• Friday, July 19, 2024
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Sallah: Beyond ram slaughtering


The Islamic religion recognises two festivals: Eid-al-Fitr and Eid-al-Adha. While Eid-al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, Eid-al-Adha is celebrated every 10th of Dhul-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar, and on the last day of the ten majestic nights that Allah swore by, scholars argue, in Qur’an 89 vs. 2: “And (by) ten nights.” Popularly referred to as Sallah, it is otherwise called Ileya, time to go home, in the southern part of Nigeria.

Known for the slaughtering of animals, Eid-al-Adha symbolises the virtues of keeping one’s promise to Allah (or fellow humans). It originates from the historic event of Prophet Ibrahim trying to sacrifice his son, Isma’eel, in fulfilment of the promise he had had with his Lord. Consequently, he was ordered to replace Isma’eel with a ram. Sacrificing animals to Allah subsequently became a rite for the followers of Prophet Muhammed (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). The festival, like every other act of worship in Islam, has its modes of celebration and is full of lessons.

First off, Muslims should take cognizance of several other supererogatory acts of worship that precede ram slaughter. As a matter of fact, the slaughtering of animals is among the last acts performed by pilgrims in Mecca. For those who cannot afford the means of pilgrimage, they are advised to engage in several acts of worship, like Istighfaar (seeking forgiveness), Qiraa’at (Quran recitation), Sadaqah (charity), Nawaafil (supererogatory prayers), fasting, and Dhikr—chanting the words, “Allahu Akbar 3ce laa ilaaha illa-Allah, Allahu Akbar 2ce WaliLlahil-Hamd.” These acts are extraordinarily rewarded during the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah. Regarding this, the Prophet had said, “No good deeds can be done at a time better than these first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.”

Fasting is highly recommended on the ninth day of Dhul Hijjah as it expiates all the (minor) sins committed by a slave in the year preceding it and the year following it. A non-pilgrim should consistently chant, “la ilaaha illa-Allahu wahdahu laa sharika lahu, lahu al-mulk walahu-al-hamd, wahuwa ‘alla kulli shay’in qadeer.” On the ninth day, known as Yawmul Arafah, pilgrims maintain Mount Arafah, chanting dhikr, remembrance of Allah, while praying to Him. They do this until sunset. Slaughtering of animals follows on the next day and continues three days later. It is sad that many Muslims have, however, pegged the festival on ram slaughtering while ignoring all the acts of worship stated above.

Muslims should note the following before sacrificing animals:

First, sacrificing animals is to be done with taqwa and good intentions but is not compulsory for one who does not have the means to do so. Hence, it is inappropriate for a Muslim to borrow money to sacrifice animals. More so, he should not buy sick or unbalanced animals for cost’s sake. A sacrificial animal must be physically fit and healthy. Also, a Muslim should not buy underage animals for sacrifice: sheep and goats must be six months and one year or older, respectively; cattle must be at least two years old; and camels must not be less than five years old.

Another contradiction of note is the use of sacrificial animals for fighting. Some even bet over them! Not only does Islam frown at such acts, but any damage that happens to an animal during fights nullifies such an animal for sacrifice. In addition to that, sacrificial animals should be treated magnanimously before and during slaughter. They should not starve before slaughter; they should not be beaten for the wrong reasons. The animal should be laid down softly, and a sharp knife should be used to slaughter the animal in order to lessen the pain. Ordinarily, Allah had encouraged the Muslims to observe perfection in all that they do, including the slaughtering of animals: “And if you slaughter, then slaughter well.”

It is pertinent to note that beef from sacrificial animals is meant to be shared with the needy. Therefore, hoarding the beef or sharing it with only those who have gifted it to us is inappropriate. However, slaughtering can only be done after the termination of the Eid prayer. Hence, slaughtering before the Eid prayer is baseless.

Appearance is one of the topics on Eid. A Muslim should dress nice and try, as much as possible, to appear different. The Prophet used to have a special dress for Eid and does not appear like he used to on ordinary days. Dressing has to be moderate and reflect taqwa, or righteousness. Every part of the body should be covered, and we should not go extreme in our hairstyles and makeup. A man should wear fascinating perfumes, and a woman should adorn herself with those things that have been made lawful for her.

Trek to the praying ground if you have the capability to do so. Visit and spread glad tidings to friends and relatives. I wish the Muslims ‘Eid Mubaarak!

Abdulkabir Muhammed is the Anchor of LASU Crescent Friday programme at LASU Radio.