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Written by Mufti Taqi Usmani Zulhijjah is the last month of the Islamic calendar. Literally it means "hajj." Obviously this name of the month indicates that the great annual worship of "hajj" is performed in this month which gives it special significance. Some specific merits and rules relevant to this month are mentioned below:

First Ten Days

The first ten days of Zulhijjah are among the most magnificent days in Islamic calendar. The Holy Prophet Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam has said "One fast during these days is equal to the fasting of one complete year and the worship of one night during this period is equal to the worship in the "Lailatul-Qadr".

Every Muslim should avail of this wonderful opportunity by performing during this period as much Iba'dah (acts of worship) to Allah as he or she can.

The 9th day of Zulhijjah

The 9th day of Zulhijjah is called 'Youmul - "Arafah' (The Day of 'Arafah). This is the date when the Hujjaj (Haji pilgrims plural of Haajj) assemble on the plain of 'Arafat six miles away from Makkah al-Mukarramah where they perform the most essential part of the prescribed duties of hajj namely the 'Wuqoof of'Arafat (the stay in 'Arafat).

The Fast of Youmul 'Arafah

For those not performing hajj it is mustahabb (desirable) to fast on this day according to their own calendar. It sometimes occurs that 9th Zuihijjah falls on different days in different countries according to the sighting of the moon. In such cases Muslims of each country should observe 'Youmul 'Arafah according to the lunar dates of their own country.

For example if 'Youmul 'Arafah' is being observed in Saudi Arabia on Friday and in Pakistan on Saturday Pakistani Muslims should treat Saturday as 'Youmul 'Arafah' and should fast on that day if they desire to benefit from the fast of 'Youmul'Arafah'.

The fast of 'Youmul 'Arafah' has been emphasized by the Holy Prophet Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam as a mustahabb (desirable) act. According to a hadith the fast of this day becomes a cause hopefully so of forgiveness for sins committed in one year.


Beginning from the Fajr of the 9th Zulhijjah up to the 'Asr prayer of the 13th it is obligatory on each Muslim to recite the Takbir of Tashriq after every fard prayer in the following words.

Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar

La Ilaha Illallahu Wallahu Akbar

Allahu Akbar wa lillahilhamd.

(There is no god but Allah and Allah is the greatest Allah is the greatest and to Allah belongs all praise.)

According to authentic Islamic sources it is obligatory on each Muslim to recite this Takbir after every fard salah. For women also it is commendable though not obligatory. Whether you are performing salah with Jama'ah (collectively) or on your own (individually) makes no difference. You must recite the Takbir. However male Muslims should recite it in a loud voice while females should recite it in a low voice.


On the Eid day

The following acts are sunnah on the day of Eidul- adha:

1. To wake up early in the morning.

2. To clean one's teeth with a miswak or brush

3. To take bath.

4. To put on one's best available clothes.

5. To use perfume.

6. Not to eat before the Eid prayer.

7. To recite the Takbir of Tashriq in a loud voice while going to the Eid prayer.


How to Perform Eid Prayers (Hanafi School)

The Eid prayer has two raka'at performed in the normal way with the only addition of six Takbirs three of them in the beginning of the first raka'ah and three of them just before ruku' in the second raka'ah. The detailed way of performing the Eid prayer is as follows:

The Imam will begin the prayer without Adhan or iqamah. He will begin the prayer by reciting Takbir of Tahrimah (Allahu Akbar). You should raise your hands up to the ears and after reciting the Takbir you should set your hands on your navel. The Imam will give a little pause during which you should recite Thana' (Subhanakallahumma .:.). After the completion of Thana' the Imam will recite Takbir (Allahu Akbar) three times. At the first two calls of Takbir you should raise your hands up to the ears and after reciting Takbir (Allahu Akbar) in a low voice should bring your hands down and leave them earthwards. But after the third Takbir you should set them on your navel as you do in the normal prayers.

After these three Takbirs the Imam will recite the Holy Qur'an which you should listen calmly and quietly. The rest of the raka'ah will be performed in the normal way.

