Hajra Saeed

Zil-Hajj is the last month of the Islamic calendar, in which Muslims perform Hajj, which is last pillar of Islam. It is followed by celebrating Eid-ul-Azha which takes place on the 10th of Zil-Hajj, when Muslims at Makkah as well as all over the world; are required to offer sacrifice in the name of Allah.

As far as I can remember, in our country preparations always began at least a month before Eid, when a multitude of various animals became available in the cities. Many people would immediately buy animals, as to fulfill the duty of caring for them before sacrifice while mostly they were bought just a week in advance. Looking after the animals was something young children eagerly participated in, and as a result became quite attached to them. That is why most of them would be distressed when Qurbaani took place (of course they were never allowed to witness it). Nevertheless once it had taken place, the meat would be equally divided into three portions i.e. one kept for one self, one given to relatives & friends and one for the poor. That is how everyone; no matter what class they belonged to got the opportunity to rejoice for three consecutive days.

However today though seemingly things are the same, there are certain practices due to which the spirit of Eid is not as it used to be. For instance in many cases the sacrificial animals are not being cared for as well as it is required. Also there is a tendency of buying weak animals because they cost less. Hazrat Muhammad (SAW) said “Fear Allah with regards to animals that cannot speak. If you ride them, treat them appropriately and if you [plan to] eat them, treat them fittingly.” -Abu Dawood.

While the Kisaabs have become very materialistic as they charge astronomical fees. Furthermore most of them are not professionally trained, and also do everything in a hurry so that they can perform maximum number of qurbaanis in a day. This leads to problems such as 1) the animal is not slaughtered correctly which would cause it pain 2) they do not allow the animal to be bleed completely which is why the meat loses its flavor and freshness 3) they do not carve the meat properly. While we must remember that it is imperative that Qurbaani should be done at the highest ethical standards, in complete accordance of the Sunnah of Hazrat Muhammad (SAW).

Then there are many people who keep a much greater portion themselves, which is why the poor get less. Also there are those who themselves do not make an effort of distributing the portion intended for the poor, and simply send it to their local mosques. The administration is unable to manage the meat efficiently, thus it is wasted instead of reaching deserving people. This is absolute disrespect of what is so dear to Allah; which can be gauged from the following Hadith: Zaid bin Arqam reported that the companions of Hazrat Muhammad (SAW) asked, "Oh! Messenger of Allah, what is this sacrifice?" 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!"

Also some people even think that instead of spending money on Qurbaani it would be better to donate that money for the welfare of the poor. This intention maybe good, but we must realize that Qurabaani is a tradition which was set up by our forefathers on the Command of Allah, therefore we cannot consider alternatives. Hazrat Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet (SAW) said: "Whoever can afford to offer a sacrifice but does not do so, let him not approach our place of prayer."

And as far as charity is concerned, we know that it is an integral part of Islam, so we should practice it regularly throughout the year.

Therefore there should be no confusion about the purpose and value of sacrifice, as it is eloquently described in the following ayats of Surah Al-Hajj:

“And the Budn (cows, oxen or camels driven to be offered by the pilgrims at the sanctuary of Makkah), We have made them for you as among the Symbols from Allah: wherein you have much good. So mention the Name of Allah over them as they line up (for sacrifice). Then when they are down on their sides (after slaughter) eat thereof, and feed the poor who does not ask (men) and the beggar who asks (men). Thus have we made animals subject to you that you may be grateful.

It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah: but it is piety from you that reaches Him: Thus have We made them subject to you that you may glorify Allah for His Guidance to you: and give glad tidings (O Muhammad (SAW) to the Muhsinun (doers of good).” (22:36-37)

So on this Eid, let us rekindle in ourselves the true spirit of this venerated occasion!