Origin of the word ‘Qurbani’
‘Qurbani’ originates from the word ‘Qurban’ which comes from the word ‘Qurb’ meaning ‘closeness’. The Prophet Ibrahim (AS) in his willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail, demonstrated his closeness to Allah (SWT) and in doing so represented true Islam or submission to Allah (SWT).
Story of Ibrahim (AS)
Ibrahim (AS) experienced a dream in which he was ordered to sacrifice his beloved son Ismail (AS), at first, he was sceptical and believed it was trickery of the cursed devil. After experiencing the dream, the following night, he then understood that it was a message and a command from Allah (SWT). Without hesitation he prepared his son for the sacrifice. Ibrahim (AS) loved his son dearly yet this was no obstruction to honouring his duty that was instructed to him by Allah (SWT) and thus proving his full submission to Allah (SWT).
Ibrahim (AS) took his son to the top of mount Arafat and in his hands, a knife and a rope. Upon Arrival He mention the dream to his son Ismail (AS) and made him aware that Allah (SWT) has decreed for him to be a sacrifice and in obedience his son Ismail (AS) accepted what was commanded of him. Ismail (AS) asked that his hands and legs be tied to avoid struggling during the sacrifice and that his father should blindfold himself to avoid witness the suffering of his son. Ismail was aware of his father’s love towards him and knew that this would be difficult to witness. As Ibrahim (AS) began to carry the sacrifice, Allah (SWT) replaced Ismail with a ram and Ismail (AS) was unharmed. Allah (SWT) tested Ibrahim (AS) to see his dedication in his submission (Islam) to his creator. In his willingness to oblige to Allah (SWT) commands, Ibrahim (AS) successfully passed the test and Qurbani acts as a reminder of our beloved Prophet Ibrahim (AS) dedication and devotion to serving Allah (SWT) obediently, this is the true Islam of oneself that Allah (SWT) expects from us.
When is Qurbani Performed?
The act of Qurbani is carried out in the festive season of Eid al-Adha during the ‘Dhul Hijjah’ translated as ‘the month of pilgrimage’, the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar. This serves as lesson to carry out our duties and is inspired by the dedication of Ibrahim (AS) to Allah (SWT). It is also the period whereby the special Pilgrimage of Hajj takes place which is one of the five compulsory pillars of Islam. The Hajj takes place on the eighth, ninth and tenth day of Dhul Hijjah and Eid al-Adha begins on the tenth day and ends on the thirteenth.
Significance of Qurbani
“For every hair of the Qurbani you will receive a reward from Allah, and for every strand of its wool you will receive a reward.” [Al-Tirmidhi]
The rewards for Qurbani is immense as mention in the sunnah and hadith. The most important aspect of Qurbani is the total devotion and submission to Allah (SWT). the word ‘Islam’ meaning submission derives from. To be a devote Muslim requires forsaking our pride and ego to dedicate ourselves entirely to the will of Allah (SWT). It is through our creator’s guidance that we obtain true success in the Dunya (this world) and the Akhira (the next).
Submission is not the only lesson we learn from story behind Qurbani. Other core lessons vital to the practice of Islam can be examined, such as;
It is a sacrifice that encourages unity through the sharing and distribution of meat to those in need of food. Whether it is shared to Muslims or non-Muslims, the meat is distributed to help those in need of your support and in doing so, we are encouraging peace, blessing and unity amongst all those within the human family. Allah’s (SWT) mercy is for all of his creation and we help whoever is need of it.
“Their meat will not reach Allah, nor will their blood, but what reaches Him is piety from you. Thus, have We subjected them to you that you may glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and give good tidings to the doers of good”. Qur’an [22:37]
The importance of Qurbani lies in the act of it, i.e. the act of worship to Allah which is the essence behind the sacrifice. Allah (SWT) in all his glory is not in need of our charity nor does he need our sacrifice. He wills and we follow, all he needs to say is be and it is. He is the giver of life and the taker and all shall return back to him. Nothing we do benefits Allah (SWT) instead, what Allah () commands is mercy on us and benefits us. What we sacrifice is feeds our needy from our families after all, we are all children of Adam (AS) and everyone is our brethren. In addition, we are nurturing our love for the Akhirah and our piety in our good deeds and willingness to obey any command given to us by our creator which in turn, increases our “Iman” and “Taqwa” (Faith and god fearing). Moreover, we are strengthening our sabr or “patients” which allows to release the love of this world and its short-lived wealth by sacrificing for Allah (SWT) which is in actual fact is a sacrifice for others.
