The Kaaba Kiswah was replaced Wednesday night, a process administered by the staff of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet Mosque in accordance with the annual tradition carried out every year before Eid al-Adha. Photo: Bernama

BY MUHAMMAD BASIR ROSLAN

KUALA LUMPUR: Tomorrow marks an important day for Muslims all over the world as the celebrations for Hari Raya Aidilaha or Qurban is celebrated tomorrow. The occasion that is commemorated on the 10th of Zulhijjah month. It marks the dawn of the final month in the Muslim calendar that completes the entire cycle of the year and marks the end of the Haj pilgrimage.

During Aidil Adha, the major event and act performed during this period is the act of Qurban which is performing the sacrificial rite.  

Every year about two million Muslims make the journey to Makkah in Saudi Arabia to perform the haj, which is one of the five pillars of Islam. This year, however, the Saudi Arabian government has only allowed a few thousand pilgrims from within the kingdom to perform the haj due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

While the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations in May were rather low-key due to the movement control order (MCO), Aidiladha will also be celebrated moderately in view of the rising Covid-19 cases in Malaysia. 

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced earlier this week that for Qurban, the number of animals to be sacrificed will be limited to 20 per mosque, surau or any other designated site depending on the size of the premises and only 20 people will be allowed to participate in the Qurban ritual per animal.

As for Aidiladha feasts, only up to 20 people would be allowed to be in a house at any one time. However, there is no prohibition on interstate or inter-district travel.

History of Qurban

Interestingly, there is an interrelation between the Qurban ritual and work ethics as the values of the sacrificial rite can be harnessed to enhance performance at work, according to Universiti Malaya senior lecturer Dr Mohd Shahid Mohd Noh, who is from the Department of Shariah and Economics in the Academy of Islamic Studies.

However, in order to understand its wisdom better, it is necessary and crucial to know the history of Qurban.

Qurban was deemed lawful after the second year of Hijrah, and was regarded as a practice that “brought the obedient servant closer to Allah (swt)”.

As a matter of fact, the sacrificial rite had existed from the time of Prophet Adam (asws), when Allah (swt) commanded his two sons Habil and Qabil to perform Qurban. Habil’s sacrificial worship was accepted by Allah (swt) but Qabil’s was rejected.

The second historical instance of sacrifice involved Prophet Ibrahim (asws) who received a divine order, namely a special task from Allah (swt), through a dream to slaughter his own flesh and blood Prophet Ismail (asws). 

It is stated in the Holy Quran that Prophet Ibrahim (asws) told his son. “”O my son, indeed I have seen in a dream that I (must) sacrifice you, so see what you think.”  To this, Prophet Ismail (asws) replied: “O my father, do as you are commanded. You will find me, if Allah (swt) wills, of the steadfast.” (Surah As-Saffat:102)

When Prophet Ismail (asws) laid calmly on the ground, ready to be slaughtered,  Prophet Ibrahim (asws)  though feeling remorse in that moment, he valiantly thrust his machete across Ismail’s neck, not only hearing the blade rending through the flesh but also felt the tear at the handle, knowing that he has done as decreed. A second later, Prophet Ismail (asws) heard Ismail’s voice calling out to him from a faraway distance and upon opening his eyes, he looked down and saw that it was not Ismail that he had sacrificed but a lamb.

As he looked across the hill, there stood on the hilltop was Prophet Ismail (asws) waving joyfully at him while praising Allah.

This incident was not only a test for both Prophet Ibrahim (asws) and Ismail but is also proof of a miracle and Omnipotence of Allah (swt).

The sacrificial command was a blessing in disguise for both Prophet Ibrahim (asws) and Ismail. It is also related that the lifetime Prohpet Ibrahim (asws) had gone through had raised his status and made him the ‘Khaleel’ ( friend or beloved one) of Allah (swt) in which his name ― along with that of the Last Prophet ― is preserved even to this days in all the prayers, unlike any other prophet. 

Muslims worldwide continue to observe Qurban in continuation of the tradition of Prophet Ibrahim (asws) who demonstrated immense faith and unwavering obedience to the command of Allah (swt).

Values

Touching on the wisdom the workforce can gain from Qurban, Mohd Shahid said it can be illustrated in three ways.

First is the quality of steadfastness or istiqomah.

“As we can extract from the Qurban event, Prophet Ibrahim (asws) remained steadfast in carrying out Allah’s command to slaughter his own son even though it was actually against his own will and desire though Prophet Ibrahim had proven his loyalty to Allah (swt) by doing what he was commanded to do, thus surrendering to the decree of Allah (swt), slitting Prophet Ismail’s (asws) throat with piety.

Likewise, at the workplace, employees must remain steadfast to their duties and perform well consistently so that they will excel in their work, he told Bernama.

Secondly, the quality of obedience as demonstrated by Prophet Ibrahim (asws) and Prophet Ismail (asws).

“Employees must emulate the spirit of Prophet Ibrahim (asws) and Prophet (asws) Ismail by being obedient to their employer.

“However, obeying the employer’s order must also be based on the framework of obeying God’s command. If the employer tells you to do something wrong, of course, a conflict will arise and this has to be resolved through discussions,” explained Mohd Shahid.

Thirdly, the spirit of cooperation. 

“In any organisation, if there is no solid cooperation among the workforce, it (organisation) will disintegrate.

“Look at the spirit of cooperation between Prophet Ibrahim (asws) and Prophet Ismail (asws) … we can imagine that if one of them did not cooperate and do as instructed by Allah (swt), of course, there would have been no order to obligate Muslims to perform the Qurban,” ​​he said.

In short, values such as steadfastness, obedience and cooperation can help employees to excel at the workplace which, in turn, will allow their organisations to perform better and help to drive the nation’s economy to a higher level. – Bernama