When the Day of Arafat is completed, and Allah has liberated His believing servants from Hell, all of the Muslims then celebrate a holiday. Then there is a common rite that they all undertake (the pilgrims and those back home) to draw near to Allah, slaughtering the hadiy (sacrificial animal).
The qurbani, also known as udh’hiya, as referred to in Shari’ah, is the sacrifice of a livestock animal during Eid ul Adha. It commemorates the supreme sacrifice offered by Prophet Ibrahim, peace be upon him, to show his total submission and gratitude towards Allah. The Holy Quran informs us that in a vision, Prophet Ibrahim, peace be upon him, saw that he offered his son Isma’eel, peace be upon him, in sacrifice to Allah. When he shared this vision with his son, Isma’eel said: “O my father! Do as you are commanded: you will find me, if Allah so wills, one practicing patience and constancy.” However, when Prophet Ibrahim, peace be upon him, carried out the commandment, Allah replaced him with a ram. In the Holy Quran, Allah mentions the firm faith and obedience of both father and son as follows: “You have already fulfilled the vision – thus indeed do We reward those who do right.” (As-Saffat 37:105)
Once our beloved Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said, “It is the sunnah of your father Ibrahim. For every hair of the Qurbani, you will receive a reward from Allah and for every hair in the wool you will receive a reward.” (Related Ibn Majah & Tirimidhi).
It is obligatory upon every sane adult who is not a traveller/pilgrim and can afford it (wealth equal to or more than nisab — the minimum amount for a Muslim net worth to be obligated to give zakat). Normally every person in the household, who are eligible to pay Zakat have to give a Qurbani. It is performed on the days of sacrifice, which is the 10th, 11th, or 12th of Dhul Hijjah. The first day is better than the second, and the second better than the last.
One may sacrifice a thousand animals on days other than these, but it will never be regarded or considered as udhhiya. Therefore, the qurbani is a sacred act which can only be done during the three days of Dhul Hijjah as specified.
Zaid bin Arkam reports that the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) asked him: “O Messenger of Allah, what is this sacrifice?” He said: “It is the way of your forefather Ibrahim.” They asked: what (reward) is for us therein?” He replied: “There is a reward for every hair (i.e. the reward for meat and useful parts of the animal’s body will be very lofty in merit, but there will also be a great reward for the parts which are useless and thrown away such as the hair).” They asked: “For the wool, O Messenger of Allah?” He replied: “There is one reward for every strand of wool.” [Ahmad; Ibn Majah]
Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said: The son of Adam does not do any action on the day of sacrifice which is more pleasing to Allah than the sacrifice of animals; the animal will come on the Day of Resurrection with its hair, horns, and hooves (for reward). The blood certainly reaches Allah before it falls to the ground. So make yourselves purified therewith. [Tirmidhi and Sunan ibn Majah]
Regarding the qurbani, Allah says is the Qur’an: “Their meat will not reach Allah, nor will their blood, but what reaches Him is piety from you.” [Al-Haj 22:37]
Qurbani animals are goats, sheep, cow, and camels. It is necessary that the goat is one (full) year old, whether male or female. A cow, ox, bull, or buffalo will have to be two years old, and a camel five years. Animals that are younger are not suitable for Qurbani. A sheep (of any kind) not less than six months old, so strong and fat that it appears to be one year old will suffice for Qurbani, otherwise it will have to be one (full) year old. If an animal seller says that the animal has reached the required age, and outwardly there is no sign to disprove it, then it is permissible to rely on his statement. No other types of animals are allowed for Qurbani. The animal must be killed according to the prohibitions of halal sacrifice. In addition, the animals should be in good health.
While most of us are blessed with food and take our next meal for granted, spare a thought for the many children and families across the world whose lives are blighted by poverty and for whom basic food is a scarcity and meat a luxury.
It is recommended that the meat of the Qurbani sacrifice is shared equally in three parts between (1) the family members of the person performing Qurbani, (2) his/her relatives and friends, and (3) poor people. In developed countries, it is very difficult to perform Qurbani. Hence, it is permitted to arrange for Qurbani in a different country on one’s behalf. In this case, the whole Qurbani is distributed among the poor people.
When a pilgrim slaughters his/her animal in the place of sacrifice in Mina, he/she has followed the Sunnah. However, it is permissible for him/her to slaughter in any other part of Mina or Mecca (Makkah) as the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “I have slaughtered here and all of Mina is a place for slaughtering, and all of the mountain pass approaches, so slaughter on your place of stopping.”
When slaughtering the animal, it is Sunnah to do the dhabh (slaughter by a horizontal cut through the throat) or Nahr (slaughter by a vertical movement of the spear to the lower part of the throat) with own hand if possible, and if not, then to depute someone else to do it.
The animal should be facing the Qiblah during the process, making it lie down on its left side and putting his right foot upon its right side. If the animal being sacrificed is a camel, then it should be slaughtered by means of Nahr while the animal is on a standing position, having its left leg tied, standing on its others with its face towards the Qiblah.
Before slitting the animal’s throat, the slaughterer should say: Bismillahi Wallahu Akbar Al-Lahumma Inna Hadha Minka Wa Laka Al Lahumma Taqabbal Minni (In the name of Allah and Allah is greater. O Allah, this is from You and for You. O Allah, accept it from me.)
The Sunnah is to slaughter the sacrifice on the day of Eid, which is the tenth of Dhu’l-Hijjah.
It was narrated from Saalim ibn ‘Abd-Allaah that Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with them both) said: “During his last Pilgrimage, the Messenger of Allaah (ﷺ) performed ‘Umrah and then Hajj. He drove a hadiy (sacrificial animal) along with him… then he went to Safa and Marwa and ran between them seven times and did not do any deed forbidden because ofIhraam, until he finished his Hajj and sacrificed his hadiy on the day of Nahr (the tenth day of Dhul-Hijjah). He then hastened onwards (to Makkah) and performed Tawaaf of the Ka’bah, and then everything that was forbidden because of Ihraam became permissible.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari, 1606, Muslim, 1227)
Then, the slaughterer may eat from the meat of his sacrificial animal and take some back with him to his land as the Prophet did. And he should give some it to feed the poor and the needy.