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The Virtues and Laws of Qurbani

“It is neither their flesh nor their blood that reaches Allah, but it is your Taqwa that reaches Him…” (Surah Hajj)

Ibraheem (Alayhis Salaam) had two alternatives: either to follow the cry of his heart or to submit to the call of his Creator. He chose to submit. Qurbani therefore is not a monetary Ibaadah or a duty that is discharged in distant poor countries. Qurbani is a personal experience, an intimate and emotional encounter, an intimate occurrence made real by the oozing of blood.

Qurbani is about:

  • Love for Allah in contrast to love of self-obedience.
  • Loyalty to Allah in preference to loyalty to the family.
  • Faith versus emotion.
  • Struggle as opposed to pleasure.

Where is this spirit of Qurbani in our idle and aimless nights and days? Who is able to place the knife on his heart in order to slaughter the beasts of rebellion, hatred, jealousy, pride, and greed etc.? Qurbani is an annual reaffirmation of our pledge to Allah, a pledge that:   “Verily my prayer, my sacrifices, my life and my death are surrendered to Allah; the Rabb of the worlds.”

Eid-ul-Adha reverberates with the cries of surrender, submission, and sacrifice. It is a grim reminder that life is about action, struggle, and endurance.

Virtues of Qurbani 

Qurbani is a practice directly instructed by Allah Ta’ala:  “So turn in prayer towards your Lord and sacrifice (animals).” (108.2)

Rasoolullah Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam has extolled its virtue in many Ahadith. There is nothing dearer to Allah Ta’ala during the days of Qurbani than the sacrificing of animals. The sacrificed animal shall come on the Day of Judgment with its horns, hair, and hooves (to be weighed).

The sacrifice is accepted by Allah before the blood falls on the ground. Therefore sacrifice with an open and happy heart. (Tirmizi, Ibn Majah)

Zayd lbn Arqam Radhiyallaahu Anhu relates that the Companions Radhiyallaahu Anhum queried, “O Rasoolullah Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, What is Qurbani?” He replied, “It is the Sunnah of your father lbraheem Alayhis Salaam.” They again asked, “What benefit do we derive from it?” He answered, “A reward for every hair (of the sacrificed animal).” “And (what reward is there for animals with) wool, O’ Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)?” they asked. “A reward”, he said, “for every fibre of the wool.” (Ibne Majah)

When a person slaughters a Qurbani animal, he is forgiven at the fall of the first drop of blood, and verily, the animal shall be brought forward on the Day of Judgment with its blood, meat, limbs, etc. and shall be increased in weight seventy times, and then placed on the scale of deeds. (Kanzul Ummal)

On whom is Qurbani Wajib (obligatory)? 

 Qurbani is Wajib (obligatory) on every Muslim who is:

  • of sound mind – mature (has reached the age of puberty),
  • Muqeem (i.e. he is not a Shari traveller)
  • Possesses the amount of 612,36 grams of silver or wealth equivalent to that value which is in excess of one’s basic needs and debts, on any of the three days of Qurbani. It is not necessary that this amount be in one’s possession for a complete lunar year. (Fatawa Hindiyyah)

Qurbani is not incumbent on a child or an insane person whether they own wealth equivalent to the amount above or not, nor is it Wajib upon their guardians to perform it on their behalf. (Fataawa Mahmoodiyyah). Similarly, it is not Wajib on a Musaafir (one considered a traveller in Shariah). A Shar’i traveller is he who proceeds on a journey with an intention of travelling 77 kms. He will be treated as a traveller as soon as soon as he leaves his town. However if he intends residing at any place for 15 days or more then he will cease to be a traveller when he arrives at that location. (Fatawa Hindiyyah). A person upon whom Qurbani is not necessary should not incur debts beyond one’s capacity to offer the Qurbani.. If Qurbani is not compulsory on a person, for example a Musaafir, then it is virtuous to do so if it is within the person’s means.

The Physical Qurbani 

 During the days of Qurbani, Sadaqah and charity will not compensate for the physical observance of Qurbani. Just as Zakaah cannot compensate for Hajj, nor fasting compensate for Salaah, similarly charity cannot compensate for Qurbani. However, if the days of Qurbani have passed, and the Qurbani was not offered due to ignorance, negligence or for some other valid reason, then it becomes Wajib to give in Sadaqah the price of Qurbani animal or the animal itself (alive, not slaughtered) to the poor. (Fatawa Shamiya)

Time for Qurbani 

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. (Fatawa Shamiya)

If the Qurbani has been offered before the Eid Salaah, it will have to be repeated. (Fatawa Hindiyyah)

In rural and village areas where Jumu’ah and Eid Salaah are not performed, Qurbani may be performed as soon as Fajr (Subhus Saadiq) sets in on the 10th of Zul Hijjah. (Fatawa Hindiyyah)

If a person residing in a town (where Eid salaah is performed) arranges for his animal to be slaughtered in a village (where Eid Salaah is not performed), then it is permissible for his animal to be slaughtered before he performs his Eid Salaah. (Fataawa Shaamiyyah)

It is preferable to slaughter during the day. (Fatawa Hindiyyah)

The Qurbani Animal

It is permissible to slaughter a goat, sheep, cow, bull, buffalo or camel, male or female for Qurbani.

