The Month of ZULHIJJAH

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

The month of Zulhijjah is the last month of the Is¬lamic calender. Literally it means “the month of Hajj.” Obviously this name of the month indicates that the great annual worship of “hajj” is performed in this month, for this reason it has a peculiar significance as compared to other months of the year. Some specific merits and rules relevant to this month are mentioned below:
First ten Days
The first ten days of the month of Zulhijjah are among the most magnificent days in Islamic calendar. The Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلّم has said, “One fast during these days is equal to the fasting of one complete year, and the worship of one night during this period is equal to the worship in the “Lailatul-Qadr”.
Every Muslim should avail of this wonderful op¬portunity by offering during this period as much ‘Iba’dah (acts of worship) to Allah as he or she can.

The 9th day of Zulhijjah
The 9th day of the month of Zulhijjah is called ‘Youmul – “Arafah’ (The Day of ‘Arafah). This is the date when the Hujjaj (Hajj pilgrims, plural of Haajj) assemble on the plain of ‘Arafat, six miles away from Makkah al-Mukarramah, where they perform the most essential part of the prescribed duties of Hajj, namely, the ‘Wuqoof of’Arafat (the stay in ‘Arafat).

The Fast of Youmul ‘Arafah
For those not performing Hajj, it is mustahabb (desirable) to fast on this day according to their own Calendar. It sometimes occurs that the date of 9th Zulhijjah falls on different days in different countries according to the sighting of the moon. In such cases, Muslims of each country should observe ‘Youmul ‘Arafah according to the lunar dates of their own coun¬try.
For example, if’Youmul ‘Arafah’ is being observed in Saudi Arabia on Friday, and in Pakistan on Satur¬day, Pakistani muslims should treat Saturday as ‘Youmul ‘Arafah’ and should fast on that day if they desire to benefit from the fast of’Youmul ‘Arafah’.
The fast of’Youmul ‘Arafah’ has been emphasized by the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلّم as a mustahabb (desirable) act. According to a hadith, the fast of this day becomes a cause, hopefully so, of forgiveness for sins committed in one year.

As from the Fajr of the 9th Zulhijjah upto the ‘Asr prayer of the 13th, it is obligatory on each Muslim to recite the Takbir of Tashriq in the following words.

الله أَكْبَر الله اكبر لا اله الا الله والله اكبر الله اكبر ولله الحمد

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, La Ilaha Illallahu, Wallahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar wa lillahilhamd.
There is no god but Allah and Allah is great, Al¬lah is great and to Allah belongs all praise.
According to authentic Islamic sources, it is oblig¬atory on each Muslim, to recite this Takbir after every obligatory (fard)salah. For women also, it is com¬mendable though not obligatory. Whether you are per¬forming salah with Jama’ah (collectively) or on your own (individually) makes no difference. You must re¬cite the Takbir. However, male Muslims should recite it in a loud voice, while females should recite it in a low voice.

On the Eid day
The following acts are sunnah on the day of Eidul-adha:
1. To wake up early in the morning.
2. To clean one’s teeth with a miswak or brush
3. To have a bath.
4. To put on one’s best available clothes.
5. To use perfume.
6. Not to eat before the Eid prayer.
7. To recite the Takbir of Tashriq in a loud voice while going to the Eid prayer.

How to perform Eid prayers
The Eid prayer has two raka’at performed in the normal way, with the only addition of six Takbirs, three of them in the beginning of the first raka’ah, and three of them just before ruku in the second raka’ah. The detailed way of performing the Eid prayer is as follows:
The Imam, will begin the prayer without adhan or iqamah. He will begin the prayer by reciting Takbir of Tahrimah (Allahu Akbar). You should raise your hands upto the ears, and reciting the Takbir, you should set your hands on your navel. The Imam will give a little pause during which you should recite Tha-na (Tubhanakallahumma…). After the completion of Thana’, the Imam will recite Takbir (Allahu Akbar) three times. At the first two calls of Takbir you should raise your hands upto the ears, and after reciting Tak¬bir (Allahu Akbar) in a low voice, should bring your hands down and leave them earthwards. But, after the third Takbir, you should set them on your navel as you do in the normal prayers.
After these three Takbirs, the Imam will recite the Holy Qur’an which you should listen calmly and quiet¬ly. The rest of the raka’ah will be performed in the normal way.
After rising for the second raka’ah, the Imam will begin the recitations from the Holy Qur’an during which you should remain calm and quiet. When the Imam finishes his recitation, he will recite three Tak¬birs once again, but this time it will be just before bowing down for ruku’. At each Takbir you should raise your hands upto the ears, and after saying ‘Allahu Akbar’, bring them down and leave them earthwards. After these three takbirs have been called and completed, the Imam will say another takbir for bowing down into the ruku’ position. At this takbir you need not raise your hands. You just bow down for your ruku1 saying, ‘Allahu Akbar’. The rest of the salah will be performed in its usual way.

