The Virtues of Sacrifice
The history of sacrifice traces back to the time of Hazrat Ibrahim (AS) who had a dream in which He saw himself sacrificing his dearly son Hazrat Ismail (AS) for the love of Allah. When he informed Hazrat Ismail about his heavenly dream, right away he got ready to present himself to his Lord’s orders. Hazrat Ismail (AS) encouraged his father to not hesitate in fulfilling Allah’s commands and assured him that he has no objection. Hazrat Ibrahim (AS) took his son to a ground, closed his eyes and was about to slaughter his own son when a miracle occurred. Hazrat Ismail (AS) was replaced by a lamb and this animal was what Hazrat Ibrahim (AS) slaughtered. As he opened his eyes, his son was standing on a side and the sacrificed lamb was in front of him.
Since that day, sacrifice has been made a religious obligation done purely for the sake of Allah and to revive the spirit of obedience of Hazrat Ibrahim (AS) towards his Lord. It is a compulsion for every Muslim who bears a sound mind and holds fifty two and half tolas of silver or wealth equal to that price. The days of making sacrifice are 10th, 11th and 12th of Dhul Hijjah, however it is preferred to do it on the first day and in the daylight.
“So turn in prayer towards your Lord and sacrifice (animals).” (108:2)
The virtues and rewards of sacrifice are enormously grand. Nothing is dearer to our magnificent Lord in the days of Dhul Hijjah then the sacrifice. Allah Almighty is greatly pleased by anyone who is not obligated to sacrifice the animal but still does it upon his own free will. He will receive great reward and retribution and will be protected on the Day of Judgment. Hazrat Hussain Ibn Ali (RA) narrates that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) said:
“The Qurbaani rendered wholeheartedly, happily and with sincerity of intention will on the Day of Qiyaamah be a shield against Jahannum for the sacrificer.” (Tibrani)
Allah is greatly delighted by the sacrifice done by His men and accepts it even before the first drop of blood reaches the ground. On the Day of Judgment every single hair of the sacrificed animal will earn reward for the person. It is highly appreciated if the person slaughters the animal with his own hands however if he cannot do so he should be present on the place of slaughtering. One should make sure that the animal does not bear any kind of illness or disability and should meet the age requirements prescribed. It must be noted that the virtue of sacrifice has nothing to do with the beauty or the size of the animal rather what matters is the sincerity and genuineness of the believers’ intention, as said by Allah Almighty:
“The flesh and blood [of your sacrificed animals] does not reach God; it is only your piety that reaches Him. Thus has He subjected them to your service so that you may give glory to God for guiding you. [This is the way of the righteous] and [O Prophet!] give glad tidings to these righteous.” (22:37)