Allah (SWT) has given us this opportunity to eliminate our desires and rid ourselves from the clinging on to what is not ours. This is a chance to purify our hearts and should not be missed as it allows us to come closer to our creator. Therefore, to purify our hearts we must purify our intentions so that Allah (SWT) accepts our acts of Qurbani and by strengthening our bonds with the creator, we are strengthening our lives in this world and the next.
‘And when they had both submitted and he put him down upon his forehead, We called to him, “O Ibrahim, you have fulfilled the vision”. Indeed, We thus reward the doers of good. Indeed, this was the clear trial and We ransomed him with a great sacrifice’. Qur’an [37:103-107]
The sacrifice of Ismail (AS) was a great test on our beloved Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and Ismail (AS) was saved by the sheer mercy and grace of Allah (SWT). This cradle of mercy has always existed through Allah (SWT) and has been our source of inspiration, Guidance and comfort since we was created by Allah (SWT). Allah’s (SWT) mercy whether we choose to see it or not exists in unique ways beyond our imagination. Allah (SWT) is the planner and we must obey his commands as a mercy to us. his mercy is the reason we can hear, see, taste, smell, touch and the reason we are compassionate, and we are able to make decisions. Allah’s (SWT) mercy should never be taken for granted and the story of Ibrahim and Ismail (AS) illustrates that we should be eternally grateful to Allah (SWT) for his benevolence.
The Prophet Muhammed (SAWS) said: “Be merciful to those on the earth, so the One above the heavens will be merciful to you” [Bukhari]
The creator is a continuous source of guidance for us and we are taught in detail how we should treat one another. By sharing meat from what we sacrifice for Allah (SWT) with our brothers and sisters in humanity we encourage mercy and empathy for those in need similar to how Allah (SWT) showed compassionate and mercy to Ibrahim and Ismail (AS).
“Be sure We shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods, lives, and the fruits of your toil. But give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere. Those who say, when afflicted with calamity, ‘To Allah we belong, and to Him is our return.’ They are those on whom descend blessings from their Lord, and mercy. They are the ones who receive guidance.” Quran [2:155-157]
One of the most important teachings in Islam is patience. The virtue of a believer is to persevere through hardship in contemplation to Allah (SWT) and in constant understanding of his trials. Patience is one of the best blessings Allah (SWT) can ordain on a person. When Ibrahim (AS) told his son that he will be a sacrifice by the command of Allah (SWT), Ismail (AS) in absolute patience and loyalty to Allah (SWT) accepted without any refusal to the situation. Ismail (AS) response to his father was;
‘O my father, do what you are commanded to do. You will find me, God willing, patient’ Qur’an [37:102].
Here Ismail (AS) is displaying the ultimate example of pure patience for the sake of Allah (SWT) which is an attribute all Muslims should have. Our beloved and final Prophet Muhammed (SAWS) emphasized its importance and mentioned:
“Whoever practices Sabr, Allah (swt) gives him Sabr. And no one can be given anything better or more far-reaching than Sabr’.” [Bukhari]
Who should perform Qurbani?
The general ruling is that Qurbani should be performed by adults of sane mind and affordable means. This means that anybody who meets the threshold for Zakat, should be performing Qurbani. However, if you have any doubts, please contact your local Mosque.
What animals are sacrificed at Qurbani?
The animals we slaughter at Qurbani are goats, sheep and cows. They can be male or female and in good health. Goats and sheep must be at least one year old, and cows must be two.
Giving Qurbani with SABA Relief
You can pay your Qurbani to SABA Relief anytime until 3rd day of Eid ul Adha.
The situation in Yemen is worsening from what is already the world’s most severe humanitarian disaster. After years of war, eight million of Yemen’s estimated 28 million people are at risk of starvation, according to the United Nations and aid agencies.
Every year, SABA Relief carries out Qurbani in Yemen, on behalf of donors. We help in areas where starvation is a reality of daily life. SABA Relief’s Qurbani campaign this year is out to tackle hunger in some of the poorest places in Yemen. Your Qurbani donation can make an immediate difference for a family who cannot buy meat most weeks of the year.
It is a great way to help the needy in Yemen who suffer from poverty and adverse conditions. It is important to Yemen as they are in desperate need of food especially for Eid, when it is supposed to be a time for celebrating.
Please help us reach more households this Eid, so no child or family goes hungry.