Khutbah: The Address of Eidul-Adha
In this salah of Eid, khutbah is a sunnah and is delivered after the salah, unlike the salah of jumu’ah where it is fard and is delivered before the salah. How¬ever, listening to the khutbah of Eid salah is wajib or necessary and must be heard in perfect peace and si¬lence.
It is a sunnah that the imam begins the first Khut¬bah by reciting takbir (الله اكبر) nine times and the sec¬ond Khutbah with reciting it seven times.
The way of Eid prayer described above is according to the Hanfi school of Muslim jurists. Some other jurists, like Imam Shafi’i, have some other ways to perform it. They recite Takbir twelve times before be¬ginning the recitations of the Holy Qur’an in both the raka’at. This way is also permissible. If the Imam, be¬ing of the Shafi’i school, follows this way, you can also follow him. Both ways are based on the practice of the Holy Prophet .

The Urdu and persian word ‘Qurbani’ is derived from the Arabic word ‘Qurban’. Lexically, it means an act performed to seek Allah’s good pleasure. Original¬ly, the word ‘Qurban’ included all acts of charity be¬cause the purpose of charity is nothing but to seek Al¬lah’s pleasure. But, in precise religious terminology, the word was later confined to the sacrifice of an ani¬mal slaughtered for the sake of Allah.
The sacrifice of an animal has always been treated as a recognized form of worship in all religious orders originating from a divine book. Even in pagan socie¬ties, the sacrifice of an animal is recognized as a form of worship, but it is done in the name of some idols and not in the name of Allah, a practice totally reject¬ed by Islam.
In the Shari’ah of our beloved Prophet  the sac¬rifice of an animal has been recognized as a form of worship only during three days of the month of Zulhij-jah, namely, the 10th, llth and 12th of the month. This is to commemorate the unparalleled sacrifice of¬fered by the Prophet Sayyidna Ibrahim  when he, in pursuance to a command of Allah conveyed to him in a dream, prepared himself to slaughter his be¬loved son, Sayyidna Isma’il . and actually did so – but, Allah Almighty, after testing the quantum of his submission, sent down a sheep and saved his son from the logical fate of slaughter. It is from that time on¬wards that the sacrifice of an animal became an oblig¬atory duty to be performed by every well-to-do Mus¬lim.
Qurbani is a demonstration of total submission to Allah and a proof of complete obedience to Allah’s will or command. When a Muslim offers a Qurbani, this is exactly what he intends to prove. Thus, the Qurbani offered by a Muslim signifies that he is a slave of Al¬lah at his best and that he would not hesitate even for a moment, once he receives an absolute command from his Creator, to surrender before it, to obey it will¬ingly, even if it be at the price of his life and posses¬sions. When a true and perfect Muslim receives such a command from Allah, his natural instinct stops him from indulging in the futile search for the reasonability behind the command; nor does he make his obedi¬ence dependent upon the command’s reasonability as perceived through his limited understanding. He knows that Allah is All-knowing, All-Wise and that his own reason cannot encompass the knowledge and wisdom underlying the divine command. He, there¬fore, submits to the divine command, even if he cannot find out any reason or wisdom behind it.
This is exactly what the Prophet Ibrahim  did. Apparently, there was no reason why a father should slaughter his innocent son. But, when came the command from Allah, he never asked about the reason of that command, nor did he hesitate to obey it. Even his minor son when asked by his father about the dream he had seen, never questioned the legitima¬cy of the command, nor did he pine or whine about it, nor did he ask for one good reason why he was being slaughtered. The one and only response he made was:

