Qurbani – Sacrifice

Qurbani is an Urdu word derived from the Arabic origin Qurbaan which indicates any means of nearness to Allah, be it an animal sacrifice or even common sadaqah (charity). In usage, the word Qurbani, is mostly used for the sacrifice of an animal or any act of worship to Allah to gain nearness to Him. It is also referred to as ‘Adhiya’.

In history, the very first sacrifice of an animal, in the name of Allah to be accepted was performed by Haabeel (Abel), the son of Adam. He presented a ram while his brother Qaabeel (Cain) presented a sacrifice of sadaqah from the harvest of the fields. The Quraan mentions: “…they offered each a sacrifice.” (5:27)

The sacrifice of animals annually on the occasion of Eidul Adhaa is linked to the sacrifice of Ibrahim (A.S). In a narration from Zaid bin Arqam, he narrates that the Sahaba of Rasullah (S.A) enquired: “O Prophet of Allah, what are these sacrifice (of animals)? He replied: “It is the sunnah (practice) of your father Ibrahim.” (Ahmad, Ibn Majah)

Since our sacrifice is linked to Ibrahim (A.S), a short history of his sacrifice is necessary to be mentioned. Even at an early age Ibrahim (A.S) made sacrifice for Allah like leaving his parents and community and being thrown into the flaming fire etc.

Allah tested Ibrahim (A.S) and his family. He was commanded to take his wife, Hajirah, and the suckling infant to the hot and barren desert of Hijaaz, (which is now Makka) and to leave them there. Hajirah (A.S) left the infant kicking on the sand and ran to and fro, from Safaa to Marwa in search of water but Allah provided for them the well of Zam Zam.

At the age of 86, he made dua to Allah for a son, and Allah granted him Ismail (A.S). When this beloved son, Ismail was a young boy, Ibrahim (A.S) saw in a dream, for three consecutive nights, that he was slaughtering his son and he understood it to be a command from Allah. Immediately, Ibrahim, his wife and son unhesitatingly submitted to the order of Allah with patience, obedience and firm faith.

Satan then tried to prevent this act of obedience and sacrifice. He failed at influencing the mother, and tried several times to deter and trick Ibrahim. Ibrahim (A.S) pelted him on three occasions at Jamarut Aqba, Wusta and Ula with seven stones each time, reciting: Allahu Akbar (Allah is the Greatest).

Eventually, Ismail was placed for the slaughtering. But the knife could not penetrate. He (Ibrahim) then heard the voice of Allah saying, “O Ibrahim you have surely fulfilled the dream.” (37:108). A ram was then slaughtered in his place.

As a commemoration of this sacrifice of Ibrahim (A.S), Qurbani is considered a ritual of Muslims all over the world. Allah says “And perform salaah for your sustainer and sacrifice”. (108:2) The Prophet (S.A) lived in Madina after the Hijrah for ten years and every year he did a Qurbani. (Tirmizi)

Thus the majority of scholars have considered Qurbani to be waajib on every Muslim (male or female) who is of sound mind, mature and possesses wealth on the Days of Sacrifice to the amount of the nisaab. (i.e. the minimum amount of wealth which makes zakaah compulsory on a person).

It is not waajib on a musaafir (a traveller according to the Shariah), nor upon a child or an insane person even though they may possess wealth.


The days of Qurbani are the 10th, 11th and 12th of Dhul Hijjah. The actual time commences from after the Eid Salaah and ends just until before sunset on the 12th of Dhul Hijjah.

Although it is allowed to do sacrifice during the nights, it is however not advisable to do so. The sacrifice done before Eid Salaah is not proper. The best day to do the sacrifice is the day of Eid, the 10th, then the 11th and then the 12th.


Qurbani can be done with camels, oxen, buffaloes, cows, goats and sheep.

A camel must be at least 5 years old; oxen, buffaloes and cows must not be less that two years. One of these animals will suffice as seven shares (i.e. seven people may slaughter one) but all must have the intention of Qurbani and not for the acquisition of meat.

Goats must not be less than one year old. Sheep should also be one year old. However, a sheep less than one year old but resembling the size of a one-year old can be sacrificed.

