Qurban is an Arabic word which may be translated as sacrifice. As a religous practice that was started by Prophet Abraham (as) by the commandment of Allah (God). Through Prophet Abraham (as) act we commemorate the sacrifice and mark the completion of the annual Hajj pilgrimage.
The purpose of offering the qurban is to attain nearness to Allah (swt). The act of Qurbani encompasses the very essence of Islam; submission to the will of Allah (swt) and the willingness to sacrifice whatever is asked of us to achieve closeness to Him, just as Prophet Ibrahim (as) demonstrated so many centuries earlier.
The First Sacrifice in the History of Islam
Although we commemorate Prophets Ibrahim and Ismail (as) each Eid, sacrifice in the way of Allah (swt) actually predates Ibrahim (as). The sons of Adam (as), the first man on Earth, were the first to offer sacrifice. Habil and Qabil both offered sacrifices to Allah (swt), but only Habil’s sacrifice was accepted. Why was this? Habil’s Qurban was accepted simply on account of his piety and righteousness whereas Qabil’s was rejected because of his lack of piety and the ill thoughts he harboured towards his brother:
‘And recite to them the story of Adam’s two sons, in truth, when they both offered a sacrifice (to Allah), and it was accepted from one of them but was not accepted from the other. Said (the latter), “I will surely kill you.” Said (the former), “Indeed, Allah only accepts from the righteous (who fear Him)’. (Qur’an 5:27)
Whilst Habil offered his sacrifice with a sincere intention to be closer to Allah (swt), Qabil’s intention was driven by arrogance and the envy of his brother. This story teaches us about what Qurbani really is.
As the Qur’an tells us, ‘Their meat will not reach Allah, nor will their blood, but what reaches Him is piety from you’ (Quran 22:37). From this we understand that the deeper purpose of this act is to strengthen our iman and our love of Allah (swt) by showing our sincere willingness to sacrifice anything of this dunya to attain closeness to Him.
When is Qurban Performed?
Qurban is performed during the Haj season 10th,11th,12th and 13th of Dzulhijjah. The first slaughter can be performed after Solat Eiduladha and the last slaughter need to be performed before Maghrib of the last tashrik day. The animals allowed for Qurban are goat, sheep, cow, buffalo or camel.
The meat from the Qurban are distributed among 3 categories of people:
• 1/3 for the poor and needy.
• 1/3 for family members and friends.
• 1/3 for the person doing the Qurban - and this portion can be given to non-Muslims.
God says in the Holy Quran:
"Lo! We have given thee Abundance. So pray unto thy Lord, and sacrifice."
(Quran 108:1 - 2)
"Say: Lo! my worship and my sacrifice and my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the Worlds."