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Merits & Rulings of Dhu ‘l-Hijjah: ‘Arafah, Eid, Udhiyyah, & Hajj

Ka'bahBy Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani

Edited by IlmGate

Dhu ‘l-Hijjah is the last month of the Islamic calendar. Literally, it means “hajj.” Obviously, this name of the month indicates that the great annual worship of hajj is performed in this month, which gives it special significance. Some specific merits and rules relevant to this month are mentioned below.

First Ten Days

The first ten days of Dhu ‘l-Hijjah are among the most magnificent days in Islamic calendar. The Holy Prophet ﷺ 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 on Laylat al-Qadr.”

Every Muslim should avail this wonderful opportunity by performing as much ibādah to Allah during this period as he or she can.

The 9th Day of Dhu ‘l-Hijjah

The 9th day of Dhu ‘l-Hijjah is called Yawm al-‘Arafah (The Day of ‘Arafah). This is the date when the hujjāj (pilgrims, plural of hāji) assemble on the plain of ‘Arafah, six miles away from Makkah Mukarramah, where they perform the most essential part of the prescribed duties of hajj, namely the Wuqūf of ‘Arafah (the stay at ‘Arafah).

The Fast of Yawm al-‘Arafah

For those not performing hajj, it is mustahabb (desirable) to fast on this day according to their own calendar. It sometimes occurs that 9th Dhu ‘l-Hijjah falls on different days in different countries according to the sighting of the moon. In such cases, Muslims of each country should observe Yawm al-‘Arafah according to the lunar dates of their own country.

For example, if Yawm al-‘Arafah is being observed on a Friday in Saudi Arabia, and on Saturday in Pakistan, Pakistani Muslims should treat Saturday as Yawm al-‘Arafah and should fast on that day if they desire to benefit from the fast of Yawm al-‘Arafah.

The fast of Yawm al-‘Arafah has been emphasized by the Holy Prophet ﷺ as a mustahabb (desirable) act. According to a hadith, the fast of this day becomes a means of forgiveness for sins committed in one year.

Takbīr al-Tashrīq

Beginning from the Fajr on the 9th of Dhu ‘l-Hijjah up to the ‘Asr prayer on the 13th, it is obligatory on each Muslim to recite the takbīr of Tashrīq after every fard prayer in the following words:

اَللهُ أكْبَرُ اَللهُ أكْبَرُ

لاَ إِلهَ إِلاَّ اللهُ وَاللهُ أكْبَرُ

اَللهُ أكْبَرُ وَلِلّهِ الْحَمْد

Allāhu Akbar, Allāhu Akbar,

Lā Ilāha Illallāhu, Wallāhu Akbar,

Allāhu Akbar wa lillāhilhamd.

Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest. There is no god but Allah and Allah is the greatest. Allah is the greatest and to Allah belongs all praise.

According to authentic Islamic sources, it is obligatory upon each Muslim to recite this takbīr after every fard salah. For women also, it is commendable though not obligatory. Whether you are performing salāh in congregation or on your own individually does not make a difference. You must recite the takbīr. 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 Eid al-Adha:

1. To wake up early in the morning.

2. To clean one’s teeth with a miswāk or brush

3. To take 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 takbīr of Tashrīq in a loud voice while going to the Eid prayer.

How to Perform Eid Prayers (Hanafi School)

The Eid prayer has two rak’āt which are performed in the normal manner, but with the addition of six takbīrs: three of them at the beginning of the first rak’ah, and three of them just before ruku’ of the second raka’ah. The detailed way of performing the Eid prayer is as follows:

The Imam will begin the prayer without adhān or iqāmah. He will begin the prayer by reciting the takbīr of Tahrīmah (Allahu Akbar). One should raise his hands up to the ears, and after reciting the takbīr, set the hands on one’s navel. The Imam will give a short pause during which one should recite the Thanā’
(…سبحانك اللهم). After the completion of the Thanā’, the Imam will recite takbīr (Allahu Akbar) three times. At the first two calls of takbīr, one should raise his hands up to the ears, and after reciting takbīr (Allahu Akbar) in a low voice, bring the hands down and leave them earthwards. But after the third of these takbīrs, one should set the hands on the navel as one does in normal prayers.

After these three takbīrs, the Imam will recite from the Holy Qur’an, which one should listen to calmly and quietly. The rest of the rak’ah will be performed in the normal manner.

After rising for the second rak’ah, the Imam will begin the recitations from the Holy Qur’an during which one should remain calm and quiet. When the Imam finishes his recitation, he will recite three takbīrs once again, but this time it will be just before bowing down for ruku’. At each takbīr, one should raise the hands up to the ears, and after saying Allahu Akbar, bring them down and leave them earthwards. After these three takbīrs have been called and completed, the Imam will say another takbīr for bowing down into the ruku’ position. At this takbīr one does not need to raise the hands. Instead, simply bow down for the ruku’ saying Allahu Akbar. The rest of the salāh will be performed in its usual manner.

