Qurbani (Udhiyah) is a practice commanded by Allah
So turn in prayer towards your Lord and sacrifice (animals). (108.2)
“There is nothing dearer to Allah during the days of Eid al-Adha than the sacrificing of animals. The sacrificed animal shall come on the Day of Judgment with its horns, hair, and hooves (to be weighed). The sacrifice is accepted by Allah before the blood reaches the ground. Therefore sacrifice with an open and happy heart.” (Tirmizi, Ibne Majah)
The Prophet Muhammad (saw) was once asked by his Companions: (ra) “O Rasoolullah! (peace be upon him) what is qurbani?” He replied: “It is the sunnah of your father lbraheem (as).” They asked again: “What benefit do we get from it?” He answered: “A reward for every hair (of the sacrificed animal).” “And (what reward is there for animals with) wool, 0 Rasoolullah (saw)?” they asked. “A reward for every fibre of the wool.” He replied. (Ibne Majah)
When a person slaughters a qurbani animal, he is forgiven at the fall of the first drop of blood, and verily, the animal shall be brought forward on the day of judgment with its blood and shall be increased in weight seventy times more than its own weight, and thereafter it will be placed on the scale of deeds. (Kanzul’Ummal)
On whom qurbani (udhiyah) is wajib?
Qurbani is wajib on every Muslim who is of sound mind, mature (who has reached the age of puberty), muqeem (i.e. he is not a traveller) and possesses the amount of fifty two and half totals of silver (612-36 grams) or wealth equivalent to that value which is in excess of one’s basic needs. It is not necessary that this amount be in one’s possession for a complete lunar year. It’s possession during the three days of qurbani will make it obligatory. Qurbani is not incumbent on a child or an insane person, whether they own wealth equivalent to the amount above or not, nor is it wajib upon their guardians to perform it on their behalf. Similarly, it is not wajib on a traveller.
It is highly virtuous for one on whom qurbani is not wajib to offer sacrifice for the pleasure of Allah. He will be eligible for all the reward mentioned in the hadeeth. During the days of qurbani, sadaqah and charity cannot compensate for qurbani. Qurbani is a unique ibadah. Just as zakah cannot compensate for Hajj, or Sawm (fasting) cannot compensate for salaat (prayer), similarly charity cannot compensate for qurbani. However, if the days of qurbani had passed, and it was not offered due to not knowing, negligence or for some other valid reason, then it becomes wajib to give in sadaqah the price of one qurbani animal.
If a traveller returned home or a person acquired the required wealth on the 12th of Dhul Hijjah (the fifth day of Hajj) before sunset, it will be wajib upon him to perform qurbani.
Days of qurbani
The days of qurbani are the tenth, eleventh and twelfth of Dhul Hijjah. The first day is better than the second, and the second better than the last.
Time for qurbani
In towns and cities where jumu’ah and ‘Eid salah are performed, qurbani is not permissible before the ‘Eid salat. If the Qurbani has been offered before the Eid salah, it will have to be repeated. Therefore, the time for qurbani commences after Eid salah on 1Oth Dhul Hijjah until before sunset of 12th Dhul Hijjah. It is permissible, but not preferable to perform qurbani at night.
The qurbani animal
It is permissible to offer in sacrifice a goat or she-goat, sheep of all kinds, cow, bull, buffalo or camel.
It is necessary that the goat is one-year-old, whether male or female. A cow, 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, but strong and healthy enough that it appears to be one-year-old will suffice for qurbani.
A cow, bull, buffalo or camel will suffice for seven persons provided no one’s share is less than one seventh and the niyyah (intention) of all partners is to attain reward and not merely to obtain meat.
The qurbani of only one person can be performed from a goat, sheep or ram.
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. Animals that are castrated can be used for qurbani. In fact this type of animal is preferable.
The following cannot be used for qurbani
Animals that are blind, one-eyed or have lost one-third or more of their eyesight.
Animals that have lost a third of their ear or the tail. Similarly, the animal which has no ear from its very birth is not permissible.
Animal whose horn has been broken off from the root.
Animal which has one leg lame to the extent that it walks on three legs only and is unable to use the fourth leg.
Animal so lean and thin that its bones have no marrow.
Animal so weak that it cannot walk to the place of slaughtering on its own.
Animal completely toothless or one that has lost most of its teeth.
It is virtuous to purchase the animal for qurbani a few days prior to slaughtering and care must be taken in feeding and nursing it.
Method of sacrifice
It is more virtuous to slaughter the animal with one’s own hands. If one does not know how to slaughter, it is preferred that he remain present while someone else is sacrificing the animal. It is not necessary to make the niyyah (intention) of qurbani with the tongue, however it is necessary to say Bismillahi Allahu Akbar when slaughtering.
Use a sharp knife and slaughter the animal quickly so that it does not suffer.
Do not sharpen the knife in front of the animal.
After slaughtering, do not skin the animal before it becomes completely cold.
Do not slaughter one animal in the presence of another.
It is mustahab (desirable) for one who intends to perform qurbani to refrain from cutting hair or clipping nails from 1st Dhul Hijjah to 10th Dhul Hijjah, (i.e. until after Qurbani).
The qurbani meat and skin
It is permissible to eat the qurbani meat.
It can also be distributed to relatives and friends whether wealthy or poor, Muslims or non-Muslims.
It is better to divide it into three parts. One for the family, one for relatives and friends and one for the poor and needy.
The skin of the qurbani animal can be kept for personal use, e.g. using it as a prayer-mat, water bag, etc.
If the skin of the qurbani animal is sold, then it is wajib to give that amount in sadaqah to the poor (i.e. those who are eligible for Zakah).
It is not permissible to give meat, fat, etc. of the sacrificed animal to the butcher as his wages.
The meat of the animal slaughtered by partners should be shared by weight and not by estimation.
The rope, cover, etc. of the animal should be given away as sadaqah.
Qurbani on behalf of deceased
If Allah has favoured one with wealth, then he should also perform qurbani on behalf of his deceased relatives, friends and teachers who have conveyed Islamic knowledge.
Aboo Talhah ( radhiyallahu anhu) has related that the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) sacrificed one ram and while sacrificing the other he said: “This is on behalf of every one of my ummah who believed in me and testified (to my prophethood).” (Tabrani)