What is Qurbani? Know Its Meaning, History, and Rules

June 22nd, 2023
14 min read

Qurbani is a significant Islamic rite observed during Eid al-Adha every year. It reflects our sincere devotion to Almighty Allah by sacrificing animals. The origin of Qurbani dates back to the sacrificing story of Prophet Ibrahim (AS). Now millions of Muslims sacrifice (Zabihah) animals on Qurbani day as a Sunnah practice of Allah’s Messenger ﷺ.

Qurbani takes place on the 10th, 11th, and 12th of Dhul Hijjah in the Islamic calendar. There are specific rules and guidelines in Islamic sacrifice (Udhiya). Let’s read this blog to know the essential things regarding Qurbani.

What is Qurbani in Islam?

The word “Qurbani” is an Arabic term derived from the root word “Qurban,” meaning “sacrifice” or “offering.” So, Qurbani meaning in English, refers to ‘sacrifice’ frequently. Another two names for Qurbani in Arabic are ‘Udhiya’ and ‘Zabihah.’ This day is also named Eid al-Adha or Bakra Eid, one of the two Eid days for Muslims.

In Islam, Qurbani is sacrificing (slaughtering) animals for the sake of Allah between 10 to 12 of Dhul Hijjah. Muslims who are financially capable should offer Qurbani at this event. 

When is Qurbani 2024?

The Eid al-Adha or Qurbani is observed on the 10th of Dhul Hijjah every year in the Islamic calendar. So, the Qurbani Day of 2024 will be celebrated on 16th June, Wednesday. You must perform Qurbani after the communal Eid Salah.

However, you can sacrifice animals in three days on the 10th, 11th, and 12th of Dhul Hijjah. Thus, you can offer Qurbani either on the 16th, 17th, or 18th of June in 2024.

Note: Qurbani date is subject to moon sighting. So, it may vary depending on your country or region. 

Is Qurbani Fard? 

Qurbani is Wajib (compulsory) according to the Hanafi school of thought. But the strong opinions of other Madhabs like Maliki, Shafi’i, and Hanbaili are that Qurbani is Sunnah Mu’akadah but highly recommended. 

Although there are differences in opinions among different scholars of the school of thought, everyone still mentioned Qurbani as compulsory as it is a confirmed Sunnah.

Note: Fard and Wajib are both compulsory. But Fard is obligatory actions 100% supported by the Quran and Sunnah. Wajib is almost similar to Fard, but there is some uncertainty.

Who Is Eligible for Qurbani?

All adult Muslims with sane minds should offer Qurbani who possess equal or more than the Nisab amount or its equivalent of wealth. 

In Islam, the Nisab amount is defined as-

  • 87.48 grams of gold or
  • 612.3 grams of silver or
  • The equivalent wealth without debt

If you have the same amount of wealth between the Fajr of the 10th Dhul Hijjah to the sunset of the 12th Dhul Hijjah, you should offer Zabihah.

We said before that performing Udhiya is highly recommended. So, whoever can do Qurbani should offer it for the sake of Allah. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ gives a warning if you don’t perform it.

Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated a hadith from Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said: “He who has the ability but does not offer Qurbani should not even come near our Eidgah.” [Musnad Ahmad, Mustadrake Hakeem]

Note: Qurbani isn’t obligatory on Musafir (who is travelling more than 48 miles away) Muslims.

Why Do Muslims Give Qurbani? 

The primary purpose of Udhiya is to show one’s devotion and Taqwa (Allah’s fear). 

Allah Azza Wa Jalla says in the Quran,

“It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah, but it is Taqwa from you that reaches Him.” [Sura Al-Hajj, 22: 37]

Muslims give Qurbani by slaughtering their sacrificial animals as a commandment of Allah (SWT) and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Through it, we remember the sacrificial event of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) to his son Ismail (AS).

Ummul Mu’minin Aisha (RA) narrates a hadith that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ 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 Judgement with its horns, hair, and hooves. Allah accepts the sacrifice before the blood reaches the ground. Therefore, sacrifice with an open and happy heart.” [Jami at-Tirmidhi, Sunan Ibn Majah]

Time of Sacrificing Udhiya Animal 

After the congregational Eid prayer, Qurbani should be offered on Eid day (10th of Dhul Hijjah). But you can also perform Udhiya on the following two days 11th and 12th of Dhul Hijjah, even on the night of these days. 

