Desirable acts on the day of Eid

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The Sunnahs that the Muslim should observe on the day of Eid are as follows:

1 – Doing ghusl before going out to the prayer.

It was narrated in a sahih hadeeth in al-Muwatta’ and elsewhere that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar used to do ghusl on the day of al-Fitr before going out to the prayer-place in the morning. Al-Muwatta’ 428.

Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said that the Muslims were unanimously agreed that it is mustahabb (recommended) to do ghusl for Eid prayer. The reason why it is mustahabb is the same reason as that for doing ghusl before Jumu’ah and other public gatherings. Rather on Eid the reason is even stronger.

2 – Eating before going out to pray on Eid al-Fitr and after the prayer on Eid al-Adha:

Part of the etiquette is not to go out to pray on Eid al-Fitr until one has eaten some dates, because of the hadeeth narrated by al-Bukhaari from Anas ibn Maalik, who said that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used not to go out on the morning of Eid al-Fitr until he had eaten some dates… of which he would eat an odd number. Al-Bukhaari, 953.

It is mustahabb to eat before going out to emphasize the fact that it is forbidden to fast on that day and to demonstrate that the fast has ended.

Ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) suggested that the reason for that was so as to ward off the possibility of adding to the fast, and to hasten to obey the command of Allaah. Al-Fath, 2/446

Whoever does not have any dates may break his fast with anything that is permissible.

3 – Takbeer on the day of Eid

This is one of the greatest Sunnahs on the day of Eid because Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“(He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allaah [i.e. to say Takbeer (Allaahu Akbar: Allaah is the Most Great)] for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him” [al-Baqarah 2:185]

It was narrated that al-Waleed ibn Muslim said: I asked al-Awzaa’i and Maalik ibn Anas about saying Takbeer out loud on the two Eids. They said, Yes, ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar used to say it out loud on the day of al-Fitr until the imam came out (to lead the prayers).

It was narrated in a sahih report that ‘Abd al-Rahmaan al-Sulami said, “They emphasized it more on the day of al-Fitr than the day of al-Adha.”. Wakee’ said, this refers to the takbeer. See Irwa’ al-Ghaleel, 3/122/

Al-Daaraqutni and others narrated that on the morning of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, Ibn ‘Umar would strive hard in reciting takbeer until he came to the prayer place, then he would recite takbeer until the imam came out.

Saying takbeer when coming out of one’s house to the prayer place and until the imam came out was something that was well known among the salaf (early generations). This has been narrated by a number of scholars such as Ibn Abi Shaybah, ‘Abd a l-Razzaaq and al-Firyaabi in Ahkaam al-Eidayn from a group of the salaf. For example, Naafi’ ibn Jubayr used to recite takbeer and was astonished that the people did not do so, and he said, “Why do you not recite takbeer?”

Ibn Shihaab al-Zuhri (may Allaah have mercy on him) used to say, “The people used to recite takbeer from the time they came out of their houses until the imam came in.”

The time for takbeer on Eid al-Fitr starts from the night before Eid until the imam enters to lead the Eid prayer.

Description of the takbeer:

It was narrated in the Musannaf of Ibn Abi Shaybah with a saheeh isnaad from Ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) that he used to recite takbeer during the days of tashreeq:

Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, laa ilaaha ill-Allah, wa Allahu akbar, Allah akbar, wa Lillaah il-hamd (Allaah is Most Great, Allaah is most Great, there is no god but Allaah, Allaah is Most great, Allaah is most great, and to Allaah be praise).

It was also narrated elsewhere by Ibn Abi Shaybah with the same isnad, but with the phrase “Allahu akbar” repeated three times.

4 – Offering congratulations

The etiquette of Eid also includes the congratulations and good wishes exchanged by people, no matter what the wording, such as saying to one another Taqabbala Allaah minna wa minkum (May Allaah accept (good deeds) from us and from you” or “Eid mubaarak” and other permissible expressions of congratulations.

