By Haroon Ishola Balogun
Eid-il-Adha, the ritual of animal sacrifice has remained a means of attaining nearness to Almighty Allah. It is a sacrifice that Muslims offer with fervour and enthusiasm on the 10th of Zhul-Hijjah. Its import and essence is to show taqwa, piety to the Creator; it also serves the purpose of sadaqah because the meat of the animal is distributed for eating.
Prophet Ibrahim and his son (as) offered us great lessons and a pathway for genuine faith and submission to Allah (SWT). Q37:100-110. As a form of ibadah, those who can afford a ram are enjoined to do so while those who cannot afford to buy ram for sacrifice may be excused. Allah does not need the meat or blood of the animal. What is important is to imbibe the lessons of the occasion and applying it to our daily lives.
How do we go about it to make it more meaningful and affect the lives of others? We must note that this sacrifice is merely symbolic. The blood of the animal cannot extinguish our sins neither can it make make anyone more righteous. Animals and humans are not of equal value. As stated above, Almighty Allah does not need the blood, neither does He have anything to do with the meat. The flesh and blood [of your sacrificed animals] does not reach God; it is only your piety that reaches Him. Thus has He subjected them to your service so that you may give glory to God for guiding you. [This is the way of the righteous] and [O Prophet!] give glad tidings to these righteous. Q22:37.
What is absolutely necessary is the piety, and the will to always submit to His ordinances. That is why the killing of a ram is not the ultimate on this occasion but the state of your heart to Allah. It is laughable when people who rarely pray five times daily or seldomly fast in the month of Ramadan or not disposed to alms-giving, but in a show of wealth, bought and slaughtered the biggest ram in the market for sallah. That is not part of the intents and purposes of the feast.
It is a reflection of our faith, our willingness to submit to the will of Almighty Allah, to worship Him at all times and care for others. We should also show gratitude to Allah for preserving our lives. The ram which replaced Ibrahim’s son was an illustration of a reward for total submission to the will of Allah. It is also a symbol of Allah’s love for us and that He is capable of intervening at critical moments and providing solutions to our problems.
The absolute submission exemplified by Ibrahim and Ismaeel to the Will of Allah and the true slave-hood must be emulated. The sacrifice that we perform on this occasion as a worship to Allah should provoke us to think about how we can continue to live in peace and harmony with non-Muslims. We should think about how we can give Islam the right image through our actions especially in a country where the religion has been misconstrued and given unpleasant concept as a result of the Boko Haram insurgency. The food that we eat on this day should remind us of those who are dying of hunger in our community, the deprived, widows and less privileged.
Today, let us begin to work for the pleasure of Allah by providing succour for the downtrodden Method of Sacrifice The animal for slaughter should be laid on its left side facing Kaaba and say: Ini wajhatu, wajihiya lliladhi fatora samawati wal ardi anifah, wamo ana minal-mushirikeen, ina salati wanusikii, wa mahayaya, wamamati, lillahi rabil Alameen. Laasherika Llahu, wabizalika, umirtu, wa ana minal Muslimeen. “Behold I have turned my face earnestly towards Him Who originated the heavens and the earth and I am not of polytheists. Behold, my salat, mine offering, my living and mine dying are all for Allah, Lord of the worlds. No partners hath He, concerning this I have been bidden and I am of the Muslims O Allah! (I offer this) to you and You gave it to me.” After reciting this prayers, Say: Bismillahi Rahmani Raheem, then slaughter the ram with a sharp-edged knife.
Thereafter, you can say: ‘Allahuma taqabal minee, kama taqabaltu min ahli Ibraheema, wa habeebika Muhamaddin alaihuma salatu-wa-salam.’ meaning: O Allah! Accept this sacrifice offered by me as Thou accepted the sacrifice offered by Thy friend Ibrahim and that offered by Thy love one, Muhammad. May Peace and blessings descend upon both. Although it is permissible to let someone else perform the slaughter of your sacrificial animal, yet it is better if you perform this act yourself. While you carryout this act, try to think and feel in the same way as you express through the words you utter at the time of sacrificing the animal.
Everything we have got belongs to Allah and it is all to be spent in His way only. Method of sharing: The meat which could be ram, goat, sheep, cow and camel should be skinned and divided into three parts. The first part should be for the family, the second part for the Muslims who do not have the means to slaughter a ram; (there is no rationale in giving to those who slaughtered ram) and the last part is for non Muslims, neighbours and well-wishers. Eid Mubarak!