If you sacrifice the animal before Eid Salah, you must offer it again as a penalty.

Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said:

“Whoever slaughtered the sacrifice before offering the Eid prayer should slaughter another sacrifice in its place, and whoever has not slaughtered their sacrifice yet, should slaughter now.” [Sahih Bukhari]

What is the History of Qurbani?

The beginning of Qurbani is rooted in the two sons of Adam (AS). But the Islamic Qurbani came from the sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and Ismail (AS). The rituals of Qurbani are also found in the Shariah of Prophet Musa (AS). Finally, Allah has given this Ummah the rite of Qurbani through our beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Let’s discuss the transformation of Qurbani from its beginning to today’s form.

i. The First Known Sacrifice of the Two Sons of Prophet Adam (AS)

The first origin of sacrifice was found in the story of the two sons of Adam (AS), Habil and Qabil. Due to marriage issues, a conflict occurred between them. To resolve it, Prophet Adam (AS) told them to sacrifice. And whose sacrifice was granted by Allah will be supposed to be correct.

Habil sacrificed an animal (ram), and Qabil offered some crops grown on his land. Habil chose a healthy one of his best animals, whereas Qabil didn’t give the best crops he produced.  Allah was pleased with Habil’s intention and accepted his sacrifice. On the other hand, Qabil’s sacrifice was rejected. This made Qabil jealous, and he eventually killed his brother Habil.

 Allah Subhanahu Wa’Tala says the story in the Quran,

“Recite to them in all truth the story of Adam’s two sons: How each offered a sacrifice, and how the offering of one was accepted while that of the other was not. The latter said: “I will kill you.” The former replied: “Allah only accepts the sacrifice from the righteous.” [Sura Al-Maida, 5: 27]

Habil sacrificed with the sincere intention that Allah (SWT) wants from us. It comes from the Taqwa (Allah’s fear). 

ii. Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and Qurbani History

Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala tested Prophet Ibrahim (AS) through different trials and tribulations. And Prophet Ibrahim (AS) has passed successfully in Allah’s will every time. The Qurbani of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) was one such event. Let’s reveal it.

Prophet Ibrahim (AS) reached almost in his old age but had no children. So, his first wife, Sarah (AS), offered him to marry her servant Hajar (AS). After marrying Hajar (AS), Allah granted their supplication, and Prophet Ibrahim (AS) became a father for the first time. Ismail (AS) was the child of Hajar (AS) and Prophet Ibrahim (AS).

When Ismail (AS) was just a few years old, Ibrahim (AS) got a command in a dream from Allah to sacrifice his beloved son to test his faith. Ibrahim (AS) willingly shared Allah’s command with Ismail (AS). Ismail (AS) happily consented to his father’s will to fulfill Allah’s order, like father, like son.

Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala says in the Quran,

“He (Ismail) said, “O my father! Do as you are commanded. If Allah wills, you shall find me of the patient.” [Sura As-Saffat, 37: 102]

A narration of hadith says that when Prophet Ibrahim (AS) was going to Allah’s command Shaytan appeared to him three times, and Prophet Ibrahim (AS) encountered Shaytan by throwing stones every time. And it became a part of Hajj later.

Allah’s Messenger Muhammad ﷺ said in a hadith, “When Ibrahim threw pebbles at him, he (Shaytan) appeared to him on the middle Jamrat (pillar), and when he intended to hit him with pebbles, he disappeared from before him.” [Sahih Bukhari]

Some other hadiths, like the narration of Tabari and Hakim, say, “Shaytan tried to convince Ibrahim (AS), Hajar (AS), and Ismail (AS) separately that Ibrahim (AS) is going to do a wrong thing; thus they pelted stones at Shaytan separately.”

It was really hard for Prophet Ibrahim (AS) to sacrifice his beloved son Ismail (AS). But Ibrahim (AS) was the truly righteous person and Prophet of Allah. So, Prophet Ibrahim (AS) preferred Allah’s command over anything else. Ibrahim (AS) laid Ismail (AS) prostrate on his forehead (turned upside down on his face), and he also covered his eyes. 

