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Taqwa consists of five things:
1) Taqwa in 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 his Allah. A Muslim knows his Allah. A Muslim adores his Allah. Is that not the purpose of his life ?
And why not? Has Allah not blessed him with Imaan? Has Allah Ta’ala not honoured him with Imaan? Now his Allah calls. Now his Allah commands: “Slaughter and take a life for My Pleasure. Do it for Me.” Do it with love. Do it with fear. Do it with humility. It’s not the flesh that counts. It’s not the blood that counts. It’s your heart that counts. It’s Taqwa that counts. And the roots of Taqwa lie in an environment of Taqwa.
2) Taqwa in the environment: A corrupt environment breeds a corrupt mentality. A corrupt environment fosters evil habits. A corrupt environment is Shaytaan’s playground. A corrupt environment increases the evil power of the Nafs.
The environment for Qurbani should be filled with holiness and piety. It should be devoid of intermingling between males and females. Qurbani is not an occasion like the Spanish “bull run” or a festival like “the July Handicap.” There are no fun features in Qurbaani. There is no spectatorship value. Qurbani is not a fashion parade for women. Qurbani is not macho-time for men. Qurbani is Taqwa; just as Taqwa is Qurbani. Let the environment be free from immodesty, raucous laughter, flirting, videoing, music, bragging and boasting. The occasion is solemn – a life is going to be sacrificed – not for the sake of meat or a meal but for Allah’s Pleasure. And just as Allah Ta`ala listens to the intention in the hearts for whispers of Taqwa, just as Allah watches the environment for scenes of Taqwa, He watches if the animal is what He wants.
3) Taqwa with regards to the animal: Allah Ta’ala watches if the animal is worthy of His Choice. There are specifications to the type of animals. There are age restrictions. Allah’s chosen animal should not be blind, or deaf or paralysed. Allah’s chosen animal should be comforted and not be frightened. Allah’s chosen animal should be treated with compassion and kindness. Allah’s chosen animal should not be brutalised and stunned barbaric-style. Allah’s animal should be made to face the direction of the House of Allah and not the direction of convenience chosen by Kuffaar companies. The Qibla – on the compass of millions of restless Muslim hearts, how could it ever be ignored?
In a certain way, animals know Allah much better than humans. Deep down, that animal knows it is to be sacrificed. And if it we could hear it’s last speech, we would understand that its last wish is to take its last breath facing the City of Allah, facing the House of Allah. And why not, after all, is it not going to be slaughtered in Allah’s Name?
4) Taqwa in slaughtering: The slaughterer’s Taqwa commenced maybe some months ago when he started saving for his Qurbani. His Taqwa was given practical expression when he searched for his animal. His appearance re-enforced his Taqwa when he stopped pairing his nails and stopped cutting his hair. His appearance is shabby perhaps to the creation, but in the Sight of Allah, he is most handsome and adorable.
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 one son. A time when a man took a sharp knife in his hands and stepped forth to this blindfolded son. A time when a man firmly took hold of the throat of this only son. A time when a man with a firm heart and a firm belief and with all the strength of a Nabi’s blessed powerful Taqwa filled hands abided to His Friend - Allah’s - Commands. O Ebrahim alayhi Salaam! 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. He does so by slaughtering his Nafs. The blood gushes forth from the animal, purifying it. The Nafsaani evil “gushes” forth from the slaughterer’s Nafs. He is also, according to his intention, purified. His was a Qurbani of Taqwa. He has passed a test. Ibrahim alayhi Salaam was rewarded. This simple bondsman will also be rewarded.
5) The rewards of passing the test: Know well, O friends that with every good act, virtuous feat and deed of Ibaadah, comes both material and spiritual rewards. Know well too, that the material rewards are not restricted to the 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 tranquillity.
Qurbani was made. The meat is Halaal. Eat and enjoy this Ni’mat of 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, Insha-Allah is assured. The hooves shall be weighed by the Scales; the horns shall be weighed by the Scales. What joy will there not be at the dipping Scales and what radiance will there not 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. The journey across this Bridge will take fifteen thousand years. This Bridge is thinner than a hair and sharper than a blade.
It is at this decisive Bridge where a Muslim will see his Qurbani animal awaiting him. How great will his joy not 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 Taqwa. (Ameen)
The above may appear to be like fairy tales to those with weak imaan, consult with your local Ulama and Insha-Allah they will also inform you what Islam teaches us.
Life is sacred. All forms of it. Souls differ. The soul of a human is different to that of animals. That is why a human is not expected to behave like an animal. The souls of human also differ from one another. That is why a man is not expected to behave like a woman. Despite the differences some things are common. Like sanctity. Sanctity also differs. An animal slaughtered on other days 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.
Qari Ziyaad Patel, a recitor of the Noble Qur'aan-e-Kareem,
A Nasheed artist and a Humanitarian by profession