-ul-Adha. It is not a once in a life-time duty.

5. It is permissible to make Qurbani in the name of Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) and his Ummah or any other deceased Muslim as a Nafil Qurbani on condition that the person making the Nafil Qurbani has discharged his obligation in his own Waajib Qurbani first.

6. It is not Waajib or necessary for the following people to make Qurbani:-

(a) one who has not attained puberty (not Baaligh) even if he or she possesses Nisaab.

(b) A traveller (who is not yet Muqeem).

(c) One who does not possess Nisaab during that specific period in time.

(d) On who may be in possession of Nisaab bit has turned insane.

7. Any Muslim male or female who is not liable for Qurbani but purchases an animal for Qurbani for the sake of Almighty Allah, then the Qurbani becomes Waajib for him.

8. Qurbani cannot be undertaken on behalf of another person upon who Qurbani is Waajib, without his or her prior consent.

WHAT ANIMALS MUST BE USED FOR QURBANI?

1. Only the following animals may be sacrificed for Qurbani:-

(a) Goat and Sheep with a minimum of 1 year each.

(b) Cattle with a minimum of 2 years.

(c) Camels with a minimum of 5 years.

2. Each goat or sheep suffices for Qurbani for one Muslim male or female; whereas each head of cattle or camel could represent the Qurbani for seven Muslim males and females, provided that:-

(a) All seven participants have uniformity in Niyyah (i.e. either Qurbani or Aqeeqah).

(b) All seven have an equal share, nobody is to have a larger portion than another even at the time of the distribution of the meat.

3. It is permissible for less than seven people to have shares in a camel or a head of cattle for Qurbani; but not permissible for more than 7 people to do so.

WHAT TYPE OF DEFECTIVE ANIMALS ARE TO BE AVOIDED?

The animals for Qurbani in the Name of Almighty Allah shall be in prime condition of health and free from defects. The following defects in animals disqualifies them from being used for Qurbani:-

1. Animals without ears or more than one third of the ear is defective, partially blind (one third or more), or totally blind animals; animals with horns broken from the root; animals that have most or all their teeth missing; animals which have limbs broken or used three legs to walk; animals with a third or more or their tail cut off.

2. Sick and emaciated animals that lack the ability to move or walk.

WHO SHOULD MAKE ZABAH OR SLAUGHTER AND WHAT IS TO BE RECITED?

1. Owners of Qurbani animals, whether male or female, who have the knowledge of making Zabah should slaughter their own animals.

2. If other persons are appointed to slaughter on their behalf, then it is better for the owners of the Qurbani animals to be present at the place and time of slaughter.

3. Before slaughtering, the following Dua should be recited: "Inni wajjahtu wajhiya lillazi fataras samawaati wal arda hanifaw wa maaa ana minal mushrikeen. Inna salaati wanusuki wa mahyaya wamamati lillahi rabbil a'lameen. La sharika lahu wabizaalika umirtu wa ana minal muslimeen. Allahumma minka walak."

4. The person should then slaughter the animal reading: "Bismillahi Allahu Akbar."

5. This Dua must also be read: "Allahumma takabalhu minni kama takabalta min habeebika Muhammadiw wa Khaleelika Ibraheema alayhimas salaatu was salaamu."

SOME IMPORTANT REQUIREMENTS ABOUT ZABAH

1. The knife for Zabah has to be sharpened to the optimum, and the slaughter should be carried out quickly and effectively to minimise the suffering sustained by the animal.

2. The throat of the Qurbani animal should be cut in a manner to ensure that the gullet, the wind pipe and the two external jugular veins are severed.It is Makrooh to severe the entire neck including the vertebrae. At least 3 of the four vessels mentioned above ought to be severed to meet Shari'ah requirements of proper Zabah.

3. Every effort should be made to ensure that animals are not slaughtered in the presence of other live animals.

4. In the process of slaughtering, the knife should be concealed till the moment of slaughter and the animal should be placed such that it allows the person slaughtering the animal to face Qibla, as this is Mustahab.

5. The skinning of the slaughtered animal and dismembering of body parts should not commence until the animal's carcase has turned cold.

6. If after slaughtering an animal it is discovered that the animal was pregnant and a live foetus appears in the belly, then it is necessary to slaughter that foetus.

DISTRIBUTION OF QURBANI MEAT TO NON-MUSLIMS

Distribution of Qurbani meat or any other charity (sadqa) to "Harbi Kafir" is not permissable at all. It is mentioned in Durr-e-Mukhtar: "Even though a Harbi Kafir is peace-wanting, charity is unanimously not permissable." In Behr-ur-Raiq: "According to Shar'ah, giving something to a Harbi Kafir is not permissable, for no Sawaab can be gained through this."

IMPORTANT ADVICE FOR MUSLIMS

Many people make Qurbani on behalf of their parents, grandparents, Prophets and Saints, and not on their behalf. By doing so, they are neglecting their Waajib and thus become sinners through this action. Every Muslim must first make Qurbani on their behalf first so that their Waajib is fulfilled. Only after the Waajib is completed and if one is able to do so, can Qurbani be made on behalf of others.

It is preferable to make Qurbani on behalf of Prophet Muhammad (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) as it is virtuous and beneficial and has his blessings. Our Prophet Muhammad (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) made Qurbani on behalf of all the poor people of his Ummah. This shows the love that he possessed for his Ummah. Therefore, every Muslim who is capable of making Qurbani on behalf of others should make Qurbani on behalf of our Holy Prophet Muhammad (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam).

ISLAMIC METHOD OF SLAUGHTERING

Those who are ignorant about the proper Islamic method that is carried out in the slaughtering of animals do not hesitate in criticising Muslims and in regarding this Islamic method of slaughter as primitive, barbaric and a cruelty to animals.

The aim of presenting this article is to inform the public that the Islamic method of slaughtering an animal is most humane, painless and better than the current methods of mechanical and electrial stunning of animals that are normally done in abbatoirs.

In order for large meat industries and commercial establishments to provide a much higher production, they all favour the method of mechanical and electrical stunning. They regard all other methods of slaughter as cruel and even manage to get the support of Animal Rights groups to oppose the Islamic method of slaughter.

In the Islamic method of slaughtering an animal, the animal is slaughtered by a sharp object which is capable of making it bleed by severing blood vessels. The slaughtering is to be done by cutting the throat of the animal or by piercing the hollow of the throat, causing its death. The best way is to cut the windpipe, the gullet, and the two jugular veins.

The wisdom of the Islamic rules of slaughtering is to take the animal's life in the quickest and least painful way; the requirements of using a sharp instrument and of cutting the throat relate to this end. No additional stunner is necessary. This method also allows for the most rapid and effecient bleeding of the animal. When the sharp knife enters the tissues of the neck, its cuts open four big blood vessels in the region. So much blood is lost so quickly that the animal becomes unconsious and feels no pain.

When the animal convulses, one gets the impression that it is undergoing pain and suffering. However, this is not the case. In the Islamic manner of slaughtering, the spinal cord is not severed since the nervous connection between the brain and the body is maintained so that all the blood is squeezed out of the body. When convulsion takes place, the wringing actions of the muscles of the body on the blood vessels help to get rid of the maximum amount of blood from the meat tissue. In fact, the occurence of convulsions confirm that the animal is unconscious. Thus, the animal also does not experience any pain.

In view of the above considerations, attempts to discredit the Islamic method of slaughter are ill-conceived. Based on scientific evidence, it should not be too difficult for individuals and groups to give up their attempts to interfere with religious beliefs and religious laws in general. The Islamic method of slaughter has stood the test of time and of scientific enquiry and remains by far the best, the most effecient and the safest.

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