Sacrifice that is done by slaughtering livestock is not a matter that does not have purposes. In Islam, every command of religion of course has great purposes and benefits for the person. To be easier to understand it, the following are some purposes of sacrifice in Islam that need to know:
1. The proof of gratitude
One of the main and most important purposes in sacrifice is the proof of gratitude to Allah SWT. By sharing meat to others, then we have shown our gratitude because we are given excess compared to other people.
Allah Ta’ala said,
إِنَّا أَعْطَيْنَاكَ الْكَوْثَرَ (1) فَصَلِّ لِرَبِّكَ وَانْحَرْ (2) إِنَّ شَانِئَكَ هُوَ الْأَبْتَرُ (3)
“Indeed, We have given to you many graces. Then establish prayer because of your Rabb; and sacrifice. Indeed, people who hate you are cut off.” (QS. Al-Kauthar: 1-3)
2. Look for a reward
Another purpose of sacrifice in Islam is of course to get a reward. As we know, this reward will become our provision in the afterlife. By hoping the reward from Allah SWT, then we sacrifice.
From Aisyah ra, the Prophet saw said, “There is not a single deed that is done by human on the Sacrifice day that is more loved by Allah SWT than slaughtering the Sacrificial animals. Indeed, the sacrificial animals will come on the Doomsday with its horns, feathers and nails. And indeed, before the blood of the Sacrifice touches the ground, it (the reward) has been accepted beside Allah, then you all are lucky with the Sacrifice (reward).” (Hadith Tirmidzi)
3. The sign of Islam
The Prophet did not really like people who were given spaciousness however they did not want to do the sacrifice. People who really understand Islam will surely sacrifice. He really criticized those who were able to do it however they kept their wealth in such a sacrifice. The Prophet SAW said,
“Whoever finds himself in a spacious condition, then he does not sacrifice, then do not ever approach our prayer place.” (Hadith Ahmad and Ibn Majah)
4. Help those who cannot afford
By sharing sacrificial meat to those who cannot afford it, of course we have helped each other. Those who may not be able to eat well, now they can eat well because of what we have done. Even though it is a little, however things that are received will really help and please them. Allah said,
وَٱلْبُدْنَ جَعَلْنَٰهَا لَكُم مِّن شَعَٰٓئِرِ ٱللَّهِ لَكُمْ فِيهَا خَيْرٌ ۖ فَٱذْكُرُوا۟ ٱسْمَ ٱللَّهِ عَلَيْهَا صَوَآفَّ ۖ فَإِذَا وَجَبَتْ جُنُوبُهَا فَكُلُوا۟ مِنْهَا وَأَطْعِمُوا۟ ٱلْقَانِعَ وَٱلْمُعْتَرَّ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ سَخَّرْنَٰهَا لَكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ
“And We have made for you those camels that are the part of the symbols of Allah, you obtain many goodness to them, then mention the name of Allah by you when you slaughter them in a standing position (and have been tied). Then if they have fallen (died), then eat some of it and feed people who are willing to what is on it (those who do not beg) and people who ask. Thus We have subjected those camels to you, hopefully you are grateful.” (QS. Al-Hajj: 36)
5. Get the pleasure of Allah
Every blood drop of a sacrificial animal will become the pleasure of Allah for those who sacrifice. Therefore, to get His pleasure, sacrifice with full of sincerity. Allah said,
لَن يَنَالَ ٱللَّهَ لُحُومُهَا وَلَا دِمَآؤُهَا وَلَٰكِن يَنَالُهُ ٱلتَّقْوَىٰ مِنكُمْ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ سَخَّرَهَا لَكُمْ لِتُكَبِّرُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ عَلَىٰ مَا هَدَىٰكُمْ ۗ وَبَشِّرِ ٱلْمُحْسِنِينَ
“The camel meat and blood cannot reach (the pleasure of) Allah, however it is the piety from you that can reach it. Thus Allah has subjected it for you so that you glorify Allah towards His guidance to you. And give good news to people who do good.” (QS. Al-Hajj: 37)
6. Get forgiveness
It does not only get a reward and the pleasure of Allah, sacrifice will also get forgiveness for all sins that we have done in the past. This had explained by the Prophet in a narrative,
“O Fatimah, stand on the side of your sacrifice and witness it, indeed, its first blood drop is forgiveness for you for your past sins.” (Hadith Al-Bazzar and Ibn Hibban)
7. The helper on the doomsday
Some narratives explain that the slaughtered sacrificial animal will be a helper for us on the doomsday. It will bring goodness for us. The Prophet SAW said:
“There is not a single deed that is done by human on the Sacrifice Day, that is more loved by Allah other than slaughtering the Sacrificial animals. Indeed, on the doomsday, the sacrificial animals will come with its horns, feathers and nails, and indeed, before the blood of the sacrifice touches the ground, it (the reward) has been accepted beside Allah, then you all are lucky with the sacrifice (reward).” (Hadith Al-Tarmuzi, Ibn Majah and Al-Hakim)
8. Strengthen silaturrahmi
By sharing to people around us, then we will strengthen silaturrahmi bond. We will be individuals who are more caring and sensitive to people around us. By sharing the grace, then the relationship bond will also be stronger.
وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِحَبْلِ اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا وَلَا تَفَرَّقُوا ۚ وَاذْكُرُوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ كُنْتُمْ أَعْدَاءً فَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِكُمْ فَأَصْبَحْتُمْ بِنِعْمَتِهِ إِخْوَانًا وَكُنْتُمْ عَلَىٰ شَفَا حُفْرَةٍ مِنَ النَّارِ فَأَنْقَذَكُمْ مِنْهَا ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ آيَاتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ
“And hold to the rope (religion) of Allah, and do not separate, and remember the grace of Allah to you when in the past (Jahiliyah era), you were enemies, then Allah united your hearts, then because of the grace of Allah, you became brothers; and you had been on the edge of the cliff of hell, then Allah saved you from it. Thus Allah explains His verses to you, so that you get a guidance.” [Ali ‘Imran/3: 103]
Those are the 8 purposes of sacrifice in Islam and its verses that need to know. Hopefully we are able to reach those purposes in the sacrifice that we have done and will do. Aamiin.