The minimum age of

  • a goat, sheep, or ram is one full year,
  • a cow, bull or buffalo is two years old, and
  • a camel five years.

Animals that are younger than the prescribed age are not suitable for Qurbani. (Fataawa Hindiyyah). 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. (Fatawa Hindiyyah). A cow, bull, buffalo or camel will suffice for seven persons provided no one’s share is less than one seventh and the niyyah (intention) of all partners is to attain reward and not merely to obtain meat. (Fatawa Shaamiyah). A goat, sheep or ram will suffice for the Qurbani of one person only. (Fatawa Hindiyyah). It is permissible and preferable to slaughter a castrated animal. (Fatawa Mahmoodiyah). It is advisable to purchase the Qurbani animal a few days prior to slaughtering in order to build up some form of attachment with the animal by taking care of it. (Fatawa Hindiyyah). Animals chosen for Qurbani should be healthy, free from faults and defects. (Fatawa Shaamiyah)

Animals with Defects

The following animals are not suitable for Qurbani:

  • An animal that is blind, one-eyed or has lost more than one-third of its eyesight.
  • Animals that have lost more than a third of the ear. Similarly, animals which have no ears from birth. Animals with small ears are suitable.
  • Animals whose horn/s has been broken off from the root. However, an animal born without horns or if the horns are broken off but not from the root is suitable for Qurbani.
  • Animals which have one lame leg to the extent that it walks on three legs only and is unable to use the fourth leg. However if the animal can walk to the place of slaughter on the fourth leg with a limp it will be allowed.
  • Animals so lean and thin that their bones have no marrow.
  • If an animal gets injured whilst being slaughtered, e.g. it’s leg breaks, ear gets cut etc., the Qurbani will be valid.
  • If an animal was bought in a healthy and perfect state and thereafter became unfit for Qurbani then,
  • If the owner is not wealthy (does not possess of nisaab) it will be permissible to offer this animal for Qurbani.
  • If the owner is wealthy (possesses the Nisaab), then it is compulsory for him to obtain another animal.

Miscellaneous Masaail

  • If there are various venues for Eid Salaah, slaughtering is permitted after any one venue has terminated with the Eid Salaah. (Fataawa Shamiyyah)
  • A man may purchase his wife’s animal from his wealth with her consent. (Fatawa Hindiyyah)
  • It is Mustahab (preferable) for a person intending Qurbani not to cut/trim his hair and nails from the first of Zul Hijjah till after his animal is slaughtered. (Ahsanul Fatawa)
  • Qurbani will be discharged if one appoints a proxy for this task and the proxy fulfils the task. The proxy may be an organisation or an individual. (Fatawa Hindiyyah)
  • If an animal purchased for Qurbani gives birth before its slaughter, it is best to give the live new born in charity. Alternately, the new born animal should be slaughtered and the meat given in charity. (Fatawa Shamiyah)
  • If a traveller returned home or a person acquired the required wealth on the 12th of Zul Hijjah before sunset, it will be Wajib upon him to perform Qurbani. (Fatawa Hindiyyah)
  • The Qurbani (slaughter) of a woman in haidh (menstruation) or nifaas (afterbirth period) is valid and permissible. (Fatawa Mahmoodiyah)

Method of Slaughtering an Animal

A Muslim should take every care to slaughter an animal without subjecting it to unnecessary pain and torture. This was the instruction of Rasoolullah Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam. The following are pertinent points to be kept in mind.

  • The knife to be used for slaughter should be well sharpened so that it slits the throat immediately, without causing undue pain to the animal.
  • The knife should not be sharpened in front of the animals.
  • The animal to be slaughtered should be given food and water; it should not be slaughtered when it is hungry and thirsty
  • It should not be brutally dragged along to the place of slaughter.
  • The animal should be slaughtered at an isolated place so that other animals cannot witness the slaughter.
  • It should be laid on the ground with ease, as it is abominable to use undue force.
  • As soon as the animal has been placed on the ground, one should hasten in slaughtering it. Undue delay must be avoided.
  • The animal should not be slaughtered with such a force that its head is severed, or the knife reaches the spinal cord.
  • It is incorrect to slaughter the animal above the neck because it causes the animal too much pain and agony.
  • The animal should be left after slaughtering in such a way as to freely kick in its death throes.
  • After slaughtering, the head should not be cut off nor should the animal be skinned until all movements has completely stopped.
  • While slaughtering, a Muslim should say: ‘Bismillah Allahu Akbar’ (In the name of Allah, Allah is the greatest).
  • It is more virtuous to slaughter the animal with one’s own hands. If one is unable to slaughter, it is advisable that one witnesses the sacrifice. It is not necessary to make the niyyah (intention) of Qurbani verbally, however it is necessary to say Bismillah Allahu Akbar when slaughtering.
  • The Qurbani animal should be placed on it’s left side facing the Qiblah and the following dua should be recited before slaughtering the animal:

