In a nutshell, Qurbani, which means sacrifice, is the act of sacrificing an animal to Allah (SWT) on the day of Eid-ul-Adha, following the congregational Eid prayers. It commemorates the sacrifice that Prophet Ibrahim (A.S) was prepared to make of his son Prophet Ismail (A.S), to show his devotion and dedication to Allah (SWT). In Arabic, Qurbani is referred to as ‘Udhiya’.
Qurbani is performed between the 10th and 12th of Dhul Hijjah. Ideally, it should be carried out immediately after Eid-ul-Adha prayers. Barring a few exceptions, every sane, able, adult Muslim is required to perform the Qurbani of an animal every year.
However, not all animals are eligible for Qurbani and even then there are some restrictions as to whether an animal can be sacrificed for Qurbani purposes or not. Goats, lamb, sheep, cow, buffalo, bull or camel are all acceptable forms of sacrifice for Qurbani. These animals can be either male or female, though there are some restrictions. An animal that is disabled is exempt from Qurbani. There are also age restrictions, for example; a goat or sheep must be at the very least, one year old to be considered for Qurbani; for cattle, the age limit is two years of age and for camels, it is five years.
The Qurbani meat is then divided into three equal parts. One-third is distributed to the family, one to the neighbours, and one to those in need. Qurbani serves as an opportunity to bring communities, neighbours and friends to unite together and celebrate as one Ummah. However, due to the relative lack of poverty in Western countries, many people prefer to have their Qurbani performed in the countries where the need is a lot greater.
For more information on how to donate towards Islamic Help’s Qurbani programme this year, click here.