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The Spirit of Sacrifice

Allah Subhana hu wa Ta'ala says:

Indeed O prophet (Sall Allah u Alaihi wa Sallam)! We have granted you the Kausar.

Therefore offer salat for your Lord (in thanks) and offer sacrifice to Him.

Indeed your enemy will be cut off.

{Surah Al Kausar}

Surah Al Kausar is the shortest Surah in the Quran but is very significant indeed.

Narrated Anas Ibn Malik (Radi Allah u Anho): When Rasoolullah (Sall Allah u Alaihi wa Sallam) was made to ascend to the heavens, he said (after his return), I came upon a river the banks of which were made of tents of hollow pearls, I asked Jibreel, What is this? He replied, this is the Kausar.

{Saheeh Bukhari Kitab ut Tafseer}

There are numerous Ahaadith in this regard narrated in Saheeh Bukhari and Saheeh Muslim which in short state that Al Kausar is a river of abundant good which has been promised by Allah Subhana hu wa Ta'ala for His prophet Muhammad (Sall Allah u Alaihi wa Sallam). Its length is equal to a month's journey and is like the distance between  Jarbaa and Azrah {Saheeh Muslim Kitab ul Fazail) or the distance between Kufa and Al Hajr ul Aswad (Narrated by Hakim in Al Mustadrak and declared Saheeh by Hakim and Zahabi). Its water is whiter than milk, its fragrance is purer than Musk, and its taste sweeter than honey and the number of glasses upon it is like the number of stars in the sky in the darkest night. He who drinks from it once will never be thirsty again. Moreover Rasoolullah (Sall Allah u Alaihi wa Sallam) will wait for his Ummah at Al Kausar to serve them its water.

A number of people will be stopped from going to Al Kausar; upon this the prophet (Sall Allah u Alaihi wa Sallam) will say they are from my Ummah! They are from my Ummah! (Why are they not allowed?). It will be said: O prophet! You have no idea of the innovations (in Islam) they made after you. Upon hearing this the prophet (Sall Allah u Alaihi wa Sallam) will say: Take away from me all those who changed (my deen) after me. (Saheeh Bukhari and Saheeh Muslim).

It is Allah's great blessing upon us that He guided us to true unadulterated Islam in the form of Jamaat ul Muslimeen, which is clear of any innovation, and Bid'at.

It is with a deep sense of thanks that we have been ordered to offer Salat and sacrifices to please Allah Subhana hu wa Ta'ala and this is exactly what the second Ayat in Surah Al Kausar states. Thus, if we wish to thank Allah Subhana hu wa Ta'ala we need to offer Salat and offer our sacrifices, which in turn will guarantee us our salvation in the hereafter. Not only this, in fact these two acts of thanking Allah Subhana hu wa Ta'ala are also for our own good in our worldly affairs as well. If Salat is offered according to Sunnah with Jamaah it will not only be fruitful for the individual but for the entire Muslim community as well. The merits of Salat include betterment of character, feeling of love and harmony for our Muslim brothers and sisters which strengthens the Jamaah, a sense of purpose which takes the entire community towards achievement of the goal to establish deen Islam, obedience to the Imam leads to obedience and discipline in administration, a sense of the importance of time and so on so forth.

The second divinely revealed way of thanking Allah Subhana hu wa Ta'ala is offering sacrifice to please Him only and not for flaunting one's wealth or status. But it is not only the slaughtering of animals, which is the purpose of this yearly ritual. This deed inculcates in our minds the thought that it is not only these animals we are sacrificing but rather we are bowing down to the will of Allah, and we will continue to do so for the spread of Islam and betterment of the Islamic community even if it requires us to sacrifice our time, wealth, homes, children and even our lives. That is precisely the philosophy and spirit of this occasion, which is in remembrance for the tremendous sacrifices given by Ibrahim  (Alaihis Salat u was Salaam) and his son Ismail (Alaihis Salat u was Salaam).

Allah Subhana hu wa Ta'ala says:

They said: "Build for him (Ibrahim) a building of fire and throw him into the blazing fire!"

So they plotted a plot against him, but We made them the lowest (and saved him from the fire)

And he said afterwards "I am migrating to my Lord and He will guide me".

"My Lord, grant me offspring from the righteous."

So We gave him the glad tidings of a forbearing boy (Ismail).

And, when his son was old enough to walk with him, he said: "O my son! I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering you (sacrificing you for Allah), so look what you think!" He said: " O my father! Do that which you are commanded, for you shall find me of the patient InshAllah."

Then, when they had both submitted themselves (to the will of Allah), and he had laid him on the side of his forehead (for slaughtering);

And We called out to him: " O Ibrahim!

You have indeed fulfilled the dream!" Verily! Thus do We reward the righteous (the greater the examination, the greater the reward)

Verily! That indeed was a great trial

And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice.

And we left for him his remembrance among the generations to come after him.

Peace be upon Ibrahim.

{Surah As Saffaat; 97-109}

If we at the time of offering our sacrifices were only to pause for a moment and think of the trial mentioned in the above Ayat, our whole lives and those who are dear to us would change tremendously for the better. But, sadly that is exactly what is missing. Most sacrifices today are more for ostentation and personal aggrandizement than for the actual purpose.

