In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful, Bestower of Mercy

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all creation. May Allah extol the mention of the Prophet in the highest company of Angels and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, his family, his Companions and all those who follow him exactly till the Day of Judgement.

Dear servants of Allah! Know that among the special seasons of worship in the life of a Muslim are the first Ten Days of the month of Dhul-Hijjah – the 12th month of the Islamic calendar, which Allah prefers over all the other days of the year.

Abdullah Ibn Abbas reported that: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

“No good deeds are better than what is done in these first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.” Some Companions of the Prophet said: “Not even jihad in the way of Allah?” The Prophet said: “Not even jihad in the way of Allah, except for a man who goes out with his life and wealth at risk and he returns with nothing.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari]

Also these ten days are the greatest and most beloved to Allah the Almighty.

Abdullah Ibn Umar reported that: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

“There are no days greater and more beloved to Allah than these ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, so increase in them your declaration of the oneness of Allah (Tahlil), your exaltation of him (Takbir), and your praise of him (Tahmid).” [Musnad of Imam Ahmad, and it’s authentic (Sahih) according to Shaikh Ahmad Shakir]

Dear brothers and sisters! Among the virtues of these ten days of Dhul-Hijjah includes:

1. Allah swears by things to signify their importance, and Allah has sworn by these ten days in the Noble Qur’an, where He says in Surah Al-Fajr: “By the Fajr, And the ten nights.” [Qur’an, 89:1-2]

Early scholars, which include Ibn Abbas, have stated that these ten nights mentioned in the Qur’an are indeed the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.

2. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) has said that these ten days are the best days of the year, as mentioned in the Hadith above.

3. They are the best days to make remembrance of Allah (Zikr), as mentioned in the Hadith above.

4. They include the day of Arafah (9th day of Dhul-Hijjah), in which Allah completed this religion. And fasting this day erases the sins of the previous year and the following year (the minor sins only. Major sins require special repentance too).

5. They include the day of “The big Hajj (Yaumul Hajjil Akbar)”, which is Eid day (10th of Dhul-Hijjah), and this is the greatest day of the whole year.

Therefore, read more Qur’an on these days, pray all the Sunnah prayers, pray the night prayers (Qiyamul-lail), give charity, spread knowledge, repent to Allah and seek forgiveness from previous sins. Also increase in asking for forgiveness by saying, “Astaghfirullah.” Fast with your body too, i.e don’t look at haram, don’t speak haram, don’t listen to haram, etc, and make Du’a for Muslims worldwide.

Respected brothers and sisters! Let us hasten to make the most of these great days, before the time is too late.

Beloved servants of Allah! And today, in these ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, the most significant activity that involves every Muslim, young and adult, male and female, black and white, which brings visible happiness to everyone’s face, is the Ibadah of Al-Udhiyah. Al-Udhiyah is the act of sacrificing animals through slaughtering for Allah.

It’s done to remember the historical instance when Prophet Ibrahim was commanded to sacrifice his son, Prophet Ismail, and when he was about to carry out Allah’s Command, Allah replaced Ismail with a ram, which Prophet Ibrahim, gratefully slaughtered.

Prophet Ibrahim (AS), passed the test, as he was ready to sacrifice his son in response to Allah’s Command. My friends, do you find it difficult to sacrifice an animal (out of your money) in response to Allah’s Command? This test (yours and mine) is not worth failing. Every able head of the family does the Udhiyah (sacrifice) on behalf of his household.

Dear brothers and sisters! Al-Udhiyah can be done any time after the Eid prayers until the sunset of the third day, after the day of Eid. This means four days (the Day of Eid plus three days). This is in accordance to the school of thought of Imam Al-Shafi’i.

As for the schools of thought of the great Imams – Abu Hanifah, Malik and Ahmad, Al-Udhiyah is done for three days altogether. It starts with the day of Eid and ends two days after the day of Eid, at sunset.

Al-Udhiyah can be done during day time or night time, provided it is within the chosen timeframe. But the earlier (closer to Eid prayers), the better.

The Sunnah of Al-Udhiyah is to divide the meat into three portions, which don’t necessarily have to be equal. One portion is to be distributed among the poor and the needy. The second portion goes to your family members, neighbours and loved ones. And the last portion is at your personal discretion.

Dear servants of Allah! Al-Udhiya (The sacrifice) is a Sunnah (recommended act) or confirmed Sunnah (Sunnah mu’akkadah) for any Muslim who is able to do it. This is the opinion of the majority of scholars. Although it’s Wajib (compulsory) according to some scholars, for any Muslim who is able to do it. It is also one of the good deeds of Islam as Aisha narrated from the Prophet (Peace be upon him) as saying:

“Son of Adam has not done any deed on the Day of Adha (Eid day) more likable to Allah than shedding blood (slaughtering the sacrifice). So be pleased with it.”

Most scholars believe that slaughtering the sacrifice is better than giving its value in charity.

My respected people! Know that the sacrificed animal should be from the livestock (cows, camels, ram/sheep, goats). The prevailing view in this concern might be that the sheep and goats are the best animals for the sacrifice (according to the opinion of some scholars) because the Prophet never slaughtered on the Eid any sacrifices except these kinds of animals. But camels, cows and buffaloes could all be slaughtered as Eid sacrifices.

Also the sacrifice should be in a good state and fat enough so that its meat could be eaten as this is a symbol of Allah. Allah, the Almighty Says:

“And whosoever honours the symbols of Allah, then it is truly from the piety of the heart.” [Qur’an, 22:32]

And the sacrifice should be more than six months old if it is a ram/sheep, as narrated by Ibn Majah in a Hadith traceable in ascending order to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) as saying:

“Only a Jaza’a of sheep can suffice as sacrifice” and the Jaza’a is the sheep that is at least six months old. As for sacrifice from the goats, it should be at least one year old. The cow, if chosen to be sacrifice, two years old. But the camel should not be less than five years old.”

