“It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah; it is your piety that reaches Him.” (Qur’an 22:37)
Nigerian Muslims will join their counterparts around the world to celebrate the Eid-ul-Adha 1440AH on Sunday, August 11, 2019.
The Federal Government has therefore declared Monday and Tuesday, August 12 and 13 as public holidays for the Nigerian Muslims to celebrate with their families, friends and loved ones in the spirit of the festival.
Eid-ul-Adha, the most celebrated Muslim festival, comes a day after Arafat, the climax of all Hajj rites in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, which falls on Saturday, August 10.
It is also traditional for Muslim faithfuls who are not performing the pilgrimage to watch their local imams raise the knife after slaughtering the Ud’hiyah (animal of sacrifice) at the Eid prayer grounds before proceeding to do same.
According to the Shari’iah, it is compulsory for the Imams to lead in the slaughtering of sacrificial animals – be they camels, cows, rams or goats, before other Muslims proceed to slaughter theirs.
Anyone who violates this injunction has not slaughtered for the purpose of Eid. Hence, the act will not be accepted by Allah as such.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) warned in an authentic narration, “Whoever slaughtered his sacrifice before the Imam, let him slaughter another in its place, and whoever did not slaughter a sacrifice, let him do so in the name of Allah.”
Animal sacrifice is symbolic. It confirms the obedience and submission to Allah (SWT) as exemplified by Prophet Ibrahim, the Father of Faith. Allah (SWT) dedicated a complete Surah (Chapter) to Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) in the Noble Qur’an (Chapter 14), where the story of Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son, Ismail, when Allah ordered him to do so, was narrated.
The Prophet Ibrahim (AS) was without an offspring until he clocked 70. Despite being childless, he remained steadfast on the Path of Allah, until Allah granted his prayers.
The Noble Qur’an narrates, “My Lord! Grant me (offspring) from the righteous.” Allah (SWT) subsequently gave him glad tidings of a forbearing boy, named Ismail.
“And, when he (his son) was old enough to walk with him, he said: O my son! I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering you (offering you in sacrifice to Allah). So, look what you think!” He said: “O my father! Do that which you are commanded, in sha’Allah (if Allah wills), you’ll find me of As-Sabirun (the patient).
The verses continues, “Then, when they had both submitted themselves (to the Will of Allah), and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (or on the side of his forehead for slaughtering); We called out to him; “O Ibrahim, you have fulfilled the dream! Verily, thus do We reward the Muhsinun (good-doers)…And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice (a ram).” Qur’an 37: 100-106
That is the fascinating and divinely revealed story of Eid-il-Adha; how Allah in His Majesty, replaced the slaughtering of Prophet Ismail with a ram for Prophet Ibrahim at the time of sacrifice. Generations after, Allah raised Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) from among the Arabs, the progeny of Ismail and Ibrahim.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was also asked by his honourable Companions about Ud’hiyah. He said, “It is the Sunnah (Path) of your father, Ibrahim (AS).”
It is very important to understand that the sacrifice itself, as practised by Muslims, has nothing to do with atoning for sins or using the blood to wash ourselves off sin. This is a misunderstanding from the people of previous generations. That is why Allah says, “It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah; it is your piety that reaches Him.” Qur’an 22: 37
At Eid-il-Adha 2019 and beyond, every Muslim is expected to exhibit piety, especially when it comes to slaughtering and sharing of ram meat. The meat should be shared according to Islamic injunctions, specifically to three categories of people; one’s own family, friends and the poor who could not afford to buy.
It is however disheartening to see today’s Muslims ignore this ruling and follow their self-desires.
While some hoard the meat for days without sharing such diligently, others run into debt all in the name of slaughtering rams, whereas Allah does not place burdens on His servants.
Interestingly, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) usually slaughtered three rams. He explained; “one for me and my family, another one for my Companions and the third for my Ummah (Muslim community) who cannot afford to slaughter a ram.”
According to the consensus of scholars, the animals to be slaughtered should be mature ones, as follows: Camels, at 5 years old; Cows, 2 years; Sheep, 6 Months and Goats, 1 year.
However, the camel is more beneficial for the poor because of its great size (more can benefit from its meat), and similarly, a cow is more useful than a sheep.
In addition, the sacrificial animals must be free from blemish and wounds, as clearly stated by the Prophet (peace be upon him).
Baraa bn ‘Aazib narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “There are four that will not do for sacrifice: a one-eyed animal whose defect is obvious, a sick animal whose sickness is obvious, a lame animal whose limp is obvious and an emaciated animal that has no marrow in its bones.” (Abu Dawud).
Other defective animals that should be avoided include animals that have about half of the horn or ear chopped off or animals with slits in their ears, displaced teeth or other deformities.
By Rasheed Abubakar, the publisher of Muslim News
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