14 August 2018 / 02 Dhil Hijja 1439
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Qurbani, the preferred Sadaqah
- Written by Shafiq Morton
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QURBANI, the ritual sacrifice of a permissible animal during the Eid ul-Adha period at the end of the Hajj, is regarded as the most preferred sadaqah (or charity). When asked to explain Qurbani, the blessed Prophet Muhammad had told the Companion, Zayd ibn Arqam, it was the custom of his father Ibrahim, who was given a ram instead of his own son, Isma’il.
When Zayd had asked what spiritual benefit there was, the Messenger of God had replied that there was a reward for every single hair of the sacrificed animal. The Prophet, peace be upon him, had explained that what made the Qurbani special was that it was performed purely for the sake of Allah, and Allah alone. The Udhiya, as it is sometimes called, was accepted even before the blood reached the ground.
Or as Surat ul-Hajj says:
Their flesh and blood do not reach Allah; it is your piety that reaches him.
A’ishah, the youngest wife of the Prophet, narrated that the Messenger said there was nothing dearer to Allah, during the days of Hajj, than the sacrifice. The sacrificed animal would appear on the Day of Judgement replete with its horns, hair, and hooves to be weighed on the scales.
Therefore, the scholars of Fiqh have laid great emphasis on the Qurbani. Abu Hanifah, for example, says that it is wajib (compulsory) upon the one who can afford Zakah and has the means, and Imam Shafi’i writes that it is a Sunnah Mu’akkadah, a highly recommended practice . The Qur’an talks about the status of the sacrifice in Surat ul-An’am (the Chapter of the Cattle). In the preceding verse, it extols the faith of Ibrahim and his steadfastness, and then says:
Truly, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice (nusuki), my life and my death all belong to Allah, Lord of the worlds…
Because of all the above, the scholars say that offering the Qurbani is better than giving its price in charity. At another level, the Qurbani is a hugely spiritual occasion: for as the person performing the tadhiyya lifts his knife, the person sacrificing the animal, those for whom the sacrifice is being made and the animal, are at one with Allah. They are collectively lost in the divine moment.
This is exactly what happened to Ibrahim and Isma’il, when they obeyed Allah Almighty’s command on Mina. Both were drowned in submission to their Creator at the moment Ibrahim lifted his hand. It was only when the knife spoke, saying it would not cut the vein of a prophet that Ibrahim realised that Allah’s mercy had descended. It was then that Allah substituted the ram.
The charity of the Qurban is one of the most embracing charities, and draws in the whole community: for when the meat is distributed a third goes to oneself, a third to the needy and a third to relatives and friends. Everybody benefits.
Of course, the luxury of meat provided by the Qurbani may only last a meal or two, but there are so many intrinsic rewards. For what counts as equally as anything else, is the act of sharing in the barakah, or the blessing, of the sacrifice. In these terms, the spirit of goodwill created by the Qurbani is immeasurable.
Many NGOs, including SANZAF, perform the Qurbani on an annual basis, distributing the meat themselves - and allowing those who have made the sacrifice to retain their portion. For those thinking of Qurbani, though, the logistics can be daunting: one has to transport, feed and tether the animal. This is not always easy to do in a humane way if one is not experienced. Then, what do we do with the carcass? The skin? Where do we freeze the meat? Sometimes, our backyards are not ideal.
This is where organisations such as SANZAF, with a proven track record, can play such a vital role in ensuring that our Qurbani in South Africa is performed and processed under controlled, Shari’ah compliant, hygienic and humane conditions.
Added to this is the fact that those who qualify for the charity of the Qurbani fall under the ambit of those qualifying for Zakah – and who is more qualified than the Zakah body itself to know where to send the meat? Last year alone, SANZAF was able to sacrifice over 7,000 animals and feed a staggering 91,000 needy people in Malawi and Mozambique.
Locally, just over 1,250 animals were sacrificed and meat distributed to nearly 30 centres country-wide. This means that in southern Africa, SANZAF’s Qurbani programme in 2017 would have fed well over 100,000 needy people, who would not normally be able to eat meat.
So, if you are thinking Qurbani this year, why not SANZAF? . Call 0861-726-923.