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As one of the greatest rituals in Islam, Qurbani (or sacrifice) is an important religious duty practiced by millions of Muslims worldwide every year in the month of Dhu al-Hijjah.

In this article, we will discuss the etiquette of Qurbani, its definition, rules and conditions, the appropriate time for performing it, and the significance of this essential religious obligation, whether you are planning to perform Qurbani for the first time or simply seeking to refresh your knowledge.

The Qurbani

Qurbani is a way of showing obedience to Allah (SWT) and expressing gratitude for His blessings.

However, there are specific rules and conditions that must be followed in order for the Qurbani to be valid and acceptable in the eyes of Allah (SWT).

Qurbani definition

Qurbani, also known as Udhiyah in Arabic, is a ritual sacrifice that Muslims perform on Eid al-Adha.

 It involves slaughtering an animal, such as a sheep, goat, cow, or camel, as a symbol of obedience to Allah (SWT), and the meat is distributed to family, friends, and the needy.

Qurbani is performed to commemorate the sacrifice that Prophet Ibrahim (AS) was willing to make when he was ordered by Allah (SWT) to sacrifice his beloved son, Ismail (AS). 

This event is considered a pivotal moment in Islamic history and serves as a reminder of the importance of submission to Allah’s (SWT) will.

The obligation to sacrifice

The majority of Muslim scholars point out that the Qurbani is a confirmed Sunnah that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) conducted, as it was mentioned in many verses of the Holy Quran and hadiths, such as:

  • It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “Whoever can afford it, but does not offer a sacrifice, let him not come near our prayer place” [Sunan Ibn Majah].
  • Almighty Allah said: “So pray and sacrifice to your Lord ˹alone˺.” [Surat Al-Kawthar: 2].

For financially capable Muslims, Qurbani is an obligatory act that must be performed. 

However, those who are not financially capable of performing Qurbani are not obligated to do so and are instead encouraged to make other charitable contributions during this time.

Rules of Qurbani

Here are the most important rules and guidelines that must be followed for the sacrifice to be considered valid:

  1. The Qurbani animals (Sheep and cows, and camels)

There are certain animals that are eligible for Qurbani, including sheep, cows, and camels, which have been identified by scholars based on the words of Allah (SWT):

“So they may obtain the benefits ˹in store˺ for them, and pronounce the Name of Allah on appointed days over the sacrificial animals He has provided for them. So eat from their meat and feed the desperately poor.” [Surat Al-Hajj : verse 28].

  1. The age of the sacrifice

The sacrifice must reach a legally limited age, according to Jabir, reported Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) as saying: 

Sacrifice only a grown-up animal unless it is difficult for you, in which case sacrifice a ram (of even less than a year but more than six months of age). [Sahih Muslim].

The age of the animal should meet a minimum of:

  • 1 year of age for sheep and goats.
  • 2 years of age for cows and buffalo.
  • 5 years of age for camels.
  1. The safety of the sacrifice from defects

To ensure the sacrifice is accepted, the animal must be free from defects or illnesses. 

The animal should not have any broken bones, missing limbs, or any other physical deformities.

It was narrated from Bara’ bin ‘Azib that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “There are four animals that will not be accepted as sacrifices: The one-eyed animal that is obviously blind in one eye; the sick animal that is obviously sick; the lame animal with an obvious limp; and the animal that is so emaciated that it is as if there is no marrow in its bones” [Sunan Ibn Majah].

  1. The proper time for sacrifice

The sacrifice must be performed within the appropriate time, starting from the period following the Eid prayer on the 10th of Dhul-Hijjah to the sunset of the last day of Tashreeq, on the 13th day of Dhul-Hijjah. 

If the sacrifice is performed before this time, it will not be considered valid.

Narrated Anas bin Malik: The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Whoever slaughtered the sacrifice before the prayer, he just slaughtered it for himself, and whoever slaughtered it after the prayer, he slaughtered it at the right time and followed the tradition of the Muslims” [Sahih, al-Bukhari].

The etiquette of the sacrificer

The following are some of the conditions and etiquette for the sacrificer:

  • Qurbani is not obligatory except for a free, sane, capable Muslim.
  • The Muslim offering the sacrifice must stop removing anything from his hair and nails as the month of Dhul-Hijjah begins.
  • The sacrificer should slaughter his Qurabni himself, or he may have another Muslim act on his behalf.

How to slaughter a Qurbani animal?

To ensure that a Qurbani sacrifice is valid, the animal must be slaughtered according to specific guidelines, including:

  • Using a sharp knife, as dull knives, can cause unnecessary pain and suffering.
  • Knives must not be sharpened in front of the animal being sacrificed.
  • No animal should be slaughtered in front of another animal. 
  • The phrase “Bismillahi Allahu Akbar” should be recited during the process of sacrificing the Qurbani.

Qurbani shares

Every qualifying Muslim must offer one share of Qurbani, while parents are expected to offer a share on behalf of their children. 

One small animal, such as a sheep or goat, equals 1 Qurbani share, whereas a larger animal, like a camel or cow, equals 7 shares and can be divided between 7 individuals.

Jabir (RAA) narrated: “In the year of Hudaibiyah (Reconciliation), we sacrificed a camel for every seven people along with Allah’s Messenger (PBUH), and also a cow for seven” [Related by Muslim].

Meat distribution

When distributing the sacrificial meat, there are some rules:

  • The Prophet (PBUH) advises the one offering the sacrifice to eat from it.
  • It is forbidden to give the butcher something from the sacrifice in exchange for his work.
  • It is forbidden to sell anything from the sacrifice, even wool and bones.

Eligible for Qurbani

Although traditionally, Qurbani shares are split into 3, it is common for shares to be given to those most in need and who do not have enough wealth or food to feed their family for a day; the first being neighbors, relatives, and friends.

At Bonyan Organization, we are committed to distributing your Qurbani donations to refugees who are in dire need and live in poverty, and we ensure that they enjoy Eid al-Adha.

This Eid al-Adha, let us not forget the less fortunate and the destitute.

Bonyan Organization is dedicated to supporting refugees, the poor, and the needy in war-torn countries such as Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon. 

By donating your Qurbani to our relief organization, you can provide much-needed food and assistance to those who are living through difficult circumstances. 

Let us come together to share our blessings and make a difference in the lives of those who are less fortunate!



What is the etiquette for sacrifice in Islam?

The etiquette for sacrifice in Islam includes:
Fulfilling the conditions of the sacrifice.
Slaughtering the animal with a sharp knife and in a humane manner.
Distribution of sacrificial meat to the poor and needy.
Giving thanks to Allah for His blessings.

What makes the Qurbani invalid?

The Qurbani becomes invalid if the animal is not slaughtered in the proper Islamic manner if the animal is not of the proper age, and if the animal has any defects.

How Many Qurbani Per Family is Expected?

Every qualifying Muslim must offer one share of Qurbani, while parents are expected to offer a share on behalf of their children.
 One small animal, such as a sheep or goat, equals one Qurbani share, whereas a larger animal, like a camel or cow, equals 7 shares and can be divided between 7 individuals.

Who is eligible for Qurbani?

It is common for shares to be given to those most in need and who do not have enough wealth or food to feed their family for a day, the first being neighbors, relatives, and friends.