It was narrated that Jubayr ibn Nufayr said: When the companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) met one another on the day of Eid, they would say to one another, “May Allaah accept (good deeds) from us and from you.”

Offering congratulations was something that was well known among the Sahaabah, and scholars such as Imam Ahmad and others allowed it. There is evidence which suggests that it is prescribed to offer congratulations and good wishes on special occasions, and that the Sahaabah congratulated one another when good things happened, such as when Allaah accepted the repentance of a man, they went and congratulated him for that, and so on.

Undoubtedly these congratulations are among the noble characteristics among the Muslims.

The least that may be said concerning the subject of congratulations is that you should return the greetings of those who congratulate you on Eid, and keep quiet if others keep quiet, as Imam Ahmad (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: If anyone congratulates you, then respond, otherwise do not initiate it.

5 – Adorning oneself on the occasion of Eid.

It was narrated that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) said that ‘Umar took a brocade cloak that was for sale in the market and brought it to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and said, “O Messenger of Allaah, buy this and adorn yourself with it for Eid and for receiving the delegations.” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to him, “Rather this is the dress of one who has no share (of piety or of reward in the Hereafter)…” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 948.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) agreed with ‘Umar on the idea of adorning oneself for Eid, but he denounced him for choosing this cloak because it was made of silk.

It was narrated that Jaabir (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had a cloak which he would wear on the two Eids and on Fridays. Saheeh Ibn Khuzaymah, 1756,

Al-Bayhaqi narrated with a saheeh isnaad that Ibn ‘Umar used to wear his best clothes on Eid.

So a man should wear the best clothes that he has when going out for Eid.

With regard to women, they should avoid adorning themselves when they go out for Eid, because they are forbidden to show off their adornments to non-mahram men. It is also haraam for a woman who wants to go out to put on perfume or to expose men to temptation, because they are only going out for the purpose of worship.

6 – Going to the prayer by one route and returning by another.

It was narrated that Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allaah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: On the day of Eid, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to vary his route. Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 986.

Offering the Qurbani or sacrifice of livestock during Eid al-Adha

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When the Day of Arafat is completed, and Allah has liberated His believing servants from Hell, all of the Muslims then celebrate a holiday. Then there is a common rite that they all undertake (the pilgrims and those back home) to draw near to Allah, slaughtering the hadiy (sacrificial animal).

The qurbani, also known as udh’hiya, as referred to in Shari’ah, is the sacrifice of a livestock animal during Eid ul Adha. It commemorates the supreme sacrifice offered by Prophet Ibrahim, peace be upon him, to show his total submission and gratitude towards Allah. The Holy Quran informs us that in a vision, Prophet Ibrahim, peace be upon him, saw that he offered his son Isma’eel, peace be upon him, in sacrifice to Allah. When he shared this vision with his son, Isma’eel said: “O my father! Do as you are commanded: you will find me, if Allah so wills, one practicing patience and constancy.” However, when Prophet Ibrahim, peace be upon him, carried out the commandment, Allah replaced him with a ram. In the Holy Quran, Allah mentions the firm faith and obedience of both father and son as follows: “You have already fulfilled the vision – thus indeed do We reward those who do right.”  (As-Saffat 37:105)

Once our beloved Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said, “It is the sunnah of your father Ibrahim. For every hair of the Qurbani, you will receive a reward from Allah and for every hair in the wool you will receive a reward.” (Related Ibn Majah & Tirimidhi).

It is obligatory upon every sane adult who is not a traveller/pilgrim and can afford it (wealth equal to or more than nisab — the minimum amount for a Muslim net worth to be obligated to give zakat). Normally every person in the household, who are eligible to pay Zakat have to give a Qurbani. It is performed on the days of sacrifice, which is the 10th, 11th, or 12th of Dhul Hijjah. The first day is better than the second, and the second better than the last.

One may sacrifice a thousand animals on days other than these, but it will never be regarded or considered as udhhiya. Therefore, the qurbani is a sacred act which can only be done during the three days of Dhul Hijjah as specified.

