Meaning of Sacrifice & When did Sacrifice Start?
Meaning of Sacrifice
The word used to describe ‘Sacrifice’ in Urdu is ‘Qurbani’ and this comes from the Arabic work ‘Qurbaanun.’ The word ‘Qurban’ is from the root word ‘Qurb’ which means to be close. Offering a sacrifice is one of the means of obtaining closeness to Allah Ta’ala as the person who offers a sacrifice with sincerity attains closeness to Allah Ta’ala.
Sunnah of Hazrat Ibrahim ’Alaihis Salaam
Hazrat Zaid bin Arqam Radiallaho Ta’ala ‘Anhu narrates that the Companions asked Rasool Allah صلىالله عليه والسلم , “What is this sacrifice?” Rasool Allah صلىاللهه عليهه والسلم replied, “It is the Sunnah of you father Ibrahim ‘Alaihis Salaam.” They asked, “O Beloved Prophet ,صلىاللهه عليهه والسلم “What is there in it for us?” Rasool Allah صلىالله عليه والسلم replied, “There is reward equivalent to the number of hairs (of the sacrificed animal).” The Companions asked, “What about animals with wool?” He صلىالله عليه والسلم said, “A reward for every fibre of the wool.” (Mishkaat Shareef)
Reality of Sacrifice
The Light of Scholars, Imam Sarkhasi Hanfi Rehmatullahi ‘Alaihi writes, ‘There are two types of worship with wealth. One is to give possession to a person for the sake of Allah Ta’ala (as in charity or Zakat etc). The other is to destroy something for the Pleasure of Allah Ta’ala (like destroying slavery and freeing a slave). Both these forms of worship are present in offering a sacrifice. When an animal is sacrificed, it is slaughtered in order to obtain closeness to Allah Ta’ala and the meat of the animal is distributed to others and they are given possession of it.
When did Sacrifice Start?
Allah Ta’ala states in the Holy Qur’an:
“And for every nation, We appointed a sacrifice that they might mention the name of Allah over the mute quadrupeds that He has provided to them.” (Surah Hajj Verse 34)
We realise that the ritual of offering a sacrifice in the Court of Allah Ta’ala is very ancient. However, before the advent of Islam, the method of offering sacrifice was different. In previous generations, if a sacrifice was accepted in the Court of Allah Ta’ala, a white flameless fire would descend from the heavens and would burn the sacrifice to ashes, which people would see with their own eyes. People would settle their disputes in this manner also as those whose sacrifice was accepted would be reduced to ashes whilst those whose sacrifice was not accepted would just remain there. When Cain and Abel (Qaabil & Haabil) disputed over a woman (‘Aqlima), they both offered sacrifices which were placed on a mountain. Abel’s sacrifice was accepted as it was reduced to ashes whilst Cain’s sacrifice remained there. However, this is a special quality of the Ummah of Muhammad Rasool Allah صلىاللهه عليهه والسلم that they are able to eat the meat of the sacrifices that they offer.
Hazrat Ibrahim‘s Dream ‘Alaihis Salaam
Allah Ta’ala mentions the sacrifice of Hazrat Ibrahim ‘Alaihis Salaam in the Holy Qur’an in the following manner:
“Then We gave him a glad tiding of a prudent son. Then when he became able to work with him, he said, 'O my son, I have dreamt that I am slaughtering you, now look you, what is your opinion'.” (Surah Saffat Verses 101-102)
It is narrated that Hazrat Ibrahim ‘Alaihis Salaam had a dream on 8th Dhul Hijjah that a caller was ordering him to sacrifice his son. When he woke up he spent the whole day reflecting if that was indeed an order from the Lord or if it was mere whisperings. This is why that day is known as the day of reflecting (Yaum e Tarwiyah). On the 9th of Dhul Hijjah he saw a similar dream and when he woke he realized that it was indeed an order from Almighty Allah. This is why this day is known as the day of recognition (Yaum e Arafah). When he saw this dream again on the 10th of Dhul Hijjah he woke with a firm
intention that he would sacrifice his son on this day. Hence, this day is known as the day of sacrifice (Yaum e Nahr). (Roohul Bayaan, Tafseer Mazhari)
The Dreams of Prophets ‘Alaihis Salaam
It is the unanimous belief and faith of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jama’at that the dreams of Prophets are also revelations from the Lord. Hazrat Imam Bukhari Radiallaho Ta’ala ‘Anhu reports this Hadith that Hazrat ’Aisha Siddiqa Radiallaho Ta’ala ‘Anha narrates that, “The first revelations that came to Rasool Allah صلىالله عليه والسلم were in the form of dreams.” In this manner, it was revealed to Hazrat Ibrahim ‘Alaihis Salaam through dreams that he should sacrifice Hazrat Ismail ‘Alaihis Salaam.
The eyes of Prophets sleep but their hearts are always awake just as is narrated in Bukhari Shareef that “The eyes of Prophets sleep but their hearts remain awake.”
Purpose of Sacrifice
Allah Ta’ala states in the Qur’an:
“No doubt, it was a bright test.” (Surah Saffat Verse 106)
The sincere and insincere are differentiated through this and it is determined if “We worship You alone, and beg You alone for help” is merely a hollow claim or if there is any proof and sincerity to it.
Hazrat Ibrahim and Hazrat Ismail ‘Alaihimus Salaam were victorious in their test and the result was that Allah Ta’ala made it compulsory on all those with sufficient wealth to perform a sacrifice each year and remember them. Until the Day of Judgment future generations of Muslims will continue to commemorate the remembrance of these blessed personalities each year, Insha Allah.
Nothing Better Than This
Hazrat Ibn ‘Abbas Radiallaho Ta’ala ‘Anhuma narrates that Rasool Allah صلىاللهه عليهه والسلم said, “There is no wealth better than the wealth that is spent on offering a sacrifice on the day of ‘Eid.” (Tibraani)
We spend wealth regularly in fulfilling our religious and worldly needs and we receive great reward for that from Allah Ta‘ala. However, the money we spend on purchasing an animal for sacrifice is loved the most by Allah Ta‘ala according to the blessed words of Rasool Allah صلىاللهه عليه .والسلم
Re: Meaning of Sacrifice & When did Sacrifice Star
Re: Meaning of Sacrifice & When did Sacrifice Star
Re: Meaning of Sacrifice & When did Sacrifice Start?