Qurbān (Arabic: قربان), also known as Uḍḥiyah (Arabic: أضحية, lit. ’sacrificial animal’), is a central Islamic practice performed during the festival of Eid al-Adha, which is celebrated on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic lunar calendar.

The term “Qurban” is derived from the Arabic word “qurb,” meaning closeness or nearness, symbolizing the intent to seek closeness to Allah through the act of sacrifice.

Historical and Religious Context

The practice of Qurban commemorates the profound act of faith by Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham), who was willing to sacrifice his son, Ismail (Ishmael), in obedience to Allah’s command. This story is recounted in the Quran:

فَلَمَّا بَلَغَ مَعَهُ ٱلسَّعْىَ قَالَ يَـٰبُنَىَّ إِنِّىٓ أَرَىٰ فِى ٱلْمَنَامِ أَنِّىٓ أَذْبَحُكَ فَٱنظُرْ مَاذَا تَرَىٰ ۚ قَالَ يَـٰٓأَبَتِ ٱفْعَلْ مَا تُؤْمَرُ ۖ سَتَجِدُنِىٓ إِن شَآءَ ٱللَّهُ مِنَ ٱلصَّـٰبِرِينَ ١٠٢

Then when the boy reached the age to work with him, Abraham said, “O my dear son! I have seen in a dream that I ˹must˺ sacrifice you. So tell me what you think.” He replied, “O my dear father! Do as you are commanded. Allah willing, you will find me steadfast.” (Quran 37:102)

Right before Prophet Ibrahim intended to sacrifice his son, Allah provided a ram to be sacrificed in place of Ismail, signifying divine mercy and the importance of obedience and faith. This event is annually commemorated by Muslims worldwide through the ritual of animal sacrifice.

The Ritual of Qurban

The Qurban ritual involves the sacrifice of specific animals, which can be a sheep, goat, cow, or camel. The selection of the animal follows Islamic guidelines to ensure it is healthy and free from defects. The process includes:

  1. Intention (Niyyah): The individual performing the sacrifice must have the intention of seeking closeness to Allah.
  2. Slaughtering: The animal is slaughtered in a humane manner, in the name of Allah, and following specific Islamic protocols.
  3. Distribution: The meat is divided into three parts: one part for the family, one part for relatives and friends, and one part for the poor and needy.

Importance of Qurban in Islam

  1. Expression of Faith and Obedience: Qurban is a testament to a Muslim’s willingness to submit to Allah’s will, emulating the unwavering faith of Prophet Ibrahim. This act of sacrifice signifies total obedience and readiness to give up something valuable for the sake of Allah.
  2. Promoting Charity and Solidarity: The distribution of meat ensures that even the less fortunate members of society can enjoy the blessings of Eid. This act of giving fosters a sense of community, compassion, and social responsibility, highlighting the importance of supporting those in need.
  3. Spiritual Reflection and Renewal: The ritual of Qurban encourages Muslims to reflect on their own lives, questioning their willingness to sacrifice personal interests for the greater good and for Allah’s pleasure. It serves as a reminder of the transient nature of worldly possessions and the eternal significance of spiritual devotion.
  4. Strengthening Family and Community Bonds: By sharing the Qurban meat with family, friends, and neighbors, the practice reinforces relationships and promotes unity within the community. It is an occasion for communal gatherings and shared joy.

Contemporary Views and Approaches

The Qurban tradition has adapted to meet the needs of diverse Muslim communities worldwide in modern times. Today, various organizations offer services overseas to simplify the Qurban process, allowing Muslims to perform Qurban overseas through these organizations. The organizations would collect funds and perform the Qurban in different regions where the distribution of meat can aid disadvantaged communities.

This global approach helps overcome logistical challenges faced by Muslims in urban areas or regions with a small Muslim population. It ensures that the fundamental values of the practice, such as charity and community welfare, are upheld.

You can also participate in this initiative by performing Qurban through our platform at: https://bit.ly/qurbanddusa

Qurban remains a deeply significant practice in Islam, embodying the principles of faith, obedience, charity, and community. It serves as a powerful reminder of the story of Prophet Ibrahim and the virtues of unwavering faith and sacrifice. Through the act of Qurban, Muslims around the world renew their spiritual connection to Allah and reinforce their commitment to helping those in need, fostering a sense of unity and compassion that transcends geographical boundaries.

By understanding and participating in Qurban, Muslims not only honor a pivotal event in our religious history but also engage in acts of kindness and charity that strengthen our faith and community ties.