Qurbani, also known as Udhiya is the sacrifice of animals - typically goat, sheep and cattle - made by Muslims during the days of Eid ul-Adha. This practise stems from Prophet Ibrahim's (AS) devotion and submission to Allah (SWT), and the sacrifice they were prepared to make. Over time, both the story and the practice has continued, and every year millions of Muslims reflect on what true devotion and sacrifice really are.
The story of Qurbani is the story of how Prophet Ibrahim (as) showed steadfast devotion to Allah (SWT), by being prepared to sacrifice his only son Ismail (as), who he loved dearly. Ibrahim’s (as) sacrifice was rewarded, and since then, Muslims have emulated the sacrifice by conducting their own Qurbani and distributing the sacrificed meat amongst poor and vulnerable communities around the world.
The Prophet Ibrahim (as) had a series of dreams where he was being instructed to sacrifice his beloved son, Ismail (as). He was deeply disturbed by them, and confided in his son, Ismail (as). Prophet Ismail (as) comforted his father and encouraged him to follow the commands of Allah (swt).
“Oh my father,” Ismail (as) told Ibrahim (as), “Do that which you have been commanded, Insha’Allah you shall find me among the patient ones.” (37:102)
Once on Mount Arafat, Prophet Ibrahim (as) decided to blindfolded himself while he carried out the slaughter, so to ease his own pain. When Ibrahim (as) removed his blindfold, he saw that by the divine grace of Allah (swt) Ismail (as) was safe beside him, and a ram lay in the place of his son!
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “It is the Sunnah of your father Ibrahim (as). For every hair of the Qurbani you receive a reward from Allah (swt).” (Trimidhi)
Just as the Prophet Ibrahim (AS) was rewarded for his devotion, Allah (SWT) will generously reward any Muslim who completes their Qurbani obligations with full hearts and good intentions.
We remember that sacrifice, every year, during the month of Dhul Hijjah, last of the holy calendar, when Muslims from around the world perform Qurbani - sacrificing an animal, as Ibrahim (as) did - preferably a goat, sheep, cow or camel. Thus we echo Ibrahim’s (as) deed long ago to demonstrate our own devotion, obedience, and submission to Allah (swt).
Prophet Muhammad (saw) said of the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah: “There are no days on which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days” (Bukhari).
Despite the knowing how much it would have hurt him, Ibrahim (as) followed Allah’s (swt) command and was willing to sacrifice his beloved son, Ismail (AS) out of devotion. Allah’s (swt) divine intervention saved Ismail’s life, and in doing so revealed to Ibrahim what he truly wanted from this act of devotion, and a sacrifice of worldly attachments. It was never Allah’s (swt) desire for Ibrahim (as) to sacrifice and lose his son, but instead to slaughter his earthly attachments. “It is neither their flesh nor their blood that reaches Allah, it is your piety that reaches Him.” (22:37)
The story of Qurbani reminds us all that Allah (swt) knows what is in our hearts, and that goodness and devotion to Him will always be rewarded.
Udhiya must take place across the three days of Eid ul-Adha however people are encouraged to make their commitment and give their Qurbani donations as soon as possible. The timeframe for the sacrifice is between post-Eid prayer and the 13th of Dhul Hijjah. Our beloved Prophet (saw) used to hasten to offer sacrifice after Eid prayer, and the first thing he would eat would be the meat from his sacrifice.
From the meat that is acquired from Qurbani, a minimum of 1/3 must go to people who are poor or in a dire situation. Some scholars state that giving Udhiya is mandatory for any person who owns wealth above the nisab. One small animal such as a sheep or goat is equal to one Qurbani, and a large animal, such as cattle or a camel, is equal to seven Qurbanis. With SKT Welfare, you can give your Qurbani for just £25, giving a vulnerable family nutritious and healthy meat for up to a week.
As we move into Dhul Hijjah, we should keep the Qurbani story in our minds and hearts, and reflect on what we will sacrifice, and how our small sacrifices can make a huge difference to those most in need around the world.