Qurbani is the act of religious sacrifice of a livestock animal during Eid ul-Adha. The sacrificed meat is then distributed to poor communities around the world so that they are able to enjoy the festivities of Eid in the same way as Muslims across the globe. The practice of sacrifice holds a long-standing tradition within Islam and can be seen in many stories of the past Prophets. It is a tradition of selflessness, humility and obedience to God. An important factor within this sacred sacrifice is the sole intention to please God in performing Qurbani which highlights one’s sincerity and devotion to God.
HISTORY OF QURBANI
The history and background which surrounds the practice of Qurbani is well worth understanding, at it is a religious obligation of paramount importance. This sacrifice stems from the life of the Prophet Ibrahim, who, in a dream, saw the slaughter of his son Ismail – this then led him to discern that this must be a command of God and thus was willing to do so upon God’s orders – however, when he was ready to do this, God rewarded his piety and sole trust in him by instead commanding him to slaughter a sheep. And so, in celebrating Prophet Ibrahim’s spirit of sacrifice and unwavering faith in God, Muslims across the world also take up this practice around the time of Eid ul-Adha to mark the end of Hajj, the sacred pilgrimage to Mecca. As Prophet Ibrahim was willing to sacrifice his son due to his sole trust in God, the Qurbani is symbolic of sacrificing that which you hold dear to you for your faith and trust in God. The Qur’an notes that the blood and slaughter associated to sacrifice is not what is rewarded, but instead, the piety of the believers: “It is not their meat nor their blood that reaches God. It is your piety that reaches Him…”(Qur’an 22:37).
THE PRACTICE OF QURBANI WITHIN ISLAM
In addition, all Qurbani animals must be of good health and sacrificed in the Islamic way. Qurbani meat must also be divided into three portions: one for the poor, one for the family performing the Qurbani, and one for their neighbour. This highlights the spirit of giving and generosity which surrounds the Qurbani practice. In this way, it brings to light some of the key principles of Islam, including a keenness to support the poor and needy, as well as showing sole trust and commitment to serving God. In the Islamic tradition, Muslims are required to give 2.5% of their wealth to the poor, further emphasising the ethos of giving and caring for the less fortunate which is intrinsic to all Muslims. Moreover, animal welfare in Islam is also of upmost importance and is upheld within the Muslim community through the establishment of ethical farms.
AL KHAIR FOUNDATION’S ROLE IN QURBANI
Al Khair Foundation itself has set up a number of ethical farms around the world in regions such as Pakistan, Somaliland, and Kenya; where they raise their own livestock to ensure that the best quality of meat is distributed during Eid ul-Adha – the animals at these farms are reared from birth rather than being purchased at the time of sacrifice. Al Khair Foundation’s Qurbani projects are always amongst the largest initiated in the UK – last year, we successfully performed 38,000 Qurbanis, which directly benefited an astonishing 958,775 people around the world. Many charities are at the forefront of the Qurbani process, allowing individuals to fulfil their religious obligations through the medium of these charities, which has become a very common practice. It is telling, that Muslims around the world have upheld this tradition of sacrifice for generations, and will do so for generations to come. It is this strength in faith, and willingness to obey God’s commands that has gained this religion such admiration and respect from its followers, and those of other faiths alike.