Ashraf’s Column

Friday, June 16, 2006

Some Query on Hajj, Qurbani and Akika

Following are queries and concerns on some Islamic rituals that I would like to learn more from Qur’anic stand point; rather not from sources that are unauthentic and lack precise credibility. I believe that among our respected readers there are many who tender wise and realistic opinions on such practices that I consider simply non-Qur’anic, thus lack justification of being known as “Islamic”. Thanks.

Hajj:

1. Hajj is considered to be one of the five pillars of Islam. It involves pilgrimage to the holy Ka’ba in Makkah and, at the same time, performing certain rituals at Arafat and Meena. This particular Ibadat (piety) is not mandatory for all Muslims. According to the holy Qur’an, “Pilgrimage there too, is a duty men owe to Allah, provided they could afford the journey” (3:97). Here affordability involves self-earned financial means and satisfactory physical fitness. For those who can afford it Hajj is mandatory only once in a lifetime. Any earning, which is not legally and morally correct, or Halal, is not acceptable to Allah. A thief, hijacker, godfather, bribe-taker, black marketer, corrupt bureaucrat or politician, for that matter anyone who lives on illicit livelihood, may make a trip to Makkah during the days of Hajj and perform the rituals there at, yet he would be no better than a tourist. In Islam it is not sufficient to have a justifiable mission; one must also adopt honest and justifiable means to achieve that mission. Under the circumstances, will Allah accept the Hajj of those people those persons who perform Hajj with money earned by illegal and immoral means?

2. According to the holy Qur’an (24:61) a Muslim, whether physically able or disabled, is not allowed to accept a casual meal from other than a close relation or an intimate friend. If that be the principle of Islam, is it correct to travel for performing Hajj or Umra with others money, be it from donations from one or more local individuals, organizations or the state, or be it from any foreign government or agency?

3. Does the Qur’an permit a king, president or prime minister performs Hajj or Umra at the cost of the public exchequer? Even if s/he does it for herself/himself with his/her own money, earned by correct legal and moral means, can s/he take her/his personal administrative and security staff at government cost?

4. Every year we find the king of Saudi Arabia invites a number of kings, presidents or prime ministers of other countries to perform Hajj or Umra as his royal guests. Does the Qur’an allow the king of Saudi Arabia to send free tickets as gifts to these guests to perform a personal piety like Hajj/Umra when the money he is spending for the guests belongs to the people of Saudi Arabia?

5. Performing Hajj is mandatory or Farz once in one’s lifetime. The holy Prophet (PBUH) performed Hajj only once. Still we find many people from our society, some by begging money or with government money, go for additional or Nafl Hajj for more than once, even 10 or 12 times. Some of these people also take lot of pride in making this fact known to others. These persons could do better, instead of performing Nafl Hajj, by spending the money to help the local hungry and needy people. Is this practice of performing Hajj and Umra repeatedly allowed or encouraged by Islam?

6. The holy Prophet (PBUH) and the Sahaba (Prophet’s followers) performed Hajj, but none of them ever added the title of “Haji/Alhaj” at the beginning or at the end of their names. Hajj being a very personal piety and a fulfillment of a personal commitment between Allah and His Banda (servant), there is no need or justification to show off to others that one has performed Hajj. In our country we find many people, specially a section of the political and religious leaders and the businessmen, are fond of using “Haji” with their names. Are these people doing the right thing?

7. Going for Hajj is an individual piety. Besides being financially able one has to be physically fit to undertake the journey and perform the rituals. If one lacks physical fitness, however able one may financially be, Allah does not demand Hajj from that individual. Allah does not demand Hajj from a dead person, for with death the Amalnama (dossier) of a person is closed. Still we find people financing others to perform Hajj on their behalf, as they themselves cannot go for the Hajj due to sickness or for some other reason. They call it “Badla Hajj” (alternative Hajj). As per conditions laid down in the Qur’an a sick man is not required to perform Hajj, and there is no question of demanding Hajj from a dead man. Even then we find some people are being financed every year to perform “Badla Hajj” on behalf of the sick or the dead. Where in the holy Qur’an such a practice of “Badla Hajj” is authorized?


Qurbani:

8. As per the holy Qur’an (22:28) only those people who perform Hajj are required to sacrifice animals. In the holy Qur’an there is no direct or indirect indication of a requirement that a non-pilgrim Muslim is required to perform Qurbani or sacrifice animals to celebrate Hajj. The holy Prophet (PBUH) and the early caliphs never practiced it. Whereas in our country, and in many other Muslim countries, millions of animals are being sacrificed by the Muslims during the Eidul Adha. Not only that but also lot of stories have been concocted involving Qurbani. It is said that as soon as a person slaughters an animal, before the first drop of the animal touches the ground; all his sins get washed away, even if the person is a hardened criminal. It is further said that every hair of the sacrificed animal’s fleece would add one unit of piety to the account of the person sacrificing the animal. The most surprising story is that on the Day of Judgment the sacrificed animal will carry its earthly master straight to the heaven on its back.

9. The question is why these concocted stories, which have nothing to do with the holy Qur’an, are being allowed to be narrated by our religious teachers and leaders year after year?
10. As there is no direct or indirect indication in the holy Qur’an of a requirement that a non-pilgrim Muslim is required to perform Qurbani or sacrifice animals to celebrate Hajj, Tunisia which is a Muslim country banned this medieval social Arab custom of sacrificing animals during Hajj in 1992. Then why should we continue to sacrifice millions of our very valuable cattle heads every year in the name of Qurbani?

Akika:

11. As per existing practice one goat is sacrificed to celebrate the naming ceremony called Akika when a female child is born. Two goats are sacrificed at a similar ceremony when a male child is born. This was practiced as a prevailing Arab social custom during early days of Islam. We know, many of the local Arab customs, which did not contradict with the Islamic principles, as laid down in the Qur’an, were allowed to practice. These had nothing to do with the holy Qur’an or Islam. I feel there is an element of Naformani (disobedience) to Allah in this practice. To Allah there is no difference between men and women. There is no difference between a male child and a female child. Who should be blessed with a female child or a male child is entirely a matter to be decided by Allah. If one expresses half happiness on being blessed with a daughter, is one not expressing half unhappiness at the decision of Allah? In spite of all these, why do our religious teachers and leaders still demand from us to continue with this discriminating practice of Akika? Did the holy Prophet (PBUH) perform Akika for his own children?

12. I shall be grateful if any Islamic scholar kindly takes the trouble of answering my above-mentioned questions, on the basis of the holy Qur’an only.

Syed Ashrafuzzaman

2 Comments:

  • I'm surprised that no Islamic scholar has responded. I would also be interested in some of the answers. Perhaps you can redirect these questions to the more balanced scholars on Pakistan's TV channels ?
    - Najma Sadeque, Karachi

    By Anonymous Najma Sadeque, At 2:45 AM  

  • . Your blog is so interesting and very informative.Thanks sharing. Definitely a great piece of work Thanks for your work.

    By Anonymous Online Qurbani, At 10:02 AM  

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