Zaid bin Arkam reports that the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) asked him: “O Messenger of Allah, what is this sacrifice?” He said: “It is the way of your forefather Ibrahim.” They asked: what (reward) is for us therein?” He replied: “There is a reward for every hair (i.e. the reward for meat and useful parts of the animal’s body will be very lofty in merit, but there will also be a great reward for the parts which are useless and thrown away such as the hair).” They asked: “For the wool, O Messenger of Allah?” He replied: “There is one reward for every strand of wool.” [Ahmad; Ibn Majah]

Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said: The son of Adam does not do any action on the day of sacrifice which is more pleasing to Allah than the sacrifice of animals; the animal will come on the Day of Resurrection with its hair, horns, and hooves (for reward). The blood certainly reaches Allah before it falls to the ground. So make yourselves purified therewith. [Tirmidhi and Sunan ibn Majah]

Regarding the qurbani, Allah says is the Qur’an: “Their meat will not reach Allah, nor will their blood, but what reaches Him is piety from you.”  [Al-Haj 22:37]

Qurbani animals are goats, sheep, cow, and camels. It is necessary that the goat is one (full) year old, whether male or female. A cow, ox, bull, or buffalo will have to be two years old, and a camel five years. Animals that are younger are not suitable for Qurbani. A sheep (of any kind) not less than six months old, so strong and fat that it appears to be one year old will suffice for Qurbani, otherwise it will have to be one (full) year old. If an animal seller says that the animal has reached the required age, and outwardly there is no sign to disprove it, then it is permissible to rely on his statement. No other types of animals are allowed for Qurbani. The animal must be killed according to the prohibitions of halal sacrifice. In addition, the animals should be in good health.

While most of us are blessed with food and take our next meal for granted, spare a thought for the many children and families across the world whose lives are blighted by poverty and for whom basic food is a scarcity and meat a luxury.

It is recommended that the meat of the Qurbani sacrifice is shared equally in three parts between (1) the family members of the person performing Qurbani, (2) his/her relatives and friends, and (3) poor people. In developed countries, it is very difficult to perform Qurbani. Hence, it is permitted to arrange for Qurbani in a different country on one’s behalf. In this case, the whole Qurbani is distributed among the poor people.

When a pilgrim slaughters his/her animal in the place of sacrifice in Mina, he/she has followed the Sunnah. However, it is permissible for him/her to slaughter in any other part of Mina or Mecca (Makkah) as the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “I have slaughtered here and all of Mina is a place for slaughtering, and all of the mountain pass approaches, so slaughter on your place of stopping.”

When slaughtering the animal, it is Sunnah to do the dhabh (slaughter by a horizontal cut through the throat) or Nahr (slaughter by a vertical movement of the spear to the lower part of the throat) with own hand if possible, and if not, then to depute someone else to do it.

The animal should be facing the Qiblah during the process, making it lie down on its left side and putting his right foot upon its right side. If the animal being sacrificed is a camel, then it should be slaughtered by means of Nahr while the animal is on a standing position, having its left leg tied, standing on its others with its face towards the Qiblah.

Before slitting the animal’s throat, the slaughterer should say: Bismillahi Wallahu Akbar Al-Lahumma Inna Hadha Minka Wa Laka Al Lahumma Taqabbal Minni (In the name of Allah and Allah is greater. O Allah, this is from You and for You. O Allah, accept it from me.)

The Sunnah is to slaughter the sacrifice on the day of Eid, which is the tenth of Dhu’l-Hijjah.

It was narrated from Saalim ibn ‘Abd-Allaah that Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with them both) said: “During his last Pilgrimage, the Messenger of Allaah (ﷺ) performed ‘Umrah and then Hajj. He drove a hadiy (sacrificial animal) along with him… then he went to Safa and Marwa and ran between them seven times and did not do any deed forbidden because ofIhraam, until he finished his Hajj and sacrificed his hadiy on the day of Nahr (the tenth day of Dhul-Hijjah). He then hastened onwards (to Makkah) and performed Tawaaf of the Ka’bah, and then everything that was forbidden because of Ihraam became permissible.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari, 1606, Muslim, 1227)

Then, the slaughterer may eat from the meat of his sacrificial animal and take some back with him to his land as the Prophet did. And he should give some it to feed the poor and the needy.

