An animal slaughtered on any other day does not enjoy the same sanctity as an animal slaughtered for Qurbani. The animal slaughtered for Qurbani is a treasure of Taqwa to the soul of a Muslim. Taqwa in slaughtering consists of five parts:
1. Form a noble intention: Allah’s Command shall be carried out with joy and enthusiasm! Nay, Allah’s command, even before being carried out, is received with ecstasy and jubilation. Qurbani days are here! A Muslim bows happily to Allah’s Will, his intention is filled with humility and hope. A Muslim loves and adores his Allah. So now his Allah commands that slaughter and take a life for My Pleasure. Do it for Me with love, fear and humility. It’s not the flesh or blood that counts; it’s the heart and taqwa that counts and the roots of Taqwa lie in an environment of Taqwa.
2. Keep the environment halaal: A corrupt environment breeds a corrupt mentality and fosters evil habits. A corrupt environment is Shaytaan’s playground. A corrupt environment increases the evil power of the Nafs. This is why the environment for Qurbani should be filled with holiness and piety, devoid of intermingling between males and females. Qurbani is not a fashion parade for women nor is it macho-time for men. It is an action bred from taqwa so ensure that the environment is free from immodesty, raucous laughter, flirting, videoing, music, bragging and boasting.
3. Pick the right animal: Allah watches to see if the animal is worthy of His Choice. Therefore there are specifications and age restrictions to the type of animals that Allah will accept. For example, Allah’s chosen animal should not be blind, deaf or paralyzed, the animal should be comforted and not frightened. The animal should be treated with compassion and kindness, not brutalized and stunned in a barbaric-style. Also, it should be made to face the direction of the House of Allah and not the direction of convenience chosen by kuffaar companies.
4. Slaughtering and reflecting: Perhaps, the slaughterer’s taqwa commenced some months ago when he started saving for his Qurbani and searching for an animal. His appearance reinforced his taqwa when he stopped pairing his nails and stopped cutting his hair. This may be shabby to the creation, but in the Sight of Allah, he is most handsome.
He steps forward with sleeves rolled-up and with a heart beating. In front of him for a fleeting moment flashes a scene from another time. A time when a man was commanded to slaughter his only son. With a sharp knife in his hands, he stepped forth to his blindfolded son and firmly took hold of his throat. A time when a man with a firm heart and with all the strength of a Nabi’s blessed, powerful taqwa-filled hands abided to His Friend – Allah’s – Commands. O ibrahim عليه السلام! May Allah have Mercy and forever send His peace upon you, what a worthy and spiritual grandfather you were to us! Worthy you are indeed of your name to be taken in every two rakaat Salaah four times, by every Muslim in every corner of the world!
The slaughterer not only slaughters the animal. The slaughterer seeks the innocence of that animal by slaughtering his Nafs. Whilst the blood gushes forth from the animal, purifying it, nafsaani evil “gushes” forth from the slaughterer’s nafs, purifying it. He also becomes purified according to his intention. His Qurbani was one of taqwa and now he too has passed a test. Therefore just like Ibrahim عليه السلام was rewarded, this simple bondsman will also be rewarded.
5. The rewards of passing the test: O friends! Know well that with every good, virtuous feat and deed of Ibaadah, comes both material and spiritual rewards. Know well too, that the material rewards are not restricted to this worldly life. When we sin, we pay if there is no remorse or regret. When we are obedient, we reap reams of Allah’s Mercy in the form of peace of mind and tranquility.
After Qurbani this meat becomes halal, so eat and enjoy this blessing from Allah. Qurbani was made and the soul soars to a higher level where it will now dwell and enjoy the Divine Presence. Spiritually a person is fortified to meet the challenges of shaytaan and the Nafs. As for rewards in the hereafter, for every hair or fibre of wool a reward is assured, inshaAllah. The hooves and horns shall be weighed on the scales. What joy will there be at the dipping scales and what radiance will there be glowing from the face!
Even as the slaughterer casts a last glance at his shuddering dying Qurbani animal, he leaves it with hope in his heart. For he knows, as only a Muslim can know, that it is not the last time he has seen this animal. There remains one final meeting; a meeting of tremendous significance and great importance.
In order to enter Jannah, a Muslim has to cross a Bridge which spans Jahannam. This Bridge is thinner than a hair and sharper than a blade, to traverse it will take 15,000 years! It is at this decisive bridge where a Muslim will see his Qurbani animal awaiting him. How great will his joy be when he mounts his Qurbani animal which will speed over Jahannam and deposit him at the gates of Jannah!
May Allah accept the Qurbani of the entire Ummah and may our Qurbaani be a means of us attaining Taqwa. Ameen
– Hazrat Maulana Dawood Seedat حفظه الله
(The above is an edited, shortened version of an article on Hazrat’s website from a few years back. The original article can be viewed here.)