What is Qurbani?
Qurbani or Udhiya refers to a sacrifice done in an effort to come close to God. This sacrifice is done by Muslims all over the world on the 10th, 11th, and 12th Dhul Hajjah to commemorate Hazrat Ibrahim’s (AS) legacy of selflessness and unshakable faith.
The word ‘Qurbani’ is derived from the trilateral root of ‘q-r-b’ which generally means ‘to draw near.’ Hence, it can be interpreted as an effort to draw oneself closer to Allah.
Hazrat Ibrahim (AS) is the forefather of Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) and the second most beloved Prophet of Allah. His life was riddled with hardships and trials, yet never did he once falter in his absolute trust in Allah’s plan. His complete submission in every ordeal earned him the high-ranking title of Khaleel ul Allah (Friend of Allah).
And remember that Ibrahim was tried by his Lord with certain commands, which he fulfilled: He said: “I will make you an Imam to the Nations.” Surah Baqarah (2:124)
We all ask ourselves: How do we become closer to Allah?
The answer is in the life of Hazrat Ibrahim (AS) who is an inspiration for all Muslims who strive to become closer to Allah. With his complete submission before Allah’s will, he illustrates the unwavering faith one must have in order to be exalted to such special honor by Allah. The origins of the practice of Qurbani lie in this very principle.
The Story of Qurbani: The Reason
Hazrat Ibrahim (AS) had undergone severe tribulations and difficulties in the way of Allah by the time he grew old. He did not have any children and longed for a son to carry forward his message of Dawah (invitation to Islam). After many years, his prayer was accepted and he was granted a son named Ismail.
Needless to say, Hazrat Ibrahim loved Ismail with all of his heart as Ismael had lightened up his old age and given him the comfort that the message of Allah will continue to be preached after him.
Allah (SWT) had another plan.
Both were immediately ready to act upon the command of Allah but Shaytan (Satan) tried to dissuade them thrice and create doubts about their decision. His efforts went in vain as Hazrat Ibrahim pelted him with stones on all three occasions. To remember this exceptional steadfastness of faith in times of an extraordinary trial, Muslims pelt Shaytan (Satan) on the same locations- a vow to follow the example of Hazrat Ibrahim and never fall prey to the devil’s deceptions. (This is the famous act of Rami which is practiced during Hajj.)
Upon reaching the slaughter place, Hazrat Ibrahim blindfolded himself because he couldn’t bear to see the pain of his beloved Ismail. He sharpened his knife and slit Ismail’s throat to fulfill the command of Allah.
When he was done, he took the blindfold off and was amazed to see Ismail standing perfectly healthy in front of him! A white ram had replaced Ismail to be slaughtered instead. This was indeed a miracle!
A voice called to Ibrahim from the heavens:
Hence, Hazrat Ismail’s life was spared as Hazrat Ibrahim proved his ultimate devotion and obedience to the will of Allah.
WHAT DO WE LEARN?
This ongoing sacrifice that we make every year serves as a reminder of Prophet Ibrahim’s obedience to Allah in every circumstance. It’s a reminder that we should aim to seek the pleasure of our Creator no matter what – and it’s a promise that Allah never asks from us more than we can give.
Therefore, instead of drooling over the consequences of carrying out Allah’s commands in modern times, we should feel reassured that Allah will never leave us alone if we choose to follow His path. Success can only be achieved if we submit to His will and obey the teachings of Quran and Sunnah in our lives.
“O you who believe! Persevere, endure, remain steadfast and fear Allah that you may be successful.” (3:200)
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