The Lessons of Sacrifice on the Day of Eid

(Eid-ul-Adhaa speech delivered by Mohamed Baianonie, Imam of the Islamic Center of Raleigh, NC, on July, 2, 1990)

The best thing to do on this day of Eid Al-Adha is to sacrifice an animal. To sacrifice with generosity is the best lesson we could learn on this day of Eid .

We, today, are to celebrate along with the whole Muslim Ummah, Eid-Ul-Adha , which means the celebration of sacrifice. To sacrifice an animal on this day is the best thing a Muslim can do. This is clear from the prophet's speech ﷺ, "There is no work loved more by Allaah on this day than (the sacrifice of an animal for the sake of Allaah). Those animals, which you will sacrifice now, will come to you on the Day of Judgement with its horns, hair and skin of the good deeds you have done in this life. Allaah will accept that blood from the animal even before it touches the ground. So feel good about it." [Reported by Imaam At-Termidhi] Symbolically this hadeeth means that Allaah ﷻ will accept your sacrifice along with rewards.

Allaah ﷻ legislated and the prophet ﷺ ordered Muslims to perform the ritual of sacrificing an animal on Eid day. The prophet ﷺ himself used to participate in the ritual sacrifice of animals.

The history of sacrifice goes back to Abraham; also know as, Khaleel Ar-Rahmaan , the close friend of Allaah ﷻ. Abraham ﷸ ﷷ was going to sacrifice the most precious thing he had, his son, to show his obedience to Allaah's command ﷻ.

Certainly this was one of the greatest stories in human history, the story of a father lovingly and willingly sacrificing his only son for the sake of Allaah ﷻ. The father (Ibraheem) attempted to sacrifice the dearest thing he had, his son (Isma'eel), for whom he had waited many years to have. The son (Isma'eel) sacrificed himself--agreeing to be obedient to Allaah ﷻ and His request. The Qur'aan mentions this story among the eternal stories to be a model for ultimate obedience and sacrifice for Allaah ﷻ.

Read it and listen to it from the Qur'aan , and you will find it in Surat As-Saffaat in 10 verses: Allaah ﷻ says what may be interpreted as, "(Ibraheem said:) My Lord grant me (offspring) from the righteous. So We (Allaah) gave him the glad tidings of a forbearing boy. And when he (his son) was old enough to walk with him, he said: O my son! I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering you (offering you in sacrifice to Allaah), so look what you think!? He said: O my father! Do that which you are commanded, Inshaa' Allaah, you shall find me of As-Sabereen (the patient ones). Then, when they had both submitted themselves (to the command of Allaah), and he (Ibraheem) had laid him (Isma'eel) prostrate on his forehead (for slaughtering); and We (Allaah) called out to him: O Ibraheem! You have fulfilled the dream! Verily! Thus do We (Allaah) reward the Muhseneen. Verily, that indeed was a manifest trial and We (Allaah) ransomed him with a great sacrifice (a ram); and We left for him (a goodly remembrance) among generations (to come) in later times. Salaamun (peace) be upon Ibraheem! Thus indeed We (Allaah) reward the Mu hseneen. Verily, he (Ibraheem) was one of our believing slaves." [Surah As Saffaat Verses 100 to 111]

After listening to this story we must realize the mercy of Allaah upon us because He did not put us in the same trial as He did to Ibraheem and his son Isma'eel. Instead, Allaah ﷻ ordered us to make sacrifices in other areas that we must be ready for, so we could be from among His believing servants.

Dear brothers and sisters, again, sacrificing on this day is the best thing we can do and again, to sacrifice is the best lesson we could learn on this Eid.

Sacrifice, alone, is a beautiful and great characteristic of the human, which reflects deep down generosity and kindness. On the other hand, when people fail to sacrifice things they love in life, they become stingy, cruel and these characteristics of humans are not only dangerous, but hateful. Allaah ﷻ says what may be interpreted as, "And whosoever is saved from his own greediness, such are they who will be the successful." [surat Al-Hashr, (Verse 9) & surat At-Taghaabun, (Verse 16)]. That's why Allaah ﷻ ordered us to slaughter an animal on this day. You must remember however, that there are a variety of ways to sacrifice for the sake of Allaah, and we should be ready to make that surrender at any time. The following are a few examples of sacrifices you can make:

  1. We may sacrifice our forbidden passions and desires.
  2. We may also sacrifice our time and relaxation to meet obligations and duties.
  3. Also, we may sacrifice some of our money to reveal the truth, to preach righteousness, and to revere the word of Allaah ﷻ.

