Dhu’l-Hijjah is the twelfth and final month in the Islamic calendar. It is a very sacred month in the Islamic calendar, one in which the Hajj (pilgrimage) takes place as well as the Festival of Sacrifice.
“Dhu al-Hijjah” literally means the “The Month of the Pilgrimage”. During this month, Muslim pilgrims from all around the world gather at Mecca to visit the Kaaba and perform the Hajj pilgrimage. The fulfillment of Hajj is necessary for every Muslim, at least once in a lifetime, if one has the money and ability. The Hajj is performed on the eighth, ninth and tenth of this month. The Day of Arafah takes place on the ninth of the month. Eid al-Adha, the “Festival of Sacrifice”, begins on the tenth day and ends on the sunset of the 13th.
This sacrifice also is known as “Qurbani” or “Udhiya” is the sacrifice of a livestock/domestic animal during Eid al-Adha.to seek Allah’s favors and reward.
As Muslims, we believe that the Prophets (AS) were the best of mankind, and were sent to the world to guide and bring people back to the worship of Allah (SWT).
One of the greatest Prophets sent was a man that the Quran praises, as a model, a shining example, obedient and not an idol worshipper. He is also given the title “Khalil-ul-Allah”, “The friend of Allah” due to his obedience, submission, and humility to Allah (SWT).
Therefore a lot of Islamic practices have been taken from the life and legacy of Ibrahim (a.s). For example, the Islamic holy day Eid al-Adha is celebrated in memory of the sacrifice of Ibrahim (AS), as well as the pilgrimage of Hajj to the Holy Kaaba, which was built by Ibrahim (AS) and his son Ismail (AS) as the first Masjid and house of worship on the Earth
Every year, on the occasion of Eid-ul-Adha, Muslims honor the commitment of Ibrahim (AS) by performing Qurbani
The history of Qurbani can be traced back to the story of Ibrahim (AS) when he saw a dream in which he was ordered to sacrifice his beloved son Ismail (AS). At first, he was doubtful and did not pay too much attention to this dream. After experiencing the dream again the next night, he then understood that it was a message and a command from Allah (SWT). Without hesitation, he prepared his son for the sacrifice.
Ibrahim (AS) loved his son very much yet this did not stop him from carrying out the duty that was instructed to him by Allah (SWT) and proving his obedience to Allah
Ibrahim (AS) took his son to the top of Mount Arafat and in his hands was a knife and a rope. Upon reaching there, he mentioned the dream to his son Ismail (AS) and he understood that Allah (SWT) has decreed for him to be a sacrifice and Ismail (AS) also the command of Allah
On the way, they passed a place called Mina. The devil, Shaytan, came to Ibrahim (AS) and tried to convince him not to sacrifice his son and disobey Allah. Ibrahim (AS) turned his back on him and would not listen. Shaytan kept trying, so Ibrahim (AS) pelted him with stones and chose to follow the order of Allah.
Ismail (AS) asked that his hands and legs should be tied to avoid struggling during the sacrifice and also that his father should blindfold himself so he will not be able to see the suffering of his son. Ismail (AS) was aware of his father’s love for him and knew that this would be difficult to witness.
As Ibrahim (AS) began the sacrifice, Allah (SWT) replaced Ismail with a ram and Ismail (AS) was unharmed. Allah (SWT) tested Ibrahim (AS) to see his dedication to his creator. In his enthusiasm to obey Allah (SWT) commands, Ibrahim (AS) successfully passed the test and the Qurbani acts as a reminder of our beloved Prophet Ibrahim’s (AS) dedication and devotion to serving Allah (SWT) obediently, this is the true Islam of oneself that Allah (SWT) expects from us.
Ibrahim’s (AS) test teaches us many things about the most essential elements of our faith. The most important of these is absolute devotion and submission to Allah (SWT). As we know, the literal meaning of the word ‘Islam’, is submission. Being Muslim means forsaking your own pride and ego to devote yourself completely to Allah (SWT). When Prophet Ibrahim (as) offered his beloved son as a sacrifice, he showed his total submission to the will of Allah (SWT) and his faith in the Creator’s guidance. Because of this, not only was his son saved, but Ibrahim (as) was rewarded with the favour of Allah (SWT):
Qurbani is proof of complete obedience to Allah’s will or command. When a Muslim offers Qurbani, this exactly what he intends to prove. The Qurbani offered by a Muslim proves that he is a slave of Allah and that he would not hesitate even for a moment, to go against the command and will of Allah. When a true Muslim receives a command from Allah, he submits himself without any hesitation
The philosophy behind Qurbani is that it is a demonstration of obedience and submission to Allah while sacrificing everything for his pleasure. Ibrahim (AS) demonstrated this spirit of submission and sacrifice in the best possible manner.
