MDF English Corner (22/06/2023) – History of the Qurban Commandment

On Wednesday, 28 June 2023 AD, or 10 Dhulhijjah, Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha or often called Eid al-Adha because it coincides with the Hajj pilgrimage. On that day, Muslims are required to slaughter Qurban animals and distribute them to those in need.

Qurban is one of the forms of Islamic propagation that is prescribed based on the evidence of the Qur’an, the sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad, and the ijma of the scholars. Allah SWT says: “So pray for your Rabb and slaughter animals (sacrifice).” (QS. Al-Kautsar; 2)

The history of Qurban began with the incident of Prophet Ibrahim AS who was going to slaughter his own son, Prophet Isma’il AS. It is said that when Prophet Ibrahim AS had entered the age of 86 years, but he had not yet been blessed with a child.

Then he prayed to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala “O my Lord, grant me (a child) who is among the righteous.” (QS Ash-Shafaat; 100). Then Allah answered the prayer by giving good news in the form of the birth of a child from his wife named Siti Hajar. Prophet Ibrahim AS was very grateful for the birth of Isma’il’s son.

When Prophet Isma’il AS reached adolescence, Prophet Ibrahim AS had a dream that he had to slaughter his son, Prophet Isma’il AS. The dream of a prophet is one of the ways of the revelation of Allah SWT., so the command he received in the dream must be implemented by Prophet Ibrahim AS. Prophet Ibrahim finally conveyed the contents of his dream to Isma’il to carry out the command of Allah SWT to slaughter Isma’il.

Prophet Ibrahim said: “O my son, indeed I saw in a dream that I slaughtered you” so think what you think? Prophet Isma’il AS replied: “O my father, do what you are told, and insha’Allah you will find me among the patient.” (QS Ash-Shafaat; 102)

However, it was not easy for Prophet Ibrahim AS to carry out the order. The reason is, Satan continues to tempt him to cancel the order. But Satan’s efforts failed. Similarly, when Satan tempted Ismail, he also failed. Not wanting to give up, Satan then tempted Prophet Ibrahim’s wife but the effort was still unsuccessful.

Prophet Ibrahim AS then laid down Prophet Isma’il AS. and prepared to slaughter. Prophet Ibrahim AS and Prophet Isma’il AS seemed to show firmness, obedience, and patience in carrying out the order. When Prophet Ibrahim AS. was about to swing the sword, Allah SWT replaced the body of Prophet Isma’il AS. With a great sacrifice, which is a ram from Heaven, which is white, has good eyes and horns. “O Ibrahim, indeed you have confirmed the dream, indeed We reward those who do good. Surely this is a real test. And We redeemed the child with a great sacrifice.” (QS Ash-Shafaat; 104:107).

The incident was a miracle from Allah SWT. Which confirmed the extent of their love and obedience to Allah SWT. And seeing what had been done, Prophet Ibrahim AS. and Prophet Isma’il AS. passed the very tough test. Prophet Ibrahim AS. has shown sincere loyalty by sacrificing his son to dutifully carry out the orders of Allah SWT. While the Prophet Isma’il AS. not the slightest doubt or hesitation in carrying out the orders of Allah SWT. By giving up his body and soul to be sacrificed. This is the origin of the Sunnah of sacrifice performed by Muslims on every Eid al-Adha around the world.

The Virtues of the Qurban

Slaughtering qurban animals is a form of worship and also a way for us to get closer to Allah SWT. A number of hadiths that explain the virtues of qurban include:

‘Ā’ishah reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “On the Day of Sacrifice, there is no deed that is more beloved to Allah than the blood of a sacrificial animal. He will come on the Day of Resurrection with the horns, hooves, and hair of the sacrificial animal. And indeed, the blood will reach Allah before the drops of blood fall to the earth, so purify your souls by sacrificing.” (Ibn Majah and Tirmidhi)

Then there is the Hadith narrated by Abu Daud from Zayd ibn Arqam, who said: “The Companions of the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) asked: “O Messenger of Allah, what is the meaning of these animal sacrifices?” He said: “This is the sunnah of your father Ibrahim.” They asked, “O Messenger of Allah, then what will we get with it?” he replied: “Every hair is good.” They said, “What about the hair, O Messenger of Allah?” He replied: “From every hair on its fur there is a good.” (HR. Ibn Majah.).

Qurban is a way of getting closer to or worshipping Allah by slaughtering certain animals on the day of Eid al-Adha and the three following tasyrik days, namely 11, 12, 13 Dhul Hijjah. The word Qurban appears three times in the Qur’an: once in reference to animal sacrifice and twice in reference to sacrifice in the general sense of any act that can bring one closer to Allah.