The Significance, Spirituality and Wisdom of Qurbani
Qurbani, the festival of sacrifice or Eid-al-Adha, holds immense importance and spiritual value for Muslims worldwide. It commemorates the sincerity, devotion and obedience of Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) to the Almighty Allah as well as serves as a celebration of his great achievement in the success in the divine trial. Qurbani plays an important role in the society in different aspects. It satiates the poor and needy people and makes the Muslims united and surrendered to Allah Almighty.
Prophet Ibrahim was ordered in his dream a trial to sacrifice his most beloved one, his son Ismail, whom he gets at the age of 86. Despite his profound love for him, Ibrahim demonstrated unwavering faith and obedience. After consulting Ismail, who also willingly submitted to Allah's command he blindfolded himself to prevent his parental emotions from interfering and proceeded to sacrifice his son. However, Allah substituted Ismail with the ram which was offered as sacrifice and was grazing in the Paradise as Ibn Saud reported in his Tafsir.¹ However, he got a successful victory in his great trial. This story highlights Ibrahim's profound devotion and absolute trust in Allah.
Bravery and Determination of Prophet Ibrahim (a.s)
The Quran acknowledges Prophet Ibrahim's bravery, determination, and his unique status as he was one of the UlulAzam messengers. He is described in Surah Āl Imran as Haneef (inclined towards righteousness) and Muslim (submitting to Allah's will). His unwavering faith and love for Allah earned him the title of Al-Khaleel, the beloved friend of Allah. The term ‘Khaleel’ in Surah Nisa signifies the deep connection and devotion between Ibrahim and Allah.
Prophet Ibrahim possessed two exceptional qualities simultaneously: his love and hatred were solely for the sake of Allah, and he depended on Him alone without seeking anything from anyone else. Surah Nahl describes Ibrahim as an Ummah (nation) in himself, as Almighty emphasizing his perfection in all aspects of goodness, as Imam Zammakhshari argued.²
What is the Qurbani?
As a remembrance of the unshakeable faith of Prophet Ibrahim and his submission to the divine will, Qurbani is obligated according to the Hanafi jurisprudence to each and every Muslim who owns the Nisab. Nisab is the minimum amount of wealth that a Muslim must-have for the obligation of Zakat. It is the sacrificing of livestock, such as sheep, goats, cows, or camels, during the Islamic month of Dhul Hijjah for the sake of Allah. The time of sacrifice starts after the prayer of Eid ul Adha and ends hence the sun sets on the 12th of the same month.
Virtues of Qurbani
There are many virtues of Qurbani and some of them are as follows. Imam Tabrani reported in his Al mu'jam al Kabeer from the Prophet (ﷺ)that he said: “Whoever sacrifices with his pure heart, expecting the reward of his sacrifice; It would be a shield for him from the fire (Hell)”.³
Imam Tirmizi reported from Aysha (may Allah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “No work of a human being that he does on the day of sacrifice is beloved to Allah than the shedding of blood (performing the sacrifice). It will come on the Day of Resurrection with its horns, hair and hooves, and that blood reaches to the acceptance of Allah before it falls down on the ground, so do it with your pure hearts.” ⁴
Wisdom of the Qurbani
Almighty Allah defined Muslims in Surah Al Baqarah as those who believe in the unseen. So, a perfect believer shouldn’t think about the Hikma and wisdom of a work that he has assigned. Instead, he has to adhere to the command of Allah only because it is His order no other intention should be kept in the mind as a good servant does what he does only for the sake of his master. But times and conditions have changed now and faith has weakened today so it is necessary to mention some pearls of wisdom behind the legitimation of Qurbani in order to increase people’s attention toward this and encourage them to perform the Qurbani.
- The sacrifice is a gratitude to Allah Almighty for the blessings.
Allah Almighty granted us uncounted blessings that are priceless like the blessing of faith and obedience, hearing and sight, money and children, etc. And these blessings needed to be thanked; for their survival and increase as Allah says in surah Ibrahim “If you are grateful, I would certainly give to you more, and if you are ungrateful, my chastisement is truly severe.”⁵ and Among the ways of thanking Allah for His blessings is spending in His way and the sacrifice is a form of thanking Allah the Almighty.
We should thank Allah as we are not ordered to sacrifice our children like Prophet Ibrahim, because Imam Nasafi reported from Ibn Abbas that “If this sacrifice (of prophet Ismail peace be upon him) was completed, it would have become a Sunnah, and people should slaughter their children.”⁶
- Sacrifice is one of the symbols of Islam.