After rising for the second raka'ah the Imam will begin the recitations from the Holy Qur'an during which you should remain calm and quiet. When the Imam finishes his recitation he will recite three Takbirs once again but this time it will be just before bowing down for ruku'. At each Takbir you should raise your hands up to the ears and after saying 'Allahu Akbar' bring them down and leave them earthwards. After these three takbirs have been called and completed the Imam will say another takbir for bowing down into the ruku' position. At this takbir you need not raise your hands. You just bow down for your ruku' saying 'Allahu Akbar'. The rest of the salah will be performed in its usual way.


Khutbah: The Address of Eidul-Adha

In this salah of Eid Khutbah is a sunnah and is delivered after the salah unlike the salah of Jumu'ah where it is fard and is delivered before the salah. However listening to the khutbah of Eid salah is wajib or necessary and must be listened to in perfect peace and silence.

It is a sunnah that the Imam begins the first Khutbah by reciting takbir (Allahu Akbar) nine times and the second Khutbah with reciting it seven times.


The way of Eid prayer described above is according to the Hanafi school of Muslim jurists. Some other jurists like Imam Shafi'i have some other ways to perform it. They recite Takbir twelve times before beginning the recitations of the Holy Qur'an in both the raka'at. This way is also permissible. If the Imam being of the Shafi'i school follows this way you can also follow him. Both ways are based on the practice of the Holy Prophet Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam.

Sacrifice or Qurbani: Philosophy and Rules

The Urdu and persian word Qurbani (Sacrificial slaughter) is derived from the Arabic word Qurban. Lexically it means an act performed to seek Allah's pleasure. Originally the word Qurban included all acts of charity because the purpose of charity is nothing but to seek Allah's pleasure. But in precise religious terminology the word was later confined to the sacrifice of an animal slaughtered for the sake of Allah.

The sacrifice of an animal has always been treated as a recognized form of worship in all religious orders originating from a divine book. Even in pagan societies the sacrifice of an animal is recognized as a form of worship but it is done in the name of some idols and not in the name of Allah a practice totally rejected by Islam.

In the Shari'ah of our beloved Prophet Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam the sacrifice of an animal has been recognized as a form of worship only during three days of Zulhijjah namely the 10th 1lth and 12th of the month. This is to commemorate the unparalleled sacrifice offered by the Prophet Sayyidna Ibrahim Alayhi Salam when he in pursuance to a command of Allah conveyed to him in a dream prepared himself to slaughter his beloved son Sayyidna Isma'il Alayhi Salam and actually did so but Allah Almighty after testing his submission sent down a sheep and saved his son from the logical fate of slaughter. It is from that time onwards that the sacrifice of an animal became an obligatory duty to be performed by every well to do Muslim.

Qurbani is a demonstration of total submission to Allah and a proof of complete obedience to Allah's will or command. When a Muslim offers a Qurbani this is exactly what he intends to prove. Thus the Qurbani offered by a Muslim signifies that he is a slave of Allah at his best and that he would not hesitate even for a moment once he receives an absolute command from his Creator to surrender before it to obey it willingly even if it be at the price of his life and possessions. When a true and perfect Muslim receives a command from Allah he does not make his obedience dependent upon the command's reasonability' as perceived through his limited understanding. He knows that Allah is All-knowing All-Wise and that his own reason cannot encompass the knowledge and wisdom underlying the divine command. He therefore submits to the divine command even if he cannot grasp the reason or wisdom behind it.

This is exactly what the Prophet Ibrahim Alayhi Salam did. Apparently there was no reason why a father should slaughter his innocent son. But when came the command from Allah he never asked about the reason for that command nor did he hesitate to follow it. Even his minor son when asked by his father about the dream he had seen never questioned the legitimacy of the command nor did he pine or whine about it nor did he ask for one good reason why he was being slaughtered. The one and only response he made was:

'Father do what you have been ordered to do. You shall find me God willing among the patient".

The present-day Qurbani is offered in memory of this great model of submission set before us by the great father and the great son. So Qurbani must be offered in our time emulating the same ideal and attitude of submission.

