Qurbani, or Uḍḥiya as it is known in Arabic, is the practice of sacrificing an animal for Allah (SWT). Every year, on the days of Eid al-Adha (from 10th to 13th of Dhul Hijjah), Muslims around the world sacrifice an animal to mark the completion of Hajj. This practice commemorates the sacrifice of Ibrahim (as) thousands of years ago, who was prepared to sacrifice his beloved son for Allah’s sake (read his story below).
Qurbani is not simply the slaughtering of an animal and the distribution of its meat, and it is more than a commemorative ritual. The word ‘Qurbani’ is derived from the Arabic, ‘qurban’, which has its root in the Arabic word ‘qurb’ – meaning ‘nearness’. The purpose of offering Qurbani is to draw near to Allah. Through Qurbani, we reaffirm what we sometimes forget in the hustle and bustle of everyday life – that we completely submit to Allah, and we are willing to sacrifice whatever is asked of us to be close to Him and gain His pleasure, just as Prophet Ibrahim (as) did so many years ago.
Thus, an important part of Qurbani is remembering to hold onto our sincere intentions and striving to be closer to Allah through this symbolic sacrifice. It is not only to feed the poor, installing a cooler rather than following the told way of Qurbani is a choice you can keep but it does not fulfill the objective or counted as Qurbani.
- Every sane Muslim of mature age (who has reached puberty)
- Non-travelling persons
- Those who additionally own wealth that is beyond their needs, equal to (or more than) the current level of nisab (87.48 grams of gold or 612.36 grams of silver)
- The time for sacrifice ends when the sun sets on the fourth day. Therefore, you can make payments right up until the end of the third day after Eid (13th of Dhul-Hijjah) before Maghrib salah.
How to slaughter a Qurbani animal
For a slaughter of an animal to be counted as Qurbani, it is essential that the slaughter is carried out humanely following Qurbani rules. Below are some of the rules that should be followed:
- A sharp knife must be used to carry out the Qurbani – dull knives may inflict unnecessary pain and suffering
- Knives must not be sharpened in front of the sacrificial animal
- No animal can be slaughtered in front of another animal
- When the sacrifice is being made, the words “Bismillahi Allahu Akbar” must be recited
- The animal can not be skinned until the body is entirely cold
Which animals can be sacrificed?
The animals which are eligible should meet minimum requirements, such as the age of the animal for Qurbani and their condition, including:
- Sheep/Goats: should be at least one year in age (this is equivalent to one person’s Qurbani)
- Cows/Buffalo: should be at least two years in age (this is equivalent to seven people’s Qurbani)
- Camels: should be of at least five years in age (enough for seven people’s Qurbani)
In addition, all animals must be healthy and free of disease, including the following conditions:
- They cannot be excessively thin or lean
- They must be able to walk themselves to the site of the slaughter
- They cannot be toothless or missing over half their teeth
- They must not be blind or one-eyed
- They must not have a lame leg that is sufficiently weak that they are unable to walk on it
It is recommended to split Qurbani meat equally into three parts. Following the sacrifice, one part is kept for yourself, one part is distributed to your family and friends, and one part is given to the poor and needy. Many Muslims prefer to have their Qurbani performed in the world’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities.