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The Significance of Qurbani

In the religion of Islam, the 12th and final month of the Islamic (lunar) year is Dhul Hijjah, which is an incredibly holy and sacred time. It is the month in which two significant events are observed: Qurbani and Eid al-Adha (sometimes called ‘big Eid’ or ‘greater Eid’). The two events are closely linked due to their consecutive timing. 

Eid al-Adha is a three-day celebration that is not too dissimilar to Eid al-Fitr. It is a time for families and friends to come together, exchange gifts, eat food and pray together. Like Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha is a celebration for completing a religious duty. In the case of Eid al-Fitr, the religious duty is Ramadan, and with Eid al-Adha, it is Qurbani. 

The History of Qurbani

Qurbani is, as mentioned, a highly religious time. The story of Qurbani begins with the Prophet Ibrahim (AS).

As it is narrated in the Holy Qur’an, Prophet Ibrahim (AS) had a dream, not once, but repeatedly where he was being asked by Allah (SWT) to sacrifice his son Ismail (AS). This was a test of love and submission towards Allah. He surrendered to Allah (SWT)’s command without hesitating and prepared himself and his son for sacrifice.

It is said that Prophet Ibrahim (AS) took his son to Mount Arafat to perform the sacrifice. He described his dream to his son upon reaching the mountain, to which his son obliged and echoed the same beliefs that this was an act of obedience towards Allah (SWT).

However, as he tied his son with a rope and was about to slaughter him, Allah (SWT) replaced Ismail (AS) with a ram, and Prophet Ibrahim (AS) slaughtered the animal instead. His son Ismail (AS) was standing perfectly fine right next to him, much to his disbelief.

How Muslims Give Qurbani

On the 10th day of Dhul Hijjah, Muslims all over the world perform the act of Qurbani where they slaughter an animal and celebrate the wonderful occasion of Eid al-Adha. They celebrate this devotion and belief of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and Ismail (AS).

Every Muslim who is of age and who has the means to do so must give Qurbani, and when they sacrifice the animal, they must do so in adherence to the following rules:

  • Sheep and goats must be at least one-year-old
  • Cows and buffalos must be at least two years old
  • Camels must be at least five years old

In addition, all Qurbani animals must be in good health and must not: 

  • Be blind (missing a third of their sight or more), or missing an eye
  • Be missing half or more of their teeth
  • Be underweight/thin/lean
  • Be lame/limping (they need to be able to walk to the place of sacrifice themselves)
  • Have horns that are broken at the root

As well as the above rules, there are rules about how a Muslim should sacrifice an animal in order to give Qurbani. They must ensure:

  • The slaughter knife is sharp so that unnecessary pain and suffering is avoided (it cannot be sharpened in front of the animal)
  • No animal is slaughtered in front of another Qurbani animal
  • They are at least present for the sacrifice if they do not have the knowhow to do it themselves
  • They say the words “Bismillah, wa Allahu Akbar” at the time of the slaughter
  • The animal is not skinned until it is entirely cold

As time has gone on and Muslims have spread far and wide across the globe, it is not always possible for them to sacrifice an animal in the name of Qurbani, nor might it be possible for them to be present at the time of slaughter. In such instances, it is common for Muslims to give Qurbani through a charity like Muslim Aid. We use your Qurbani donation to purchase an animal and sacrifice it in your name to please Allah (SWT). The meat is then given to those most in need so that they may enjoy the Eid al-Adha celebrations with their brothers and sisters around the world. 

Why Muslims Give Qurbani

The Qurbani story is a remarkable illustration of unconditional love and commitment. It speaks volumes of faith and devotion towards the Almighty, in every sense. It represents Prophet Ibrahim’s (AS) and Ismail’s unmatched loyalty and fervour towards their religion and their Creator.

The practice of Qurbani in Islam holds great value and is an act of devotion towards Allah (SWT), but it is also an act of giving to others in their time of need. Traditionally, an animal that is slaughtered for Qurbani is divided into three shares: one share for the donor and their family, one share for the donor’s friends, and one share for someone in need. 

You can  with Muslim Aid this year and help distribute to those less fortunate whilst showcasing your unconditional love and faith towards Allah (SWT).

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