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Eid Al-Adha: A model for sharing and caring

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Eid Al-Adha has unique spiritual, devotional, educational, and social meanings. It implants in the Muslim’s heart the spirit of sharing and caring. It has special rituals, ethics, and values that could, if properly observed, change a Muslim’s affairs for the better.

On the day of Eid, a Muslim is recommended by the Sunnah to have a shower before going to the Eid Prayer and wear the best of his or her clothes. This reflects Islam’s care for cleanliness and beauty. A Muslim should be careful regarding his or her appearance, dress, and personal hygiene. In the early morning of the Eid day, a Muslim goes out to pray Eid with his or her fellow brothers and sisters. Every member of the community should share the happiness and attend the gathering of the Eid. Kids, women and men, young and elderly, should go out for the Eid Prayer. It is well known that even women in their menses are allowed to go out and watch the Eid Prayer and celebration in the open areas (al-musala) to share the community this blessed time. These implants in the Muslim’s heart the sense of brotherhood, unity, and togetherness. After the Eid Prayer, Muslims are advised according to the Sunnah to change their route on returning from the Prayer. Jabir ibn Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to change his routes on the day of Eid. (Al-Bukhari) This wonderful recommended practice aims at, among others, giving the Muslim a chance to meet more friends, neighbours, and community members in order to exchange Eid greetings and cement social ties. Offering the udhiyyah—a highly recommended rite of `Eid Al-Adha—manifests the great spirit of sharing and caring. All members of the family are recommended to share and witness the udhiyyah. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) used to ask his beloved daughter Fatimah to witness the udhiyyah. It was reported that the Prophet said to his daughter Fatimah, “Watch your udhiyah (while it is slaughtered) as you are forgiven with the first drop of its blood.” (Al-Bayhaqi) Moreover, the desirable division of the udhiyyah into three thirds—one third for the family, another for relatives, and a third for the poor—is another brilliant example that shows how far the Adha day implants love and care in the Muslims’ hearts for family, relatives, and for the whole society. In the Muslim Ummah (community), no one is ignored or left alone, as every member of the Muslim community should, not only, take care of his or her close family and relatives but of all fellow Muslims. Many Qur’anic verses and prophetic hadiths teach that Muslims are brothers and sisters, and it is the established duty of brothers and sisters to look after the needs of each other. This impressive lesson of Al-Adha, should it be understood and translated into practice, could help reform the current conditions of Muslims. Eid is a day for exchanging visits and maintaining family ties. Maintaining ties of kinship is an established duty that every Muslim should carry out. Eid is a golden chance to bring the family members together, and to visit one’s relatives, friends, and community members. The Eid day should not pass without visiting, calling, or e-mailing one’s relatives and family members in order to exchange Eid greetings and cement family ties. On the Eid day, Muslims are recommended to engage in public takbir (saying Allahu Akbar) in the masjids, marketplaces, streets, etc. This act of worship connects Muslims spiritually and spreads mercy, peace of mind, tranquility, and happiness. Hearts and bodies, therefore, enjoy `Eid rituals and celebrations. People meet, care for, and greet one another, and hearts find peace and blessings in praising and worshipping Allah, Most High. `Eid is a day on which a Muslim should bring himself or herself closer to Allah by means of doing good deeds—such as Prayers, caring for the poor and the needy, visiting the sick people, helping those who are in need, etc.—and refraining from evil practices such as harming people and severing ties of kinship. In short, Eid Al-Adha is a model for the Muslim community which maintains love, care, brotherhood, beauty, and solidarity. Eid has significant social, educational, devotional, and spiritual messages that Muslims should grasp and translate into a complete way of life.

Eid prayers
The Eid prayers were celebrated at the Diyanet Center of America mosque in Lanham, Md.

Qurbani meat distribution rules

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Qurbani is an obligation that we are commanded to perform by Allah. Therefore, we must follow the Qurbani meat distribution rules and regulations. Below is a brief guide to the rules and recommendations of Qurbani.

Qurbani must be given on the 10th, 11th, or 12th days of Dhul-Hijjah.

Sacrifices can only be made after the Eid prayer (sacrifices made before do not count as Qurbani).

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Any able Muslim should give Qurbani, especially those that have reached the age of puberty and possess the Nisab value.

Animals for sacrifice must meet minimum age and health requirements.

Qurbani sacrifices must be given in three shares – one for you, one for family or friends and one for people experiencing poverty and those in need.

What is Qurbani?

Tobaski ram 1

Qurbani is an annual tradition for Muslims across the world and involves an animal sacrifice in recognition of the Prophet Ibrahim’s own willingness to sacrifice his son for the will of Allah. At the last moment, Allah replaced Ibrahim’s son with a ram, saving his life and rewarding Ibrahim’s devotion. That is why Muslims give Qurbani, and in doing so, we also help impoverished families and communities receive their share.

Who must perform Qurbani?

Every Muslim must perform Qurbani. The only exceptions are as follows:

Those who do not possess the Nisab value.

Those not of sound mind.

Those who have not yet reached and passed puberty.

Those who are travelling and are more than the Shar’i distance from home (approximately 40-45 kilometres).

You are permitted to donate Qurbani on behalf of other people, including those who have passed away; however, you are not expected to provide Qurbani animals on behalf of your adult children, who can pay their own share.

Of those whom it is required of, Qurbani rules for cutting hair and nails stipulate that one should refrain from doing so until after the sacrifice has been made.

At what age is Qurbani fard?

