The real meaning of Qurbân

The word Qurbân has a special feature in the Arab language: its repletion and abundance in close and remote associations

The word Qurbân has a special feature in the Arab language: its repletion and abundance in close and remote associations which are indicated by the word?s meaning. `Qurbân` expresses all positive meanings that the phrases `being close`, `coming nearer` make one think of.


Above all, it denotes the human?s closeness to himself. Being an `active` verb form, to offer a Qurbân is to be a `subject`. It denotes `doing` or `making` something, a conscious action. This conscious action is not an ordinary action of doing something, but a conscious action of `sacrificing`. To sacrifice is to give. A conscious action of giving is possible if one knows what, why, whom and how one should give. This giving in the essence of sacrificing as a practice of worship includes knowing the hierarchy of existence. In other words, slaughtering an animal as a sacrifice is in its essence saying `I know my place`. It can be expanded as follows: `I know my value in comparison with the creatures of the lower category and I know the limits of my capacity in relation to ALLÂH (SWT)`. Even if it is the life of an animal, it can only be lawful to take it in the Name of ALLÂH (SWT) and this is the reason for which it is lawful.


Afterwards, it expresses the human?s closeness to his Lord (SWT). Giving stipulates owning. What can one give if one does not own? But, when used for humans `to own` expresses only limitedness. The human?s pretending to ownership does not go any further than a limited ownership. Actually, it will be more correct if we call it not `owning` but `being a witness`. Because, the True and Absolute Owner Is ALLÂH (SWT). The human is a trustee. Everything that we call `my` is a thing entrusted to us, by which it is tested if we are faithful or treacherous. Sacrifice is a humble sign of faithfulness. It is an expression of one's will. This claim to faithfulness will bring the claimant closer to ALLÂH (SWT) depending on the extent to which the claim is truthful.


Lastly, it expresses the human?s closeness to ?Dunyâ?, i.e. this world, which means ?the lowest life?. This third association is a negative one.  According to this interpretation, the human has been given the name Insan because of his feeling closeness (Unsiyah ? familiarity) to Dunyâ. Essentially, the human must feel closeness to `the highest life` rather than `the lowest life`. And the human can only do this by sacrificing his `animalistic self`. The sacrifice of one?s animalistic self is the inability of the instincts and weaknesses of one?s animalistic self, which are its forces, to capture the human consciousness. That is to say, it is when the negative ego is not the subject controlling the human and when the human is not its object. In summary, it is the inability of the self to gain control of the human. On the contrary, the human must be the subject of his own self and subjugate it. That means the human must gain control of his own self.


Thus, `offering a Qurbân or a sacrifice` is an expression in the language of religion to show that the human is the subject who takes his desires under control. It becomes a testimonial of the human?s absolute and unconditional submission to ALLÂH (SWT). Seyrani, who was ?a brave defender of love? expresses the way in which offering a Qurbân or a sacrifice turns into Qurbiyyah, i.e. closeness, and submission to ALLÂH (SWT) in the following way:


Having no support shall I worry about my dismissal

Shall I measure and estimate like a foreman

In the beginning and in the end I am a ram to be sacrificed

Strike your knife at me when it is the time


`Offering a Qurbân or a sacrifice` by a human who is under the control of his own desires is out of the question. Because that human himself has `become a Qurbân or a victim` of his own desires. Those who themselves become victims can never offer a sacrifice. The state of a person who has become an object and is under control is similar to the state of a horse that has mounted its rider.


Now, that person has no more `value`, but has a `price`.


Whoever pays that price will be able to obtain. That person himself is a Qurbân, i.e. similar to an animal bought to be offered as a sacrifice. But that kind of sacrifice is such that makes one become far away from ALLÂH (SWT). It is the sacrifice that makes one a slave not to `the high life`, but to `the mean and low life` (al-hayatu?d-dunyâ).