This then is the true philosophy of Qurbani. With this in mind one can easily unveil the fallacy of those who raise objections against Qurbani on the basis of economic calculations and depict it to be a wastage of money resources and livestock. Unable to see beyond mundane benefits they cannot understand the spirit Islam wants to plant and nourish among its followers the spirit of total submission to Allah's will which equips man with most superior qualities so necessary to keep humanity in a state of lasting peace and welfare.

Qurbani is nothing but a powerful symbol of the required human conduct vis-a-vis the divine commands however "irrational" or "uneconomic" they may seem to be in their appearance. Thus the distrustful quest for mundane economic benefits behind Qurbani is in fact the negation of its real philosophy and the very spirit underlying it.

No doubt there are in every form of worship ordained by Allah certain worldly benefits too but they are not the main purpose of these prescribed duties nor should they be treated as a pre-condition to submission and obedience. All acts of worship including Qurbani must be carried out with a spirit of total submission to Allah irrespective of their economic social or political benefits. This is what Ibrahim Alayhi Salam did and this is what every true Muslim is required to do

Keeping this in view we are giving here some rules governing the worship of Qurbani in our Shari'ah according to the Hanafi School.

The Time of Qurbani

Qurbani can only be performed during the three days of Eid namely the 10th Ilth and 12th of Zulhijjah. It is only in these days that slaughtering of an animal is recognized as an act of worship. No Qurbani can be performed in any other days of the year.

Although Qurbani is permissible on each of the three aforesaid days yet it is preferable to perform it on the first day i.e. the 10th of Zulhijjah.

No Qurbani is allowed before the Eid prayer is over. However in small villages where the Eid prayer is not to be performed Qurbani can be offered' any time after the break of dawn on the 10th of Zulhijjah.

Qurbani can also be performed in the two nights following the Eid day but it is more advisable to perform it during daytime.

Who is Required to Perform Qurbani?

Every adult Muslim male or female who owns 613.35 grams of silver or its equivalent in money personal ornaments stock-in-trade or any other form of wealth which is surplus to his basic needs is under an obligation to offer a Qurbani. Each adult member of a family who owns the above mentioned amount must perform his own Qurbani separately. If the husband owns the required quantity but the wife does not the Qurbani obligatory on the husband only and vice-versa. If both of them have the prescribed amount of wealth both should perform Qurbani separately.

If the adult children live with their parents Qurbani is obligatory on each one of them possessing the prescribed amount. The Qurbani offered by a husband for himself does not fulfil the obligation of his wife nor can the Qurbani offered by a father discharge his son or daughter from their obligation. Each one of them should care for his own.

However if a husband or a father apart from offering his own Qurbani gives another Qurbani on behalf of his wife or his son he can do so with their permission.

No Alternate for Qurbani

Some people think that instead of offering a Qurbani they should give its amount to some poor people as charity. This attitude is totally wrong. Actually there are different forms of worship obligatory on Muslims. Each one of them has its own importance and none of them can stand for the other. It is not permissible for a Muslim to perform salah instead of fasting in Ramadan nor is it permissible for him to give some charity instead of observing the obligatory Salah. Similarly Qurbani is an independent form of worship and this obligation cannot be discharged by spending money in charity.

However if somebody out of his ignorance or negligence could not offer Qurbani on the three prescribed days (10th 1lth and 12th Zulhijjah) then in that case only he can give the price of a Qurbani as sadaqah to those entitled to receive Zakah. But during the days of Qurbani no Sadaqah can discharge the obligation.


The Animals of Qurbani

The following animals can be slaughtered to offer a Qurbani:

1. Goat either male or female of at least one year of age.

2. Sheep either male or female of at least six months of age.

3. Cow ox buffalo of at least two years of age.

4. Camel male or female of at least five years of age.

One head of goat or sheep is enough only for one person's Qurbani. But as for all other animals like cow buffalo or camel one head of each is equal to seven offerings thus allowing seven persons to offer Qurbani jointly in one such animal.

If the seller of animal claims that the animal is of the recognized age and there is no apparent evidence to the contrary; one can trust his statement and the sacrifice of such an animal is lawful.


