The President of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Syed Sadatullah Husaini greeted Muslims and fellow citizens on the occasion of Eid al-Adha. In a message sent to the media on July 10, the JIH President said: “I greet Muslims and our fellow countrymen on the occasion of Eid al-Adha. The day of Eid al-Adha is celebrated by Muslims all over the world to commemorate and remember the Prophet Ibrahim and Prophet Ismael’s love for God and willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice for gaining His pleasure and blessings.

“Complete surrender and dedication to the Lord of the universe, a strong commitment to principles and readiness to sacrifice everything for those principles formulate the core message of Eid al-Adha. This firmness and dedication are the epitome of human character and this character is a basic prerequisite for success. Muslims try to imbibe and emulate these noble values.

“I pray to God for blessing our country with peace and prosperity and grant us the grace to remain strong and united in our journey towards an ideal and just society.”

The Significance of Qurbani

By Nazrana Darvesh

Eid al-Adha – the well-known festival of Qurbani or Sacrifice – is celebrated every year on 10th day of month of Zul Hijjah of Islamic calendar. It is reflection of the great sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) who was always inclined to submit and surrender to the will and commandment of His Creator, and so was ready to sacrifice his only son for this cause.

Looking at his willing nature to surrender to the orders of God, God ultimately replaced his son with a lamb to complete his sacrifice and granted Abraham Leadership for his dedication towards his  Master – the Lord of the World. Abraham is hence known as a pious, obedient, follower of One God, who conveyed the message of that God to people around 4500 years ago, much before the advent of later Messengers of God like Moses, Jesus and finally Muhammad ﷺ and today is recognised highly among the Jews, Christians and Muslims.

Recall to mind that when his Lord put Abraham to test in certain things and he fulfilled all of them, He said, “I am going to make you the leader of mankind.” (The Qur’ān – 2:124)

The life of Prophet Abraham teaches us that the purpose of sacrifice offered to God is actually willingness to follow the commandments of God, walking on the right path – the path ordained by our Lord i.e. Path of Truth – Path of Rightful Conduct – Path of Justice – Path of Peace, shattering all self/ worldly desires, no matter what the circumstances are, fighting all odds in the way. It is then that the success is granted by God – the true undeviated success beneficial to this world as well as the hereafter. This is the way of life adopted by Abraham and all the Prophets before and after him including the last Prophet of God Muhammad ﷺ.

Such was Abraham that when his Lord said to him: “Submit,” he said: “I have submitted to the Lord of the Universe.” And Abraham enjoined the same upon his children, and so did Jacob: “My children! Behold, God has chosen this faith for you. Remain till death in submission (to God). (The Qur’ān – 2:131-132)

Regarding the sacrificial meat, Islam enjoins us to eat and distribute it for feeding the relatives, poor and needy. The Qur’ān says:

“It is not their meat nor their blood, that reaches Allah: it is your piety that reaches Him: He has thus made them subject to you, that ye may glorify Allah for His Guidance to you and, O Prophet proclaim the good news to all who do right.” (The Qur’ān – 22:37)

The above ayah clarifies that the intention and willingness to sacrifice your wealth, time, efforts, love and desires for the pleasure of God just to attain closeness to Him by feeding the needy is what reaches to God and not the offering.

The question is always raised why there is killing of animals for sacrifice?

Animal Sacrifice has been practised in almost all religions of the world since ancient times. Verses of Animal Sacrifice are found in Hindu scriptures like Manusmriti – 4:27, Atharvaveda – 9:4. In Christianity, Old Testament narrates the above story of sacrifice of Abraham in Genesis 22:2. Jacob’s sacrifice is mentioned in Genesis 31:54.

Islam believes that God is the Master of all beings, including animals. He has created them and they are part of this ecosystem. God has determined their way of life too and they act only according to His commandments.

“As regards Signs, just have a look at any of the beasts that move upon the earth and at any of the birds that fly in the air: they too are communities like you. We have left out nothing in pre- determining the courses of their lives: then ultimately they are all gathered to their Lord. (The Qur’ān – 6:38).

Animals and birds too glorify their Creator, Master, Provider and Sustainer – the One Supreme Almighty God.

Do you not see that Allah is glorified by all those in the heavens and the earth, even the birds as they soar? Each instinctively knows their manner of prayer and glorification. And Allah has perfect knowledge of all they do. (The Qur’ān – 24:41)

And since God is the Creator of all beings, He alone knows the needs of His creation and is the rightful authority to guide His subjects on their living standards including food consumption in the best manner. 

God has subjected each being to others to fulfil the very need of food. Therefore there are abundant  numbers of creatures which multiply much faster than human beings. The Sustainer God knows how to maintain balance in the ecosystem to fulfil the needs of each and every creature.

Say, O Prophet, “Surely it is my Lord Who gives abundant or limited provisions to whoever He wills of His servants. And whatever you spend in charity, He will compensate you for it. For He is the Best Provider. (The Qur’ān – 34:39)

There are both herbivorous and carnivorous creatures in this world and God has accordingly fashioned each one with required trait for food consumption. Human beings are created omnivorous and are fashioned to consume both vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals. Thus it would be incorrect to say that killing for the purpose of food is immoral while Islam is strictly against killing any innocent being or hurting even an animal or bird other than the purpose for food.

“That was why We prescribed this for the children of Israel: “He who killed any person, unless it be a person guilty of manslaughter, or of spreading chaos in the land, should be looked upon as though he had slain all mankind, and he who saved one life should be regarded as though he had saved the lives of all mankind.”  But the majority of them went on committing excesses in the land even after Our Messengers came to them one after the other with clear directions. (The Qur’ān – 5:32)

Among the teachings of the Last Prophet ﷺ we find a number of incidents where love and mercy is shown to animals and birds.

A group of Companions were once on a journey with the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and he left them for a while. During his absence, they saw a bird with its two young, and they took the young ones from the nest. The mother bird was circling above in the sky, beating its wings in grief, when the Prophet ﷺ came back. He said, “Who has hurt the feelings of this bird by taking its young? Return them to her.” (Hadith, Muslim)

Again, as instructed by the Last Prophet, while killing an animal for food, care needs to be taken to cause least harm to it.

Prophet Mohammad ﷺ 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. (Hadith, Muslim)

It is for this reason that the animal is slaughtered by cutting with sharp knife the wind pipe and blood vessels in the throat precisely without hurting the spinal cord. This causes the animal to die quickly and with minimal pain.

Besides providing food for the needy, sacrifice helps to generate income and grow the country’s economy, it provides livelihood to rural people, reduces stress of bearing the cost of unusable livestock, sustain  livestock production. Animal slaughtering  not  only  provides  meat  but  also  valuable  by-products  which are exported far and wide for economic development of the country.

Thus sacrifice helps in spiritual, social and economic welfare of the individual, society and  the nation.

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