To understand the fiqh that underpins EQL’s practices please read the Fiqh guide here.
1. Can you explain the issues during Qurbani time? What are the risks of receiving non-Qurbani meat as Qurbani?
Qurbani is ultimately an act of worship and it is important that safeguards are taken to ensure that those you entrust with this Amanah (Trust) are performing it to the best of their ability. There is nothing more beloved to Allah swt during the days of Tashreek than Qurbani. It is a unique ibadah and should be carried out by trustworthy professionals with utmost transparency and sincerity.
Unfortunately, there is a mix of ignorance and cheating that occurs during Qurbani time which makes it more difficult for consumers to be satisfied that this act of worship carried out on their behalf is valid. Furthermore, beyond establishing basic Qurbani validity one should strive to ensure that this act of worship is performed with the highest possible religious status with a full embrace of Sunnah principles as much as possible.
The first problem is an ineligible Qurbani animal. Lambs need to be above 6 months old, known as Jaz’ah lambs(see below FAQ addressing this point). We have long established supply chains with farmers submitting declarations confirming the age whilst additionally meeting a minimum liveweight of 40kg for added assurance.
The second problem is ‘Qurbani’ being slaughtered before the earliest time of Eid Salah. Prophet (sas) said that any animal slaughtered before Eid salah is just normal slaughtered meat and not Qurbani. Allah (swt) has stated that there is nothing more beloved to him during the days of Tashreek than Qurbani. Thus it is important to verify and validate where and when was the Qurbani slaughtered and where and when it was cut up to ask ‘Does it make sense given the time you received your Qurbani?’. We were the first to print time & date (and name) on every Qurbani carcass label since 2019. We have pushed for the Halal industry to also do the same and alhumdulillah there has been progress in this regard. Please see attached agreed 2021 Qurbani protocol for Trade ( Click To View PDF).
The third problem is Qurbani being sold without size or weight indications. Thus religious consumers comparing UK Qurbani prices compare a small lamb qurbani with a large lamb qurbani. The Prophet (sas) said that there is reward for every fibre of wool on the animal. Thus the bigger the animal the more the reward insha’allah. Our Qurbani jaz’ah lambs are 178-223kg carcass weight and Qurbani sheep are 25-35kg carcass weight. After cutting into desi cuts the weight is about 75-80% of the carcass weight. It’s important to weigh the entire Qurbani meat you received to check it is the weight and size you expected. Particularly for Qurbani jaz’ah lamb the lower the weight the greater the chance of the lamb being less than six months old and so not eligible for Qurbani.
Another problem is butchers cutting 3 Qurbanis into 4 portions to give to 4 Qurbani customers. Once the meat is cut-up and mixed no-one can tell the right number of Qurbanis wasn’t performed. We provide individually named carcass tags with our Qurbani carcass so you can be assured the Qurbani was performed at the right time and on behalf of the right person insha’Allah. Ask your butcher to provide a named/ referenced Qurbani carcass label for each Qurbani you perform (which also has the time and date printed on it).
2. How many Qurbanis do you perform?
We can perform up to 5,000 Qurbanis in a day and typically around 10,000 Qurbanis over the three-day period of Nahr. Most of the Qurbanis are performed through wholesalers and butchers but some are performed directly with consumers who are passionate about being here to witness their Qurbani being performed.
3. What are your Shariah credentials?
We are well known in industry and Muslim circles for Qurbani and are regularly contacted by governmental (Food Standards Agency) and industry (AHDB, National Sheep Association etc) to speak about Halal & Qurbani.
Watch us featured in the AHDB Understanding the Qurbani market video
See also AHDB’s booklet ‘Understanding the Qurbani market’ which we helped to produce
We are a Muslim owned abattoir that aims to operate holistically in accordance with the Shariah. Since operating we have researched much scientific and shariah research and compiled a list of all Qur’anic ayat and all hadith we have come across in relation to Halal and Qurbani. Read our Qurbani fiqh page for a summary of Qurbani fiqh criteria. We have our own internal and external Shariah advisors who can be contacted at email@example.com.
We believe in doing conducting business holistically. We have a mosque onsite for employees and the wider public. We are a riba-free organisation and operate our own corporate charity, Euro Quality Foundation, through which we pay our business Zakah.
Customers can rest assured that not only will their Qurbani be performed with the highest possible religious status insha’Allah but no riba will be paid from their money and a portion of their money will go towards Zakah – a truly holistic approach to the Islamic Economy.
