||Philosophy of Qurbani|
By Mufti Taqi Usmani
The Urdu and Persian word "Qurbaani" is
derived from the Arabic word 'Qurban'. It means an act performed to seek
nearness to Almighty Allah and to seek His good pleasure. Originally, the word 'Qurban'
included all acts of charity because the purpose of charity is nothing but to
seek Allah's pleasure. But, in precise religious terminology, the word was later
confined to the sacrifice of an animal slaughtered for the sake of Allah.
The sacrifice of an animal has always been treated as a recognised form of
worship in all religious orders originating from a divine book. Even in pagan
societies, the sacrifice of an animal is recognised as a form of worship, but it
is done in the name of some idols and not in the name of Allah, a practice
totally rejected by Islam.
In the Shariáh of our beloved Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) the
sacrifice of an animal has been recognised as a form of worship only during
three days of the month of Dhul Hijjah, namely the 10th, 11th and 12th of the
month. This is to commemorate the unparalleled sacrifice offered by Prophet
Sayyidina Ibrahim (Álayhis salaam) when he, in pursuance to a command of Allah
conveyed to him in a dream, prepared himself to slaughter his beloved son
Sayyidinah Ismail (Álayhis salaam) and actually did so, but Allah Almighty,
after testing the ultimate limits of his submission, sent down a sheep and saved
his son from the logical fate of slaughter. It is from that time onwards that
sacrifice of an animal became an obligatory duty to be performed by every
Qurbani is a demonstration to Allah and proof of complete obedience to Allah's
will or command. When a Muslim offers Qurbani, this exactly what he intends to
prove. Thus, the Qurbani offered by a Muslim signifies that he is slave of Allah
at his best and that he would not hesitate even for a moment, once he receives
an absolute command from his Creator, to surrender before it, to obey it
willingly, even it be at the price of his life and possessions. When a true and
perfect Muslim receives such a command from Allah, his natural instincts stop
him from indulging in the futile search for the reasoning behind the command;
nor does he make his obedience dependent upon the command's 'reasonableness' as
perceived through his limited understanding. He knows that Allah is All-Knowing,
All- Wise and that his own ability to reason cannot encompass the knowledge and
wisdom underlying the divine command, even if he cannot find any reason or
wisdom behind it.
This is exactly what the Prophet Ibrahim (Álayhis salaam) did. Apparently, there
was no reason why a father should slaughter his innocent son. But, when came the
command of Allah, he never asked about the reason for that command, nor did he
hesitate to obey it. Even his minor son, when asked by his father about the
dream he had seen, never questioned the legitimacy of the command, nor did he
pine or whine about it, nor did he ask for one good reason why he was being
slaughtered. The one only response he made was:
"Father, do what you have been ordered to do. You shall find me, God willing,
among the patient".
The present-day Qurbani is offered in memory of this great model of submission
set before us by the great father and the great son. Qurbani must be offered in
our time emulating the same ideal and attitude of submission.
This then is the true philosophy of Qurbani. With this in mind, one can easily
unveil the fallacy of those who raise objections against Qurbani on the basis of
economic calculations and lounge statistics and make it out to be a wastage of
money, resource and livestock. Unable to see beyond mundane benefits, they
cannot understand the spirit Islam wants to implant and nourish among its
followers, the spirit of total submission to Allah's will equips man with the
most superior qualities so necessary to keep humanity in a state of lasting
peace and welfare.
Qurbani is nothing but a powerful symbol of the required human conduct vis-ŕ-vis
the divine commands, however, "irrational" or "uneconomic" they may seem to be
in their appearance. Thus, the distrustful quest for mundane economic benefits
behind Qurbani is, in fact the negation of its real philosophy, and the very
spirit underlying it.
No doubt, there are, in every form of worship ordained by Allah, certain worldly
benefits too, but they are not the main purpose of these prescribed duties, nor
should they be treated as preconditions to submission and obedience. All acts of
worship, including Qurbani, must be carried out with the spirit of total
submission to Allah, irrespective of their economic, social or political
benefits. This is what Ibrahim (Álayhis salaam) did, and this is what every true
Muslim is required to do.
WARNING FOR THOSE WHO IGNORE QURBANI
There is a Hadith from Hadhrat Abu Hurayra (Radhiallaahu Ánhu) that Rasulullah (Sallallahu-alayhi-wasallam)
said, 'That person who has the means of performing Qurbani but does not do so
should not even come near the Eidgah (Place of Eid Salaat).
Source: Taken (with Thanks) from Jamiat KZN