يَا اَبَتِ افْعَلْ مَا تُؤْمَرْ سَتَجِدُنِيْ اِنْ شَاءَ اللهُ مِنَ الصّٰبِرِيْنَ

“Father, do what you have been ordered to do. You shall find me, God willing, among the pa¬tient”.
The present-day Qurbani is offered in memory of this great model of submission set before us by the great father and the great son. So Qurbani must be of¬fered in our time emulating the same ideal and atti¬tude of submission.
This, then, is the true philosophy of Qurbani. With this in mind, one can easily unveil the fallacy of those who raise objections against Qurbani on the basis of economic calculations and statistics and make it out to be a wastage of money, resource and livestock. Unable to see beyond mundane benefits, they cannot under¬stand the spirit Islam wants to plant and nourish among its followers, the spirit of total submission to Allah’s will which equips man with most superior qualities so necessary to keep humanity in a state of lasting peace and welfare.
Qurbani is nothing but a powerful symbol of the required human conduct vis-a-vis the divine com¬mands, however “irrational” or “uneconomic” they may seem to be in their appearance. Thus, the distrustful quest for mundane economic benefits behind Qurbani is, in fact, the negation of its real philosophy and the very spirit underlying it.
No doubt, there are in every form of worship or¬dained by Allah, certain worldly benefits too, but they are not the main purpose of these prescribed duties, nor should they be treated as a pre-condition to sub¬mission and obedience. All acts of worship, including Qurbani, must be carried out with a spirit of total sub¬mission to Allah, irrespective of their economic, social or political benefits. This is what Ibrahim  did, and this is what every true Muslim is required to do.
Keeping this in view, we are giving here some rules governing the worship of Qurbani in our Shari’ah according to the Hanafi School.

The Time of Qurbani
Qurbani can only be performed during the three days of Eid, namely the 10th, llth and 12th of the month of Zulhijjah. It is only in these days that slaughtering of an animal is recognized as an act of worship. No Qurbani can be performed in any other days of the year.
Although Qurbani is permissible on each of the three aforesaid days, yet it is preferable to perform it on the first day i.e. the 10th of Zulhijjah.
No Qurbani is allowed before the Eid prayer is over. However, in small villages where the Eid prayer is not to be performed, Qurbani can be offered any time after the break of dawn on the 10th of Zulhijjah.
Qurbani can also be performed in the two nights following the Eid day, but it is more advisable to per¬form it during day time.
Who is required to perform Qurbani?
Every adult Muslim, male or female, who owns 613.35 grams of silver or its equivalent in money, per¬sonal ornaments, stock-in-trade or any other form of wealth which is surplus to his basic needs, is under an obligation to offer a Qurbani. Each adult member of a family who owns the above mentioned amount must perform his own Qurbani separately. If the husband owns the required quantity, but the wife does not, the Qurbani is obligatory on the husband only and vice-versa. If both of them have the prescribed quan¬tum of wealth, both should perform Qurbani separately.
If the adult children live with their parents, Qur¬bani is incumbent on each one of them possessing the prescribed quantum. The Qurbani offered by a hus¬band for himself does not fulfill the obligation of his wife, nor can the Qurbani offered by a father discharge his son or daughter from their obligation. Each one of them should care for his own.
However, if a husband or a father, apart from of¬fering his own Qurbani, gives another Qurbani on be¬half of his wife or his son, he can do so with their per¬mission.
No Alternate for Qurbani
Some people think that instead of offering a Qur¬bani they should give its amount to some poor people as charity. This attitude is totally wrong. Actually, there are different forms of worship obligatory on Muslims. Each one of them has its own importance and none of them can stand for the other. It is not per¬missible for a Muslim to perform salah instead of fast¬ing in Ramadan, nor is it permissible for him to give some charity instead of observing the obligatory Sa¬lah. Similarly, Qurbani is an independent form of wor¬ship and this obligation cannot be discharged by spending some money in charity.
However, if somebody, out of his ignorance or neg¬ligence, could not offer Qurbani on the three pre¬scribed days (10th, llth and 12th Zulhijjah) then, in that case only, he can give the price of a Qurbani as sadaqah to those entitled to receive Zakah. But during the days of Qurbani no Sadaqah can discharge the ob¬ligation.