Khutbah: The Address of Eid al-Adha

In this salāh of Eid, khutbah is a sunnah and is delivered after the salāh, unlike the salāh of Jumu’ah where it is fard and is delivered before the salāh. However, listening to the khutbah of Eid salāh is wājib (necessary) and must be listened to in perfect peace and silence.

It is a sunnah that the Imam begins the first khutbah by reciting takbīr (Allahu Akbar) nine times and the second khutbah with reciting it seven times.

Note: The way of Eid prayer described above is according to the Hanafi school of jurists. Some other jurists, like Imam Shafi’ī, have other ways of performing it. They recite takbīr twelve times before beginning the recitations of the Holy Qur’an in both the rak’āt. This way is also permissible. If the Imam – being of the Shafi’ī school – follows this way, one can also follow him. Both ways are based on the practice of the Holy Prophet ﷺ.

Sacrifice (Udhiyyah/Qurbāni): Philosophy and Rules

The Urdu and Persian word “qurbāni” (sacrificial slaughter) is derived from the Arabic word “qurbān.” Lexically, it means an act performed to seek Allah’s pleasure. Originally, the word qurbān included all acts of charity because the purpose of charity is nothing but to seek Allah’s pleasure. But, in precise religious terminology, the word was later confined to the sacrifice of an animal 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 societies, 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 rejected by Islam.

In the Shari’ah of our beloved Prophet ﷺ the sacrifice of an animal has been recognized as a form of worship only during three days of Dhu ‘l-Hijjah, namely the 10th, 11th, and 12th of the month. This is to commemorate the unparalleled sacrifice offered by the Prophet Sayyiduna Ibrahim عليه السلام when he, in answering a command of Allah conveyed to him in a dream, prepared himself to slaughter his beloved son, Sayyiduna Ismā’īl عليه السلام. He actually did follow through but Allah Almighty, after testing his submission, sent down a sheep and saved his son from the logical fate of slaughter. It is from that time onwards that the sacrifice of an animal became an obligatory duty to be performed by every well-to-do Muslim.

Qurbāni is a demonstration of total submission to Allah and a proof of complete obedience to Allah’s will and command. When a Muslim offers a qurbāni, this is exactly what he intends to prove. Thus, the qurbāni offered by a Muslim signifies that he is a slave of Allah 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 willingly, even if it be at the price of his life and possessions. When a true and perfect Muslim receives a command from Allah, he does not make his obedience dependent upon the command’s reasonability as perceived through his limited understanding. He knows that Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise and that [human] reason cannot encompass the knowledge and wisdom underlying the divine command. He therefore submits to the divine command, even if he cannot grasp the reason or wisdom behind it.

This is exactly what Prophet Ibrahim عليه السلام 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 for that command, nor did he hesitate to follow it. Even his minor son when asked by his father about the dream he had seen never questioned the legitimacy of the command, nor did he [complain] about it, nor did he ask for one good reason as to why he was being slaughtered. The one and only response he made was:

“Father, do what you have been ordered to do. You shall find me, God willing, among the patient.”
(Qur’an, 37:102)

The present-day qurbāni is offered in memory of this great model of submission set before us by the great father and the great son. So qurbāni must be offered in our time emulating the same ideal and attitude of submission.

This, then, is the true philosophy of qurbāni. With this in mind, one can easily unveil the fallacy of those who raise objections against qurbāni on the basis of economic calculations and depict it to be a wastage of money, resources, and livestock. Unable to see beyond mundane benefits, they cannot understand the spirit Islam wishes to plant and nourish among its followers: the spirit of total submission to Allah’s will which equips man with the most superior qualities so necessary to keep humanity in a state of lasting peace and welfare.

Qurbāni is nothing but a powerful symbol of the required human conduct vis-a-vis the divine commands, however “irrational” or “uneconomic” they may seem to be in their appearance. Thus, the distrustful quest for mundane economic benefits behind qurbāni is, in fact, the negation of its real philosophy and the very spirit underlying it.

No doubt, there are certain worldly benefits as well in every form of worship ordained by Allah, but they are not the main purpose of these prescribed duties, nor should they be treated as a pre-condition to submission and obedience. All acts of worship, including qurbāni, must be carried out with a spirit of total submission to Allah, irrespective of their economic, social, or political benefits. This is what Ibrahim عليه السلام 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 qurbāni in our Shari’ah according to the Hanafi school of law.

The Time of Qurbāni

Qurbāni can only be performed during the three days of Eid, namely the 10th, 11th, and 12th of Dhu ‘l-Hijjah. It is only in these days that slaughtering an animal is recognized as an act of worship. No qurbāni can be performed on any other day of the year.

Although qurbāni is permissible on each of the three aforementioned days, it is preferable to perform it on the first day (i.e. the 10th of Dhu ‘l-Hijjah).

Qurbāni is not allowed before the completion of Eid prayer. However, in small villages where the Eid prayer is not to be performed, qurbāni can be offered at any time after the break of dawn on the 10th of Dhu ‘l-Hijjah.

