Qurbâni –Keeping the Spirit Alive
Summary Transcript of Majlis delivered by Hadrat Maulânâ Abdul Hamîd Ishâq Sâhib (Dâmat Barakâtuhum)
The favours of Almighty Allâh rain upon us in torrents, yet unfortunately, majority of us do not even perceive it. When Nabî Âdam (a.s.) resided in Jannah, he would receive whatever he so desired, without any effort whatsoever. After coming down to earth however, he realized what a great amount of effort is required before even a single morsel can be acquired.
To make tasks easy for him, and to remember that every item of enjoyment reaches one only due to the mercy and kindness of Almighty Allâh , he was instructed to recite بسم الله before attempting to carry out any work, no matter how trivial.
Since Nabî Âdam (a.s.) had to do everything alone, he easily understood the worth of every favour of Allâh . Today, in the preparation of just one plate of food, thousands of machines, workers, raw materials, and a great amount of effort and planning must first take place. Then, behind every worker, and every machine lies a story of its own. When the personal, physical, and monetary affairs of a worker is seen to, only then can that particular worker turn up for work.
In short, for one mere morsel to reach our lips, Almighty Allâh has placed a gigantic system in motion, as though everyone and everything else has been created solely to fulfil our every single need. All that Almighty Allâh desires is that man appreciates and recognizes what he is receiving and from whom he is receiving. The expression of this appreciation and recognition has been summed up in the short phrase of بسم الله before every act.
Unfortunately it is only a few elite who recite this phrase as it ought to be recited. If we do ever read it, it is only to teach one’s child, and then too as a mere formality. The essence and reality of بسم الله has long ago been lost. Even in the Khânqahs, where Zikr is made solely to bring the reality of بسم الله within one, there too the making of Zikr has been transformed into a mere entertainment programme, where one is happy to take the name of Allâh Y verbally, but not prepared to let Almighty Allâh’s great name penetrate within his heart and mind.
The requirement of the time is that the spirit of every action remains with the action. For example, the Sunnah of these days is the act of Qurbânî (slaughtering for the pleasure of Almighty Allâh ). If this Qurbânî is carried out on one’s behalf, in any part of the world, all shall agree that one’s obligation has been fulfilled. However, due to one not having carried out the Qurbânî himself, the spirit of this great tenet of Islâm shall never be acquired.
If a friend stays in one’s timeshare, the time-share has indeed been used, but you shall never experience its enjoyment. If Hajj-e-Badal is made on your behalf, the obligation shall indeed be fulfilled, but you will never know the meaning of ‘Minâ’, ‘Arafât’, ‘Muzdalifa’, etc.
For the spirit of Qurbânî to be attained and for its reality to seep within one’s heart, it is vital that one’s involvement in the Qurbânî be of a physical nature, and not just monetary. From the slaughtering to the skinning, parcelling and delivering to the poor, in each part of this most blessed act should be one’s physical participation.
Each part of this process has its own unique benefit. These benefits shall never be accrued, until and unless one gets involved himself in the action. Merely writing a cheque shall ensure that the animal is slaughtered, and that a poor household gets meat for one day, but what was really intended through Qurbânî, shall never be realised.
The sign of this Eid is bloodied clothing, the smell of domestic animals, and the screams of Bismillâhi Allâhu Akbar. During the days of Qurbânî, in the Khânqah of Hadrat Shaikhul Hadîth, Maulânâ Muhammad Zakariyâ Sâhib (ra) , nothing would be eaten except the meat of Qurbânî. Hadrat would explain that during these days, Almighty Allâh hosts the Ummah, and the food which Almighty Allâh offers His guests, is the meat of Qurbânî.
Imagine that guest, who lands up at the home of his host, the king of the land, with his own Rooibos tea and brown bread! Is it not only befitting of a guest that his eyes fall on nothing except that which his host has prepared?!
The price of animals, during the days of Qurbânî, should never be an issue. From time immemorial, inflation has been the order of the day. Prices of everything shall always be on the rise. Yet, when one’s levy for his time-share goes higher, you rarely hear any complaints. Why then does a few extra Rands pinch so much when it comes to Qurbânî?
