‘And for every nation We have appointed religious ceremonies, that they may mention the Name of their Lord over the beast of cattle that He has given them for food.’ Al-Hajj 34.
It is important to understand the rules and fiqh basis for Qurbani.
Qurbani is not a trivial action. It is THE most beloved act of Ibadah for Allah swt during the days of Tashreek. How confident are you that your act of Ibadah is being carried out with the due care and attention that it deserves? It’s important to understand the rulings and ask questions so that Qurbani service providers can demonstrate how they perform this act of Ibadah on your behalf.
‘It is not their meat, nor their blood that reaches Allah swt. It is your piety that reaches him.’ Qur’an 22:37.
The principles of Qurbani are summarised below followed by links to the detailed fiqh positions.
‘There is nothing dearer to Allah swt during the days of Qurbani than the sacrificing of animals. The sacrificed animal shall come on the Day of Judgement with its horns, hair, and hooves (to be weighed). The sacrifice is accepted by Allah swt before the blood reaches the ground. Therefore sacrifice with an open and happy heart.’ (Tirmizi, Ibn Majah)
Who should perform Qurbani?
In general every adult Muslim who is eligible to pay Zakat, or has enough money to perform Qurbani at the time, should perform Qurbani. In a household this may involve several adults. We recommend profiling the Qurbanis in the household so that a couple are done internationally for the poor and a couple are done locally so that children will understand and appreciate the blessings of eating from Qurbani and another where you can help the poor in the local community by donating Qurbani. A small animal (sheep or goat) counts as one Qurbani and a large animal (cattle or camel) counts as seven Qurbanis.
No Substitute for Qurbani
You cannot give the equivalent amount of money to charity as a substitute for Qurbani. Qurbani is its own Ibadah like you cannot fast to make up for missed Salah. The Prophet sas (peace be upon him) said “Whoever has the means and does not do Qurbani should not come near our place of Eid.” (Ibn Majah). However if obligatory Qurbani is not performed, out of ignorance or negligence, only then can compensatory charity be given but there will be no sawaab (reward) for it.
Offer the best animal you can afford.
This is an offering for Allah swt. Do you want to offer any old animal or an animal selected for the purpose that you can be proud of? The Prophet sas said “The wealth which is spent on Qurbani on the day of Eid, there is no dearer weath than it.” (Tabrani). Imam Ahmad narrates that the Prophet sas said “The best Qurbani is the one which is expensive in price and is very fat”. In this regard lamb is more expensive than mutton although some may prefer mutton to lamb. Price is a good indicator of quality.
Offer the largest animal you can afford.
The hadith in Ibn Majah mentions there is reward for every fibre of wool on the animal. The bigger the animal the more the reward insha’Allah. It is also mentioned that the Qurbani animal will come on the Day of Judgement with everything intact and its weight increased seventy times to be placed to your scale of good deeds (Kanzul Ummaal). We will all need as many good deeds as we can that day. The more meat you receive from your Qurbani the larger the animal would have been.
The Prophet’s Qurbani
The Prophet sas himself slaughtered two horned rams having black & white colour (black with white marks). The Prophet sas performed a Qurbani on behalf of the Ummah. It is recommended to perform nafl Qurbani on behalf of the Prophet sas.
Animals must be of a certain age. For sheep this is minimum 6 months and for goats 12 months.
Animals must be balik (post-puberty) – they should be mature. Lamb mature early (some breeds are slaughtered from 3 months onwards) so Prophet sas has provided a concession for lamb to be a jadh’ah (6 months old) rather than a musinnah (adult, generally agreed as more than 12 months old) (Muslim). Qurbani service providers must engage with farmers and livestock traders to ensure the animals were the right age.
Animal must be in a good state. Healthy (not sick) & fat (not thin). No defects, lameness, broken horns, broken teeth, blindness.
Qurbani service providers should check each animal and pull out any animals which are not of the suitable standard.
The timing of Qurbani
Qurbani must only be performed after Eid Salah. The earliest that Eid Salah can be read is after sunrise on 10th Dhul Hijjah. Qurbani can be performed up to sunset 12th Dhul Hijjah although it is preferable to perform it as soon as possible.
Intention of Qurbani
Whoever intends on performing Qurbani should not cut their hair or nails from 1st Dhul Hijjah until the Qurbani is performed.
The slaughterman should read his Eid Salah before starting Qurbani. He should recite the Qurbani dua during Qurbani. See dua here.
Slaughtering your Qurbani
It is preferable to slaughter your own Qurbani. However legislation requires slaughtermen to hold a Certificate of Competence before they can legally slaughter and it is better that Qurbani is performed swiftly by an experienced slaughterman rather than someone with little or no experience. It is desirable to be present when your Qurbani is being slaughtered.
Mentioning the name of the Qurbani performer
It is preferable that the name of the Qurbani performer is mentioned at the time of slaughter. This is when the Qurbani animal is allocated to the Qurbani performer.
Acceptance of Qurbani
Qurbani is accepted by Allah swt even before the blood hits the ground.
Skin & By-Products of the Qurbani Animal
Any proceeds from the skin or other part of the animal should be given to charity. No part of the Qurbani must be given to the slaughterer or butcher or another as payment for their service.
The Qurbani service provider should tell you the value of the skin & by-products of the Qurbani animal (e.g. offal, casing, tripe) to enable you to make a choice of whether to give this money to the slaughterer or butcher to give to charity on your behalf or whether to give the money to charity directly.
Eating from your Qurbani
It is Sunnah to eat from your Qurbani. Imam Ahmad narrated that Buraydah (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) 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 masla is ‘It is best for the one who will do Qurbani that to not eat or drink anything from dusk of dawn on the 10th of Zul Hijjah (i.e. the day of Eid/Qurbani) and when the Qurbani is done, he eat from it’s meat.’.
Qurbani service providers should ensure that animals on whom names are mentioned are correlated with their resulting carcasses and a identifying name or number be placed on the carcass to ensure traceability.
Distributing your Qurbani meat
It is preferable to make three portions of your Qurbani – one for yourself, one for friends & family and one for charity.
Fiqh research, sources & links
Ahekame Adha: Slaughtering Animal on Eid Adha www.islamicacademy.org/html/Articles/English/Qurbani_Eng.htm
Islam21c: Qurbani FAQs www.islam21c.com/islamic-law/3657-faq-all-about-dhul-hijjah-sacrifice-udhiyah-part-2
Islamic Dawah Academy: Udhiyah (Qurbani) https://idauk.org/index.php/k2-content/item/41-udhiyah-qurbani.html
Wifaqululama: Qurbani Virtues & Conditions www.wifaqululama.co.uk/qurbani
Central Mosque.com: Fiqh of Udhiya/Qurbani (Sacrifice) https://central-mosque.com/index.php/General-Fiqh/fiqh-of-udhiyaqurbani-sacrifice.html
Central Mosque.com: Ten Blessed Days of Dhul Hijjah www.central-mosque.com/index.php/Soul/ten-blessed-days-of-dhul-hijjah.html
Central Mosque.com: Sunnah Method & Description of Eid Salah www.central-mosque.com/index.php/Acts-of-Worship/sunnah-method-description-of-eid-salah.html