The Practice of the Sacrifice
The Adha ^Id is one of the great days of the year on which the pilgrim fulfils the obligations of Hajj. It is also recommended for the pilgrim to offer a sacrifice on that day, with the intention to gain rewards from Allah, the Exalted. This act is a regularly practised sunnah by the Prophet. Hence, the pilgrim and the non-pilgrim can practise this sunnah. This is evidenced in the ayah which means:
Perform the ^Id Prayer and offer a sacrifice seeking reward from Allah
Also, Imam Muslim narrated from the route of Anas (may Allah reward him greatly) that when the Prophet (may Allah raise his rank) slaughtered two rams with horns, he slaughtered them by hand and said: “Bismillah, Allahu Akbar”.
Also, Lady ^A’ishah related that the Prophet said: “Purify yourself by offering a sacrifice, and know that every Muslim who offers a slaughtering seeking Allah’s rewards will earn rewards for the blood it sheds, the digested food in its stomach and its wool; rewards that will be presented in favour of that Muslim on the Day of Judgement”.
To earn the rewards one has to make a valid slaughter that requires the observation of certain conditions. Among them is to slaughter after the setting in of the time of the ^Id Prayer by a time enough to pray two rak^as and to make two short Khutbas- on the 10th of Dhul Hijjah, and before the sunset of the third day of Tashriq (being the 13th of DhulHijjah). Also, it is invalid as some people do these days, they slaughter 3 weeks or 4 weeks before the day of Eidul-Adha, then they send the meat in cans for poor people overseas to be distributed on the day of Eid, this is not classified as a valid Udhiyyah, as the Prophet mentioned.
It is not permissible to sell any part of the Udhiyyah. Moreover, it is not permissible to give the skin or the like to the slaughterer as a fee for slaughtering. It was related by Al-Bukhariyy and Muslim that Imam ^Aliyy said: “The Prophet, peace be upon him, assigned me to oversee the slaughtering of his camels as Udhiyah and ordered me to distribute its meat, skin and saddles to the poor, and to not give the slaughterer any piece of it as a fee for slaughtering.” Udhiyah is only valid when the slaughtered animal is a camel, cattle, sheep or goat. Moreover, the slaughtered animal as Udhiyah must not have a blind eye or apparent sickness or apparent limp. So be cautious my dear Muslim brother.
The offering a sacrifice (Udhiyah), is the practice of Prophet Ibrahim ^alayhis-salam. When asked about the Udhiyah, Prophet Muhammad sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam said: “It is the practice of your Father, Ibrahim“. It is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an that Allah revealed to Prophet Ibrahim through a dream to slaughter his son Isma^il. Prophet Ibrahim knew that this was an order from Allah as the dreams of the Prophets are revelations from Allah. So, full of determination he set forth to fulfil the order of His Lord.
Prophet Ibrahim tried to slaughter his son but the knife did not cut the throat of Isma^il because Allah did not will for that incident of slaughtering to occur. Allah is the Creator of all existent things and the One Who controls all the creations; there is no Creator except Allah.
Verily, neither the knife creates the cutting nor does the human being by his movement. Ayah 2 of Suratul-Furqan means: Allah created everything.
Allah knows by His Eternal Knowledge which does not increase, decrease or renew, the sincerity and total obedience of both the father and the son. At this point, an angel told Prophet Ibrahim: “Oh Ibrahim, you have fulfilled the order of Allah! Take this sacrifice instead of your son.” Ibrahim looked up and saw Angel Jibril descending with a great ram to be slaughtered instead of his son Isma^il. On this great occasion of Eid, it is important that you do the following:
- Visit your relatives, give charity to the poor and orphans, and be especially kind to widows and those who are unhappy.
- Visit the cemetery to recite verses of Qur’an for deceased Muslims and pray to Allah for them.
- When you see your Muslim brothers and sisters, say to them: may Allah accept your good deeds.
The Story of Zam Zam water
For a period of time, Prophet Ibrahim resided with his wife Sarah in Palestine. At 70 years of age, Sarah was an infertile old lady who was so keen to see her 86 years old husband Prophet Ibrahim become a father. For that reason, she offered him Hajar her maid (female slave) whom he accepted.
By the Will of Allah, Hajar became pregnant with Prophet Ibrahim’s son Isma^il who also became a prophet and was honoured to be the grandfather of Prophet Muhammad may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon them all.
Prophet Ibrahim was delighted to have a child and so was his wife Sarah. After a period of time, Prophet Ibrahim went with his baby son Isma^il and his mother Hajar to Makkah.
This is a demonstration of how reliant upon and submissive to Allah Prophet Ibrahim ^alayhis-salam was. Prophet Ibrahim ^alayhis-salam had left his two dear ones, Hajar and Isma^il in a barren area in Makkah. Makkah at the time was completely isolated with no evident buildings or people living there since there was no water for survival.
here, Prophet Ibrahim left them with only a bag of dates and a leather bag filled with water. When Hajar noticed that Prophet Ibrahim was about to make his way back to Palestine alone, she followed him saying: “O Ibrahim, are we to be left alone in this valley with no water, or food or companions?”