Tafsir Ibn Kathir mentions, “Ibrahim (AS) placed Ismail (AS) facedown so that he could slaughter him from behind and not have to see his face at the time of slaughter so that it would be easier for him.” 

When Ibrahim (AS) was going to offer sacrifice and Ismail (AS) was going to die, they both testified Allah (SWT) and remembered Him. Then Prophet Ibrahim (AS) prepared to carry out the sacrifice of Ismail (AS) for the sake of Allah; suddenly, Ibrahim (AS) heard a voice calling from his behind. Tafsir Ibn Kathir mentioned that the knife passed Ismail’s (AS) neck but didn’t cut him.

Allah Azza Wa Jalla says it in the Quran,

“We called out to him, ‘O Abraham! You have already fulfilled the dream.” [Sura As-Saffat, 37: 104-105]

Meanwhile, Allah (SWT) sent a white-horned ram from Jannah to be sacrificed in Ismail’s (AS) place. And Ibrahim (AS) sacrificed the ram. This is the utmost history of the submission of Prophet Ibrahim (AS). It emphasized the principle that the value of sacrifice lies in one’s intention and devotion to Allah.

iii. The Prophetic Qurbani

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ offered Qurbani as a Sunnah of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and instructed us to do that too. He ﷺ used to perform Qurbani every year. Muslims today follow this Sunnah derived from Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and Allah’s Messenger.

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ also used to look for rams similar to the one Habil and Ibrahim (as) sacrificed – white, horned rams – to offer as Qurbani on Eid al-Adha. [Musnad Ahmad]

Allah’s Messenger ﷺ sacrificed two Qurbanis every year- one for him and his family and the other on behalf of his Ummah, who couldn’t perform Qurbani.

“The Prophet ﷺ sacrificed for the one who could not sacrifice from his ummah, one who bore witness to the Oneness of Allah and [his] Prophethood.” [Tabarani and Musnad Ahmad]

Anas bin Malik (RA) said, “The Prophet ﷺ used to sacrifice two rams, and I also sacrifice two rams.” [Sahih Bukhari]

So, if Allah has made you rich, you should do double or multiple Qurbani so that more families may benefit from it. And you will get an extra reward from Allah (SWT) inshaAllah to retrieve this Sunnah.

Qurbani Animals Descriptions

What to Look for in 
Udhiya Qurbani Animals

Which Animals Can Be Sacrificed?

The Halal animals that are permissible to sacrifice in the Qurbani event include camels, cows, buffaloes, goats, and sheep (ram/lamb). You must do Zabihah only the livestock animals so you can’t sacrifice wild animals like deer or wild cows.

Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala says in the Quran,

“I have prescribed sacrifices for every community; So that they may pronounce the name of Allah on all the four-legged animals that We have given them as sustenance.” ([Sura Al-Hajj, 22: 34)

Sacrificial Animal Age Requirements

Sacrificial AnimalMinimum Age
CamelFive years
Bull, Cow, BuffaloTwo years
Goat, Sheep, RamOne year

How Many Animals Should I Sacrifice?

If Qubrani is obliged upon you, you should give at least one share of Qurbani. Now, you may wonder, can I give more than one Qurbani? Yes, you can offer more than a single share of Qurbani as it will give you extra rewards, and people experiencing poverty will benefit more.

Qurbani Share Rules

Qurbani AnimalsMaximum Share

What Animals Should Be Chosen for Qurbani?

  • The animal should look beautiful
  • Perfect or free from defects
  • More fleshy 
  • Active and strong

What Animals Should Be Avoided for Sacrifice?

  • Blind
  • Diseased
  • Crippled
  • Wounded animals
  • Whose horns are broken from the root
  • Animals with ears or tails cut off

How to Perform Qurbani Step-by-Step?

How to Slaughter Animals in Sunnah Way

i. Things to Do Before Performing Udhiya

  • Make an intention to sacrifice for the sake of Allah.
  • Treat the animal well. Feed and water them before sacrifice. If possible, take them a bath.
  • Sharpen the knife well before slaughtering the animal. It will lower the pain and suffering of the animal.

