What Allah Wants From Our Sacrifice

Date: 25th September, 2015; 10th Dhul Hajj 1436

Sacrificing a beast on the day of Eid-ul-Azha is Fardh on all Muslims- for those who can afford it and there are immense rewards for accomplishing this deed. In fact one Hadith perfectly illustrates our blessing:

Zaid bin Arqam reported that the companions of Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) once asked him, “Oh! Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), what is this sacrifice?” He said, “The way of your forefather (Prophet) Ibrahim (Alayhi As-Salām).” They said, “What is for us therein, O! Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam)?” He said, “There is one reward for every hair.” They said, “For wool, O! Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam)?” He said, “There is one reward for every strand of wool!”

Reference: Sunan Ibn Majah

But why Allah wants us to sacrifice lives on this day? This is something we fail to understand and sometimes atheists even use this practice of ours and argue with us, branding it as something of “barbarianism” in this modern age. Allah says in the Quran:

It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah, but it is piety from you that reaches Him. Thus have We made them subject to you that you may magnify Allah for His Guidance to you. And give glad tidings to the Muhsinun (doers of good).

Surah Al-Hajj, Ayah 37 (22:37)

By “piety” as mentioned in this ayah, Allah means by “Taqwa” which simply means the fear of The Almighty. This whole sacrificial event has been ordained on us to test our strength as Mumins and all these are for our own benefits as Muhsinun, not for the benefit of Allah. One of the main fundamentals of Islam is to believe that Allah is in no need of our prayers rather it is us who owes Allah our prayers for the sake of showing Him our gratitude for providing us all His bounties. This principle has been clarified from this ayah:

If you disbelieve – indeed, Allah is Free from need of you. And He does not approve for His servants disbelief. And if you are grateful, He approves it for you; and no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. Then to your Lord is your return, and He will inform you about what you used to do. Indeed, He is Knowing of that within the breasts.

Surah Az-Zumar, Ayah 7 (39:7) Translation: Sahih International

So know about the fact that all we are doing is for our own benefit and Allah has nothing to gain from all these, He just wants to see our sincerity towards Him and wants us to testify His Lordship over everything.

Now few things about the concept of Taqwa. What are we expected to know about Taqwa being believers. Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (Radi Allahu Anhu) also had the same question when he first embraced Islam. The root meaning of Taqwa is to avoid what one dislikes.

It was reported that `Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (Radi Allahu Anhu) once asked Ubayy bin Ka`b (Radi Allahu Anhu) about Taqwa. Ubayy (Radi Allahu Anhu) said, “Have you ever walked on a path that has thorns on it” `Umar (Radi Allahu Anhu) said, “Yes.” Ubayy (Radi Allahu Anhu) said, “What did you do then” He said, “I rolled up my sleeves and struggled.” Ubayy (Radi Allahu Anhu) said, “That is Taqwa.”

Abu Ja`far Ar-Razi said that Al-`Alaa’ ibn Al-Musayyib ibn Rafi` narrated from Abu Ishaq that Abu Al-Ahwas said that `Abdullah said: ‘Faith is to trust’. `Ali ibn Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas (Radi Allahu Anhu) said concerning ‘faith’ in the verse:

…who have faith in what has been revealed to you and others before you and have strong faith in the life hereafter. (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:4)

This means they trust. Also, Ma`mar said that Az-Zuhri said: ‘Faith is the deeds’. In addition, Abu Ja`far Ar-Razi said that Ar-Rabi ibn Anas said that ‘They have faith’ means they fear Allah.

Reference: Tafsir Ibn Kathir

Imam Ibn Jarir At-Tabari (Rahmatullah Allaih) commented:

The preferred view is that they can be described as having faith in the unseen by the tongue, deed and creed. In this case, fear of Allah is included in the general meaning of faith, which necessitates following deeds of the tongue by implementation.