Let's talk about the first sacrifice we are obligated to, which is to stay away from prohibited passions and desires.

Certainly surrendering to self-desire has sent many people astray from Allaah ﷻ and His deen. On the other hand, disobeying your self-desires, is the path that takes us to Paradise, as Allaah ﷻ says what may be interpreted as, "...And do not follow your desire, --- for it will mislead you from the path of Allaah..." [Surat Saad, (Verse 26)] And also Allaah ﷻ says what may be translated as, "But as for him who feared standing before his Lord, and restrained himself from (evil) desires. Verily, Paradise will be his abode." [Surat An-Naaziaa't, (Verses 40 & 41)]

Giving in to self-desire is a course of destruction of the person, community, and nation. That's why Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: "Avoid three destructive behaviors: Stinginess that overcomes a person. Self-desires and lust that overcome a person. And the attractiveness of a person's own opinions and conceitedness." In other words, stay away from egotism.

Oh Muslims! You are invited today to sacrifice the passions and desires of the things that Allaah ﷻ and His messenger ﷺ forbade you from.

The second sacrifice we are obligated to is the sacrifice of our time and relaxation to meet our duties and responsibilities obligated toward our Lord, the Creator. We also must sacrifice for the sake of ourselves, our duties to our families, the community, and the whole world.

Accepting Islaam in our lives means that we have accepted the responsibilities Allaah has prescribed for us. We must understand that Islaam is the deen of duties and responsibilities. In fact, Allaah ﷻ offered this great responsibility of Islaam to the skies, the earth, and mountains and they refused to take it. But man accepted this great trust, and surely, man is naturally ignorant and unjust. That's why man is always a loser except when he meets the expectations of Allaah ﷻ. Furthermore, Allaah ﷻ says in Surat Al-Asr, what may be interpreted as, "By Al-Asr (the time). Verily! Man is in loss, except those who believe and do righteous good deeds, and recommend one another to the truth, and recommend one another to patience." Basically this great responsibility we have been entrusted to is that we uphold our faith, do righteous deeds, and gather one another to learn and teach, all while maintaining our patience. However, the more we lack in fulfilling these duties, the more we will continue having problems puzzling our lives.

Oh Muslims! You are invited today to sacrifice time and relaxation to meet the duties and responsibilities you are required to do.

The third type of sacrifice Muslims are obligated to is to sacrifice money to reveal the truth, preach righteousness, and to revere the word of Allaah ﷻ. Money and wealth is the most desirable and lovable thing to man right after his own life. Allaah ﷻ says what may be interpreted as, "And you love wealth with much love!" [Surat Al-Fajr, (Verse 20)] Allaah ﷻ created wealth as an element to test people on how they earn and spend it according to the teachings of Allaah ﷻ and His Messenger ﷺ. There are two ways to sacrifice when dealing with financial matters, for example:

  1. We should sacrifice the forbidden ways of obtaining quick, easy money. For example, we should avoid stealing, usury, interest, or dealing with anything that Allaah forbade like alcohol, pork, drugs, etc...
  2. We should avoid spending money in forbidden ways, and furthermore, we should spend moderately towards lawful things. For example, lawful ways of spending your money include spending on yourself and your family's needs. Also you can sacrifice part of your wealth by paying your obligatory alms to help the poor, the needy, widows and orphans, and the injured or handicapped. Also you should spend on everything useful and righteous like spending on the masaajid, schools, hospitals, and public affairs.

I hope this day is a good day for all of us and for the Muslims all over the world. We pray to Allaah ﷻ to protect the Muslims. And we ask Allaah ﷻ to help us fulfill our duties, help us make the necessary sacrifices, and to accept our righteous deeds. We ask Allaah ﷻ to forgive our faults and mistakes, and we beg Him to keep us on the straight path. We ask Him to give us the strength to be good examples of Islaam like the prophet ﷺ and his companions. May Allaah ﷻ bring this day every year while you are in good health and condition. Peace, mercy, and blessings from Allaah ﷻ upon you all. Aameen