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:

“Verily Allah has enjoined goodness to everything; so when you kill, kill in a good way, and 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]

  • Don’t sharpen the knife in front of the Udhiya animals.

ii. How to Slaughter a Qurbani Animal in the Sunnah Way?

Islam teaches us to offer Qurbani humanely. There are lots of instructions regarding this in the Quran and Sunnah, such as. 

  • Slaughter the animal in the name of Allah. 

While sacrificing the animal, say the following dua-

بِسْمِ اللهِ واللهُ أَكْبَرُ اللَّهُمَّ مِنْكَ ولَكَ اللَّهُمَّ تَقَبَّلْ مِنِّي

Transliteration: Bismillaahi wallaahu ‘Akbar – Allaahumma minka wa laka] Allaahumma taqabbal minnee

Meaning: With the Name of Allah, Allah is the Greatest! O Allah, from You and to You. O Allah, accept it from me. [Sahih Muslim]

  • Sacrifice the animal in your hand. If you can’t do that, it’s also permissible to appoint someone else. But Allah’s Messenger ﷺ used to slaughter Udhiya animals in his hand.
  • It is recommended to face the throat of the animal in Qiblah.
  • After positioning the animal on the ground, slaughter it quickly.
  • Cut the four vessels two major blood vessels, the windpipe, and the food pipe) clearly (. But don’t overcut it.
  • Don’t break the neck of the animal while sacrificing.
  • Don’t slaughter an animal in front of other animals or into the blood of previously sacrificed animals. 
  • Never skin or cut any other part until the animal dies completely.

iii. Things to Consider After Completing Zabihah

  • Clean and wash the blood. 
  • Cover the blood pit well.

Qurbani Meat Distribution Rules

What is Qurbani Meat? 

Qurbani meat refers to the meat that comes from sacrificial Zabihah animals during Eid al-Adha.

How to Distribute Qurbani Meat? 

Islamic scholars recommend dividing the meat into three parts from the sacrificed animal. One-third is given to the poor and needy, one-third is shared with friends and family, and one-third is kept for personal consumption who offer Qurbani.

Allah (SWT) says in the Quran,

“And the camels! We have appointed them among the ceremonies of Allah. Therein ye have much good. So mention the name of Allah over them when they are drawn up in lines. Then when their flanks fall (dead), eat thereof and feed the beggar and the suppliant. Thus have We made them subject unto you, that haply you may give thanks.” [Sura Al-Hajj, 22: 36]

The rule of Qurbani meat distribution is also found in the hadith,

Ata’ ibn Yasar said (R), I asked Abu Ayyub (RA), How was the sacrifice conducted at the time of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ?’ He said, “A man would offer a sheep on behalf of himself and his family members, and they would eat some and feed others with some.” [Jami at-Tirmidhi]

Who Can Receive Qurbani Meat?

Muslims with assets less than the Nisab value can receive Qurbani meat. But there is nothing wrong with giving Qurbani meat to the non-Muslims too.

Can I Preserve Qurbani Meat over Three Days?

Yes, you can do it after distributing it to others. The following hadiths support it.

Aisha (RA) narrated, “Some poor families among the desert dwellers came to Madinah on Eid al-Aḍḥa at the time of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, who said [to Aisha]: ‘Keep with yourself enough meat for three days. Whatever remains, give in charity.’ After that, [these people] said: ‘O Messenger of Allah ﷺ! The people made water skins with their sacrificial animals, and they rendered the fat from them.’ The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: ‘And what of this?’ They said: ‘You forbade us to eat the meat of our sacrificial animals after three days.’ He ﷺ said: ‘I forbade you this because of the [needy] people who had come. Now, eat some, and preserve some, and give some in charity.’” [Sahih Muslim]

Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said: “Eat yourselves and feed others and save. [Sahih Bukhari]

Some Other Rules of Qurbani

Can I Give Meat to the Butcher?

If you hire a butcher to prepare Qurbani meat, you should pay him money, not meat. However, if you want, you can also donate some meat to the butcher as a part of distributing meat, not as payment for his job.