The Animals of Qurbani
The following animals can be slaughtered to offer a Qurbani:
1. Goat, either male or female, of at least one year of age.
2. Sheep, either male or female, of at least six months of age.
3. Cow, ox buffalo of at least two years of age.
4. Camel, male or female, of at least five years of age.
One head of goat or sheep is enough only for one person’s Qurbani. But as for all other animals like cow, buffalo or camel, one head of each is equal to sev¬en offerings thus allowing seven persons to offer Qur¬bani jointly in one such animal.
If the seller of an animal claims that the animal is of the recognized age and there is no apparent evi¬dence to the contrary, one can trust his statement and the sacrifice of such an animal is lawful.
Rules about Defective Animals
The following defective animals are not acceptable in Qurbani:
1. Blind, one eyed or lame animal.
2. An animal so emaciated that it cannot walk to its slaughtering place.
3. An animal with one-third part of the ear or the nose or the tail missing,
4. An animal that has no teeth at all, or the major number of its teeth are missing.
5. An animal born without ears.
The following animals are acceptable in Qurbani:
1. A castrated he – goat. (Rather, its Qurbani is more preferable).
2. An animal that has no horns, or its horns are broken. However, if the horns of an animal are uprooted totally so as to create a defect in the
brain, its Qurbani is not lawful.
3. An animal the missing part of whose ear, nose or tail is less than one third.
4. A sick or injured animal, unless it has some above mentioned defects rendering its Qurbani unlawful.
The Sunnah Method of Qurbani
It is more preferable for a Muslim to slaughter the animal of his Qurbani with his own hands. However, if he is unable to slaughter the animal himself, or does not want to do so for some reason, he can request an¬other person to slaughter it on his behalf. In this case also, it is more preferable that he, at least, be present at the time of slaughter. However, his absence at the time of slaughter does not render the Qurbani invalid, if he has authorised the person who slaughtered the animal on his behalf.
It is a Sunnah to lay the animal with its face to¬wards the Qiblah, and to recite the following verse of the Holy Quran:

اِنِّیۡ وَجَّہۡتُ وَجۡہِیَ لِلَّذِیۡ فَطَرَ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضَ حَنِیۡفًا وَّ مَآ اَنَا مِنَ الۡمُشۡرِکِیۡنَ ﴿ۚ۷۹﴾

I, being upright, turn my face towards the One who has created the heavens and the earth, and I am not among those who associate partners with Allah. (6:79)
But the most essential recitation when slaughter¬ing an animal is: بِسْمِ الله الله أَكْبَر “In the name of Allah, Al¬lah is great”. If somebody intentionally avoids to recite it when slaughtering an animal, it does not only make his Qurbani unlawful, but also renders the animal haram, and it is not permissible to eat the meat of that animal. However, if a person did not avoid this recitation intentionally, but he forgot to recite it when slaughtering the animal, this mistake is forgiven and both the Qurbani and the slaughter are lawful.
If Somebody is unable to recite بِسم الله الله اكبر in the Arabic language, he can recite the name of Allah in his own language by saying, “In the name of Allah”.
Distribution of the Meat
If an animal is sacrificed by more than one person, like cow or camel, its meat should be distributed equally among its owners by weighing the meat strict¬ly and not at random or by mere guess. Even if all the partners agree on its distribution without weighing, it is still not permissible according to shari’ah.
However, if the actual weighing is not practicable due to some reason, and all the partners agree to dis¬tribute the meat without weighing, distribution by guess can be done with the condition that each share necessarily contains either a leg of the animal or some quantity of its liver.
Although the person offering a Qurbani can keep all its meat for his own use, yet, it is preferable to dis¬tribute one-third among the poor, another one-third among his relatives and then, keep the rest for his personal consumption.
All parts of the sacrificed animal can be used for personal benefit, but none can be sold, nor can be giv¬en to the butcher as a part of his wages. If somebody has sold the meat of the Qurbani or its skin, he must give the accrued price as sadaqah to a poor man who can receive Zakah.
The most important way of worship performed in this month is “Hajj”, one of the four pillars of Islam. The Muslims from every part of the world assemble in Arabia to perform this unique way of worship. Hajj is a worship which requires at least five days to be per¬formed in its proper way. There are detailed rules for different acts of hajj for which separate books are available, and the present book does not aim at ex¬plaining all these details. However, some basic infor¬mation about its obligation is being given here:
1. Hajj is obligatory on every adult Muslim who can afford to go to Makkah during the hajj season, whether on foot or by any other carriage.
2. If a person can travel to Makkah to perform hajj, but he cannot travel to Madinah, hajj is obligato¬ry on him also. He can perform hajj without visiting Madinah.
3. A Muslim woman cannot travel for hajj unless she is accompanied by a mahram (i.e. husband or relative of a prohibited degree like son, father, brother etc.) If she does not find any mahram to accompany her, hajj is not obligatory on her until she finds one. However, she must make a will that in case she dies before performing hajj, her heirs should arrange for her hajj-e-badal out of her left over property.
4. Hajj is obligated only once in one’s life. After performing the obligatory hajj; one is not required to perform it again. However, he can perform the nafl (optional) hajj as many times as he or she wishes.