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What is the Meaning of Udhiyah, and How Does it Relate to Qurbani?

What is the Meaning of Udhiyah, and How Does it Relate to Qurbani?

Dhul Hijjah is the 12th and final month of the Islamic Calendar, and it’s also one of the four sacred months. It’s during this month that Eid al-Adha takes place, and this traditionally meant that Muslims were required to slaughter an animal and split the meat into three equal parts. Of these parts, the first one was kept by the person who carried out the sacrifice for their family, the second one was given to their friends and neighbours, and the third was given to those in need. Currently, Muslims in the UK aren’t permitted to slaughter animals themselves due to the laws associated with such. Because of this, it’s now more common for Muslims to donate to a charity to carry out the sacrifice, and this is otherwise known as Udhiyah or Qurbani.

What is Udhiyah? 

Essentially, the Udhiyah meaning is the same as that of Qurbani, as it’s the animal sacrifice of livestock during the days of Eid al-Adha. It’s not necessarily required for Muslims to slaughter the animals themselves, as it’s now more common to donate to a charity instead.

The ritual of Udhiyah comes from the story of the Prophet Ibrahim (AS), in which he was willing to sacrifice his son, Ismail (AS), after being instructed to by Allah (SWT). As the pair were prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice, Allah (SWT) rewarded them both by replacing Ismail (AS) with a ram and leaving him completely unharmed. For this reason, Muslims now replicate this idea of sacrifice and devotion in the form of Udhiyah.

What are the Conditions of Udhiyah? 

The notion of Udhiyah revolves around animals being slaughtered; however, there are rules of Udhiyah (Qurbani) to ensure that the sacrifice is completely humane. For example, animals that qualify for Udhiyah need to reach a certain age first: 

  • Sheep and goats need to be a minimum of one year old 
  • Cattle, buffalos, and oxen need to be a minimum of two years old 
  • Camels need to be a minimum of five years old 

It’s not just about age; qualifying for Udhiyah also means that the animal needs to meet the following health requirements: 

  • Their horns can’t be broken 
  • They should have at least half of their teeth 
  • They can’t have lost a third or more of their ears or tail 
  • They can’t be blind or have lost a third or more of their sight 
  • They must be able to walk themselves to the slaughter without limping 
  • They must be well-fed and raised with care (not thin or lean) 

In addition to the rules directly related to the animal, there are also conditions regarding how the animal should be slaughtered. The following rules need to be adhered to if the sacrifice is to be considered valid: 

  • The animal must be slaughtered using a sharp knife so that it’s not subjected to unnecessary pain and suffering. 
  • The knife can’t be sharpened in front of the animal. 
  • The animal can’t witness the slaughter of any other animal. 
  • The body must be completely cold before the animal is skinned.

Is Udhiyah Compulsory? 

If a Muslim has reached puberty, possesses wealth that exceeds the Nisab threshold, and is of sound mind, they’re obliged to partake in the Udhiyah ritual. This means that they must cover the cost of purchasing, slaughtering, and distributing one Udhiyah share. This share could be one small animal (like a sheep or goat), or it could be one-seventh of a large animal (like a cow, bull, buffalo, ox, or camel). 

Hadith on Udhiyah  

The Udhiyah hadith is found in Surah Al-Hajj, where Allah (SWT) says, “It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah, but it is your piety that reaches Him.” (22:37). This tells us that the physical act of slaughtering an animal isn’t the only thing that defines Udhiyah. Instead, the believer must make their intention clear to express their dedication to the Creator. 

The Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) also highlights the significance of Udhiyah. He said, “Whoever can afford it but does not offer a sacrifice, let him not come near our place of prayer.” (Sunan Ibn Majah). From this, we can see just how important Udhiyah is, which is why Muslims are greatly encouraged to partake in this ritual. 

Pay Your Udhiyah Sacrifice with Muslim Aid  

Here at Muslim Aid, we make it easier than ever to fulfil your obligation to Allah (SWT) without breaking slaughter laws in the UK. This is because we use your donation to purchase an animal in an Islamic country and slaughter it according to the rules established by the religion. Following the slaughter, we’ll provide the meat to the people who need it most globally. Ultimately, giving your Udhiyah allows you to provide someone in poverty with fresh meat during the blessed days of Eid al-Adha, so do your bit today. 

We are a faith-based British international charity that provides help to people who are victims of natural disasters or conflict or suffering from poverty, hunger, disease, homelessness, injustice, deprivation or lack of skills and economic opportunities.

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