Animals for sacrifice must be free from defects such as:
– blindness in both or one eye,
– animals born without ears or a third or more of an ear or the tail cut off,
– a horn broken off from the root,
– majority of teeth have fallen out,
– animals that are squint eyed,
– animals with total lameness of one or more legs,
– animals sick and weak so that they cannot walk to the place of sacrifice.

Note: Animals which are castrated or those born without horns or part of the horn is broken can be used for Qurbani.


The meat of Qurbani can be divided into three parts. One part for the family, one for relatives and friends, and one for the poor and needy. This division is only mustahab (commendable) and is not compulsory. As such, it is allowed that all the meat be kept for oneself and the family, if one has a large family.

The meat can be kept for any length of time.

The meat of animals which is shared should be distributed by weight and not by estimation.

The price of the animal for slaughtering must be fixed before slaughtering and not determined by the weight of the meat.

It is permissible to give the meat of Qurbani to non-muslims.

It is Haraam to sell the Qurbani meat. The skin or meat of the Qurbani animal cannot be given to a slaughterer or skinner as a payment. It is allowed that the skin be kept for personal use or be given away with the niyyat of sadaqah (charity).

According to the Hanafi Jurists, there are seven parts of lawful animals that are considered as foul and are abominable (Makruuh tahriimah). [Based on a Mursal tradition from Mujahid]

They are: Flowing blood; penis; testicles; vagina; glands; bladder; and gall bladder (bile).


– It is preferable for the owner of the animal to slaughter the animal himself provided that he is able to slaughter. If he cannot do it, then one may delegate another muslim who is acquainted with the laws of slaughtering.

– If one has delegated another, then it is desirable that the owner or sharer of the animal be present.

– The Islamic slaughtering requires that the gullet, windpipe and the two jugular veins be severed. At least three out of the four must be cut together with the recital of the name of Allah.

– The knife should be very sharp. It should not be sharpened in front of the animal.

– An animal should not be slaughtered in the presence of another.

– An animal should not be slaughtered with such force that the head is severed or the knife reaches the spinal cord.

– After slaughtering, the head should not be cut off nor should the animal be skinned until it is completely dead.


Al-laahu akbar Al-laahu akbar, Laa ilaaha il-lal-laahu wal-laahu akbar,
allahu akbar wa lil-laa hil hamd

It is wajib upon males and females to recite this takbeer once after every fard salaah from after the Fajr salaah of the 9th of Dhul Hijjah until after the fard of Asr salaah of the 13th.

The takbeer should be recited whether the salaah is performed individually or with Jamaah. Males will say it in a moderate voice while females will recite it softly.


– to awake early in the morning,
– to perform ghusl and miswaak,
– to wear one’s best clothes,
– to apply Itr (perfume),
– to abstain from eating anything before Eid Salaah until ‘sacrifice meat’ is available,
– to recite the takbeeraat audibly while going for Eid salaah,
– to go for Eid salaah in one route and return by another,
– to go early for Eid Salaah


Hadith from Aisha (R.A), she says that Rasulullah says: “There is nothing dearer to Allah during the days of sacrifice than the sacrificing of animals. The sacrificed animals shall come on the day of Qiyaamah with its horns, hairs and hooves. The sacrifice is accepted by Allah before the blood reaches the ground. Therefore sacrifice with an open and happy heart”. (Tirmizi, Ibn Majah)

From Zaid bin Arqam, the companions asked the Prophet (S.A), “What benefit do we get from it (sacrifice)?” He answered, a reward for every grain of hair or fibre of wool”. (Ahmad, Ibn Majah)

The person who sacrifices with a willing heart and with the niyyat of reward, that sacrifice will shield him from the fire of Hell on the Day of Judgement.

Allah looks at the heart of the believers in all their actions. Through their sacrifice, Allah wants to see the Taqwa, (piety) and Ikhlaas, (sincerity). Allah says, “ The meat nor the blood reaches Allah but it is the piety from you that reaches Him.” (22:37)

The sacrifice would signify our willingness to give up our vain desires for Allah; our determination to submit to His will even though it may mean to sacrifice our wealth, our family, our lives, our comfort, our time etc. May Allah reward us with a blessed Eidul Adhaa.


Doing Qurbani at another location.