Virtues of the Day of Arafah

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Praise be to Allah The Exalted.

The Day of Arafat is like a small gathering to a great rehearsal. It is one of the greatest mercies of Allah that He gives every pilgrim the chance to rehearse the Day of Judgement, the day of the great gathering.

The Ihram clothing removes all differences of wealth, importance or social status and then everybody is just by himself, just the way we will be buried one day.

“And every one of them will come to Him alone (without any helper, or protector or defender).” (Maryam 19:95)

Pilgrims stream to the place of gathering as all humans will do on the day of resurrection

“Then unto their Lord they all shall be gathered.” (Al-An’am 6:38)

Here, we face our Lord in silent prayer and we ask Him for forgiveness for all our sins. It is a situation where people present their lives, their good deeds and their bad deeds to their Lord. Many realize that they showed up unprepared, empty handed.

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “Nothing will be placed in the balance on the day of Resurrection which will weigh more heavily than good manner and attitude.”

“I created not the jinn and mankind except to worship Me alone.” (adh-Dhariyat 51:56)

On Arafat Day, Allah gives us the chance to experience how it will be like on the Day of Judgement when we have to give account for our lives.

“And warn them O’ Muhammad of the day of grief and regrets, when the case has been decided, while now they are in a state of carelessness, and they believe not!” (Maryam 19:39)

Arafat shows us the reality of life. This worldly life is just temporary and it is not proper for any human being to be forgetful about Paradise and Hellfire. In order to save us from the hellfire, we need to accept and live by the teachings of the Glorious Qur’an and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ).

Islam does not only bring the message of the Hereafter; it is intended to guide us in this life. At the end of the Day of Arafat all pilgrims leave in one direction, going towards Muzdallifa. On the day of Judgment this will be different. Some will go to Paradise, but the fast majority will go to hellfire. Arafat is the reminder to choose our destination, before it is too late.

“And we created not the heaven and the earth and all that is between them without purpose! That is the consideration of those who disbelieve! Then woe to those who disbelieve from the fire!

Shall We treat those who believe and do righteous good deeds as those who associate partners in worship with Allah and commit crimes on earth?

Or shall we treat the pious as the disbelievers?” (Sad 38:27-28)

Because the day of Arafat serves as a yearly reminder to us about the final day of Judgement, it is important to know what exactly are the virtues of this day. Why is it so important?

1. It is the day on which the religion was perfected and Allah’s Favor was completed

In Al-Saheehayn it was reported from ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) that a Jewish man said to him, “O Ameer al-Mu’mineen, there is an ayah in your Book which you recite; if it had come to us Jews, we would have taken that day as an ‘Eid (festival).” ‘Umar said, “Which aayah?” He said: This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” [al-Ma’idah 5:3 – interpretation of the meaning]. ‘Umar said, “We know on which day and in which place that was revealed to the Prophet (ﷺ). It was when he was standing in ‘Arafah on a Friday.”

2. It is a day of Eid for the people who are in that place

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: Yawm ‘Arafaah (the day of ‘Arafah),Yawm al-Nahr (the Day of Sacrifice) and Ayyaam al-Tashreeq (the 3 days following Yawm al-Nahr) are Eid (festival) for us, the people of Islam. These are days of eating and drinking.” This was narrated by the authors of al-Sunan. It was reported that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab said: “It – i.e., the ayahThis day I have perfected…’ was revealed on a Friday, the Day of ‘Arafah, both of which – praise be to Allah – are Eids for us.” 

3. It is a day by which Allah swore an oath

The Almighty cannot swear by anything except that which is mighty. Yawm ‘Arafah is the “witnessed day” mentioned in the ayah (interpretation of the meaning):

“By the witnessing day [Friday] and by the witnessed day [the Day of ‘Arafah].”  [al-Burooj 85:3].

