Giving Qurbani (a sacrifice) is a sacred act of worship highly encouraged by Allah (SWT). Every year during the holy month of Dhul Hijjah, Muslims all over the world slaughter an animal – a goat, sheep, cow or camel – to reflect the Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail, for the sake of God. There are many Qurbani rules that must be adhered to for the slaughter of the animal to be counted as a Qurbani.

What are the Qurbani rules?

Who needs to give Qurbani? When do we offer our sacrifice? Are there any other things we need to take into consideration?

Worry not! We’ve put together everything you need to know about this sacred sacrifice.

Who must perform Qurbani?

Qurbani rules

According to most Muslims, giving Qurbani is highly recommended and according to the Hanafi madhab, it is obligatory for every sane adult Muslim who has wealth in excess to their needs (i.e. who meet the nisab threshold).

Normally those who are eligible to pay Zakat are obliged to give Qurbani.

The Hanafi school of thought states that it is obligatory for:

  • Every sane Muslim of mature age (who has reached puberty)
  • Non-travelling persons
  • Those who additionally own wealth which is beyond their needs, equal to (or more than) the current level of nisab (87.48 grams of gold or 612.36 grams of silver)

At what age is Qurbani Fardh?

The opinion on whether Qurbani is compulsory or not differs between the different schools of thought. However, for the benefit of those less fortunate, the sacred act of Qurbani is highly rewarding and recommended for anyone who is of a mature age (has reached the age of puberty), and possesses wealth above the nisab threshold.

When must Qurbani animals be purchased? 

Qurbani rules

You must aim to give your Qurbani donation in a timely manner. Islamic Relief aims to implement all Qurbanis over three days (10th to 12th Dhul Hijjah).

The time for sacrifice ends when the sun sets on the fourth day. Therefore, you can make payments right up until the end of the third day after Eid (13th of Dhul-Hijjah) before Maghrib salah. However, we advise giving your Qurbani as early as possible.

When must Qurbani be performed?

There is a difference of opinion amongst the scholars as to whether Qurbani can be done over three or four days. To respect this difference of opinion, Islamic Relief strives to perform Qurbani in three days. We only extend into the fourth day in localities where this is religiously accepted by the local Muslim population – and if there is an operational need for this extra day.

We purchase the animals to be slaughtered in advance based on forecasted quotas. Hence if you give a Qurbani on any of these days, the Qurbani will be carried out in time.

When is Qurbani distributed?

Qurbanis are performed through Islamic Relief field offices who purchase and slaughter animals locally. After the animal has been sacrificed, its meat is then distributed to those most in need. If there are problems with livestock supply in a particular country (due to limited local supply, natural disaster etc.) then animals are sourced and slaughtered abroad, and then shipped to the affected countries. All animals are sacrificed according to Islamic guidelines.

Which animals can be sacrificed?

The animals which are eligible should meet minimum requirements, such as the age of the animal for Qurbani and their condition, including:

  • Sheep/Goats: should be at least one year in age (this is equivalent to one person’s Qurbani)
  • Cows/Buffalo: should be at least two years in age (this is equivalent to seven people’s Qurbani)
  • Camels: should be of at least five years in age (enough for seven people’s Qurbani)

In addition, all animals must be healthy and free of disease, including the following conditions:

  • They cannot be excessively thin or lean
  • They must be able to walk themselves to the site of the slaughter
  • They cannot be toothless, or missing over half their teeth
  • They must not be blind or one-eyed
  • They must not have a lame leg that is sufficiently weak that they are unable to walk on it

How to slaughter a Qurbani animal

For a slaughter of an animal to be counted as Qurbani, it is essential that the slaughter is carried out humanely following Qurbani rules. Below are some of the rules that should be followed:

  • A sharp knife must be used to carry out the Qurbani – dull knives may inflict unnecessary pain and suffering
  • Knives must not be sharpened in front of the sacrificial animal
  • No animal can be slaughtered in front of another animal
  • When the sacrifice is being made, the words “Bismillahi Allahu Akbar” must be recited
  • The animal can not to be skinned until the body is entirely cold

How to distribute Qurbani meat? 

It is recommended to split Qurbani meat equally into three parts. Following the sacrifice, one part is kept for yourself, one part is distributed to your family and friends, and one part is given to the poor and needy. Many Muslims prefer to have their Qurbani performed in the world’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities. When you donate your Qurbani to Islamic Relief, we distribute all three parts to the poor and needy. 

Who can receive Qurbani meat?  

When distributing your Qurbani meat to the poor and needy, we’ve set criteria and scoring systems in place to determine Qurbani recipients, which ensures we reach the most vulnerable without bias. 

The scoring system is based on the following criteria: 

  • Families who live on less than the minimum income for that particular country 
  • Female-headed households 
  • Families with disabled and/or elderly persons
  • Children under five years old
  • Pregnant women
  • Breastfeeding mothers
  • Families with little or no access to the market 

Should I avoid cutting my nails and hair if I’m giving Qurbani? 

There are differences of opinions on whether it is unlawful for you to cut your nails and hair or whether it’s disliked. Refraining from cutting your nails and hair if you’re donating Qurbani is obligatory according to the Hanbali madhab and recommended according to the majority of scholars. 

How many animals do I have to sacrifice?

Donating Qurbani is obligatory for every Muslim who is financially able to do so in the Hanafi madhab and according to the majority of scholars, it is highly recommended. If you’re obligated to donate Qurbani, the minimum you can donate is one Qurbani share, which is equivalent to one sheep/goat or one seventh of a cow/buffalo/camel.  

It’s permissible to donate more than one share of Qurbani should you wish to do so. With Islamic Relief, you can donate one Qurbani in the UK and one abroad. The Prophet (peace be upon him) himself carried out multiple Qurbani for himself and the Ummah. Therefore, many Muslims offer multiple Qurbani on behalf of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and for deceased parents. 

How many Qurbani per family? 

According to the Hanafi school of thought, anyone obligated to donate Qurbani in the household must donate a minimum of one Qurbani each. For example, one Qurbani is equivalent to a sheep/goat. A large animal such as a cow/buffalo/camel is enough for seven people’s Qurbani.  

Qurbani rules for husband and wife

According to the Hanafi school of thought, both the husband and wife must donate a minimum of one Qurbani each if they’re sane Muslims who possess wealth more than their needs. What is beyond their needs equal to (or more than) the current level of nisab (87.48 grams of gold or 612.36 grams of silver).

What should I do if I’ve missed my Qurbani?

If you would like to make up for any Qurbani donations which you’ve missed in previous years, simply calculate the total number of years missed and donate the total number of shares this year. For example, if donating Qurbani was compulsory for you in the last three years, which you’d missed, you can donate four Qurbani shares this year. 

Offering a sacrifice comes with restrictions

Qurbani Rules

For those who want to offer a sacrifice, it’s recommended according to the majority of the scholars that once the new moon of Dhul Hijjah appears (i.e. on the 1st of Dhul Hijjah), you do not remove anything from your hair, nails or skin until you have offered the sacrifice.

Reap the rewards of the blessed days of Dhul Hijjah, give Qurbani now.

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We ensure our content is reviewed and verified by qualified scholars to provide you with the most accurate information. This webpage was last reviewed by Sheikh Saalim Al-Azhari.

Page last reviewed: 9 June 2022

Next review due: Within 12 months

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