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Qurbani: The Rules and Significance of Qurbani

Eid ul-Adha is one of our busiest times of year, when we get lots of calls from supporters with frequently asked questions about Qurbani / Udhiya. To make things simpler for you and us, we’ve put together a  guide to the rules and sunnah practices of performing Qurbani / Udhiya.

What is Qurbani?

Qurbani, also called Udhiya by Arabic speakers, is the practice of sacrificing an animal for Allah (SWT). The word, ‘Qurbani’ is derived from the Arabic word, ‘qurb’ meaning ‘nearness’. The implication then is that if we perform Qurbani, we attain nearness to Allah.

Qurbani is offered on Eid-ul-Adha, which we celebrate from the 10th of Dhul Hijjah (the twelfth month of the Islamic year) to the 12th of Dhul Hijjah. On this Eid, Muslims all around the world sacrifice livestock for the pleasure of Allah (SWT) and distribute (at least a third of) the meat to the poor.

The Islamic practice of performing Qurbani on Eid ul-Adha commemorates an important event in Islamic history: the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) to sacrifice his beloved son, Ismail (AS) in adherence to Allah’s (SWT) command. Qurbani also marks the end of the five days of Hajj.

When should I perform Qurbani?

 

The ritual sacrifice of Qurbani, during Eid ul-Adha, may be done any time after the Eid Salah on the 10th of Dhul Hijjah until maghrib on the 12th.

Muslims offer Qurbani / Udhiya outside of Eid ul-Adha too, to seek the pleasure of Allah (SWT) due to various motivations. These include:

  • As Aqiqah – this is the Islamic tradition of sacrificing an animal on the occasion of a child’s birth.
  • In gratitude – Muslims offer Qurbani and feed the poor, to mark a happy event, like a wedding, in gratitude to Allah (SWT).

Who should give Qurbani?

 

Qurbani is obligatory on every Muslim adult, male or female, who meets the criteria to pay Zakat, ie has the minimum amount of wealth/savings after all his/her expenses have been paid. This amount is called Nisab and is equal to the current value of 48.48 grams of gold OR 612, 36 grams of silver. Each adult in the family who meets these criteria is eligible to perform Qurbani.

Which animals can you give as Qurbani?

Animals that can be sacrificed for Qurbani are those that are normally considered as livestock. These include:

  • Sheep
  • Goats
  • Cows and buffalo/bison
  • Camels

How many Qurbani shares are there in a cow / camel / sheep?

 

Each person eligible to perform Qurbani must offer at least one share. The number of shares in each animal varies depending on its size. Here is a list of how many Qurbani shares there are per animal:

  • Qurbani share per sheep: One
  • Qurbani share per goat: One
  • Qurbani share per cow/buffalo: Seven
  • Qurbani share per camel: Seven

Which animals are not allowed for Qurbani?

 

When offering Qurbani, we should be careful that the animal is suitable. Sheep and goats eligible for Qurbani should be at least a year old. Cows must be two years old, and camels must be five years or older. The animal being offered must be healthy and not have any illness or physical defects. Here are some animals that are not allowed to be offered for Qurbani:

  • Animals with broken horns.
  • Animals with more than half of their teeth missing.
  • Animals with a third or more of their ears or tails missing.
  • Animals that are blind or which have lost a third of their eyesight.
  • Animals that are lame.
  • Animals that are too thin or weak.

What are the rules of Qurbani when slaughtering animals?

 

Islam is the religion of peace and compassion and as Muslims we are to respect and treat all living things with kindness, including animals. It is our duty to ensure no undue suffering is experienced during the sacrifice. Here are some of the rules of halal slaughter when offering Qurbani:

  • A sharp knife must be used to prevent unnecessary suffering.
  • Knives should not be sharpened in front of the animal.
  • The slaughter of one animal should not be carried out in front of another animal(s).
  • The following words must be recited while the animal is being slaughtered: Bismillahi Allahu Akbar.
  • The animal may only be skinned when the body is cold.
  • The slaughter must be performed by an adult Muslim with a sound mind who understands the procedure and conditions of slaughtering animals.

 

The Prophet Muhammad has said, ‘Verily Allah has enjoined goodness to everything; so, when you kill, kill in a good way and when you slaughter, slaughter in a good way. So, every one of you should sharpen his knife and let the slaughtered animal die comfortably.’ (Muslim)

How do you distribute Qurbani meat?

 

One-third of the meat from the Qurbani may be used by the family of the person who offers it. A second third may be given to friends and relatives. The last third should be distributed to those less fortunate (the poor and needy). Nowadays though, many people donate all the meat from their Qurbani to the needy.

When you donate your Qurbani through ARF, we perform it in the country of your choice and distribute all of the meat to needy families, living in some of the poorest communities in the Horn of Africa.

What should I do if I miss a Qurbani?

 

Any sacrifice missed over previous years may be performed the next year on Qurbani (so, one can slaughter two or more animals the next year, depending on how many years one has not made Qurbani).

When can I give Qurbani?

 

You can pay an organisation/person to perform your Qurbani at any time, but the sacrifice itself must be performed on the three days of Eid-ul-Adha (10th, 11th and 12th of Dhul Hijjah).

ARF accepts Qurbani donations throughout the year, and we will perform Qurbani on your behalf on the correct dates (10-12th Dhul Hijjah) in the country of your choice. Below is a list of Qurbani 2022 prices:

  • Sheep/goat: £65
  • Cow: £315
  • Portion of cow (divided into 7 portions): £45
  • Camel: £520
  • Portion of camel (7 portions): £75

Can I give Qurbani for the deceased?

 

Yes. You’re allowed to give Qurbani on behalf of others. Some scholars believe that we can combine our names with that of the deceased loved one while others say that we can give Qurbani on behalf of others provided that one Qurbani share is done in your own name first. If you are unsure, it’s best to confirm with your local Imam. And Allah (SWT) knows best.

Can I cut my hair and nails before Qurbani?

 

It is recommended that you do not cut your hair and nails during the 10 days of Hajj if you intend to perform Qurbani as per the Hadith. However, if one does, then this does not affect the validity of the Qurbani.

‘When the ten days (of Dhul Hijjah) begin and a person has an animal for sacrifice which he intends to slaughter, then let him not cut his hair or trim his nails. (Muslim)

ARF Qurbani Impact

 

Thousands and thousands of families cannot afford to buy meat for the whole year. African Relief Fund implement the qurbani project to provide fresh meat for disadvantaged families, so needy families are feed, and give them the chance to enjoy the Eid day.

Give Qurbani Online through ARF

 

The Qurbani you offer through African Relief Fund (ARF) will help feed some of the poorest people in the Horn of Africa this Eid ul-Adha.

‘So turn in prayer to your Lord and sacrifice (animals). (Quran 108:2)

ARF performs and distributes Qurbani meat in several countries including Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti, The Gambia and Zimbabwe. The people we provide for are trying to survive humanitarian crises in the aftermath of conflicts, droughts, and extreme weather conditions which have cost them their homes and livelihoods. Many have been displaced and are trying to thrive in refugee camps. In want of the basics like water and shelter, meat is a luxury they haven’t had in too long.

Find out about ARF’s Qurbani Project and see Qurbani prices for Eid ul-Adha 2022.