4. How can I order my Qurbani with EQL?
Orders will go live once Dhul Hijjah is announced and we know the day of slaughter. You will have two options if you would like to order your Qurbani through Euro Quality Lambs.
(1) Order online, and then collect it via a drive-thru collection point. We will put your Qurbani directly into your vehicle whilst you stay in the vehicle. Please note that, due to Covid, there will be no access inside the abattoir or lairage at all. You will not be able to witness the process, and there will also be no congregational Eid salah facilities for visitors.
(2) Order and collect your Qurbani from your local butcher who we supply. You can submit your email and post-code via our sign-up page & select the ‘Qurbani’ option under Interests. We will then send you a follow-on email with the nearest butcher to you that is offering Qurbani performed by us.
5. When are prices for Qurbani announced?
Once 1st Dhul Hijjah is announced and we know the day of slaughter and expected volumes of Qurbani we will announce the Qurbani prices. Furthermore, it is advantageous for customers to wait until Dhul Hijjah before placing an order in order to take advantage of the ten blessed days of Dhul Hijjah.
6. When is the last order time for Qurbani?
We close Qurbani orders 24hrs before Eid and will close earlier if capacity is reached. In 2019 we closed 72hrs early due to high demand. For 2021 orders must be received latest by Sunday 18th July but PLEASE BOOK EARLY TO GUARANTEE YOUR SPOT.
This allows us time to organise the Qurbani schedule and sequence for the following day. Once finalised we cannot change because the sequence determines the reading of Qurbani names and the application of Qurbani name tags to the carcass. We will be performing up to 5,000 Qurbanis in a day so we do not want to risk last-minute adjustments compromising the Qurbani sequence. Please place your orders and get it confirmed ASAP to avoid disappointment.
7. What type of animal should be slaughtered for Qurbani?
During the trial of Ibrahim (pbuh) Allah swt replaced Ishmael with a ram so sheep in particular have a special resonance for Qurbani. You should slaughter the best quality animal and the heaviest animal you can afford. Lamb is more expensive than mutton due to its tenderness and quality. Such lambs must be at least 6 months old (Jaz’ah lambs) and mature (look like an adult lamb in weight i.e. over 17kg carcass weight) to be eligible for Qurbani.
We offer Qurbani Lamb & Sheep. We may also offer Old Season Lamb/Hoggets, Organic Lamb, Sheep and/or Goat if there is sufficient supply and demand. However these animals must be procured in advance and it is unlikely that these will be available for Qurbani 2021.
To register your interest for those specialty animals for Qurbani 2022 please email firstname.lastname@example.org. A deposit may be required and once enough customers have paid a deposit to organise a minimum transport lot of 30 then final confirmation will be sought from customers and the deposits will become non-refundable with the balance due prior to Qurbani 2022. The deadline will be approximately three months prior to Qurbani i.e. 31-Apr-2022.
8. Can I bond with my animal before Qurbani?
Due to the volumes we process it is not possible to engage with a specific animal on the day of Qurbani. Normally you can see the live animals in lots selected for Qurbani on the day or it may be possible to do something the weekend before Eid. However due to Covid this will not be possible.
9. How do you ensure Qurbani lambs are over 6 months old?
It’s getting trickier! The UK lamb industry is seasonal and lambing (when lambs are born) normally occurs between February-April. For Qurbani this year eligible lambs must be born before 20-Jan-2021.
We have worked with forward-thinking Qurbani customers to purchase eligible animals of known age in advance to eliminate the risk of underage animals. This has led to higher cost as the animals must be looked after and fed up to the date of Qurbani.
We have also engaged with the sheep farming industry so they understand better the Qurbani market requirements and the dates coming earlier in future years. We have engaged with sheep farming representatives such as the Livestock Auctioneers Association, Sheep Breeders, National Farmers Union and National Sheep Association as well as directly with farmers at Welshpool and Ruthin livestock markets. See here for an article in the Farmers Guardian of the presentation given to Ruthin farmers. We received a good response and since 2017 (when Qurbani was on 1-September) initiated a 6-month plus declaration system where farmers who are selling eligible lambs born before the required date sign a declaration confirming this prior to selling their animals. Since then we have added a further safeguard that Jaz’ah lambs must be over 40kg live-weight. This is because the average UK lamb is slaughtered at 6.5 months of age weighing 40kg on average.
10. What affects the price of lamb?
Lamb price follows a typical seasonal pattern based on supply and demand. The UK sheep industry is inherently tayyib (pure, wholesome) as it’s a grass-based system so most sheep will only eat grass and forage during its life. Weather patterns and grass growth in parts of the country affect the supply of lambs. You can see the typical seasonal price variation and production variation in the graph below.
