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Towards a rewarding Big Sallah

Tomorrow Sunday, June 16, 2024 which is equivalent to the tenth day of the Islamic lunar month of Dhul-Hijjah, 1445AH is Big Sallah in Nigeria…

Tomorrow Sunday, June 16, 2024 which is equivalent to the tenth day of the Islamic lunar month of Dhul-Hijjah, 1445AH is Big Sallah in Nigeria and in the entire Muslim world. It is an occasion upon which Muslims are enjoined to offer animal sacrifices called “Dahiyyah” in Arabic; in commemoration of the initial sacrifice made by Prophet Ibrahim (AS). Do not bother as you read through this piece whether you have bought a ram or not for the Big Sallah. Besides Dahiyyah, there are other things associated with Big Sallah, which we encourage you to understand and observe correctly in order to achieve a rewarding Big Sallah. 

As we prepare for this year’s Dahiyyah, it’s important to remind readers about certain requirements of Big Sallah as an Islamic religious festival. Muslims are enjoined by the sunnah of the Prophet (SAW) to dress up in their best attires on each of the two major Eid days in Islam; the Eid ul-Fitr and the Eid ul-Kabir. But unlike the Eid ul-Fitr, Muslims are not required to eat before observing the Eid prayer on the Eid ul-Kabir day. They are rather enjoined required to abstain from eating until they have observed the Eid prayer, which is usually conducted at an open space or plain ground in the outskirts of the town or city. 

According to Abu Hurayrah (RA), the Prophet (SAW) never observed the Eid prayer in the mosque except once and that was because of rainfall at the time of the prayer. The Eid prayer is open to all, including women, young and old. Ibn Abbas (RA) reports that the Prophet (SAW) used to go out for the Eid prayer along with his wives and daughters. We are discouraged from engaging in discussions while on the way to the Eid praying ground. Instead, it is recommended that worshippers should keep glorifying Allah’s name through tasbih, tahlil, takbir and tahmid while going for the Eid prayer; whether they are on foot, horse, or by any other means of transportation. 

Eid ul-Kabir prayer, which is Sunnah in Islam, consists of only two raka’ats. It is a prayer that is without a call to prayer (adhan) or a second call to prayer (iqamah) to indicate the beginning of the prayer. No superogatory (nafilah) prayer is required to be observed before or after the Eid prayer; because neither the Prophet (SAW) nor his companions did that. It is a prophetic tradition for worshippers to remain behind after the prayer had been observed in order to listen to the sermon that would be delivered by the prayer leader (Imam) immediately the Eid prayer is over. Whoever missed the Eid prayer and couldn’t observe it in the congregation of other Muslims may choose to observe it alone or join the congregation of other worshippers who missed the same prayer. 

Women who wish to observe the two raka’ats of the Eid prayer at home could do so in congregation of other women led by one of them. It should however be noted that the female leader of a congregational prayer that exclusively consists of women is required to stand in the first row, among other female worshippers, to lead them in the prayer. Women could also go to the Eid praying ground to observe the Eid prayer in congregation of other men provided that the former would have their rows behind and away from men.

The slaughtering of animals on the Eid ul-Kabir day commences only after the leader of the Muslim community in which a Muslim lives or resides has slaughtered his own. Anyone who hastens to do that before the Muslim leader of his community slaughters his animal is deemed to have offered no sacrifice. In the Maliki School of Islamic jurisprudence, the reward of the Dahiyyah is proportionate to the type and size of the animal offered for the sacrifice. The preeminence of the sacrificial animals for Dahiyyah is in the following order of priority listed in the next paragraph; beginning from the most preferred to the less. 

The preference begins with an un-castrated ram; then a castrated ram; then a sheep; followed by an un-castrated he-goat; then a castrated he-goat, then a she-goat; followed by a bull; then a cow; followed by a male camel; then a she-camel. However, preference is in the reverse order in the case of sacrifices for Hadyah by Muslims who are on pilgrimage to Makkah. It is required that the sacrificial animal must be healthy. It is forbidden to use a sick, emaciated, or visually impaired animal for Dahiyyah; whether the impairement is partial or full. Similarly, an animal with broken horn(s), split ear(s) or other forms of disabilities should not be used for the Dahiyyah sacrifice.

Islam recommends that we should eat and share with others from the meat of the Dahiyyah. While some scholars opine that we should share two-third of the meat to others and eat one-third, other scholars are of the view that fractional distribution in not necessary. Nonetheless, our benevolence to share the Dahiyyah meat with others including non-Muslims portrays Islam as a universal religion. Alms (or Sadaqah in Islam) extends to beneficiaries outside the fold of Islam. Allah  states in Qur’an 60:8 “Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loves those who are just.” 

It is preferred that the owner of the animal slaughters it himself. There is no harm if others do it on his/her behalf. However, the practice where the name of the owner of the Dahiyyah is mentioned at the time of slaughtering the animal lacks basis in Islam. It is recommended that Allah’s name is glorified after every obligatory prayer beginning from the noon (Zuhr) prayer of the Eid ul-Kabir day until the early morning (Subh) prayer of the fourth day of the Eid. One of the suggested texts for the glorification is: “Allahu Akbar; Allahu Akbar; Laa ilaha illa-llah; Wallahu Akbar; Allahu Akbar; Wa lillah il-Hamd.” May Allah accept our sacrifices and devotions, amin. 

Happy Sallah!

 

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