“Hold the cow! Hold it.”
A group of people had gathered at my neighbor’s house to sacrifice a cow on the day of Eid Al-Adha. Everyone was yelling at each other to hold the cow before slaughtering it. However, a careful observation at the gathering revealed that everyone was actually busy at shouting at each other instead of really coming out and holding the cow.
“I am 62 years old. I am telling you guys beforehand that I will not be able to participate in the process of slaughtering or cutting the meat,” proudly announced another man.
Well, at the age of 62 the man has not stopped anything. He goes to work. He drives. He leads a normal life. He does everything like a normal person does. However, when it came to slaughtering an animal and preparing it, he suddenly became incapable of any physical labor because he was 62 years old.
I hear such shouting, yelling, and cursing every eid. I have become accustomed to such things.
Commotion breaks even in our own house.
“Mom, I am not going to the slaughter house area this year,” says my younger brother to my mom.
“Why not? When you will have a family, will you not take responsibility and perform udhiyaah (the ritual sacrifice of an animal on the day of Eid Al-Adha)?
“I will hire people to do my slaughter,” replies my younger brother.
“No, you should go and learn. There is no guarantee that you can hire people. It is hard to find people now days to do an udhiyaah. More importantly, you have to learn.”
“Alright mom. I will go but I will provide logistical support like buying cold drinks and sandwiches.”
It means the younger brother will provide logistical support while the father and the elder brother will oversee the slaughtering and preparing of the animal.
Truly, we have become a generation of Facebook and smartphones.
Udhiyyah is a sunnah of Prophet Ibraheem (peace be upon him), the father of all prophets, and a sunnah of our Messenger (ﷺ). The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) stayed 10 years in Madinah, and every year, he performed udhiyyah.
Unfortunately, being a generation of Facebook and smartphones, our udhiyyah spirit remains confined within Facebook and smartphone.
We begin by posting on Facebook the story of Prophet Ibraheem’s (peace be upon him) great sacrifice of his son, the verses from the Quran and the sayings of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) about the virtues of udhiyaah, and links to the lectures of shuyookhs about the blessings of sacrifice.
Once our parents buy the sacrificial animal, we use our smartphones to take pictures and videos of it. Then we post these videos and pictures on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Our friends flock to see these pictures and post comments and shares. The more comments and shares we receive, the more we feel the spirit of sacrifice.
Through these posts, status, comments, and media sharing, we ensure that we reach the level of ihsaan in celebrating the sunnah of our father Ibraheem (peace be upon him) in the virtual world.
However, when it comes to the real business, everyone readily forgets the spirit of sacrifice. Despite possessing immense pride about the sunnah of our father Ibraheem, a few wants to get their hands dirty.
Real life demands doers, not speakers. You may talk as much as you want, but at the end of the day, to get a job done, we need doers. And remember, getting a job done is never easy. Never.
Young people do not remember that they have to be doers to become successful in life. At least they forget it at the time of udhiyyah.
Majority think like my younger brother. They think that when they start their own families, they will get things done through hiring people.
We may hire people. To earn some extra money, people of lower social and economic echelons will perform our udhiyyah for us. But doesn’t it mean that we separate the practical and spiritual aspects of the sunnah of our father Ibraheem (peace be upon him) based on social classification, and allocate the easy aspect (the spiritual one) to the rich and the difficult aspect (the practical one) to the poor?
Plus, it is possible that you may not find people. Even in our time, finding people for slaughtering and preparing an animal is difficult.
Additionally, if you do not learn yourself and get your hands dirty, how will you get your children involved practically in udhiyyah and impart them the spirit of following the sunnah of our father Ibraheem (peace be upon him)? As a Muslim, can you afford your future generations to be oblivious about a sunnah of the father of all prophets and a sunnah of the greatest Messenger (ﷺ) and abandon it?
We forget all these factors. That is why majority of today’s Muslim youth stay away from the place of udhiyyah if they can. For those who have no option but get their hands dirty, they come grudgingly. They forget that sacrificing an animal is a great act of worship.
Ayesha (رضى الله عنهَا) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “A man does not do any deed on the day of sacrifice that is more beloved to Allah than causing blood to flow from the sacrificial animal. The animal will come on the day of resurrection with its horns, hair and hooves. The blood is accepted by Allah before it reaches the ground. You should therefore carry this out whole heartedly.” [Tirmidhi 1498, Ibn e Majah 3126]
Zayd ibn Arqam (رضى الله عنه) narrates: The companions (رضى الله عنهُم) of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) asked: “O Messenger of Allah! What are these sacrificial animals?” He (ﷺ) said: “It is the way of your father (peace be upon him).” They asked: “What is there for us, O Messenger of Allah?” He (ﷺ) said: “One good deed for every hair.” They asked: “What about wool?” He said: “One good deed for every fiber of wool.” [Ibn Majah, Ahmad]
Any act of worship requires patience. Slaughtering an animal is no different. We are supposed to perform udhiyyah with taqwa.
However, because of growing up in a setting where they have never got their hands dirty, and thus never sincerely appreciated the practical aspect of udhiyyah, their grudge is exposed pretty quickly when things get little tough. It is exposed in the forms of shouting, yelling, and cursing.
It is time to think hard. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) got his hands dirty. He himself slaughtered 63 camels on the day of Eid during his farewell pilgrimage. His companions got their hands dirty. They regularly slaughtered and prepared camels. They were real men. If we claim to be their proud followers, we should also be ready to get our hands dirty and learn. Not grudgingly, but enthusiastically and proudly. Only then, we will be performing udhiyaah in a manner where our taqwa will manifest, and we will earn the full reward.
And the camels and cattle We have appointed for you as among the symbols of Allah ; for you therein is good. So mention the name of Allah upon them when lined up [for sacrifice]; and when they are [lifeless] on their sides, then eat from them and feed the needy and the beggar. Thus have We subjected them to you that you may be grateful. Their meat will not reach Allah , nor will their blood, but what reaches Him is piety from you. Thus have We subjected them to you that you may glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and give good tidings to the doers of good. [The Noble Quran 22:36-37]