Lamb is typically at its highest price in May and at its lowest in September. As the Qurbani date moves back 10-11 days each year the base price of lamb will rise due to less availability of livestock.
11. What affects the price of Qurbani lamb?
See our Qurbani 2021 Outlook blog to understand the specific factors that have affected the price of Qurbani lamb this year.
Supply of Qurbani-age-eligible lamb and the base price of standard lamb at the time affect the Qurbani price. Lambs are normally slaughtered between 3 and 12 months of age. Typically lambing (when lambs are born) occurs between February and April but Qurbani lambs must be born before 20-Jan-2021 in order to be at least six months old by 20-July-2021. There is thus a dwindling number of Qurbani eligible lamb supply which pushes the Qurbani lamb price up more than the standard price of lamb at the time. Increased demand and reduced supply increases prices.
The day of Qurbani also affects prices. If the first day is on a weekend the prices are higher as there are higher wage costs for workers, vets, meat hygiene inspectors, drivers etc.
This year and estimated 25,000 British Hajis will, unfortunately, not be making the trip to Makkah. This will inevitably lead to higher demand for local Qurbani thus exerting upward pressure on a dwindling supply.
12. Which day do you perform Qurbani?
We will perform Qurbani on whichever day our customers consider is their Eid or their days of Tashreek. It is their ibadah and we simply act as agents acting on their behalf. We have our own masjid onsite (Craven Arms Islamic Centre) which performs its own Eid salah.
13. How do you slaughter the animals for Qurbani?
There are different ways of slaughtering Halal which can be seen from the educational sheep slaughter video here. We slaughter per the customer’s requirements. Our aim is to facilitate the Sunnah and customer’s requirements as far as practical.
14. Is your slaughterman a Muslim?
Yes! The business is Muslim owned and operated. From a fiqh perspective, a practising Christian or Jew can perform normal Halal slaughter (with some extra safeguarding rules in place) but as Qurbani is an act of Ibadah (worship) only a Muslim can perform this type of slaughter. We have plenty of qualified Muslim employees with Certificates of Competence so there is no shortage of slaughtermen!
15. Does the slaughterman read Eid Salah before performing Qurbani?
All Muslim abattoir operatives will read Eid Salah at EQL at the earliest jamaat time on the day of Eid. Only after this does Qurbani start.
16. Can I perform my Qurbani myself?
Slaughter is a regulated activity and all slaughtermen must hold a licence known as a Certificate of Competence to allow them to slaughter legally. It is also better for the animal to be slaughtered by an experienced slaughterman rather than someone with little or no practice. We, therefore, do not allow anyone to perform Qurbanis themselves.
17. Can I witness my Qurbani myself?
Normally we encourage consumers to witness their Qurbani at least once in their lifetime. However, due to Covid we will not be allowing anyone inside the premises this year, unfortunately.
18. Do you mention the name of the Qurbani performer at the time of slaughter?
Yes. Our Shariah advisor or a deputy will read out the Qurbani name just before slaughter. This is why we cut off and schedule all Qurbanis 24 hours before Eid so we can prepare the sequence of the list for reading and schedule the corresponding carcass labels with Qurbani names on it.
From a fiqh perspective, your Qurbani is performed even if no name is mentioned. However, our objective is to facilitate the Sunnah by mentioning the name just before slaughter.
Our slaughtermen make the intention and recite the Qurbani dua at the start and end of each Qurbani batch. They recite the tasmiya on every slaughter as per Halal requirements.
19. How can I be confident that I will receive my Qurbani carcass?
You can see our abattoir in the Understanding Qurbani video and the Halal farm-to fork video . Everything works on a sequential production line. Once the slaughtered animal is hooked onto the production line it stays in sequence until it arrives at the weighing station at the end of the production line. At this point, the pre-scheduled sequential carcass label is attached to the carcass with your Qurbani name on it. Barring any unforeseen mistakes in production or the label being accidentally damaged off in transit, you can rest assured that all efforts have been made for you to receive and enjoy your Qurbani carcass.
20. Do you offer Qurbani certification?
Most customers don’t ask for certification because of our credentials, transparency, and reputation. However, we can offer HMC or HFA certification for those customers that want it.