Whether Qurbani is compulsory differs between different schools of thought; however, for the greater good of those less fortunate, Qurbani should be considered fard for anyone who has reached the age of puberty and who possesses the Nisab value.

Who can receive Qurbani meat?

Meat from Qurbani animals should be distributed equally in three parts. It should be given to the family, friends, and the poor (both Muslim and non-Muslim alike). If you perform Qurbani with a partner, the meat should be shared by weight, not by approximation. You cannot pay the butcher for the meat, fat, and by-products of the slaughtered animal. The skin can be kept for personal use, but if it is sold, the amount must be given to people experiencing poverty.

How many Qurbani per family?

Every able Muslim should be able to give at least one Qurbani, which is then divided into three shares. An example of one Qurbani is a small animal such as a sheep or goat. Larger animals such as camels, cows and buffalo can count for up to seven people’s Qurbani. The Qurbani rules for a husband and wife stipulate that they can make a joint donation, but the animal must be big enough so that each person still gives their required share. It is common for households to donate a larger animal worth seven shares, but it is not mandatory.

When must Qurbani be performed?

Qurbani must be performed on the 10th, 11th, or 12th days of Dhul-Hijjah, the time of the festival of Eid al-Adha. Eid al-Adha, also known as the Greater Eid, Bakra Eid and Qurbani Eid, changes in the Gregorian calendar each year. Eid al-Adha 2023 and Qurbani preparations are anticipated to start on Wednesday, 28 June, ending on Sunday, 2 July, depending on the sighting of the moon. The time for Qurbani must be performed as close to the completion of Eid Salah as possible and not before. Any sacrifice carried out before Eid Salah is considered Sadaqah.

Which animals can be sacrificed?

The animals that are eligible should meet minimum requirements, such as the age of the animal for Qurbani and their condition, including:

Sheep and goats should be at least one year in age (enough for one person’s Qurbani).

Cows or buffalo should be at least two years in age (enough for seven people’s Qurbani).

Camels should be at least five years of age (enough for seven people’s Qurbani).

In addition, all animals must be healthy and free of disease, including the following conditions:

They must not be blind, one-eyed or have lost a third (or more) of their sight.

They cannot be missing a third (or more) of their ear or tail, either through loss or since birth.

Their horn(s) cannot be broken off from their root.

They must not have a lame leg that is sufficiently weak that they are unable to walk on it.

They cannot be excessively thin or lean.

They must be able to walk themselves to the site of the slaughter.

They cannot be toothless or missing over half their teeth.

There is no preference between male or female Qurbani animals. Male Qurbani animals may be castrated, but this is not compulsory.

How should Qurbani animals be sacrificed?

To fulfil the rules of the Qurbani festival, slaughterers and slaughterhouses should abide by the following regulations:

The animal should be slaughtered with a sharp knife to avoid causing undue suffering.

The knife should not be sharpened in front of the animal.

No animal should be slaughtered in the presence of another.

It is best to slaughter the animal yourself, but if you do not know how, you should remain present while someone else sacrifices the creature. It is also necessary to say “Bismillahi Allahu Akbar” when slaughtering the animal. Slaughtered animals are not to be skinned until completely cold.

Sunnah practice on Eid-ul-Adha

Muslims will observe Eid-ul-Adha from Wednesday. They have already started buying sacrificial animals, ordering clothes for stitching, buying home decorations and so on. However, performing Qurbani and wearing clothes isn’t all that has to be done in order to celebrate Eid-ul-Adha. There are a number of other formalities that also go with this day. Some of these activities are extremely important, so much so that they are regarded as Sunnah; acts that Prophet Muhammad willingly performed himself.

Muslims are encouraged to adopt them on Wednesday as it will enhance the celebrations of the day.

Pray Fajr Prayer – Fajr prayer is one of 5 prayers that are fard on Muslims every day. The Prophet used to wake up early in the morning to make preparations for the Fajr Salah and then perform it. You should do this too.

Take Ghusl for Salat al-Eid  – Taking a ghusl (bath) for Salat al-Eid is another Sunnah that you should follow as a follower of Prophet Muhammad. Not only is hygiene important, it also makes the prayer gathering and family festivities pleasant affairs.

Brush teeth with miswak – Miswak is used for brushing teeth. It has become more of a personal preference. Some people use it while others don’t. However brushing with miswak has numerous benefits, one of them being keeping the teeth white.

Dress up for the Eid – Eid is an occasion to dress up nicely. Muslims tend to celebrate Eid wearing clean clothes. This isn’t just a Sunnah but a requirement as well for the days of Eid-ul-Adha.

Use Attar – For those who are unfamiliar with it, Attar is a special fragrance for men. The Prophet applied Attar on Eid occasions. Using Attar (non-alcoholic perfume) is a Sunnah and is also highly recommended for men as it creates a pleasant aura.

Perform Salat al-Eid – It’s not Eid without the proper prayers and Salat al-Eid shouldn’t be skipped. Once Salat al-Eid has been completed, Muslims can begin the Qurbani ritual and then continue to distribute the meat accordingly.

Performing the ritual of Qurbani or undertaking the pilgrimage of Hajj is a mandatory requirement worthy of many blessings. Performing the additional Sunnah practices of Prophet Muhammad earns more blessings and rewards for the same deed. Being followers of the Islamic faith, it is spiritually a good idea to incorporate Sunnah practice into our daily lives, especially when it comes to Eid celebrations and festivities.

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