Qurbani in times of Covid-19, flooding

Dr Muhammad Obaidullah

24 July, 2020 12:00 AM printer

Qurbani in times of Covid-19, flooding

Qurbani (Qurban in Arabic) is one of the most important Ibadah during celebration of Eid-ul-Azha. We all know that Eid-ul-Azha is one of the two major religious festivals of Muslims. However, Covid-19 pandemic has affected every aspect of our life, including that of religion. Moreover, the country’s northern and central region are in grip of flood. This is for the first time, the Muslims are going to celebrate the special day in a different manner. Eid-ul-Azha is a social gathering where Muslims greet each other and do many other activities that is hard to follow during the ongoing pandemic and flooding. So, a question arises whether Qurbani will be performed this year or not?

Let us try to make it clear. As Qurbani is a wajib Ibadah in Islam, every well-to-do Muslim should sacrifice an animal which is very symbolic and there is no other way to compensate it. Historically, such Ibadah was practiced every year during periods of each and every prophet and messenger. The Ibadah was practiced since the beginning from Adam (A.) to Muhammad (PBUH). The Qur’an states, “And for all religion We have appointed a rite [of sacrifice] that they may mention the name of Allah over what He has provided for them of [sacrificial] animals….” (Surah al-Haj, 22:34) Our prophet Muhammad (PBUH), as He was asked by Allah to do Qurbani, never missed to perform Qurbani in His lifetime. The Qur’an says, “So pray to your Lord and sacrifice [to Him alone].” (Surah al-Kawthar, 108:2) Moreover, He (PBUH) has asked us to perform it.

Although, it is a symbolic sacrifice, it makes us closer to Allah. Allah says, “It is not their meat nor their blood, that reaches Allah: it is your piety that reaches Him: He has thus made them subject to you, that ye may glorify Allah for His Guidance to you and proclaim the good news to all who do right.” (Surah al-Hajj, 22: 37). Although, there are many other worldly benefits of this ibadah, it must have an intention to achieve the pleasure of Allah and His blessings.

In addition to this, through Qurbani, Allah tests our devotion and obedience to Him. In case of the father of Muslim nation Ibrahim and His son Isma’il’s qurbani, Allah says, “… So when they had both submitted their wills (to Allah), and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (for sacrifice).” (Surah Saffat, 37: 103).

It should also be in our mind that, during Covid-19 pandemic and global economic recession, people who can perform Qurbani are the most blessed people among us. Therefore, they must be aware of the blessings of their Lord upon them.

Besides all other social benefits, there is an economic impact of Qurban in Bangladesh. From the past decade, it has been playing a significant role in eradicating poverty in rural Bangladesh. Many poor people are now rearing animals for the purpose of Qurbani. Like previous years,  this year also approximately 12 million animals will be  readied for Qurbani. The government earns a good amount of revenue during Qurbani period.

Meanwhile, the ongoing flood has made lives of people miserable in many districts. A large number of people has become homeless and many of them are living under the open sky. In this situation, how they will take care of their animals? Moreover, they are suffering in both ways, one from the pandemic and the other from the onslaught of flood. Well-to-do people should come forward to extend their helping hands towards the flood-stricken people by purchasing the sacrificial animals from them at fair prices. Helping the poor is a religious commandment in Islam. So, rich people should be prepared to help their poor brethren instead of depriving them by purchasing their cattle at comparatively cheaper prices. We must always keep in mind that Islam is a religion where fair judgement has been ensured.

We are duty-bound to perform Qurbani. At the same time, it is our duty and responsibility to help the poor. We, the eligible people, should help them to cope up with the pandemic situation. It should also be kept in our mind that Qurbani is not for showing our economic and social status, but for showing our devotion to our Lord. And the Lord does not ask us to do anything which is beyond our capacity and not useful to us in any situation. Allah says, “Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity. It will have [the consequence of] what [good] it has gained, and it will bear [the consequence of] what [evil] it has earned….” (Surah al-Baqarah, 2: 286)

In Islam, Qurbani is not a new tradition although there are some differences in performing this ibadah.

In conclusion, if anyone does not want to perform Qurbani, but he is required to do this, our Prophet (PBUH) warns him not to come even to the Eidgah. According to a Hadith narrated by Abu Hurayra (Ra), “Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “The person who has the means of performing Qurbani, but does not do so, he should not even come near the Eidgah.” (See: Mustadirik al-Hakim, Hadith no. 3519).

May Allah help us understand our religion and guide us towards the right path!

 

The writer is a scholar in Islamic studies and researcher on Islamic views on contemporary issues. Email: [email protected]


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