On the other hand, one should avoid making sacrifice with a defective animal. Al-Bara’ Ibn Azib said the Prophet stood before us and said:

“Four (kinds of animals) are not sufficient in the sacrifices: The one-eyed whose loss of one eye is evident, and the sick whose sickness is evident, the limp whose limpness is evident and the skinny one which has no flesh on it.” [Al-Bukhari]

And the majority of scholars agreed that the four defects that are mentioned in the previous Hadith could be taken as a reference to other kinds of defects. So, any defect that is equal to one of them or worse than it makes the sacrifice invalid (like the blind or one which lacks one foot).

The castrated animal can suffice because the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) once observed sacrifice with two castrated rams. Also the sheep that is born without a fat tail or which has at least half of its fat tail can suffice as sacrifice. But the sheep whose fat tail is completely cut off does not suffice.

Moreover, one sheep or one goat is sufficient as sacrifice for a man, as well as his family. It is also lawful for seven people to slaughter one cow as sacrifice. Jabir Ibn Abdullah said:

“In the year of Hudaibiyyah, we along with Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) sacrificed a camel for seven persons and a cow for seven persons.” [Muslim]

The participant among the seven involves his family with him because the seventh here is the same as a complete sheep or a goat.

Dear brothers and sisters! As mentioned earlier, the time for slaughtering the sacrifice is after the Eid prayer, and slaughtering it before the Eid prayer does not suffice as the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:

“The first (act) with which we start our day (the day of Eid Al-Adha) is that we offer the prayer. Then we return and sacrifice the animals and he who does that in fact has adhered to our Sunnah (our practice). And he who slaughters the animal on that day before the Eid prayer, is for him (the slaughtering of animal is directed to the acquiring of) and the meat for his family, and there is nothing of the sort of sacrifice in it.”

He (Peace be upon him) also said:

“He who sacrifices (the animal) before offering the (Eid) prayer, he should offer again in its stead, and he who did not sacrifice the animal should slaughter it by reciting the name of Allah.”

It is also likable for one to witness the slaughtering of his sacrifice or to slaughter it himself and to divide it into three parts as said earlier. He should eat one-third with his family, give out another one-third in charity, and distribute the last one-third as gifts, as the Prophet said to his beloved daughter Fatimah, may Allah be pleased with her:

“Be present when your sacrifice is slaughtered. Allah forgives you as the first drop of its blood comes out.” [Al-Baihaqi and Abdul-Razzaq]

He should also say when slaughtering it:

“Bismillah, O Allah! It is from Your favour and for You.”

The wisdom of decreeing it (Al-Udhiyah) includes:

1. Getting closer to Allah by performing it.

2. Reviving the Sunnah of the Imam of the monotheists, Al-Khalil, Prophet Ibrahim (AS), as Allah has inspired him to sacrifice his son Isma’il and then He has ransomed him with ram, and Ibrahim sacrificed it instead of Isma’il.

3. Relieving and spending generously on the family on the day of Eid.

4. Spreading happiness among the poor and the needy by giving them from the sacrifice as a charity.

5. Thanking Allah the Almighty for subjecting all the beasts of cattle for us.

* What Is To Be Avoided By the One Who Intends To Offer a Sacrifice

Dear brothers and sisters! Know that when any one intends to offer a sacrifice enters in the first ten days of the month of Dhul-Hijjah he should not get his hair or nails trimmed until he offers the sacrifice in its due time. Imam Muslim has reported in his authentic book of Hadith that Umm Salamah, may Allah be pleased with her, said that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has said:

“When you see the crescent of the month of Dhul-Hijjah and that anyone of you intends to offer a sacrifice, so let him not touch his hair or nails.” [Reported by Muslim]

Also, the fees of butcher should not be from the sacrifice. The butcher should not be given a part of the sacrifice as a fee. Ali Ibn Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

“The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) commanded me to take care of the sacrifice of a camel, to give its meat, skin and saddle in charity, and not to give anything of it to the butcher as a compensation. He said, “I will give him something from what I have.” [Reported by Muslim]

Dear brothers and sisters! I ask Allah, The Almighty, to accept this from me, you and all the Muslims all over the world, and to make it only for his sake. Peace and blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet, Muhammad, and upon all of his family and Companions, and all praises and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of the Alamin (mankind, jinn and all that exists).

I ask Allah to assist us in living by the Qur’an and Sunnah. I pray that He lets us recognise the truth for what it is and helps us to follow it, and that He lets us see falsehood for what it is and helps us to avoid it.

O Allah! Guide us and protect us from the causes of ignorance and destruction! Save us from the defects of ourselves! Cause the last of our deeds to be the best and most righteous! And forgive all of us.

Respected brothers and sisters! Anything good I have said in my today’s sermon is from Allah the Almighty, and any mistakes are my own and I seek refuge in Allah from giving wrong advice and from all forms of calamities and fitnah. And I ask Allah’s forgiveness if I stepped beyond bounds in anything I said or I do.

May Allah be praised; and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger Muhammad and upon his family and Companions.

With this I conclude my sermon, and ask Allah, the Almighty and the Sublime, to forgive all of our sins. So seek his forgiveness, He is all forgiving Most Merciful.

Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: gusaumurtada@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today Friday, Dhul-Qa’adah 23, 1440 AH (July 26, 2019).