Hence, faith is a general term that includes affirming and believing in Allah, His Books and His Messengers, and realizing this affirmation through adhering to the implications of what the tongue utters and affirms.

In this Dunya, our paths will be filled with a lot of thorns, meaning, in order words, fitnahs of various sorts which will come in our lives and will surely aim to prick us along the Straight Path so as to swerve our proceedings as true Muslims. But just like Umar (Radi Allahu Anhu) mentioned, we must roll our sleeves and use our Imaan to continue our journey toward righteousness.

Readily embracing Taqwa is always hard, our Imaan may get “bent” down when we face hardships but we shouldn’t feel broken. Being steadfast is not only going to reward us in this world but will accumulate our required provisions to enter Jannah in the Hereafter. Sometimes we need to free ourselves from the whims of our nafs and save ourselves from temporary temptations. For example, during Salah when the call to the prayers is announced, a lot of us may have the tendency to loof around being lazy and nonchalant. If a person properly masters the required level of Imaan and Taqwa he is never going to miss out a single prayer despite being busy in his worldly affairs because the necessary fear towards the Almighty has already been inserted inside of him and at the end he is the one who is going to win not only in this Dunya but also the next life.

Islam gave us opportunities to celebrate and enjoy our lives, it’s not always strict rules and sour looks on the face- those in fact goes against the Sunnah. Those who actually promote Islam for it being a rigid religion can never attain proper Taqwa and for that he is not only going to fool himself but also the people around him. Allah gave us Eid-ul-Azha to enjoy our time. A lot of us avoid meat and spend our time dully on vegetables, for them Allah arranged this Eid so that everyone gets their share in having meat to attain protein- which goes true for both the rich and the poor as well since the rich are expected to share their provision with the poor.

Now let’s talk about how our Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) enjoyed his life with his wives and followers to prove that Islam is not a religion shackled in strictness. Some Hadiths prove this:

Yahya related to me from Malik from Abu’n-Nadr, the mawla of Umar ibn Ubaydullah that A’isha bint Talha told him that she was once with A’isha (Radi Allahu Anha), the wife of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and her husband, who was fasting, came and visited her there. (He was Abdullah ibn Abd ar-Rahman ibn Abi Bakras-Siddiq.) A’isha (Radi Allahu Anha) said to him, “What’s stopping you from coming close to your wife and kissing her and joking with her?” He said, “Can I kiss her when I am fasting?” She said, “Yes.”

Reference: Muwatta Malik, Book 18, Hadith 649

Aisha (Radi Allahu Anha) fondly recalled memories of racing with the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and even winning the race when she was young and fit though she lost the next race when she grew older.

Reference: Ibn Al Jawzi, Hadith 68

The Sunnah is to enjoy life with one’s spouse, which is the Sunnah way. In a way you may even consider racing your wife as a Sunnah and there is nothing childish about it. Rather being cold, let’s all be free and enjoy our lives with our spouses. Even with his followers and other Sahabahs, the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) never failed to make rejoicing memories.

It is reported that once, Imam Hasan (Radi Allahu Anha) approached the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and climbed on his shoulders. A person, (who was present) remarked, “O blessed son! What a nice steed you have”. In reply, the Holy Prophet declared, “And how nice a rider (too).”

References: Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Kitab al-Manaqib, Manaqib Abi Muhammad al-Hasan – Hadith no. 3809, Vol 5, Page 432.

In authority of Mahmud bin Rabia (Radi Allahu Anha), who said, “When I was a boy of five, I remember, the Prophet took water from a bucket (used far getting water out of a well) with his mouth and threw it on my face.”

Reference: Sahih Al-Bukhari, Book of Knowledge, Hadith 77

A man came to the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) to ask him to give him a beast to ride. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) jokingly told him, “I will give you the offspring of a she-camel to ride.” He said, “O Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), what will I do with the offspring of a she-camel?” The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “Are riding-camels born except from she-camels?”

