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Rules of Qurbani - Q&A

by Musa Bukhari

What is Qurbani?

Qurbani (also known as Udhiyah) refers to the sacrifice made by Muslims around the world on the day of Eid ul-Adha. The Qurbani that is done in Dhul-Hijjah signifies the sacrifice of Ibrahim (A) when he set out to sacrifice his son for the sake of Allah. Allah saved his son but gave Ibrahim (A) the good news that he had passed the test. Allah never asked us to sacrifice our own children, but He did ask us to sacrifice animals in His Name and only in His Name, for His sake. We walk the footsteps of Ibrahim (A) and we follow the guidance of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) when it comes to this great act of worship.

What is the Difference between Hady and Qurbani?

Qurbani/Udhiya refers to the sacrifice that non-pilgrims make (the Muslims who are not on Hajj).

Hady’ is the sacrifice that the pilgrims make, and it is referenced in the Qur’an in the ayah presented below from Surah Baqarah:

“And complete the Hajj and 'umrah for Allah. But if you are prevented, then [offer] what can be obtained with ease of hady’ (sacrificial animals). And do not shave your heads until the sacrificial animal has reached its place of slaughter. And whoever among you is ill or has an ailment of the head [making shaving necessary must offer] a ransom of fasting [three days] or charity or sacrifice. And when you are secure, then whoever performs 'umrah [during the Hajj months] followed by Hajj [offers] what can be obtained with ease of hady’ (sacrificial animals). And whoever cannot find [or afford such an animal] - then a fast of three days during Hajj and of seven when you have returned [home]. Those are ten complete [days]. This is for those whose family is not in the area of al-Masjid al-Haram. And fear Allah and know that Allah is severe in penalty.” (2:196)

What is the Value of Qurbani?

The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “There are no days on which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days.” (Bukhari)

The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “There is nothing dearer to Allah during the days of Qurbani than the sacrificing of animals. The sacrificed animal shall come on the Day of Qiyamah with its horns, hair, and hooves (to be weighed on a person’s good deeds). The sacrifice is accepted by Allah before the blood reaches the ground. Therefore, sacrifice with an open and happy heart. (At-Tirmidhi)

The first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah are the best of days in which to do good deeds, and this goes for any good deeds. On top of that, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) is telling us that the deed Allah loves most on the days of Qurbani is the sacrificing of the animals for His sake. Another important point to note is that we don’t know which good deeds of ours will be accepted by Allah. In this hadith, however, we are explicitly told that the sacrifice is accepted by Allah before the blood of the animal reaches the ground; that is instantaneous acceptance! In the story of Habil and Qabil, we learn that Allah only accepts from those who have Taqwa (God-consciousness). This is good news for us that if we have Taqwa, then He will accept our sacrifice! Allahu Akbar!

Is Qurbani Fard (Obligatory)?

There are two opinions among the scholars:

That it is Wajib (obligatory): This is the opinion of Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Al-Awza’i and Imam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimakumullah). It is also one of the two opinions of Imam Ahmad and Imam Malik.


  1. “So pray to your Lord and offer sacrifice [to Him alone].” (108:2) This is a command, and command implies that something is obligatory.

  2. Hadith of Jundub (R.A.) who reported that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: "Whoever slaughtered his sacrifice before he prays, let him slaughter another one in its place, and whoever did not slaughter a sacrifice, let him do so in the name of Allah." (Muslim)

  3. Hadith:"Whoever can afford to offer a sacrifice but does not do so, let him not approach our place of prayer." (Reported by Ahmad and Ibn Majah)

That it is a Recommended Sunnah: This is the opinion of Imam Ash-Shafi’i as well as the majority of scholars.


  1. Hadith of Jabir (R.A.): "I prayed Eid ul-Adha with the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam), and when he finished (the prayer), he was brought two rams, and he sacrificed them. He said, ‘Bismillah, Allahu Akbar (In the Name of Allah, Allah is Most Great.) This is on behalf of myself and any member of my Ummah who did not offer a sacrifice.' " (Sunan Abi Dawud)

  2. The Hadith reported by all the famous scholars of hadith apart from Imam al-Bukhari: "Whoever among you wants to offer a sacrifice, let him not take (cut) anything from his hair or nails."