It was reported from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “The promised day is the Day of Resurrection, the witnessed day is the Day of ‘Arafah, and the witnessing day is Friday.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi and classed as sahih by al-Albaani)

It is the “odd” [i.e., odd-numbered, Witr] by which Allah swore in the ayah (interpretation of the meaning):

And by the even and the odd” [al-Fajr 89:3]. Ibn ‘Abbas said: “The even is the Day of al-Adha [i.e., 10thDhoo’l-Hijjah] and the odd is the Day of ‘Arafah [i.e., 9th Dhoo’l-Hijjah].” This is also the view of ‘Ikrimah and al-Dahhaak.

4. Fasting on this day is an expiation for two years

It was reported from Abu Qutadah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (ﷺ) was asked about fasting on the Day of ‘Arafaah. He said, “It expiates for the sins of the previous year and of the coming year.” (Narrated by Muslim)

This (fasting) is mustahabb (recommended) for those who are not on Hajj. In the case of the one who is on Hajj, it is not Sunnah for him to fast on the Day of ‘Arafah, because the Prophet (ﷺ) did not fast on this day in ‘Arafah. It was narrated that he forbade fasting on the Day of ‘Arafah in ‘Arafah.

5. It is the day on which Allah took the covenant from the progeny of Adam

It was reported that Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: the Messenger of Allaah (ﷺ) said: “Allah took the covenant from the loins of Adam in Na’man, i.e., ‘Arafah. He brought forth from his loins all his offspring and spread them before Him, then He addressed them, and said: ‘Am I not your Lord? They said, ‘Yes, we testify,’ let you should say on the Day of Resurrection: ‘Verily, we have been unaware of this.’ Or lest you should say: ‘It was only our fathers aforetime who took others as partners in worship along with Allah, and we were (merely their) descendants after them; will You then destroy us because of the deeds of men who practised Al-Baatil (i.e., plolytheism and committing crimes and sins, invoking and worshipping others besides Allaah)?’ [al-A’raf 7:172-173 – interpretation of the meaning].” Narrated by Ahmad and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani. And there is no greater day than this and no greater covenant than this.

6. It is the day of forgiveness of sins, freedom from the Fire and pride in the people who are there:

In Sahih Muslim it was narrated from ‘A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “There is no day on which Allah frees more people from the Fire than the Day of ‘Arafah. He comes close and expresses His pride to the angels, saying, ‘What do these people want?’”

 It was reported from Ibn ‘Umar that the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Allah expresses His pride to His angels at the time of ‘Ishaa’ on the Day of ‘Arafah, about the people of ‘Arafah. He says, ‘Look at My slaves who have come unkempt and dusty.’” Narrated by Ahmad and classed as sahih by al-Albaani.

 And Allah knows best.

Superiority of the First Ten Days of Dhul-Hijjah

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Just like the last ten nights of the holy month of Ramadan are the best ten nights out of the year, these first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah (the final month of the Islamic Calendar in which Hajj is performed) are the best days of the year and the most beloved to Allah as they combine acts of worship in a way unlike any other time.

The excellence of these ten days has been mentioned in the Qur’an and the Sunnah.

1. Allah says in the Qur’an:

“By the dawn and by the ten nights … “  [Al-Fajr 89:1-2]

Ibn Kathir said that “the ten nights” referred to here are the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, and this opinion was also held by Ibn Abbas, Ibn az-Zubair, Mujahid and others.

2. The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said:

“There are no deeds as excellent as those done in these ten days.” They (the companions listening) said, “Not even Jihad?” He, peace be upon him, said, “No, not even Jihad except a man who goes forth endangering his life and wealth and does not return with anything.”  [Recorded by Imam al-Bukhari]

3. Allah says:

” … and remember the name of Allah in the appointed days.” [Al-Baqarah 2:203]

Ibn Abbas and Ibn Kathir said this means in the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.