To that Prophet, Ibrahim did not respond. So she kept posing the question repeatedly without getting an answer from Prophet Ibrahim, therefore, she said, “Did Allah order you to do this?” He replied, “Yes.” Upon hearing this, eloquently and with complete reliance on Allah she said: “Then we will not be lost.”
Following the order of Allah, Prophet Ibrahim peace be upon him left and when he was a fair distance away from Hajar and their son, he looked back at the Sacred House (Al-Bayt) and as mentioned in Ayah 37 of Surat Ibrahim, he made the following supplication to Allah:
Which means: O, Lord! I have settled some of my offspring in a barren valley by Your Sacred House so that they would perform the Prayer. O Lord, make the hearts of some people yearn towards them and provide them with fruits for which they would give thanks.
Hajar, the mother of Isma^il settled with her son where Ibrahim peace be upon him left them. She breast-fed him and drank from the water that Ibrahim had left for them. This water eventually ran out as the water container dried up. Consequently, Hajar became thirsty, and so did her son who started crying and became unsettled due to his extreme thirst.
Hajar hated seeing him in that state and she set forth looking for water. As-Safa being the mountain closest to her, she climbed it and looked down at the valley to see if she could find anyone to assist her. She found no one and so she descended from the mountain until she reached the valley. Then she climbed Al-Marwah Mountain in keeping her search for water but to no avail. She went back to As-Safa then back again to Al-Marwah for many times.
On her last arrival to Al-Marwah, she heard a voice which prompted her to call out: “Help, if you can”. There was Angel Jibril peace be upon him, who hit the ground with his wing until fresh and pure water emerged. That became known as Zamzam water. The mother of Isma^il gathered the water with her hands and collected it in her container while it was springing out. Jibril said: “Do not fear loss, for there is a sacred House here which will be built by this child and his father”, meaning Isma^il and his father Ibrahim peace be upon them both.
Hajar drank from Zamzam water quenching her thirst and breastfed her son Isma^il. She thanked Allah, the One who endows countless bounties upon His slaves. O Allah, we ask you to grant us Al-Hajj and Al-^Umrah and the visit of the Prophet peace be upon him, and we ask You, Allah, to make us amongst those who drink from his honourable hand at the Hawd. Amin
Who is obligated to perform Hajj
Performing Hajj and ^Umrah once in a lifetime becomes obligatory upon the Muslim when he is free, accountable, and can afford to reach Makkah and return to his homeplace. This includes that one has in excess of one’s debts, appropriate lodging and clothing, and what one is obligated to spend on those whom one must support from one’s departure until one return. The conditions which make one obligated to perform Hajj are:
- To be Muslim: Like all other worships, performing Hajj is not valid from a blasphemer. It is not demanded from the able blasphemer to perform Hajj. However, one will be punished for not doing so in the Hereafter. Rather, it is an obligation on one to first become Muslim, then, if able, to perform Hajj.
- To be accountable: Although the non-pubescent child is not obligated to perform Hajj–should he do so, it is valid, rewardable worship. Hajj performed by even a one-day-old child is valid through his guardian, who helps him perform the integrals and requisites of Hajj. Hajj is valid from the child who attained to the age of tamyiz , but is not yet pubescent, if he has the permission of his guardian (waliyy), and he performs the required actions by himself. Tamyiz is the age at which a child understands the questions asked to him, and responds to them properly. It is usually at the age of seven (7) lunar years.
- To be sane: Performing Hajj is not an obligation on the insane person.
- To be free: Performing Hajj is not an obligation on the slave.
- To be able: A person is considered ‘able’ to go to Hajj if he can afford to reach Makkah and return to his homeplace. As well, he must have what exceeds his debts, (even if they are not due yet, or if they are pertaining to rights of Allah, such as an unpaid expiation or Zakah), appropriate lodging and clothing for himself, and what he is obligated to spend on those whom he must support (such as his wife, non-pubescent children, slaves, poor parents, and the like), from his departure until his return.
Though not an obligation on him, Hajj is valid from the poor man. However, whoever leaves performing a matter which is obligatory on him (like supporting his family with the obligatory support) to go to Hajj is sinful. The one who believes he will not be secured from being killed or robbed on the way to Hajj is not obligated to perform it.
For Hajj to be an obligation on the woman, it is a condition that she can find someone to accompany her–either a mahram (even one she must pay, if she can afford to do so), a husband or the like, then trustworthy women, or one trustworthy adult woman, or a trustworthy female who is about to turn adolescent.
If she cannot find any of these, she is permitted to go to Hajj alone, i.e., to perform Hajj for the first time after puberty, although it is not an obligation on her to do so. However, she is not allowed to travel alone after that time. A mahram or the like has to accompany her. She is not allowed to travel alone without a mahram to visit the grave of the Prophet.
Doing so is not a rewardable act for her; rather, it is sinful. The woman’s mahrams are her brother, her father, her uncle, her son, her son-in-law and the like.
If the person who is not physically able, because of old age or extreme sickness to leave his house to go to Hajj, is able to find someone to perform Hajj on his behalf, it is an obligation on him to assign one to do so.
If he cannot find except one who asks to be paid for doing so, and he can afford it, he pays that one to perform Hajj on his behalf. It is a condition that the person, performing Hajj on behalf of another, must have already performed the obligatory Hajj for himself.