Skip to content Skip to footer


By Yusuf M. Abdullahi
In the name of Allah who states “We called out to him, O Abraham! Though hast already fulfilled the dream! Thus indeed do We reward those who do right. For this was a clear trial. And we ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice” Q37: 100-104 

May the everlasting peace and blessings of Allah be upon His noblest servant, our master Muhammad (s) and his pure progeny.
Before I proceed on the topic above, few points are necessary on the last week’s. Firstly, the topic was a flash back in response to the request of some esteemed readers, but my ardent followers are fully aware of the continued series though often disrupted by essential events. Secondly, although the write ups are on the Shiite perspective, but they based on the principle of justice and unity. The idea is neither to fight Sunni nor change them to Shiism. Thirdly, the blind critics must know that no amount of pressure can suppress the creed in Nigeria or any other place. In the contrast, oppression and genocide undoubtedly, result in super geometric progression of followers. The barbaric measures witnessed in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen, Azerbaijan and here in Nigeria are good examples. Fourthly, in most cases I don’t respond to blind criticisms and baseless rejoinders. They pose no threat whatsoever. In fact, their actions serve as beneficial tool in prompt propagation of the faith, and fifthly, most revered of the Sunni scholars have spoken and wrote positively rather than the shabby ways of those devoid of intellectual capacity or insightful conscience on the benefits derived by the enemies of Islam as a result of continued divisions. The verdict of late Shaikh Mahmud Shaltut, the great Mufti and Vice-chancellor of Azhar University, and Professor Muhammad Dasuqi stand distinct on the necessity of approximation and rapprochement. Consequently, jurisprudence for instance, is studied from the perspectives of five schools, simply referred to as al-mazahibul islamiyyah -inclusive of Jaafariyyah- in Azhar, the oldest University and sister institutes.
Beside the first ten days popularly referred to as "the stated days" in which believers were encouraged to put more effort to acquire the pleasure of Allah through extra prayers, fasting, meditation, Qur’anic recitation and asking Allah’s blessing on the noble prophet, there are other significant historic events like the Ghadeer and Mubahala coming on the 18th and 24th respectively. While preparing to reflect the events in due course, details could be traced in books of traditions, history and supplication.
The topic for this week is on the animal slaughter as sacrifice historically related to Prophet Ibrahim, father of monotheism, peace be upon him. Mecca was a barren land in the desert when he migrated to it along with his wife Hajar and first son Isma’il peace be upon them. Consequently, it grew to a centre point attracting millions with socio-economic stability. Allah stated “Remember Abraham said: O my lord! Make this city one of peace and security and preserve me and my sons from worshipping idols” Q2: 35. The main Hajj activities commence from eighth to tenth day, in addition to three subsequent days. Pilgrims humbly dress in simple unsown white cloth in a state of consecration circulating the Kaaba, hastening between Safa and Marwa, making sacrifice and stoning the pillars. A remarkable activity in the pilgrimage is standing on the mount of Arafat on the ninth day of Zulhajj reading Imam Husain’s prominent Arafat prayer.
The famous prophetic sermon in the farewell pilgrimage was delivered at the plain. Muslims are encouraged to observe fear of Allah, brotherhood, friendliness and forgiveness. They should also protect the rights of women and above all strictly follow the noble Qur’an and the prophetic progeny. They should bear the fact that whoever embarks on hajj accordingly returns as the day he or she was born. Unity is of the significant lessons “And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves” Q3:103. Obviously, the enemies of Islam use division to destroy the Ummah with the help of misguided Muslims. That is why those committed to the true cause of Islam are concerned on the issue. Of blessed memory, Imam Khomeini said, those sowing discord along the Sunnah/Shi’a are neither Ahlus-Sunnah nor Shiites. Sheikh Mahmud Shaltut has also played significant role in this direction.
What is common with Eid el-Adha is the slaughter of precious animals as sacrifice for the sake of Allah. The pilgrims do the sacrifice at Mina after which they culminate the hajj rite. Non pilgrims also offer the highly recommended sacrifice by the prophetic tradition. We may ask about the rationale and wisdom behind the slaughter? Whoever is opportuned to slaughter, he or she is expected to distribute the meat to the needy. “They ask thee what they should spend (in charity). Say whatever wealth Ye spend that is good, is for parents and kindred And orphans And those in want And for wayfarers. And whatever ye do That is good, Allah knoweth it all” Q2:216. Feeding the weak is commonly known as one of the highly recommended acts. The believers are mobilized to participate in this gesture to the best of their ability. At this juncture, it is good to draw attention on the need to offer the skins of such sacrifice to SHUHADA FOUNDATION, a Zaria-based IMN orphanage.
The history of this sacrifice relates to prophet Ibrahim when he clocked hundred years without a child. He prayed to Allah “O my Lord! Grant me a righteous (son)! So We gave him good news of a forbearing son. Q37:100 – 102. The forbearing son was Isma’il, the ancestor of Arabs and grandfather of the last prophet. However, on a teenage age, prophet Ibrahim was commanded to slaughter him. Having submitted to the will of Allah, he laid him prostrate on his forehead using sharp knife on his jugular vein but Allah miraculously ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice! As could be deduced, that was the greatest of all trials to him. The essence of the sacrifice is to gain the pleasure of Allah by accepting the offering out of faith and sincerity. Basically, it is not the slaughter of animals that is meant but the love of Allah and His preference. If not? With which kind of animals did Isma’il compare to Ibrahim (AS)? How could you assume yourself under such a situation? Can you correlate his submission with your love towards your wife and children? It was neither a joke nor a dream, these prophets were tried by Allah and they excellently passed! The criteria considered were full submission, faith and preference of Allah not the nature of animal one slaughters at all. The question is how much do you love Allah and to what extent can you sacrifice for His sake? We may ask, can you sacrifice your son or yourself for the sake of Allah? What of your good office or selfish interest? This is the real logic behind the sacrifice!
Think of the great sacrifice of Imam Husain, the grandson of the noble messenger who said "if the religion of Muhammad could only stand at the expense of my life, let it be" while sacrificing his dear life in the cause of Islam! The band of his followers responded immediately “O our master! We are all ready to defend you and your Ahlul-bait and sacrifice our lives for the cause of Islam! The Imam was the ransomed momentous sacrifice according to some Qur’anic interpreters. For about fourteen centuries now, they are remembered with great respect and prayers, not only by believers in their faith but all people with common sense of humanity. The India’s political and spiritual leader, Mahatma Gandhi said "I have carefully read the biography of Imam Husain and have contemplated the events of Karbala. I am sure Indians must follow his ideas on the path to victory”, while the English Poet, Fredric James said "the lesson taken from Husain or any other martyred hero is that there exist the perpetual principles of justice, mercy and affection in the world, which never change, and when one fights for this principles and insists on them, they will be immortal and will last forever". Apart from the sacrifice of animals based on individual capacity, the real sacrifice is determined by one’s action at the event of variance with guidance of Allah in this mortal world. Allah states " say if it be that your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your mates, or your kindred; the wealth that you have gained; the commerce in which ye fear a decline or the dwelling in which ye delight are dearer to you than Allah or His messenger or the striving in His cause- then wait until Allah brings about His decision and Allah guides not the rebellious" Q: 23-24
While hailing the invaluable sacrifice of the unique Islamic scholar, the oppressed servant of Allah, Shaikh el-Zakzaky and his disciples, re-echoing the need for their unconditional release, endless prayers for the IMN martyrs, Allah’s acceptance, reward, forgiveness and mercy on the offers, I wish all a successful Sallah celebration in advance!
Wassalamu alaikum