Summary: Shaykh Ibn Uthaymin (r.h.) said, "Each point of view has its evidence, but to be on the safe side, the one who is able to offer a sacrifice should not neglect to do so, because of what is involved in this act of reverence towards Allah, remembering Him, and making sure that one has nothing to be blamed for."

A good rule to have also is that if you are eligible to pay Zakat, then do Qurbani.

When is the Qurbani done?

The Qurbani animal sacrifice is done after the Eid salah on the 10th. The Qurbani can also be done on the 11th, 12th, and 13th of Dhul-Hijjah. The day of Eid ul-Adha this year will be July 20, 2021.

What are the Sunnahs of Qurbani?

The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) would sacrifice the animal(s) straight after the Eid prayer and the first thing he would eat is the meat cooked from it.

A forgotten sunnah of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) is that he would sacrifice a second animal on behalf of a believer who was not able to afford the sacrifice. (Tabarani and Ahmad)

We know from another hadith that the reward of reviving forgotten sunnahs is that we get the reward of the one who follows it, without it decreasing from their reward at all.

When should we give money for Qurbani?

Since your Qurbani meat will be distributed all over the world, it is advisable to make your Qurbani payment to Human Appeal as soon as possible.

How Many Animals Do I Have to Sacrifice?

One Qurbani is one sheep or goat, i.e. a small animal. A larger animal, like a cow has multiple Qurbani shares.

Does the Animal Feel Pain?

Many people wonder about the “cruelty” of animal slaughter. The truth is, in Islam, there is no allowance for cruelty to animals. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) was the most kind to animals, and he said the following when it comes to animal slaughter:

“…when you slaughter, slaughter in a good way. So every one of you should sharpen his knife, and let the slaughtered animal die comfortably.” (Sahih Muslim)

If the slaughter is done ideally, according to the sunnah, the animal feels little to no pain as it is killed quickly with a sharp knife.

How is the Meat Distributed?

One-third of the meat goes to the poor (this is the most important part).

Traditionally, one-third goes to the neighbors/friends and one-third is kept for one’s own family.

Can I Cut My Hair or Nails?

NO. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “When the ten days (of Dhul-Hijjah) start, and one of you intends to sacrifice, then let him not cut his hair or his nails.” (Muslim)

How Does Qurbani Play Out in Our Everyday Life?

“Say, ‘Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the worlds.’” (6:162)

The specific act of slaughtering an animal for the sake of Allah is prescribed in the montj of Dhul-Hijjah, and this is one type of sacrifice. But the word sacrifice has deeper meanings and more implications that we may realize. Sacrifice is a quality that the Sahabah and Sahabiyyat embodied as a way of life—a quality that is lost on us now. The Ansar (the Muslims of Madina) welcomed the Muhajiroon (the Muslims from Makkah) when they came, leaving everything behind. They embraced them like brothers and shared their food, their wealth, and even their homes! There were other Sahabah who sacrificed entire farms and orchards and wells for the sake of Allah for the use of the Muslims. Our own Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) sacrificed his sleep making du’a for us all night in prayer. He sacrificed his comfort when he slept on a straw mat that made Umar (R.A.) weep, as waking up for salah was more important to him (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam).

The ayah above is an affirmation. It is a manifesto. Our salah is for Allah. Any and all sacrifices we make are for Allah. Our entire lives are for Allah. And even our death is for Allah. This ayah reminds us of what attitude we should have when it comes to sacrifice. Allah does not always require us to sacrifice, but when He does (i.e. our time for salah, our nafs in the face of sin, our beauty for hijab), we should have an ironclad willingness and determination to comply, the way Ibrahim (A) did. He did not let Shaytan deter him. He did not let Shaytan deceive him. He continued on, marching in the way of Allah until he passed the test.

May we pass all our tests in a state of excellence, Ameen.

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