Qurbaani is one of the salient features of the Deen of Islam. It has been ordained upon us by Allah Ta’ala as a means of gaining His proximity and as a remembrance of the ultimate sacrifice of our father Hadhrat Ebrahim (Alaihis Salaam). Allah Ta’ala tested Hadhrat Ebrahim (Alaihis Salaam) with various trials and he passed each trial with distinction. Then came the time for him to be put through the final test – the ultimate test- the test to determine whether he would submit before the command of Allah Ta’ala or give preference to his heart’s desire. After being blessed by Allah Ta’ala with a son in old age, he was commanded to sacrifice his only child. Like any other parent, Hadhrat Ebrahim (Alaihis Salaam) also certainly desired to see his beloved child living with him in this world. Yet the command of Allah Ta’ala dictated that the desire to see the child living, no matter how intense, must be curbed and the child be sacrificed. Hadhrat Ebrahim (Alaihis Salaam) did not hesitate for even a single moment in giving preference to the command of Allah Ta’ala over his heart’s desire. Allah Ta’ala depicts the sacrifice of father and son in the Holy Qur’an in the following words:
فَلَمّا أَسلَما وَتَلَّهُ لِلجَبينِ ﴿١٠٣﴾ وَنـادَينـٰهُ أَن يـٰإِبرٰهيمُ ﴿١٠٤﴾ قَد صَدَّقتَ الرُّءيا ۚ إِنّا كَذٰلِكَ نَجزِى المُحسِنينَ ﴿١٠٥﴾ إِنَّ هـٰذا لَهُوَ البَلـٰؤُا۟ المُبينُ ﴿١٠٦﴾
When both (father and son) submitted before the command of Allah Ta’ala, and he (Hadhrat Ebrahim [Alaihis Salaam]) laid him (Hadhrat Ismaa’eel [Alaihis Salaam]) on his forehead (for sacrifice), We called out to him “O Ebrahim! You have fulfilled the command you were given in the vision!” Thus indeed do We reward those who do good. Indeed, this was a great test. (Surah Saafaat, Aayah 106)
The True Spirit of Qurbaani
Every year thousands of animals are sacrificed worldwide on the occasion of Eid ul Adha. Yet we need to ask ourselves: ‘What is the true spirit of Qurbaani and what has Qurbaani come to teach us?’ Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) described this Qurbaani (sacrifice) as part of the legacy of our father Hadhrat Ebrahim (Alaihis Salaam) (Tirmizi #883) and part of his millat (his way) (Majma’uz Zawaa’id #5539). Hadhrat Ebrahim (Alaihis Salaam) was commanded to offer his little son Hadhrat Ismaa’eel (Alaihis Salaam) as a sacrifice. He whole-heartedly submitted before the command of Allah Ta’ala and passed the test. We too should emulate our father Hadhrat Ebrahim (Alaihis Salaam) in our lives and sacrifice our temptations and desires when they oppose the command of Allah Ta’ala. Just as Hadhrat Ebrahim (Alaihis Salaam) displayed true love and loyalty for Allah Ta’ala in every facet of his life, and was never willing to disobey Allah Ta’ala for even a moment, we too should fulfill every command of Allah Ta’ala, whether relating to the rights of Allah Ta’ala or the rights of the creation.
The Most Beloved Action to Allah Ta’ala During the Days of Qurbaani
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, “On the tenth of Zul Hijjah (the day of Qurbaani) there is no action of the son of Aadam (Alaihis Salaam) more dear and beloved to Allah Ta’ala than the sacrificing of animals. The sacrificed animal will come on the Day of Judgment with its horns, hair and hooves (to be weighed in reward). The sacrifice is also accepted by Allah Ta’ala before the blood reaches the ground. Therefore sacrifice with an open and happy heart.” (Tirmizi #1493)
There are special rewards attached to certain actions on specific days. The sacrificing of animals during the days of sacrifice is one of these actions. It is most beloved to Allah Ta’ala and most rewarding. Qurbaani should thus be carried out with a joyful heart and should not be considered a burden, as there is only goodness and benefit for us in carrying out our Qurbaani.
The Serious Consequence for Neglecting the Obligation of Qurbaani
Just as immense rewards have been promised in the Mubaarak Ahaadith for the one who fulfils the obligation of Qurbaani, the consequence of neglecting the obligation of Qurbaani is equally serious. If Qurbaani becomes compulsory and one fails to carry it out, then one will be sinful in the sight of Allah Ta’ala. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “The one who possesses the means to carry out the Qurbaani yet does not do so (despite it being waajib upon him), then such a person should not come close to our Eid Gah on the day of Eid (i.e. such a person should not celebrate this happy occasion of Eid with the Muslims).” (At-Targheeb wat Tarheeb #1667)