Every community and religion follows up its rituals and gives it an intense degree of respect. Hence sacrifice is one of the symbols of Islam. It was prescribed to draw closer to God Almighty and to respond to His command. So, every Muslim should sacrifice as Allah almighty encouraged to follow and respect the Islamic symbols as he said in surah Hajj: “And whoever holds in honor the symbols of Allah, (in the sacrifice of animals), such (honor) should come truly from piety of hearts.” ⁷
- Sacrifice illuminates caring, compassion and generosity.
Seeking the Halal and spending it on family and others is an Ibadah in Islam. Imam Bukhari reported that Prophet (ﷺ) said “You will never spend money seeking God's pleasure but will be rewarded for it, even what you put in your wife's mouth.”⁸ According to the Hadith, feeding the food is a way to enter the paradise with peace, and all these opportunities come into being by the act of sacrifice.
Islam teaches us piety, compassion, generosity and unity through the act of Qurbani, it encourages feeding food as well as discourages stinginess. Prophet (ﷺ) said when he was asked; ‘which Islam is better O messenger of Allah?’, “You feed the food, and you read Salam to those you know and to those you do not know.”⁹ Through the Qurbani we can acquire all the rewards given for spending and feeding.
- Sacrifice is the medium of upholding the ties of kinship, honoring the guests and neighbors.
There are several Hadiths which talk about the importance of relationships and deter from cutting the relationships down, along with honoring the guests and respecting the neighbors. Prophet (ﷺ) said “And whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should honor his guest, and whoever believes in God and the Last Day should honor his neighbor.”¹⁰ It is clear that after the sacrifice Muslims give and take the meat to each other especially the neighbors and relatives, they invite them for food also. So, they do achieve a lot of social and spiritual benefits of the Sacrifice.
- Sacrifice will bring more from God’s blessings.
Believers are advised to make good intentions whatever they do as it will be in the way of Allah. Imam Tirmizi reported in his Sunan that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, "Allah loves to see the sign of His Bounties on his slave."¹¹ If a person distributes the meat between the needy people and relatives he will be showing the sign of the bounties of Allah. Allah will be pleased with his work as well as it will motivate others to do so.
- Sacrifice brings joy to the hearts of the believers.
Making someone happy is a great Ibadah in Islam, until it proclaims that if you look to your Muslim brother with a smiley face it will be counted as a Swadaqah for you and you will be rewarded for it. Imam Tabrani reported that the prophet (ﷺ)said: “The most beloved of people to Allah is the one who brings most benefit to people, and the most beloved of deeds to Allah is making a Muslim happy, or relieving him of hardship, or paying off his debt, or warding off hunger from him”.¹²
In another Hadith, the messenger of Allah (ﷺ)said: “Whoever brings happiness to the family of Muslims, God does not accept a reward for him other than Paradise.”¹³ So, we can imagine the joy of poor and needy people when we satiate them with the meat of Qurbani and at that point of time the prayer which comes from their deepest corner of their hearts how much it will affect in our life.
Qurbani is a medium of proving our belief, love, obedience and selflessness towards Allah. Along with its spiritual and humanitarian aspects, it reflects compassion, generosity and fosters unity within the community. Muslims should embrace the spirit of Qurbani and live their lives as the Prophet Ibrahim had lived with the concept that everything, we have is the blessing of Allah so it should be used and spent in His desired path.
Abu Saud, Irshad al Aqlissalim Ila Mazaya Al Kitab Al Karim, Volume: 07, Page number: 201
Imam Zammakhshari, Tafsir al Kashshaf, Volume:3, Page number: 483
Imam Tabrani Almu'jam al Kabeer, Volume: 03, Page number: 84, Hadith count: 2736
Imam Thirmizi, Sunan Al Thirmizi, Volume: 04, Page number: 70, Hadith count: 1493
Al Quran, Surah Ibrahim 07
Imam Nasafi, Tafsir al Nasafi, Volume: 03, Page number: 133
Al Quran, Surah Al Hajj 32
Muhammad bin Ismail, Sahih al Bukhari, Volume number:1, Page number: 319 Hadith count: 356
Imam Muslim bin Hajjaj, Sahih Muslim, Volume number: 1, Page number: 65
Ibn Rajab, Jamiul Uloom wa Al Ahkam, Volume number: 1, Page number: 359
Imam Thirmizi, Sunan Al Thirmizi, Volume number: 05 page number:114 Hadith count 2819
Imam Tabrani, Al mu'jam Al Kabir, Volume number: 12, Page number: 453, Hadith count:13646
Imam Tabrani, Al mu'jam Al Awsat, Almu'jam Al Sageer
About the author
Muhammad Zakir Husain is from Ayodhya, Faizabad and he is a Pg Scholar at the Department of Quran and Related Science, Darul Huda Islamic University.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily mirror Islamonweb’s editorial stance.