4. The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, said:

“There are no other days that are as great as these in the sight of Allah, the Most Sublime. Nor are there any deeds more beloved to Allah than those that are done in these ten days. So increase in tahlil (to say la illaha illallah), takbir (to say allahu akbar), and tahmid (to say alhamdulillah).” [ Reported by at-Tabarani in al-Mu’jum al-Kabir]

5. With regards to the noble companion Sa’id bin Jubair, when the days of Dhul-Hijjah began, he would strive to increase in good actions with great intensity until he was unable to increase any more. [Reported by ad-Darimi]

6. Ibn Hajar says in Fath al-Bari:

“The most apparent reason for the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah being distinguished in excellence is due to the assembly of the greatest acts of worship in this period, i.e. salat (prayers), siyam (fasting), sadaqah (charity) and the Hajj (pilgrimage). In no other periods do these great deeds combine.”

**Note: It is recommended to fast on the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah, especially on the 9th which is the blessed day of Arafat. The 10th of Dhul Hijjah is the day of Eid al-Adha and it is prohibited to fast on that day.

Fasting on the day of Arafat expiates the sins of two years

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The first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah have been classified as the best 10 days of the year, and the Day of ‘Arafat, on which Allah perfected His religion has been classified as the best day of the year according to some scholars.

Imaam Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728H) said: “The most excellent day of the week is the day of Jumuah (Friday), by the agreement of the Scholars. And the most excellent day of the year is the day of an-Nahr. Some of them said that it is the day of Arafat. However, the first opinion is the correct one, since it is related in the Sunan collections that the Prophet ﷺ said: “The most excellent days with Allah is the day of an-Nahr, then the day of al-Qarr (the day that the Muslims reside in Mina).”  [(Saheeh) by Shaikh al-Albanee in Irwa al-Ghaleel (no: 2018). Related by Abu Dawood no: 1765].” [Majmoo al-Fatawa vol: 25, pp. 288]

The ninth day of Dhul-Hijjah (the 12th and final month of the Islamic calendar) is the Day of ‘Arafat, since it is on this day that millions of pilgrims set out for the plains of Arafat after sunrise to attend the Khutba of Arafat and perform their Dhuhr and Asr salat combined as was the Sunnah of Rasool Allah (ﷺ). Thereafter they engage in supplication to Allah from Dhuhr to Maghrib, seeking forgiveness of their Lord before setting off for Muzdhalifah.

On this day of Arafat, Muslims all over the world who do not witness the annual Hajj should spend the day in fasting as it is mustahabb (highly recommended), in preparation for the three-day festivity following ‘Eid ul-Adha (the celebration marking the end of the Hajj commemorating the Prophet Ibrahim’s (willingness of sacrifice). When asked about the fasting on the day of ‘Arafah, the Prophet Muhammad said,

“It expiates the sins (Minor) of the past year and the coming year.”  [Muslim (no. 1162)]

Abu Hafsah, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet (ﷺ) said:

“Fasting on the Day of ‘Arafah absolves the sins for two years: the previous year and the coming year, and fasting on ‘Ashura, (the tenth day of Muharram) atones for the sins of previous years.”  [Reported by all except al-Bukhari and at-Tirmidhi]

But, this does not mean that one can continue to commit sin in the upcoming year, rather it portrays the virtue of fasting on the day of ‘Arafat, and the blessings to be obtained therein.

In another saying the Prophet’s wife Hafsah, may Allah be pleased with her, said:

“Four things the Messenger of Allah never neglected: Observing fast on the day of ‘Ashura,‘Arafat, three days every month, and offering fajr sunnah prayers early in the morning.”  [Muslim]

These statements are proof that fasting on the ninth of Dhul-Hijjah, the day before ‘Eid ul-Adha was a lifelong practice of the Prophet (ﷺ) as his wife reported.