Rasoolullah (Sall Allah u Alaihi wa Sallam) said:

Even a small bit of ostentation (showing off) is Shirk.

{Narrated by Hakim in Al Mustadrak and declared Saheeh}

Whereas Allah Subhana hu wa Ta'ala has mentioned Taqwa as the real objective behind every believers sacrifice;

"It is neither the meat of the sacrificial animals nor their blood that reaches Allah, but it is Taqwa from you that reaches Him. Thus have We made them subject to you that you may magnify Allah (say Takbeer) for His guidance to you. And O prophet! Give glad tidings to the righteous."

{Surah Al Hajj: 37}

Moreover, if the Sunnah is not followed then the sacrifice does not yield any reward, which shows the greatest importance of Sunnah in the sight of Allah.

Narrated Bara Ibn Aazib (Radi Allah u Anho):

Rasoolullah (Sall Allah u Alaihi wa Sallam) said (on the day of Eid ul Adha), "The first thing we will do on this day of ours, is to offer the (Eid) Salat and then return to slaughter the sacrifice. Whoever does so, he acted according to our Sunnah (tradition), and whoever slaughtered (the sacrifice) before the Salat, what he offered was just meat he presented to his family, and that will not be considered as Nusuk (sacrifice)."

{Saheeh Bukhari Kitab ul Adahi Vol 7 Hadeeth 453}

Thus Taqwa, Sunnah and seeking only Allah's pleasure must be the cornerstone of our sacrifice.

If we were only to pay attention to the words we utter in Dua'a at the time of slaughtering the animals we would clearly understand the real philosophy behind this occasion.

"I turn my face in the direction of the One who created the heavens and the Earth, I follow the way of Ibrahim (Alaihis Salat u was Salaam) who believed in one Ilah and was a Muslim and I am not from the Mushrikeen. Indeed my Salat, my sacrifice, my life and my death are all for the sake of Allah who is the Lord of the worlds. There is no partner unto Him. I have been ordained to do so and I am from the Muslimeen. O Allah! This (animal) is from You and for You. (I slaughter) in the name of Allah and Allah is the greatest."

{Abu Dawood, Ibn Majah, also narrated by Hakim in Al Mustadrak and declared Saheeh by Hakim and Zahabi).

It was this spirit, which was witnessed in the lives of the believers in Jamaat ul Muslimeen during the period of Khilafa, which resulted in the tremendous spread of Islam from the Arabian Peninsula to Europe, Asia and Africa in a span of only a few years. That is the reason why Allah's angels descended from the heavens for the aid of Jamaat ul Muslimeen at the battles of Badar, Uhud, Hunain and many other occasions. That is exactly what the last Ayat of Surah Al Kausar emphasizes:

Indeed, your enemy will be cut off!

In addition to the above we must also remember the importance of this day of the great Hajj and sacrifice.

Narrated Abu Bakra (Radi Allah u Anho):

Rasoolullah (Sall Allah u Alaihi wa Sallam) said, "Time has come back to its original state which it had on the day Allah created the Heavens and the Earth. The year is twelve months, four of which are sacred, three of them are in succession, namely Zul-Qa'ada, Zul Hijja and Muharram, (the fourth being) Rajab Mudar which is between Juma'da (As Sani) and Sha'ban. Rasoolullah (Sall Allah u Alaihi wa Sallam) then asked, "Which month is this?" We said, "Allah and his Apostle know better." He kept silent so long that we thought that he would call it by a name other than its real name. He said, "Isn't it the month of Zul-Hijja?" We said, "Yes." He said, "Which town is this?" We said, "Allah and His Apostle know better." He kept silent so long that we thought that he would call it by a name other than its real name. He said, "isn't it the town (of Makkah)?" We replied, "Yes." He said, "What day is today?" We replied, "Allah and His Apostle know better." He kept silent so long that we thought that he would call it by a name other than its real name. He said, "Isn't it the day of Nahr?" We replied, "Yes." He then said, "Your blood, properties and honour are as sacred to one another as this day of yours in this town of yours in this month of yours. You will meet your Lord, and He will ask you about your deeds. Beware! Do not go astray after me by cutting the necks of each other. It is incumbent upon those who are present to convey this message to those who are absent, for some of those to whom it is conveyed may comprehend it better than some of those who have heard it directly." He (Sall Allah u Alaihi wa Sallam) then said, "No doubt! Haven't I delivered (Allah's) Message (to you)? Haven't I delivered Allah's message (to you)?"

{Saheeh Bukhari Kitab ul Adahi Vol 7 hadeeth 458 and Kitab ut Tafseer}

Due attention has to be paid to the italicized words in the above hadeeth for these signify the importance each and every muslim should hold in the sight of other muslims,

Our message to all Muslim brothers and sisters on this Eid is:

"Rise and put all your differences aside, be one in letter and spirit, forgive one another, be brothers, help one another, feel the pain of your muslim brothers and sisters like you would feel your own agony, sacrifice your time, wealth and everything you feel can help in the spread of Islam, help the cause of Allah and Allah will surely help you overpower all your enemies."

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