References: Musnad of Imam Ahmad (Rahmatullah Allaih), Sunan Abu Dawud and Jami at-Tirmidhi, with a Sahih Isnaad.

Islam gave us the scope to enjoy our lives but then again we need to abide by the Sunnah if are to follow our religion. When we joke, we mustn’t lie as the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) warned us about lying for the sake of amusing people.

The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “Woe to the one who tells lies to make people laugh, woe to him.”

Reference Sunan Abu Dawood

The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, warning against this kind of behavior which some jokers are accustomed to: “A man may say something to make his companions laugh, and he will fall into Hell as far as the Pleiades because of it.”

Reference: Musnad of Imam Ahmad (Rahmatullah Allaih)

Abu Hurairah (Radi Allahu Anha) narrated that when some of his companions said to Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam): “O Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), yet, you also joke with us!” He replied: “Yes, I do. But I only tell the truth.”

Reference: Jami At-Tirmidhi. Rated Sahih by Imam Tirmidhi (Rahmatullah Allaih)

Since enjoyment came into discussion, we need to discuss few things about the concept of Haya and veiling. Eid is a time we treasure the most being believers of Islam but there is something very regretful occurring in almost every Muslim household which is that we tend to be negligent about the veiling of our women.

When Allah first revealed the ayah regarding the veiling of women, He was very strict and straightforward about the ruling.

O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.

Surah Al-Ahzab, Ayah 59 (33:59) Translation: Sahih International

Islam allows women to go outside their home, there is no doubt about that but a proper dress code needs to be maintained- these all are done, from the interpretation of the ayah, to treasure the dignity and self-respect of the Muslim women.

For the sake of Eid, please warn the mothers, sisters and daughters regarding not to lose their sense of modesty. We tend to get tempting and that too can be regarded as a fitnah placed by the devil, Shaitan.

One very useful Islamic clothing is the Jilbab which can be acted as a substitute for burqa in case if people have problems with it. It is so sad to see that most females these days don’t know the actual Sunnah way of covering themselves. When we go out, we see it for ourselves- wearing Hijab alright but then again wearing tight clothes underneath- this act does not honor the Sunnah, rather it is an insult to the dignity of the Muslim women. The situation goes far more rueful in times of Eid. So dear brothers, please be mindful of the women dwelling in your household. Since this ruling has been ordered in the Holy Quran, neither can we avoid it or manipulate it- we can follow it only in the Sunnah.

Likewise enjoying by listening to music is also considered to be Haram in Islam which many people fail to realize. Imam Ibn Taymiyyah (Rahmatullah Allaih) said that musical instruments are alcohol to one’s soul, and it does to one soul more than what alcohol does.

In one fearful Hadith, it is mentioned what horror will touch those people who thinks enjoyment through music, singing and dancing is considered to be “halal”.

The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “A people of my Ummah will drink wine, calling it by other than its real name. Merriment will be made for them through the playing of musical instruments and the singing of female singers. Allah (Subḥānahu Wa Ta’Ala) will cleave the earth under them and turn others into apes and swine.”

Reference: Sunan Ibn Majah. This Hadith has also been narrated by Imam al-Bayhaqi (Rahmatullah Allaih) and Imam Ibn Asakir (Rahmatullah Allaih) and has been authenticated by Imam Ibn al-Qayyim (Rahmatullah Allaih).

Whatever enjoyment we want in our lives needs to be within the boundaries. If you ask why Allah has restricted us against the merriments we usually desire then the answer is that Allah wants us to be steadfast in this world so that we can enjoy in the next life. This Dunya was never made for our amusement, if it was so then Allah would have never created Jannah for us in the first place. So let’s not get derailed with the enjoyment of this world, remember the fulfillment of our worldly desires is more like an enjoyment of the deception. Rather let’s work on our Taqwa and nurture the Imaan inside of us just like the way the Sahabahs used to live. May Allah grant us the required guidance, Ameen.

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