There are some reports that fasting is prohibited on the Day of ‘Arafah. However, it must be understood that this refers to a person performing the Hajj. If a person is on the Hajj, there is no fast for him or her on the day of ‘Arafah. That is undoubtedly a blessing for him because of the hardships of the pilgrimage. In a saying reported by Umm al-Fadl, may Allah be pleased with her, she said:

“The companions doubted whether the Prophet (ﷺ) was fasting on ‘Arafah or not. She decided to prove to them that he was not, so she said, ‘I sent to him milk, which he drank while he was delivering the khutbah (sermon) on ‘Arafah.'” [Recorded by al-Bukhari]

Prohibiting the pilgrims from fasting on these days is a great mercy for them, for fasting will exert undue hardship on the person performing the Hajj, while they are primarily concerned with their pilgrimage. Above all, the pilgrim would not be fasting anyway because he is travelling.

The fact that not all of the Muslims are required to go to Hajj every year is a mercy and source of ease from Allah to His servants. He has made Hajj binding once in a lifetime and not binding every year. However, it is a communal obligation occurring every year. This is different from fasting, which is an individually binding obligation on every Muslim, every year.

Because the month of Dhul-Hijjah is a season of worship, it bring along blessings, benefits and opportunities to correct one’s faith and make up for shortcoming. This special opportunity involves a kind of worship, which brings the slave closer to his Lord. And Allah bestows His blessings and Favours on whom He wills. The fortunate person is he who makes good use of these special months, days, and hours, while worshiping Allah. He is most likely to be touched by the blessings of Allah. Rewards of good deeds are multiplied in these days. [Ibn Rajab, al-Lataa’if pp. 8]

For non-pilgrims, it should be remembered that not only should you fast on this day, but make sure to ask Allah for all of your prayers. The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “The best dua is the dua of Arafat.” (Tirmidhi)

Offering the Qurbani

haj (22) 37

When the Day of Arafat is completed, and Allah has liberated His believing servants from Hell, all of the Muslims then celebrate a holiday. Then there is a common rite that they all undertake (the pilgrims and those back home) to draw near to Allah, slaughtering the hadiy (sacrificial animal).

The qurbani, also known as udh’hiya, as referred to in Shari’ah, is the sacrifice of a livestock animal during Eid ul Adha. It commemorates the supreme sacrifice offered by Prophet Ibrahim, peace be upon him, to show his total submission and gratitude towards Allah. The Holy Quran informs us that in a vision, Prophet Ibrahim, peace be upon him, saw that he offered his son Isma’eel, peace be upon him, in sacrifice to Allah. When he shared this vision with his son, Isma’eel said: “O my father! Do as you are commanded: you will find me, if Allah so wills, one practicing patience and constancy.” However, when Prophet Ibrahim, peace be upon him, carried out the commandment, Allah replaced him with a ram. In the Holy Quran, Allah mentions the firm faith and obedience of both father and son as follows: “You have already fulfilled the vision – thus indeed do We reward those who do right.”  (As-Saffat 37:105)

Once our beloved Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said, “It is the sunnah of your father Ibrahim. For every hair of the Qurbani, you will receive a reward from Allah and for every hair in the wool you will receive a reward.” (Related Ibn Majah & Tirimidhi).

It is obligatory upon every sane adult who is not a traveller/pilgrim and can afford it (wealth equal to or more than nisab — the minimum amount for a Muslim net worth to be obligated to give zakat). Normally every person in the household, who are eligible to pay Zakat have to give a Qurbani. It is performed on the days of sacrifice, which is the 10th, 11th, or 12th of Dhul Hijjah. The first day is better than the second, and the second better than the last.

One may sacrifice a thousand animals on days other than these, but it will never be regarded or considered as udhhiya. Therefore, the qurbani is a sacred act which can only be done during the three days of Dhul Hijjah as specified.

