Says Allah The Most High
“It is not the flesh, nor the blood which reaches Allah, but it is the Taqwa that reaches Him from you.”
The morning of the 10th of Dhul Hijjah is a very special morning. It is a morning unlike any other morning of the whole year. It is a morning of astronomical proportions. It is a morning which should instil awe into the heart of a Muslim. For this is a morning in which a Muslim will take a life of a creation of Allah.
Life is sacred. All forms of it. Souls differ. The soul of a human is different to that of animals. This is why a human is not expected to behave like an animal. This is also why an animal does not behave like a human being. The disposition of humans also differs from one another. This is why a man is not expected to behave like a woman and vice versa. Despite the differences, some things are common amongst humankind, like compassion and sanctity.
Sanctity also differs. An animal slaughtered on any other day does not enjoy the same sanctity as an animal slaughtered for Qurbani. The animal slaughtered for Qurbani is a treasure for the hereafter and powers Taqwa which in turn fuels the Imaan residing in the soul of a Muslim.
Taqwa consists of four things:
1) Taqwa in intention: Allah’s Command shall be carried out with joy and enthusiasm! Nay, Allah’s command, even before being carried out, is received with ecstasy and jubilation. Qurbani days are here! A Muslim bows happily to Allah’s Will. His intention is filled with humility and hope. A Muslim loves His Allah. A Muslim knows His Allah. A Muslim adores His Allah. And why not — is that not the purpose of his life?
Has Allah not blessed him with Imaan? Has Allah Ta’aala not honoured him with Imaan? Now his Allah calls. Now his Allah commands: “Slaughter and take a life for My Pleasure. Do it for Me. Do it with Love. Do it with Fear. Do it with humility. It’s not the flesh that counts. It’s not the blood that counts. It’s your heart that counts. It’s Taqwa that counts.
2) Taqwa in the environment: A corrupt environment breeds a corrupt mentality. A corrupt environment fosters evil habits. A corrupt environment is Shaytaan’s playground. A corrupt environment increases the evil power of the Nafs. A corrupt environment blinds the intelligence and gives steam to shamelessness.
The environment for Qurbani should be filled with holiness and piety. It should be devoid of inter-mingling between males and females. Qurbani is not an occasion like the Spanish “bull run” or a festival like “the July Handicap.”
There are no fun features in Qurbani. There is no spectatorship value. Qurbani is not a fashion parade for women. Qurbani is not macho-time for men. Qurbani is not a circus. Qurbani is Taqwa just as Taqwa is Qurbani. Let the environment be free from immodesty, laughter, flirting, videoing, music, bragging and boasting.
The occasion is solemn – lives are going to be sacrificed – not for the sake of meat or a meal but for Allah’s Pleasure. And as Allah listens to the hearts for whispers of Taqwa, so does Allah watch the environment for scenes of Taqwa, He watches if the animal is the animal which He wants.
3) Taqwa with regards to the animal: Allah Ta’ala watches if the animal is worthy of His Choice. There are specifications to the type of animals. There are age restrictions. Allah’s chosen animal should not be blind, or deaf or paralysed. Allah’s chosen animal should be comforted and not be traumatised. Allah’s chosen animal should be treated with compassion and kindness. Allah’s chosen animal should not be brutalised and stunned “SANHA-STYLE” (the captive bolt device which entails shooting with a gun a long metal bolt into the skull of the animal resulting in the brains of the creature being totally shattered.)
Allah’s animal should be made to face the direction of the House of Allah and not the direction dictated by Kuffaar companies. The Qiblah is on the compass of millions of restless Muslim hearts, how could it ever be ignored? It is only scholars for dollars whose hearts face their bank balances who treat the Qiblah of Islam lightly.
In a certain way, animals know Allah much better than humans. Deep down, that animal knows that it is to be sacrificed.
And if we could hear its last speech, we would understand that its last wish is to take its last breath facing the city of Allah, facing the House of Allah, and why not, after all, is it not going to be slaughtered in Allah’s name?
4) Taqwa in slaughtering: The slaughterer’s Taqwa commenced maybe some months ago when he started saving for his Qurbani. His Taqwa was given practical expression when he searched for his animal. His appearance re-enforced his Taqwa when he stopped pairing his nails and stopped cutting his hair. His appearance is perhaps shabby to the creation, but in the eyes of Allah, he is most handsome and adorable.
He steps forward with sleeves rolled-up and with a heart beating. In front of him, perhaps for a fleeting moment, flashes a scene from another time.
A time when a man was commanded to slaughter his only son.
A time when a man took a sharp knife in his hands and stepped forth to this blind folded son.
A time when a man firmly took hold of the throat of this only son.
A time when a man with a firm heart and a firm belief and with all the strength of a Nabi’s blessed powerful Taqwa filled hands abided to His Friend—Allah’s commands. May Allah have Mercy and forever shower His Choicest Blessings upon Sayidina Ebrahim alayhi salaam. Ameen.
What a worthy spiritual grandfather was he not to this Ummah! Worthy is he indeed of his name being recited four times in every two rakaat’s Salaah by every single Muslim in every corner of the world!
The slaughterer not only slaughters the animal. The slaughterer seeks the innocence of that sinless animal. He does so by intending to slaughter his Nafs. The blood gushes forth from the animal, purifying it. The Nafsaani evil “gushes” forth from the slaughterer’s Nafs. He is also, according to his intention, purified. His was a Qur-bani of Taqwa. He has passed a test. Ibrahim (alayhi salaam) passed his test. He was rewarded for his sacrifice. This simple bondsman will also be rewarded for his sacrifice.
The rewards of passing the test
Know well, that with every good act, virtue, feat and deed of Ibaadah comes both material and spiritual re-wards. Know well too, that the material rewards are not restricted to the worldly life. When we sin, we are punished if there is no remorse or regret. When we are obedient to Allah Azza Wajal, we reap reams of Allah’s Mercy in the form of His Qurb (Closeness). This nearness and proximity is what is known as peace of mind. It is this treasure for which man craves.
Qurbani was made. The meat is Halaal. Eat and enjoy this Ni’mat of Allah. Spiritually a person is fortified to meet the challenges of Shaytaan and the Nafs. Qurbani was made and the soul soars to a higher level where it will now dwell and enjoy The Divine Presence provided that we do not mess up things with sins. Make no mistake about it: Every sin is a veil. How can we blame Allah, Most High for not listening to us when we are the ones who are putting up the barriers with our sins.
As for rewards in the hereafter, Jannah has just become a little more within reach. For every hair or fibre of wool, a reward, Insha-Allah, is assured. The hooves shall be weighed by the Scales, the horns shall be weighed by the Scales. What joy will there not be at the dipping Scales and what radiance will not be dripping from faces! The time and the day and the date all will be found to be recorded in our scroll of deeds. Subhanallah!
The final meeting
Even as the slaughterer casts a last glance at his shuddering dying Qurbani animal, he leaves it with hope in his heart. For he knows as only a Muslim can know that it is not the last time he has seen this animal.
There remains one final meeting, a meeting of tremendous significance and great importance.
In order to enter into Jannah, a Muslim has to cross a bridge which will span Jahannam. The journey across this bridge will take fifteen thousand years. This bridge which is thinner than a hair and sharper than a blade.
It is at this decisive bridge where a Muslim will see his Qurbani animal awaiting him. How great will his joy not be when he mounts his Qurbani animal which will speed over a dreadful Jahannam and deliver him at the Gates of Jannah!
May Allah accept the Qurbani of the entire Ummah and may our Qurbaani be a means of True Taqwa. (Ameen)