What are the Rules of Qurbani for Husband and Wife?

If both husband and wife possess the Nisab amount of wealth, they should offer Zabihah Qurbani Eid. So, they both should sacrifice at least one share of Qurbani each. However, they can jointly sacrifice Qurbani animals in share with cow/camel/buffalo if they want. 

Performing Qurbani on Behalf of Others

The people who are obliged to do Qurbani should offer their Qurbani themself only. Some scholars say it’s permissible others say no. The opinions may vary depending upon which Madhab you follow. So, you can consult your local Islamic scholar/Sheikh for more specific answers.

Abu Talha (RA) narrated a hadith that the Prophet ﷺ sacrificed one ram. While doing Zabihah the other, he ﷺ said, “This is on behalf of every one of my Ummah who believe in me and testified (to my prophethood).” [Tabraani]

Can I Perform Qurbani and Aqiqah Together in Cattle?

According to the Hanafi school of thought, if you intend to give Qurbani and Aqiqah to one animal (cow, camel, or buffalo), this is okay.

Rules of Skins of the Sacrificial Animals

If you want to use the skin of Qurbani animals, you can do it. But if you sell it, you can’t consume it. Instead, you have to donate the money for the sake of Allah.

What Should I Do If I’ve Missed Qurbani?

If you miss Qurbani somehow, although you afford to do Zabihah, you should offer it next year. There are differences in opinions among scholars. So, consult your local Islamic scholar or Sheikh.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How does Qurbani tie in with Hajj and Eid al-Adha?

A. The Hajj event is carried out between the 8th to 13th of Dhul Hijjah, and Qurbani occurs between the 10th to 12th of Dhul Hijjah. Moreover, Qurbani is one of the last parts of performing Hajj. Thus they both tie together.

Q. At what age is Qurbani mandatory?

A. According to Hanafi Madhab, Qurbani is mandatory for adult Muslims with sane minds. 

Q. Who would be sacrificed, Ismail (AS) and Ishaq (AS)?

A. Ismail (AS) and Ishaq (AS) were both Prophet Ibrahim’s (AS) sons. But Ibrahim (AS) was going to sacrifice Ismail (AS), not Ishaq (AS). This is the correct opinion, according to Tafsir Ibn Kathir. See the explanation of sura as-Saffat, verses 103-109, for more details.

Q. What are the benefits of Qurbani on the human side?

A. Many people around us can’t eat meat throughout the year except for Eid days. So, if we offer Qurbani, low-income people will get a share of Bakra Eid meat from us and can eat happily.

Q. How many Qurbani per family?

A. If several family members have more wealth than the Nisab amount, every one of them should offer Udhiya.

Q. Is Qurbani the same as Zakah?

A. The people who possess the Nisab wealth within 10 to 12 Dhul Hijjah are highly recommended to offer Qurbani. On the other hand, Zakah is an obligatory ruling in Islam who possess the equivalent of Nisab amount of wealth throughout the year.

Q. Can we donate money instead of Qurbani?

A. No, you can’t donate to charity instead of sacrificing animals.

Q. Can I cut my nails before Qurbani?

A. If you intend to give Qurbani, you shouldn’t cut your hair or clip your nails after the moon sighting in the month of Dhul Hijjah till you complete the sacrifice. Some scholars say it’s Mustahab, and others claim it is Wajib (mandatory).

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ says:

“When the ten days (of Dhul Hijjah) begin, and any one of you wants to offer a sacrifice, let him refrain (from shaving or cutting) his hair and nails.” [Sahih Muslim]

And a few more hadiths also say that if you aren’t offering Qurbani, you should also avoid cutting hair and clipping nails during this period, as this will reward you for doing Qurbani.


Qurbani is a profound Islamic practice that teaches us true devotion, gratitude, and firm faith in Allah. It’s rooted in the inspiring story of Prophet Ibrahim (AS). Qurbani teaches us to build a stronger spiritual connection to Allah, foster unity within our communities, and extend a helping hand to those in need. May Allah (SWT) give us Tawfique to perform Qurbani rightly and obtain Taqwa in all aspects of life.

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