Zaid bin Arkam reports that the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) asked him: “O Messenger of Allah, what is this sacrifice?” He said: “It is the way of your forefather Ibrahim.” They asked: what (reward) is for us therein?” He replied: “There is a reward for every hair (i.e. the reward for meat and useful parts of the animal’s body will be very lofty in merit, but there will also be a great reward for the parts which are useless and thrown away such as the hair).” They asked: “For the wool, O Messenger of Allah?” He replied: “There is one reward for every strand of wool.” [Ahmad; Ibn Majah]

Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said: The son of Adam does not do any action on the day of sacrifice which is more pleasing to Allah than the sacrifice of animals; the animal will come on the Day of Resurrection with its hair, horns, and hooves (for reward). The blood certainly reaches Allah before it falls to the ground. So make yourselves purified therewith. [Tirmidhi and Sunan ibn Majah]

Regarding the qurbani, Allah says is the Qur’an: “Their meat will not reach Allah, nor will their blood, but what reaches Him is piety from you.”  [Al-Haj 22:37]

Qurbani animals are goats, sheep, cow, and camels. It is necessary that the goat is one (full) year old, whether male or female. A cow, ox, bull, or buffalo will have to be two years old, and a camel five years. Animals that are younger are not suitable for Qurbani. A sheep (of any kind) not less than six months old, so strong and fat that it appears to be one year old will suffice for Qurbani, otherwise it will have to be one (full) year old. If an animal seller says that the animal has reached the required age, and outwardly there is no sign to disprove it, then it is permissible to rely on his statement. No other types of animals are allowed for Qurbani. The animal must be killed according to the prohibitions of halal sacrifice. In addition, the animals should be in good health.

While most of us are blessed with food and take our next meal for granted, spare a thought for the many children and families across the world whose lives are blighted by poverty and for whom basic food is a scarcity and meat a luxury.

It is recommended that the meat of the Qurbani sacrifice is shared equally in three parts between (1) the family members of the person performing Qurbani, (2) his/her relatives and friends, and (3) poor people. In developed countries, it is very difficult to perform Qurbani. Hence, it is permitted to arrange for Qurbani in a different country on one’s behalf. In this case, the whole Qurbani is distributed among the poor people.

When a pilgrim slaughters his/her animal in the place of sacrifice in Mina, he/she has followed the Sunnah. However, it is permissible for him/her to slaughter in any other part of Mina or Mecca (Makkah) as the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “I have slaughtered here and all of Mina is a place for slaughtering, and all of the mountain pass approaches, so slaughter on your place of stopping.”

When slaughtering the animal, it is Sunnah to do the dhabh (slaughter by a horizontal cut through the throat) or Nahr (slaughter by a vertical movement of the spear to the lower part of the throat) with own hand if possible, and if not, then to depute someone else to do it.

The animal should be facing the Qiblah during the process, making it lie down on its left side and putting his right foot upon its right side. If the animal being sacrificed is a camel, then it should be slaughtered by means of Nahr while the animal is on a standing position, having its left leg tied, standing on its others with its face towards the Qiblah.

Before slitting the animal’s throat, the slaughterer should say: Bismillahi Wallahu Akbar Al-Lahumma Inna Hadha Minka Wa Laka Al Lahumma Taqabbal Minni (In the name of Allah and Allah is greater. O Allah, this is from You and for You. O Allah, accept it from me.)

The Sunnah is to slaughter the sacrifice on the day of Eid, which is the tenth of Dhu’l-Hijjah.

It was narrated from Saalim ibn ‘Abd-Allaah that Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with them both) said: “During his last Pilgrimage, the Messenger of Allaah (ﷺ) performed ‘Umrah and then Hajj. He drove a hadiy (sacrificial animal) along with him… then he went to Safa and Marwa and ran between them seven times and did not do any deed forbidden because ofIhraam, until he finished his Hajj and sacrificed his hadiy on the day of Nahr (the tenth day of Dhul-Hijjah). He then hastened onwards (to Makkah) and performed Tawaaf of the Ka’bah, and then everything that was forbidden because of Ihraam became permissible.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari, 1606, Muslim, 1227)

Then, the slaughterer may eat from the meat of his sacrificial animal and take some back with him to his land as the Prophet did. And he should give some it to feed the poor and the needy.