The Essence of Udhiya/Qurbani
It is a period of qurban or udhiyah/sacrifice; a perpetuation of the tradition initiated by Prophet Ibrahim and his son Ismail (PBUT). The father visioned a dream in which he sacrifices his son and both were willing to fulfill the dream and make the ultimate sacrifice (zibhin ‘azeem); father sacrificing son and son willing to be sacrificed; a test of faith for both of them; to comply with what they believed to be the will of Allah. Allah accepted Prophet Ibrahim’s intention, and the father and son’s symbolic fulfillment of the test and therefore symbolically provided them a ram to be sacrificed.
Qurb & Qurban
It is the willingness to sacrifice for the sake of Allah that is most significant and reflected during the qurban, as Allah reminds us [Qur’an 22:37]; “It is neither the meat nor the blood of the sacrificed animal that reaches Allah, but the piety of the one who sacrifices.” This verse eloquently highlights the fact that sacrifice in Islam is a natural expression of reverence for the Almighty and gratitude to the Creator. Sacrifice manifests the spirit of willful dedication, sincere devotion, and humble obedience to Allah.
Drawing Closer to Allah
Let these days be the days of increased dhikr and good deeds; increased attentiveness to finding avenues of qurb-il-Allah (closeness to Allah). Sayyidna ‘Ali said that the avenue to (taqarrub) divine proximity is through (ikhlaas-un-niyyah) sincerity of intention.
In this challenging era of trial and tribulation, in this period of a global pandemic; we ask for the protection of Allah and we pray the benevolent supplication of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH); “O Allah! I ask You to give me the ability to do good deeds, avoid bad deeds and that I have love for the poor. I ask that You forgive me and have mercy on me. I ask You for Your love, for the love of those who love You, and for the love of those actions which (yuqarribu) will draw me closer to Your love.” [Tirmidhi]