“I have set my direction firmly and truly towards Him Who created the heavens end the earth. And never shall I give partners to Allah. Verily, my worship and my sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah Sustainer of the worlds. O Allah this sacrifice is from you and is for you.”

When slaughtering the animal recite:  “In the name of Allah. Allah is the Greatest.”

Du’aa to be read after Zabah (sacrifice): “O Allah accepts from me this sacrifice like you have accepted from your beloved Muhammad and your friend Ibrahim. Peace be upon them.”

The Meat of the Sacrificed Animal

  • The meat of the animal which has more than one share should be distributed by weighing it and not by estimation unless the head and feet and skin form part or the distributed shares. (Fatawa Shamiyah)
  • It is preferable to divide the meat into three parts. One part for one’s family, another should be distributed among friends and relatives and the third amongst the poor and needy. If a person has a very large family he may keep all the meat. (Fatawa Shamiyah)
  • It is unlawful to sell the Qurbani meat. (Fatawa Hindiyyah)
  • It is not permissible to tender the skin or meat as payment to the slaughterer (or skinner). Their fees should be paid separately. (Fatawa Shamiyah)
  • It is not permissible to give meat, fat, etc. of the sacrificed animal to the butcher as compensation for services rendered. (Fatawa Shamiyah)
  • The meat of the voluntary (Nafl) Qurbani, which has made for a deceased person, may be eaten by all, just like one’s own Qurbani.
  • Qurbani meat may be consumed by oneself and may be served to others, for example, at a Walima.
  • Qurbani meat may be given out cooked or uncooked.
  • It is not permissible for one to eat the meat of the following sacrificed animals:
  • Sacrifice that is made as a Kaffaarah (penalty) for a Jinaayat (error/mistake) committed during Hajj/ Umrah.
  • Sacrifice made for a deceased person on his Wasiyyat i.e. his instruction before his death. The meat of these two types of sacrifices has to be distributed to the poor and needy only.

The Skin of the Qurbani Animal

It is permissible to utilize the skin for one’s personal use, e.g. he may use it as a Musalla or a leather bucket etc. However, if the skin is sold, it is not permissible to use the income thereof. It is Wajib to give it in charity. Sale of the skin without the intention of disbursing the money in charity is not permitted. (Fatawa Hindiyyah)

It is not permissible to give the skin in lieu of any services rendered. (Fatawa Hindiyyah)

Warning for those who Ignore Qurbani

Hazrat Abu Hurairah Radhiyallaahu Anhu reports that Rasoolullah Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam said, “He who has the means of performing Qurbani but does not do so should not come close to our Eidgah (Place of Eid Salaah). `

Qurbani on behalf of Rasoolullah Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam or any Deceased Muslim

If one has been favoured by Allah with wealth, then he should preferably perform Qurbani on behalf of Rasoolullah Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam as well. One may also include the Prophets Alayhimus Salaam, the Sahabah Radhiyallaahu Anhum, the entire Ummah, and all those living or deceased relatives, friends and teachers who have conveyed Deeni knowledge or been a cause of benefit to one.

Hazrat Ali Radhiyallaahu Anhu reports, “Rasoolullah Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam instructed me to perform Qurbani on his behalf. Thus, I will continue to make Qurbani (on behalf of Rasoolullah Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam. (I’laa us Sunan)

Abu Talha Radhiyallaahu Anhu has related that the Rasoolullah Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam sacrificed a ram and while sacrificing the next animal said, “This is on behalf of every one of my Ummah who believed in me and testified (to my prophethood)” (Tabrani)

The Takbeeraat of Tashreeq

It is Wajib (incumbent) for every adult Muslim male to recite the Takbeeraat of Tashreeq after every Fardh Salaat-performed with Jamaat or individually from the Fajr of the 9th of Zul-Hijjah to the Asr of the 13th of Zul Hijjah. The Takbeeraat should be recited once only. The words are as follows:

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar laa ilaha illallahu wallahu akbar. Allahu Akbar walillaahil hamd.

Translation: “Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest. There is no deity besides Allah and Allah is the Greatest. Allah is the Greatest and all praises belong to Him Alone.”

Men should recite this Takbeer audibly whilst females should do so silently.

May Allah Ta’aala grant us ability to practice. Aameen.

Source : Jamiatul Ulama (KZN)

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