Rules about Defective Animals

The following defective animals are not acceptable in Qurbani:

1. Blind one eyed or lame animal.

2. An animal so emaciated that it cannot walk to its slaughtering place.

3. An animal with one-third part of the ear or the nose or the tail missing.

4. An animal that has no teeth at all or the major number of its teeth are missing.

5. An animal born without ears.

The following animals are acceptable in Qurbani:

1. A castrated he - goat. (Rather its Qurbani is more preferable).

2. An animal that has no horns or its horns are broken. However if the horns of an animal are uprooted totally so as to create a defect in the brain its Qurbani is not lawful.

3. An animal the missing part of whose ear nose or tail is less than one third.

4. A sick or injured animal unless it has some above mentioned defects rendering its Qurbani unlawful.

The Sunnah Method of Qurbani

It is more preferable for a Muslim to slaughter the animal of his Qurbani with his own hands. However if he is unable to slaughter the animal himself or does not want to do so for some reason he can request another person to slaughter it on his behalf. In this case also it is more preferable that he at least be present at the time of slaughter. However his absence at the time of slaughter does not render the Qurbani invalid if he has authorized the person who slaughtered the animal on his behalf. It is a Sunnah to lay the animal with its face towards the Qiblah and to recite the following verse of the Holy Quran:

I being upright turn my facetowards the One who has created the heavens and the earth and I am not among those who associate partners with Allah. ( Al-An'am 6:79)

But the most essential recitation when slaughtering an animal is: Bismillah Allahu Akbar. (In the name of Allah Allah is the greatest). If somebody intentionally avoids to recite it when slaughtering an animal it does not only make his Qurbani unlawful but also renders the animal haram and it is not permissible to eat the meat of that animal. However if a person did not avoid this recitation intentionally but he forgot to recite it when slaughtering the animal this mistake is forgiven and both the Qurbani and the slaughter are lawful.

If somebody is unable to recite "Bismillah Allahu Akbar" in the Arabic language he can recite the name of Allah in his own language by saying "In the name of Allah".

Distribution of the Meat

If an animal is sacrificed by more than one person like cow or camel its meat should be distributed equally among its owners by weighing the meat strictly and not at random or by mere guess. Even if all the partners agree on its distribution without weighing it is still not permissible according to shari'ah.

However if the actual weighing is not practicable due to some reason and all the partners agree to distribute the meat without weighing distribution by guess can be done with the condition that each share necessarily contains either a leg of the animal or some quantity of its liver.

Although the person offering a Qurbani can keep all its meat for his own use yet it is preferable to distribute one-third among the poor another one-third among his relatives and then keep the rest for his personal consumption.

All parts of the sacrificed animal can be used for personal benefit but none can be sold nor can be given to the butcher as a part of his wages. If somebody has sold the meat of the Qurbani or its skin he must give the accrued price as sadaqah to a poor man who can receive Zakah.


The most important way of worship performed in this month is "hajj" one of the five pillars of Islam. The Muslims from every part of the world assemble in Arabia to perform this unique way of worship. Hajj is a worship which requires at least five days to be performed in its proper way. There are detailed rules for different acts of hajj for which separate books are available and the present article does not aim at explaining all these details. However some basic information about its obligation is being given here:

1. Hajj is obligatory on every adult Muslim who can afford to go to Makkah during the hajj season whether on foot or by any other carriage.

2. If a person can travel to Makkah to perform hajj but he cannot travel to Madinah hajj is obligatory on him also. He can perform hajj without visiting Madinah.

3. A Muslim woman cannot travel for hajj unless she is accompanied by a mahram (i.e. husband or relative of a prohibited degree like son father brother etc.) If she does not find any mahram to accompany her hajj is not obligatory on her until she finds one. However she must make a will that in case she dies before performing hajj his heirs should arrange for her hajj-e-badal out of her left over property.

4. Hajj is obligated only once in one's life. After performing the obligatory hajj; one is not required to perform it again. However he can perform the nafl (optional hajj as many times as he or she wishes.)