Q. Over the past years we have been sending our monies to India to do Qurbani. In this way we would be able to help the poor and the needy and also have our Qurbani done. Recently someone told us that this was not permissible, since the people in India celebrate their Eid-Ul-Adha and do the Qurbani one day before us in Trinidad. The person explained that since our animals are being sacrificed before we can actually perform our salaah and also before our 10th of Zul Hijja (Yawmun Nahr) it would not be proper. Please guide us accordingly.

A. The guidelines of the shariah regarding this matter is that consideration be given to where the animal is and not necessarily where the person (doing the Qurbani) lives. The early Fuqaha (Jurists of Islam) have written many cases where it is permissible for a city-dweller to send his animal to the village to be sacrificed immediately after the Fajr prayer, before he has actually perfomed his Eid Salaah. This, as well as other cases were all given to establish the principle that ‘with respect to sacrificing the Qurbani animals on the day / days of Qurbani, consideration would be given to where the animal is’.

Based on this, it is clear that since the animal/animals for your Qurbani are usually done on the day of Eid (i.e.10th Zul Hijja) in India, then these would all be valid Qurbanis and it is permissible for you to continue this practice. The same Fatawa has been given by the late Mufti Abdur Rahim Lajpuri (A.R.) when asked about a similar case. (see Fatawa-e-Rahimiyah)

Qurbani in foreign countries.

Q. In recent times in Trinidad, I’ve noticed the practice at EID UL ADHA times for some muslims to send their money to foreign countries (usually poor ones) to have their meats to be distributed there. I seek knowledge as to this practice if it is permissible as compared to simply doing it locally.

A. Although it is permissible to have one’s qurbani done in another country, it is more virtuous to do it in one’s own place. Sharing the meat of the qurbani to the poor ones is obviously rewarding, however, one must also take a few things into consideration.

First of all, there are many poor Muslims living in this country, Trinidad and hence, those living here must look after these poor Muslims before looking on the outside.

Secondly, the Prophet (SAW) has encouraged one to do his/her own qurbani. If one cannot do it (that is, slaughtering the animal), he/she must stand close to the animal while it is being sacrificed. This can only be done if one is doing his sacrifice in his own country, if it is done in another country, one will not be able to do this.

Thirdly, the Prophet (SAW) has emphasized that one should partake of the meat of the sacrifice. If one’s qurbani is done in another country, then he/she will not be able to partake from his/her own sacrifice.

While it may be said that the poor Muslims of a certain country will benefit from one’s qurbani (the money of which he sent) it can equally be said that the poor ones living in these countries also benefit tremendously from the other well to do Muslims living in that country who do their sacrifices.

As such, when our Muslims of this country send their monies to do qurbani in another country to benefit the poor ones over there, the question remains as to who would then provide for the poor ones in this country?


When the animal is laid down facing the Qiblah recite:

In-nii waj-jah tu waj hi ya lil-la dhii fa taras-sa maa waa ti wal arda hanii faw-wa maa ana minal mush rikiin.

Certainly I have directed my face truly towards Him who created the Heavens and the Earth and I am not from those who ascribe partners to Allah.

In-na salaatii wa nusukii wa mahyaa ya wa ma maati lil-laahi rab-bil ‘aalamiin. Laa sha rii ka luu, wa bi dhaa lika u-mirtu wa a-na minal muslimiin. Al-laa hum-ma min ka wa laka.

Verily my worship and my sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the worlds. There is no partner for Him, and with that I have been commanded and I am from the Muslims. O Allah this sacrifice is from You and is for You.

Then the slaughter will begin. While slaughtering the animal one should only read:

Bismil-laahi Al-laahu Akbar
In the name of Allah, Allah is the Greatest.

Immediately after the sacrifice the following dua is read:

Al-laa hum-ma ta qab-bal hu min (nii) ka maa taqab-bal ta min habiibika Muham-mad, wa khaliilika Ibraahiim, ‘alaihimas-salaatu was-salaam.

O Allah accept from (me) like you have accepted from Your beloved Muhammad (S.A) and Your friend Ibrahim (A.S).

Note: At this point the name or names of those whose Qurbani is being done should be called. If one is reciting the Dua in Arabic then instead of the word (Nii) in brackets the name or names of those for whom the sacrifice is done are mentioned.