21. What happens with the Qurbani skins?
We thought you’d never ask! Unfortunately, the vast majority of Qurbanis performed in the UK do not factor in the money from the Qurbani skin and offal. Consumers forget that for Qurbani they are buying an animal and not just the carcass. Normally the abattoir would reduce the price of selling the carcass with the amount received from selling the skin and offal. However, during Qurbani this means that the poor are missing out because in effect they are deprived of the money from the skins whilst consumers get a discount!
We educate our customers on what the value of the skin, offal, casing and tripe is and provide the option on whether they just want to pay for the Qurbani carcass only whilst taking responsibility of paying the skin value to the poor themselves or whether they want us to make the donation on their behalf.
This year the price for lambskin, casing and tripe is £3 and for hogget & mutton it’s £1. All skin & offal donations we receive will be given to our Qurbani charity partner Islamic Relief. Read our blog about EQL’s charity Qurbani performed last year
22. Can I donate a third or all of my Qurbani meat to charity?
Yes! You can donate the whole Qurbani to charity or you can donate a third. When you donate a third the Qurbani carcass is cut into 6 primals – 2 shoulders, 2 loins and 2 legs. Two of these six pieces are set-aside for charity with the remaining 4 pieces given back to you the Qurbani owner in a box to take to a butcher for final cutting. There is a charge for primal cutting and cutting the meat into pieces for the end beneficiary to use immediately for cooking. Read our blog about EQL’s charity Qurbani performed last year
23. Who do you give the donated Qurbani meat to?
Read our blog about EQL’s charity Qurbani performed last year
Last year we had received requests from 59 Syrian refugee families settled in the local area of Shropshire & Mid-Wales, up from the 22 families previously. This year we intend on giving each household 5-10kg each depending on how much charity meat is generated.
We also have requests from UK food-banks and other charities from the wider public so will be working with them as well. We highlight Qurbani as The Muslim ThanksGiving – but instead of turkeys we do lamb! We explain the origin of the practice through the story of Prophet Abraham (pbuh) to remind the many commonalities between the Abrahamic faiths. It’s a great opportunity to discuss what we have in common and to share the blessings of Qurbani with our local community right here where we live.
24. Can part of the Qurbani carcass be condemned by meat inspectors?
Yes. On occasion, if there is an abscess in the leg or some other pathology the inspector may condemn part of the carcass so that part will be cut off and disposed of. This is rare and cannot always be easily detected in the live animal. If that occurs we will offer you the choice of another Qurbani carcass or we will provide you with more Qurbani meat to make up for the part that was condemned. This does not affect the validity and status of your Qurbani. Condemnations are part of the normal hygiene process and occur in meat plants every day.
25. What is maturation? How long can my Qurbani carcass stay in your chillers?
You may have seen beef marketed in supermarkets as 28 day matured on the bone. Lamb carcasses can be matured for up to 10 days and longer in our commercial refrigeration chillers. During maturation, the lamb meat tenderises and develops more flavour. There is some natural weight loss with some extra trimming required when the carcass is cut but maturation adds to the flavour and experience when consuming the meat. This also helps us manage the cutting of Qurbani carcasses so we can offer this service to more customers.
26. How can I take my Qurbani carcass away?
Ideally, you will need a cool hygienic vehicle. We will provide the Qurbani carcass (with named carcass label) in a blue-liner (or Qurbani box if the cutting option is chosen) that can be placed in the vehicle if it is in a hygienic condition. Normally, we would chill the carcass to 7C core temperature before despatch but because it is Sunnah to consume from your Qurbani meat as soon as possible you are allowed to take the Qurbani carcass away as soon as it is ready. In this case, the meat will not be fully chilled so you should take it to your butcher as soon as possible. You should arrange prior with a butcher to chill and cut up your carcass as soon as you arrive. Some customers are happy to wait for their carcasses to be at least partly chilled whilst they visit local attractions. Usually, we dispatch carcasses to wholesalers early the following morning after chilling to 7C core temperature.
27. Can I take away the pluck/red offal (heart, liver, lungs) or the green offal (head, feet, tripe, casing)?
Yes for pluck (red offal). We will put the pluck in a bag for you to take away. Please note some of the offal may be condemned by meat inspectors so you will be offered offal from the general Qurbani batch instead (or general Halal batch if no more Qurbani is performed) and not from your Qurbani. Condemnations can occur for a number of reasons, such as liver fluke, which are not identifiable in the live animal. Furthermore the Food Standards Agency has asked us to request consumers to take a previously chilled pluck instead, as unchilled offal carry greater hygiene risk than unchilled carcasses (see new regulatory requirements section). However you can still request unchilled offal if you insist.
