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Beyond the Ritual: The Spiritual and Ethical Significance of Qurbani

05/07/24

Beyond the Ritual: The Spiritual and Ethical Significance of Qurbani


Eid al-Adha is a special time for Muslims worldwide. It’s a joyous celebration where communities come together to commemorate the significance of Prophet Ibrahim’s (AS) extraordinary act. His willingness to sacrifice his own son, Ismail (AS), serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of sacrifice and complete submission to Allahﷻ. This sacred occasion rekindles our own commitment to putting our faith at the forefront of our hearts, drawing closer to our Creator through Ibadah. It’s also a time for families and friends to gather, share meals, and strengthen their bonds.


Eid al-Adha coincides with the culmination of Hajj, an important pillar of Islam and a journey undertaken by pilgrims to cleanse themselves and seek Allah’sﷻ mercy. Following this momentous occasion comes Qurbani, a practice deeply rooted in the spirit of Eid al-Adha. It’s more than a celebratory feast; it’s the act of sacrificing an animal in remembrance of Prophet Ibrahim’s (AS) unwavering faith. By sharing the meat with loved ones and those less fortunate, we fulfil our obligation to help those less fortunate than us. This act strengthens our Emaan as we demonstrate our willingness to submit to Allah’sﷻ will.

“And We have made the offering a duty for you, that you may remember the name of Allah over what He has provided for you of [sacrificial] animals. So eat of them and feed the needy who are satisfied [as well as those] who are compelled by poverty.” –[Qur’an, 22:28]


A Legacy of Unwavering Faith: Honoring the Spirit of Sacrifice

Qurbani is a powerful reminder of Prophet Ibrahim’s (AS) unwavering devotion to Allah’sﷻ command. He faced a trial unlike any other: to sacrifice his beloved son, Ismail (AS). Yet, his (AS) faith in Allah’sﷻ divine plan remained unshaken. Through complete submission to Allah’sﷻ will, Ibrahim (AS) demonstrated the ultimate example of Tawakkul (trust). His willingness to surrender his own flesh and blood for the sake of Allahﷻ exemplifies his true love for Allahﷻ.

Through Qurbani, we reaffirm our commitment to submitting to the will of Allahﷻ, a key principle of our Deen. It is a powerful act of Ibadah, reminding us that all we possess ultimately belongs to Him. By sacrificing a portion of our wealth in Qurbani, we demonstrate our willingness to prioritise Allah’sﷻ command above all worldly desires.

The true essence of Qurbani extends far beyond the sacrifice itself. It exemplifies the Ummah’s core Islamic principle of Ukhuwwah (brotherhood). The equal distribution of meat ensures that those less fortunate can share in the bounty of Eid al-Adha, fostering a spirit of compassion and social responsibility. This act of charity reflects the Islamic pillar of Zakah (obligatory charity), reminding us of our duty to care for those in need.

Ultimately, Qurbani serves as a multifaceted experience that strengthens our Emaan. It deepens our understanding of Tawakkul and Taslim (submission), inspiring us to perform acts of generosity. It is a time to reflect upon the extraordinary example set by Ibrahim (AS) and to recommit ourselves to living a life devoted to Allahﷻ and upholding the values of our faith.

 

Sharing Blessings and Compassion: The Ethical Significance of Qurbani

The distribution of Qurbani meat serves a crucial purpose, weaving together social responsibility and Islamic values. Each portion carries a specific significance:

One-third for the Sacrificer’s Family: This portion fosters gratitude for Allah’sﷻ blessings. It brings families together for meals, strengthening their relationships and reflecting on the deeper meaning of the sacrifice. This gathering becomes a time to remember the importance of unity within the household.

One-third for Relatives, Friends, and Neighbors: Sharing this portion strengthens the bonds of brotherhood within the community. It fosters a spirit of social harmony and reminds us to maintain good relations with those around us.

One-third for the Poor and Needy: This most significant portion lies at the heart of Qurbani’s ethical dimension. Share the bounty of Eid al-Adha with the needy honours the Prophet’sﷺ teachings and embodies compassion. This act of charity reflects the spirit of Zakah and reminds us of our obligation to help others.

Following these guidelines ensures Qurbani extends far beyond the act itself. It cultivates gratitude within our families, strengthens social bonds, and most importantly, allows us to demonstrate compassion and generosity towards those less fortunate. This practice exemplifies the true essence of Eid al-Adha and reinforces our commitment to living a life guided by Islamic values.

The Prophet Muhammadﷺ said, “I had forbidden you to eat from the sacrificial meat for more than three days so that those who could afford it could give to those who are poor, but now you can eat as you wish, feed others from it, and preserve some.”” –[Al-Tirmidhi, 1430]

More Than Meat: The Extended Impact of Qurbani

The ethical significance of Qurbani extends far beyond the immediate distribution of meat. It compels us to be mindful of animal welfare throughout the process. The Prophetﷺ himself emphasised, “Verily, Allah has prescribed kindness upon everything” –[Sahih al-Bukhari 6031]. This Hadith guides our actions throughout the Qurbani process:

Selecting Healthy Animals: We must choose animals free from defects, ensuring they are treated with respect and compassion throughout their lives.
Humane Treatment: Transportation and slaughter must be conducted according to Islamic guidelines, minimising suffering.
Respectful Utilization: All parts of the sacrificed animal must be used thoughtfully, avoiding waste and showing gratitude for Allah’sﷻ provision.

Furthermore, Qurbani encourages us to explore alternative methods of maximising its impact. Qurbani projects in underprivileged regions ensure the meat reaches those most in need, fulfilling our obligation to help the needy. 

The significance of Qurbani serves as a powerful tool for self-reflection. The sacrifice compels us to surrender the worldly possessions we hold dear for the sake of Allahﷻ. The process encourages us to empathise with the less fortunate. Ultimately, Qurbani serves as a reminder of the temporary nature of this Dunya, and reminds us to prioritise our Akhira.


Embracing the Spirit of Qurbani

By embracing the true significance of Qurbani, we commemorate Prophet Ibrahim’s (AS) bravery in the face of adversity. We also embody the core Islamic values of compassion, gratitude, and social justice. May this Eid al-Adha be a joyous occasion, and a time of reflection.

If you haven’t donated your Qurbani yet, you can do so here. One Ummah teams are working tirelessly to distribute Qurbani meat across 19 calamity-stricken countries worldwide this Eid al-Adha, ensuring no community is left behind. Fulfil your obligation this Dhul Hijjah, share the blessings of this sacred time and feed those in need.

May Allahﷻ accept all our righteous deeds, grant us a joyous celebration, and reward us abundantly in this life and the next. Ameen.

 

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