Qurbāni can also be performed in the two nights following the Eid day, but it is more advisable to perform it during daytime.

Who is Required to Perform Qurbāni?

Every adult Muslim, male or female, who owns 613.35 grams of silver or its equivalent in money, personal ornaments, stock-in-trade, or any other form of wealth which is surplus to his/her basic needs, is under an obligation to offer a qurbāni. Each adult member of a family who owns the above mentioned amount must perform his own qurbāni separately. If the husband owns the required quantity, but the wife does not, the qurbāni is obligatory on the husband only, and vice-versa. If both of them have the prescribed amount of wealth, both should perform qurbāni separately.

If the adult children live with their parents, qurbāni is obligatory upon each one of them who possesses the prescribed amount. The qurbāni offered by a husband for himself does not fulfill the obligation of his wife, nor can the qurbāni 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 offering his own qurbāni – gives another qurbāni on behalf of his wife or his son, he can do so with their permission.

No Alternate for Qurbāni

Some people think that instead of offering a qurbāni they should give its amount to some poor people as charity. This approach is completely incorrect.

In reality there are different forms of worship obligatory on Muslims. Each one of them has its own importance and none of them can stand in place of the other. It is not permissible for a Muslim to perform salāh instead of fasting in Ramadān, nor is it permissible for him to give some charity instead of observing the obligatory salāh.

Similarly, qurbāni is an independent form of worship and this obligation cannot be discharged by spending money in charity.

However, if someone out of his ignorance or negligence did not offer qurbāni on the three prescribed days (10th, 11th, and 12th Dhu ‘l-Hijjah), then in that case only he can give the price of a qurbāni as sadaqah to those entitled to receive zakāt. But during the days of qurbāni no sadaqah can discharge the obligation of qurbāni.

The Animals of Qurbāni

The following animals can be slaughtered to offer a qurbāni:

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 qurbāni. But as for all other animals like cow, buffalo, or camel, one head of each is equal to seven offerings, thus allowing seven persons to offer qurbāni jointly in one such animal.

If the seller of the animal claims that the animal is of the recognized age and there is no apparent evidence 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 qurbāni:

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 majority number of its teeth are missing.

5. An animal born without ears.

The following animals are acceptable in qurbāni:

1. A castrated he-goat (rather, its qurbāni is more preferable).

2. An animal that has no horns, or its horns are broken. However, if the horns of an animal are uprooted completely so as to create a defect in the brain, its qurbāni 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 qurbāni unlawful.

The Sunnah Method of Qurbāni

It is more preferable for a Muslim to slaughter the animal of his qurbāni 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 another 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 qurbāni invalid if he has authorized the person who slaughtered the animal on his behalf. It is a sunnah to lay the animal with its face towards the qiblah, and to recite the following verse of the Holy Qur’an:

“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.”
(Surat al-An’ām, 79)

The most essential recitation, however, when slaughtering an animal is:

بسم الله، الله أكبر

Bismillah, Allahu Akbar.
(In the name of Allah, Allah is the greatest).

If one intentionally avoids reciting it when slaughtering an animal, it does not only make his qurbāni unlawful but also renders the animal harām, 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 qurbāni and the slaughter are lawful.

If a person is unable to recite Bismillah, Allahu Akbar 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 a cow or camel, its meat should be distributed equally among its owners by weighing the meat strictly 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 the shari’ah.

However, if the actual weighing is not practical due to some reason, and all the partners agree to distribute 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 qurbāni can keep all its meat for his own use, it is preferable to distribute one-third amongst the poor, another one-third amongst his relatives, and then keep the remainder for his personal consumption.

All parts of the sacrificed animal can be used for personal benefit, but none can be sold and cannot be given to the butcher as part of his wages. If a person has sold the meat of the qurbāni or its skin, he must give the accrued price as sadaqah to a poor man who is eligible to receive zakāt.

Ka'bah - 1300 AH or beforeHajj

The most important form of worship performed in this month is the hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam. The Muslims from every part of the world assemble in Arabia to perform this unique mode of worship. Hajj is a worship, which requires at least five days to be performed in its proper way. There are detailed rules for different acts of hajj for which separate books are available, and the present article does not aim at explaining all these details. However, some basic information about its obligation is being given here:

1. Hajj is obligatory upon every adult Muslim who can afford to go to Makkah Mukarramah during the hajj season, whether on foot or by any other transportation.

2. If a person is able to travel to Makkah Mukarramah to perform the hajj, but is not able to travel to Madinah Munawwarah, hajj is still obligatory upon him. He can perform hajj without visiting Madinah Munawwarah.

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 upon 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 al-badal out of her left over property.

4. Hajj is obligated only once in one’s lifetime. After performing the obligatory hajj, one is not required to perform it again. However, one can perform a nafl (optional) hajj as many times as he or she wishes.


Courtesy of albalagh.

Note: This article was edited for spelling, grammar, and style in addition to a new title.

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