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Importance Of Animal Sacrifice In Islam

Simplifying the Importance of Animal Sacrifice in Islam  

An outward expression of faith is sacrifice, representing the willingness of believers to even give up their lives for God. In Islam, there are various ways of offering, including sacrifice and donating for charitable purposes.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) stated, “A person is not a believer who fills his stomach while his neighbor goes hungry” (Bukhari). Muslims can demonstrate unity through Qurbani while assisting those in need. By showing mercy to their fellow brothers and sisters facing hardships and lacking resources, they also cultivate patience and acknowledge the mercy bestowed upon them by Allah.

The history of animal sacrifice in Islam traces back to the incident of Qurbani, which is obligatory for financially capable Muslims. Prophet Ibrahim (AS) is the forefather of Qurbani. He received a command from Allah to sacrifice his beloved son, Ismail (AS). Despite Ibrahim’s deep love for his son, he was willing to offer him as a demonstration of his devotion to Allah. Ismail willingly accepted his father’s decision and the will of Allah. However, Ismail made two requests: to have his legs and arms bound to prevent him from resisting, and for his father to wear a blindfold so as not to witness his suffering. Ismail understood that his father’s act of sacrifice was a demonstration of loyalty to Allah.

At the critical moment of sacrifice, Allah replaced Ismail with a ram, sparing Ismail’s life. This event tested Ibrahim’s commitment and submission to Allah, and he successfully demonstrated his unwavering devotion.

Defining Qurbani and sacrifice:

Qurbani is derived from the Arabic word “qurban,” meaning “closeness.” Muslims believe that sacrificing helps them strengthen their faith and draw them closer to Allah. Prophet Ibrahim’s unwavering dedication to his mission serves as a metaphor for complete obedience to God’s will, as emphasized in the Quran. Submission in the Islamic faith goes beyond adhering to a set of rules; it involves entrusting one’s destiny to God.

In Qurbani, Muslims divide the sacrificial animal into three portions for distribution. One portion goes to the family of the one offering the sacrifice, another portion is shared with relatives and friends, and the remaining portion is given to the less fortunate. This division and donation of meat for charity play a significant role in teaching Muslims the value of fulfilling their responsibilities and serving the broader Muslim community.

When sacrificing animals, certain conditions must be met. The animals should be healthy and free from diseases, not weak or emaciated, and of a certain age—sheep, goats, and cows must be at least one year old, while camels must be at least five years old.

The significance of Qurbani includes the following aspects:

  • What, why, and how Qurbani should be performed
  • The spiritual importance of the Qurbani sacrifice
  • The expected benefits derived from consuming the meat of the Qurbani sacrifice
  • The meat of the sacrificed animal is divided into three portions: one for the provider, one for distribution among family, friends, and neighbors, and one for helping those in need

Distribution of Qurbani meat should follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him). It is highly recommended that individuals, both men, and women, divide their Qurbani meat into three equal portions and distribute them among the following groups:

  • As a form of charity.
  • As gifts to neighbors, family, and friends.
  • For sustenance and celebration within one’s own household.


Q: What is the power of sacrifice?

A: Sacrifice holds the potential for personal growth and long-term benefits. By temporarily giving up something for the sake of a greater goal, individuals can achieve lasting success.

Q: What is the wisdom behind Qurbani? 

A: The act of Qurbani compels us to affirm the unity of Allah and our devotion to Him. Qurbani should not be a superficial ritual performed without much thought. Instead, we should approach it sincerely and solely for the sake of Allah’s benefit.

Q: How can Qurbani meat be preserved? 

A: The most convenient method of storing meat is to clean it properly, place it in small ziplock bags weighing half a kilogram, flatten them, and freeze them immediately. This technique makes thawing frozen meat easier when needed.

To conclude

Muslims worldwide sacrifice an animal during the Islamic month of Dhul Hijjah every year to symbolize Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to offer his son Ismail to Allah. The importance of animal sacrifice in Islam has been discussed above, highlighting its immense significance. Qurbani is a mandatory act and required. As humans, we are commanded to express gratitude to Allah and praise Him for the sustenance provided to us. Sacrificing something valuable to show our appreciation aligns with this principle. The references from the Qur’an mentioned above indicate the connection between animal sacrifice and the role animals played in Arabian society during that particular time and place.

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