Bismillahi wa salatu wa salamu ‘ala Rasulillah wa ‘ala jami’il ambiyai wal-mursalin wa ‘ala ahlihi wa sahabihi ajmain, amin.
As we join Muslims all over the world to welcome the noble and auspicious month of Dhul-Hijjah, it is imperative to, in a nut-shell, remind our cherished brothers and sister of the values, duties and ethics of this great month, especially the first ten days and the three days of slaughter. The sincere believer is ever restless regarding the next life and the need to accumulate good deeds before our lives here suddenly come to an end. Allahu subhanahu wa ta’ala, our Karim Lord and ever compassionate Owner slotted into some sacred days and months into our years on the earth so that we can make up for our deficits and deficiencies. Fortunate indeed are those who embrace the opportunities offered in the first ten days of the Dhul-Hijja month exerting themselves in devotions, fasting and services and who pay special attention to slaughtering on the tenth day in order to earn the eternal pleasure of Allahu subhanahu wa ta’ala.
The first ten days of the blessed month of Dhil–Hijja are the best of days just as the blessed month of Ramadan is the best of the months. These ten days provide another great opportunity to do little and gain much towards the Akhirah. Our noble elders in the ages past would never play away any portion of these invaluable days.
Our beloved Nabiy r expressly encouraged us to repeat much tasbih (subhanallah), tahlil (La ilaha ilallah wahdahu la sharikalah lahul mulki wa lahul hamdu wa huwa ‘ala kulli shayn qadr) and takbir (Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar La ilaha ilallahu wallahu Akbar walilahil hamd). The takbir tashrik is most important zikr of these valuable days.
- We should carefully avoid sins during these blessed ten days.
- We should endeavour to fast all the nine days before the Eid
- If for any compelling reason fasting all the nine days is not possible then we should endeavour to fast as much of these nine days as possible.
- Fasting on Tarwiyah, that is the day before the Arafah day is extremely blessed. The best of mankind, Rasulullah r said fasting and controlling the tongue on this day lead one to Jannat
- Then the most valuable of all fasts in Dhil–Hijja is the one done on Arafah Every Muslim must endeavour to be part of this little effort that would lead to eternal profit in Jannat.
- We should increase our nafilat, zikr, Tilawatul Qur’an, prayers of Istighfar and salawat on Rasulu-Karim r in the days and night of the first ten days of Dhil–Hijja. Is it not enough an encouragement that our beloved Prophet, the noblest of Allah’s servants r compared night worship on these nights with that of laylatul Qadr?
- We need to take a strong control of our speech, our gaze and what we listen to during these ten blessed days.
- We should give special attention to the excessive repetition of the Tahlil (La ilaha ilallah wahdahu la sharika lah…) on these days. Our beloved Imam Tirmidhi y commented that this is more repeated than all other Adhkar by our beloved Prophet r on Arafah
- A Hadith says repeating the Ikhlas Surah a thousand times on Arafah Day brings the forgiveness of all one’s sins and the acceptance of all one’s Duas. This is a great opportunity we must endeavour to benefit from. We are advised to say all the Surah with Bismillahi ‘r-rahmani ‘r-rahim.
- Arafah night – that is the night before the Eid day is so blessed. We must endeavour to use the night wholly or partly in ibadat. Concerning the night preceeding the Eid, Rasulullah (alaihi ‘s-salam) said: ‘He who spends the night of Eid in the worship of Allahu ta’ala in expectation of reward, his heart will not die on the Day when (countless) hearts will die (Qiyama).’
- We should work assiduously towards slaughtering an animal on the first day of Eid or the two days following it. This is a ‘sunnah’ binding on all able believers, male or female.
- We should endeavour to slaughter the best animal established in the Sharia; healthy and meaty animals should be procured with halal
- We can opt for any of rams, sheep, goat, cows or camels. We have listed them in the order of fiqh We should always seek the best.
- Non-castrated animal is the best but the castrated ones are also blessed.
- One eyed animals, very sick animals, split eared animals (if much) and animals with a bleeding broken horn should be avoided. Animals with one third of its tail cut off are not encouraged for sacrifice.
- Owner of each animal is best to do the slaughtering. If impossible, then, it is a blessed act for him or her to be present at slaughtering
- Part of the animals of Qrban cannot be sold nor given out as payment for the services done on the slaughtered animal.
- We should be patient enough to allow the community Imam slaughter first, preferably on the Eid Then we can carry on our own slaughtering.
- Animals of slaughter should be well fed and mercifully treated.
- We must not dangle the knife before the animals announcing their death, rather we should hide the knife away from them.
- We should cover the animal’s eyes with their long ears or a thin cloth if possible.
- We should sharpen our knives very well.
- We should lie them down towards the qibla softly with extreme mercy.
- We should at least leave a leg untied for the animal to struggle after slaughter.