Allah looks at the heart of the believers in all their actions. Through their sacrifice, Allah wants to see the Taqwa (piety) and Ikhlaas (sincerity). Allah says,
لَنْ يَنَالَ اللَّهَ لُحُومُهَا وَلَا دِمَاؤُهَا وَلَٰكِنْ يَنَالُهُ التَّقْوَىٰ مِنْكُمْ
“Neither the meat nor the blood (of the sacrificed animal) reaches Allah, but it is piety from you that reaches Him.”
The time for Qurbani begins after the Eid Salaah on the 10th of Zul Hijjah and ends at the setting of the sun on the 12th of Zul Hijjah. It is better to make Qurbani on the first day, then the second, and thereafter the third.
If the Qurbani has been offered before the Eid Salaah, it will have to be repeated. It is preferable to slaughter during the day and not the night
It is permissible to slaughter a goat, sheep, cow, bull, buffalo or camel, male or female for Qurbani.
The minimum age of:
Animals that are younger than the prescribed age are not allowed for Qurbani.
If a sheep is more than six months old but less than a year, and physically appears to be one year old it will suffice for Qurbani.
A cow, bull, buffalo or camel will be enough for seven people as long as no one’s share is less than one-seventh and the niyyah (intention) of all partners is to attain reward and not just to gain meat.
A goat, sheep or ram will be enough for the Qurbani of one person only.
It is preferable to purchase the Qurbani animal a few days before slaughtering in order to build attachment with the animal by taking care of it.
Animals chosen for Qurbani should be healthy, free from faults and defects.
A Muslim should take extra care to slaughter an animal without giving it unnecessary pain and torture. This was the instruction of Rasoolullah (S.A.W) The following are important points to be kept in mind.
1) The knife used for slaughter should be well sharpened so that it slits the throat immediately, without causing extreme pain to the animal.
2) The knife should not be sharpened in front of the animals.
3) The animal which will be slaughtered should be given food and water; it should not be slaughtered when it is hungry and thirsty
4) It should not be dragged to the place of slaughter.
5) The animal should be slaughtered at a separate place so that other animals cannot see the slaughter.
6) It should be gently laid on the ground
7) As soon as the animal has been placed on the ground, one should hasten in slaughtering it. The unnecessary delay must be avoided.
8) The animal should not be slaughtered with so much force that its head is separated, or the knife reaches the spinal cord.
9) It is incorrect to slaughter the animal above the neck because it causes the animal too much pain
10) The animal should be left after slaughtering until all movements have stopped
11) After slaughtering, the head should not be cut off nor should the animal be skinned until all movements have completely stopped.
12) It is more virtuous to slaughter the animal with one’s own hands. If one is unable to slaughter, it is best that one sees the sacrifice.
While slaughtering, a Muslim must say: ‘Bismillah Allahu Akbar’ (In the name of Allah, Allah is the greatest).
1) It is preferable to divide the meat into three parts. One part for one’s family, another part be distributed among friends and relatives and the third among the poor and needy. If a person has a very large family he may keep all the meat.
2) It is unlawful to sell the Qurbani meat
3) The skin can be kept for personal use, but if it is sold, the amount must be given to the poor.
Ibrahim (AS) was ordered by Allah to sacrifice his son Ismail. When Ibrahim (AS) began moving the knife on Ismail (AS), the angels were sent with a ram from Jannah. The angels exclaimed: Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar (God is the Greatest, God is the Greatest). Ibrahim (AS) heard the voice of the angels and said: “La Ilaha Illallahu Wallahu Akbar” (There is none worthy of worship besides God and God is the Greatest).
Isma’il heard this conversation and realized that Allah had freed him from this great trial and so he said: “Allahu Akbar Wa Lillahil Hamd” (God is the Greatest and to God belongs all praise).
It is compulsory (wajib) for every adult (Baaligh) Muslim to recite Takbirut Tashreeq audibly after every Fardh salah from Fajr of 9 Dhu al-Hijjah until after Asr of 13 Dhu al-Hijjah. Women will recite it softly. Takbir ul Tashreeq will be recited for a total of 23 fard salah as well as for the Eid al-Adha Salah. Takbir ul Tashreeq will be read after every fard salah, whether the salah was performed individually or in the congregation.