The Imam Ratib of Banjul, Alhaji Cherno Alieu Mass Kah, has been speaking to the Daily Observer in an exclusive interview ahead of Monday’s Eid-ul-Adha prayers, locally called Tobaski.
The celebration of Eid-ul-Adha is in commemoration of the command given by Allah to Prophet Abraham (May Allah be Pleased with Him) to sacrifice his first son, Ishmael to Him. Imam Ratib Kah said the fulfillment of this noble command of Allah by Abraham signifies the faith Abraham had in Allah. “Surely Abraham was an example, obedient to Allah, by nature upright, and he was not of the polytheists. He was grateful for our bounties. We chose him and guided him unto a right path. We gave him good in this world, and in the next he will most surely be among the righteous,” Imam Ratib Kah said, quoting from the Qur’an 16:120-121).
He said one of Abraham’s main trials was to face the command of Allah to sacrifice his only son. Upon hearing this command, he prepared to submit to Allah’s will. When he was all prepared to do it, Allah revealed to him that his “sacrifice” had already been fulfilled. He had shown that his love for his Lord superseded all others that he would lay down his own life or the lives of those dear to him in order to submit to God.
The erudite scholar added that in the morning of the Eid, the 10th day of Dhul-hijah, there will be congregation prayers of two Rakats and sermon followed by visits by family and friends, and the exchange of greetings and gifts.
The sacrificial meat, he said, is to be distributed during the days of the holiday or shortly thereafter one-third is eaten by immediate family members and relatives; another one-third is given away to friends, and one-third is donated to the poor.
”The act symbolises our willingness to give up things that are of benefit to us or close to our hearts in order to follow Allah’s commands. It also symbolises our willingness to give up some of our own bounties, in order to strengthen ties of friendship and help those who are in need. We recognise that all blessings come from Allah, and we should open our hearts and share with others,” he affirmed.
”It is very important to understand that the sacrifice itself, as practiced by Muslims, has nothing to do with atoning for our sins or using the blood to wash ourselves from sin. This is a misunderstanding by those of previous generations: “It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah; it is your piety that reaches Him,” (Qur’an 22:37).
One of the animals permitted to be sacrificed are: camel, cattle, sheep and goat. It should have reached the age stipulated in Sharee’ah, which is eight months for a sheep and the age at which the animal is considered to be an adult for any other animal; goat one year, cattle three to four years, and camel four to five years.
The Prophet Muhammed (SAW) said: “Do not sacrifice anything but an adult animal, unless it is difficult for you, it should be free of any faults that would render it unsuitable for sacrifice, of which there are four; an obvious defect in one eye, such as when the eye is sunken in its socket, or when it sticks out like a button, or is white and obviously defective, obvious sickness, whose symptoms are clearly apparent in the animal, such as fever that prevents it from grazing and causes loss of appetite; deep wounds that affect its health, obvious lameness, which prevents the animal from walking normally. It should be slaughtered at the time specified in Sharee’ah, which is from after the Eid prayer on the Day of Sacrifice until sunset on the last days of al-Tashreeq, which is the 13th of Dhu’l-Hijjah. So the days when the sacrifice may be offered are four: the day of Eid after the prayer, and the three days after that. Whoever slaughters it before the Eid prayer is over, or after sun sets on the 13th of Dhu’l-Hijjah, his sacrifice is not valid.”
The Imam Ratib also advised children to stop loitering throughout the day, which he said is the cause of many missing children cases on the day. He also thanked the management and staff of the Daily Observer for the promotion of Islam in the country.
by Alhagie Babou Jallow