For green offal such as head, feet, tripe & casing these are processed (washed to remove hair and contamination) on a batch basis so it is not possible to trace these to your Qurbani. However, you may take them from a Qurbani or general Halal batch should you wish but a further processing charge may be applicable. These are always chilled and never fresh.
28. Do you offer cutting for Qurbani?
Same-day we can only offer 6-way primal cutting for a charge – the Qurbani carcass is cut into 2 shoulders, 2 loins and 2 legs and put into a box.
For full cuts into English or Desi or requested cuts we can only do so in the days following your Qurbani. We have limited capacity so cutting can be delayed by up to 10 days with the carcasses undertaking maturation until it can be processed. There is a charge for cutting. We prefer that carcasses are taken away and cut at your local butcher to your own cutting requirements.
29. What do I need to consider in terms of the shelf-life of the product?
Shelf-life depends on a number of factors – how cold the product is, how has it been kept, how large the meat pieces are (bacteria is on the surface of the meat not internal), how exposed to air it is etc. As a general rule larger primals have a longer shelf-life than small bite-size meat pieces which itself has a longer shelf-life than ground mince. The smaller the pieces the smaller the shelf-life.
Products that are vacuum-packed have longer shelf-life than products simply put in a bag or liner. A product that is chilled has a longer shelf-life than a product that is warm.
For unchilled Qurbani, you should aim to chill your Qurbani and cook it properly as soon as possible, ideally within 24 hours but latest within 48 hours. Take the carcass straight to the butcher and ask the butcher to chill it if he has not scheduled to cut your carcass until later. Once the carcass is cut you should portion it in freezer bags, chill/freeze the cut pieces immediately and cook/distribute as soon as possible. Keep the meat away from contaminated surfaces, avoid double-handling raw meat and use disposable gloves if possible. It is good hygenic practice to wash your hands before and after touching meat.
30. Where can I find cooking tips & advice for my Qurbani meat?
Lamb is diverse and flavourful meat that enhances all types of cuisines. Visit the #LoveLamb recipe section of our website where you can discover an abundance of mouth-watering recipes and cooking tips, so you can take your taste buds on a delicious journey around the world. Many customers invite friends and neighbours round to take part in the blessings of having a Qurbani meal together.
We wish you a joyous Qurbani and Eid Mubarak!
31. What facilities do you have on Eid and for Eid prayer?
We normally have two Eid jamaats for visitors, sisters and families however due to Covid we will not be offering any facilities. Collection will be drive-thru only with customers requested to stay in their car whilst their Qurbani is placed in their vehicle.
32. If I bring my family what is there for them to do?
We normally love for families to visit as there are plenty of local attractions. However due to Covid we would request that customers do NOT bring their families.
33. What do I need to wear when I go inside the abattoir?
We normally provide coveralls for visitors to witness their Qurbani. However due to Covid no-one will be allowed into the premises unfortunately. Collection will be drive-thru only with customers requested to stay in their car whilst their Qurbani is placed in their vehicle.
33A. What are the new regulatory requirements?
The Food Standards Agency is increasing regulatory pressure on abattoirs to chill Qurbani carcasses before despatch to final consumers (unlike what is practised in France by French Muslims under the same food legislation). If you want to receive your meat as soon as possible please confirm the statement below when you place your order. The Qurbani carcasses will be kept in a chiller for a recommended 30 mins until ready for collection or despatch – so please plan your collection time accordingly.
Imam Ahmad narrated that Buraydah (ra) said, “The Messenger of God (sas) did not go out on the day of (Eid) al-Fitr until he had eaten, and he did not eat on the day of (Eid) al-Ad’ha until he came back, then he would eat from his sacrifice.”
The ruling is ‘It is best for the one who will do Qurbani that to not eat or drink anything from the dusk of dawn on the 10th of Zul Hijjah (i.e. the day of Eid/Qurbani) and when the Qurbani is done, he/she eats from its meat.’.
Consumers who order online and want to collect quickly will be asked to confirm the following statement:
“As part of my religious celebrations, I would like to receive my Qurbani meat as soon as possible. I am aware that if I collect my Qurbani early it will not be chilled to the normal core temperature of 7˚C or below (in accordance with legislative requirements) before leaving the abattoir. I agree to follow the advice in the consumer information leaflet which I have read in the Qurbani FAQs web-page #33A to ensure that the Qurbani meat is handled safely once I receive it.”
In addition consumers who request their pluck (red offal) will be asked to accept previously chilled pluck in the first instance but, if they insist, they will be offered the chance of taking away unchilled pluck from the Qurbani batch.