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Qurbani is the festival of sacrifice and entails slaughtering an animal in recognition of Prophet Ibrahim’s (AS) devotion to Allah (SWT) during Dhul Hijjah.

Prophet Ibrahim (AS) was commanded by Allah (SWT) to sacrifice his son, Ismail, to prove his obedience. Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and Ismail agreed and dutifully prepared to carry out the wish of Allah (SWT). As Prophet Ibrahim (AS) carried out the sacrifice, Allah (SWT) replaced Ismail with a ram at the very last second – sparing Ismail’s life and rewarding Prophet Ibrahim (AS) for his obedience.

To honour Prophet Ibrahim’s (AS) devotion, Muslims observe Qurbani whereby each eligible person sacrifices an animal and divides it into three shares. There are strict rules surrounding how to distribute Qurbani meat which every Muslim should be aware of.

Qurbani Animals

Before Qurbani meat can be distributed, animals must first be selected. The animals that are suitable for sacrifice are typically chosen in relation to the location the slaughter is going to take place. For example, cows are commonly sacrificed for Qurbani, but in India, buffalos are sacrificed instead of cows.

Each animal is worth a different number of shares, but Muslims for whom Qurbani is compulsory must ensure that the animal they select is large enough to be divided into at least three shares. Suitable Qurbani animals include:

  • Goats, sheep and rams at least one-year-old – equivalent to one Qurbani share
  • Cows, bulls and buffalos at least two years old – equivalent to seven Qurbani shares
  • Camels at least five years old – equivalent to seven Qurbani shares

All animals should be in good health to ensure the meat is of good quality. This means Qurbani animals should:

  • Be a healthy weight (not too thin or lean)
  • Be mobile and able to walk independently
  • Possess both eyes and at least two-thirds of their vision
  • Have at least a third of their ears
  • Have at least a third of their tail
  • Have their horns intact (they must not be broken by the root)

Animals that meet the above criteria are suitable for Qurbani and may be sacrificed.

Qurbani Meat Distribution

Qurbani meat is distributed in three ways:

  • One share for the donor
  • One share for the donor’s friends
  • One share for someone in need

Some animals are worth more shares, e.g. camels/cows are worth seven shares. For this reason, Qurbani may be given as a collective act between seven people if a larger animal is chosen. This means entire households may make one donation. Whilst only those who meet the Zakat threshold are required to give Qurbani, it is customary for parents to donate on behalf of children who do not yet meet the threshold. This way, everyone is blessed and rewarded, but more people in need can benefit from the donation too.

How to Give Qurbani 

It is traditional for Muslims to make the Qurbani slaughter themselves, although this is not always possible. For example, Muslims living in the UK must abide by domestic slaughter rules which state that animals must be slaughtered in a certified abattoir. This is not practical for Muslims which is why Qurbani charities like ILM exist. We support communities around the world and will carry out Qurbani on your behalf.

When you donate Qurbani to ILM, we will purchase an animal and sacrifice it for you. You will receive the rewards associated with Qurbani as you have made a donation, but you need not do the sacrifice yourself, and all the meat will go to those who are in need of support so that they may join in with the Eid al-Adha celebrations.

We will ensure that Qurbani is carried out following the Eid prayer on the 10th day of Dhul Hijjah and that your animal is slaughtered before sunset on the 13th day of Dhul Hijjah. We would recommend donating as early as possible, but if you donate on the second or third day of Eid al-Adha your donation will still count because we actively purchase animals specifically for Qurbani in preparation for the event, and the big Eid celebrations.

Make a Qurbani Eid Donation

Make your Qurbani donation in honour of Prophet Ibrahim’s (AS) act of devotion to Allah (SWT) by giving your Qurbani to ILM and help us support communities in need.

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