Islâm is a living religion. Its demand is that the spirit of every act be retained. Had Almighty Allâh wished, a statue of Nabî Ibrâhîm u could have been erected on the plains of Minâ, showing him standing with a knife over his beloved son. The Hujjâj could have gathered around his statue, and marvelled at his deed. Almighty Allâh however desired that Islâm remains a living religion, wherein the sacrifices of the lovers of Allâh be remembered, both physically and monetarily.
The sacrifice of Ibrâhîm (a.s.) and his family was to be remembered, physically, by ordering the slaughter of thousands of animals, not only in Minâ, but around the globe. It was to be remembered monetarily, by letting the pinch of this sacrifice be felt by even the extremely affluent. It was to be remembered by the rich, by ordaining it upon them, and by the poor as well, by explaining that their share in the meat of Qurbânî never be forgotten.
The share of the poor does not exist in that meat which one feels unfit for one’s own consumption. Rather, the share of the poor exists in that meat, which one would have loved to keep for himself. Almighty Allâh has clearly announced:
لَنْ تَنَالُوا الْبِرَّ حَتَّى تُنْفِقُوا مِمَّا تُحِبُّونَ
You shall never attain true piety, unless you are prepared to spend of what you love!
When Qurbânî (sacrifice) shall be made of one’s time, clothing, hands, nose, kitchen, luxury, honour, etc. then only shall the spirit of sacrifice start taking root. There are those also who ensure every year that they purchase the most expensive animal available for the purpose of Qurbânî. This is indeed quite laudable. However, as long as one is not prepared to take a physical part in the Qurbânî, the mere spending of a large amount of money too shall not be sufficient to light the spirit within one’s life.
Almighty Allâh has reserved three days for Qurbânî, thus the desire is that all three days be utilized for this purpose. There is no need for haste. Blessed be that person who can take time out to spread his Qurbânî over the full three days.
Today unfortunately Qurbânî has become mainly commercial. Parties, get-togethers, braais, etc. have become its main focus, and photography has been included as an essential ingredient of the whole affair. Alas! Through photography the essence of so many of our pure Islâmic rituals have now been lost. It has taken out the life and spirit of our Ibâdât. Picture-taking (of animate objects), which has always been abhorred in Islâm, has now, through digital cameras and mobile phones, crept into practically every branch of our Dîn.
When the very thing which had once been abhorred and prohibited by Rasûlullâh (sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam), (i.e. pictures of animate objects) when that very thing has now become part and parcel of our Ibâdât (acts of worship), how then can we expect the spirit of these Ibâdât to seep into our lives?
In the animals of Qurbânî there are great lessons to be learnt. In looking after them, feeding them, caressing them, etc. great spiritual benefit can be accrued. Items like machines, computers, state-of-the-art technology, fast cars, etc. easily bring pride within one, whereas works such as menial labour, farming, spending time on the ground, looking after sheep and goats, etc. create humility within one’s heart.
Imâm Râzî (ra) has made mention of the following incident in his famous Tafsîr, Tafsîr-e-Kabîr:
ومنه حديث موسى عليه السلام حين : “قال : إلهي بم نلت ما نلت ؟قال : أتذكر حين هربت منك السخلة ، فلما قدرت عليها قلت : أتعبت نفسك ثم حملتها ، فلهذا السبب جعلتك ولياً على الخلق
Nabî Mûsâ u asked, ‘O Allâh , on account of what have I attained all what I have attained?’ Almigthy Allâh replied, ‘Do you remember the time when a lamb ran away from you and you had to exhaust yourself in bringing it back! When you finally caught up with it, I saw that despite having tired yourself in reaching it, you were still prepared to carry it back to the flock, (seeing that it too was exhausted). On account of this tolerance and sacrifice of yours I appointed you (as a Nabî) over the creation!’
Every Nabî had spent time in shepherding sheep and goats, before being blessed with Nubuwwat. Through these animals great qualities are created within one. During the days of Qurbânî, whosoever shall take out time to look after these animals, pet them, feed them, etc. there is great hope that he too shall be blessed with those qualities as well, Inshâ Allâh.
May Almighty Allâh once again revive the true spirit of Qurbânî in every home and in every soul. May Almighty Allâh protect our pure, blessed acts of worship from becoming mere rituals, devoid of spirit and reality. Âmîn.
Source: Madrasah Arabia Islamia