- We should slaughter at one go, so we must be doubly sure that our knives are very sharp.
- We should not allow one animal to witness the slaughter of other animals.
- We should also avoid animal looking the slaughtered ones in their flowing
- We should not be in a hurry to skin or burn off the hairs. This can only be done after the animal has stopped shivering and struggling, and all lives gone.
- Remember that observing the ethics enumerated above leads to Allah’s acceptance. Any of our sacrifices accepted becomes our galloping ride across the sirat bridge on Qiyama. For every hair on the animal we will be rewarded ten times and raised in rank ten times, with the first drop of blood all the sins of the sacrificing Muslim is forgiven and every hair on the slaughtered animal gives a palace in Jannat, subhanallah.
ON THE EID DAY
- We should wake up early on the Eid day and let our face and action reflect the happiness and joys of celebration.
- We should take ghusl preparatory for the Eid
- We should wear new clothes.
- We should perfume our clothes.
- We should use only non-alcoholic perfume. (Women are not to use perfume when going out)
- We should set out very early for the Eid
- We should go to the Eid on foot (if possible).
- We should change our route when returning home if possible.
- We should get ourselves busy with the Takbir Tashrik on the way to Eid and on the Eid ground as well as when going back home. Our beloved Prophet (alaihi ‘s-salam) said: ‘Adorn your Eid with Takbir (in abundance).’
- We should make much Dua on the Eid
- We should repeat the Takbir Tashrik after every salat from the Zhuri salat of Eid day up to the Subhi of the fourth day.
- We should endeavour to visit the sick and also the burial grounds of those who have passed away. These are people who were our lovers and partners some months ago. Sooner than expected we may as well be in their shoes. The Hadith ash–Sharif says: ‘Whoever says Subhanallahi wabi hamdihi 300 times on the Eid day sending the reward as a gift to the Muslims who have passed away, one thousand lights enter every grave and Allahu ta’ala will place a thousand lights in the grave of the one who sends the gift when he passes away.’
- We should celebrate our Eid within halal and without missing out any of our fard (compulsory) ibadats. One of our noble Imams mentioned the wailing and lamentation of Shaytan on the Eid When other Shaytan gather around him saying, ‘O master! Why are you so upset?’ Iblis would reply, ‘I am extremely sad and upset because Allahu ta’ala forgives so many of the Ummah of Muhammad this day. You should all go out to preoccupy them with pleasure and desires – until they forget the limits of Allah.’
- We should remain hundred percent on the Sunnah while celebrating.
- Our celebration is eating, drinking, feeding others and remembering Allahu I.
- Our celebration time is for gratitude to our Owner and Creator and a means of earning rewards. It must not be made a moment of sinning and invitation of Allah’s anger.
- There is so much reward for eating, drinking and being happy on the Eid days and to fast on these days is a great sin.
- It is also a great evil to commit sins on the sacred days of Eid. Music, zina, men and women mixing together, taking of alcohol and driving and riding recklessly during Eids are all alien to the Islamic tradition. We need to collectively stamp them out.
Then we should reflect deeply on the sacred events of Dhil–Hijja and the Eid and on the exalted Prophet Ibrahim u that brought us all these blessings.
Prophet Ibrahim u demonstrated that a Muslim becomes exalted and eternally blessed only after passing through series of tests and difficulties placed on his path. Those who give up at the onset of trial or sacrifice their Iman (faith) for the finishing things of this world can never be raised, the Holy Qur’an says they are people whose deeds would go to waste only to live eternally in Jahannam (Hell fire).
We need to reflect on the noble Sunnah we observe before the Eid salat. We take ghusl early in the morning but one day, perhaps very soon, the ghusl of Janaza (after death) will be done for us. We put on new clothes just as will be wrapped for the grave. We use perfume just as relatives and friends will put this on us before burial, and we proceed in convoy to the Eid ground just as we will be carried and accompanied to the cemetery without a return, one day.
The reality before us is that Dunya (this world) remain ever deceptive so we need to act with caution. Everything in this world is bound to finish so we should earnestly check our greed and focus on the real and eternal life in the Akhirah. Certainly, the most unfortunate are those who purchase the wealth, status and pleasures of this world paying with the Hereafter. They will soonest discover their foolery, their most grievous error.
Our Dua is that our today be a kafara (expiation) for our terrible and negligent yesterday and that the path to Sunnah and Taqwa, that is, sincere preparation for the Akhirah be easy for us. May our Karim Lord honour us with giving up a life of sins and indolence drawing us eternally to His pleasure through His avid love for the Prophet of mercy – Rasulu–Karim Muhammad Mustafa [alaihi wa ahlihi wa sahabihi wa taslimat attamuhu wa akmaluha] and our last word is Praise be to Allah the Lord and Nourisher of the worlds. Eid Mubarak.