The word “qurbaani” comes from the arabic word “qurbiyyah” which means “Sacrifice” or “to sacrify oneself”. On its turn the word “qurbiyyah” is derived from the word “qareeb” which means “to approach” or “to become close”. Which means that any sacrifice made for the divine cause (of Allah ta’ala) has such an efect that it brings us closer to Allah ta’ala.
The sacrifice of Prophet Ibraaheem (a.s)
One evening, the Prophet Hazrat Ibraaheem (a.s) received the order from Allah ta’ala to sacrify in the way of Allah, his son Ismaïl (a.s), whom he loved the most over all. Hazrat Ibraaheem (a.s) was a great prophet and patriarch. The dreams of the prophets are significants and not like ours. He was the close friend of Allah (khaleelullaah). He loved his creator Allah ta’ala more than anything else and was ready to offer his beloved son and whom he was given being very old. True sacrifices are those of which you sacrify the things which are most dear and affectionate to you, just as Allah ta’ala specifies in the holy Koran: “You can’t be generous enough, unless by sacrifying what you cherish most”. The prophet Ibraaheem (a.s) was not only ready to offer his son in sacrifice, but hoped also that his son himself accept to be sacrified in the path of Allah. Then he applied to his son telling him “O my son, I saw myself in dream, offering you in sacrifice to Allah ta’ala, what you do think about it?” and his son Ismaïl to reply: “Please just do according what you have been ordered to, insha-Allah, you will see me among those who have patience and fidelity”. Thus, prophet Ibraaheem (a.s) passed his knife on the throat of his son, it was in Mina, a place close to Makkah shareef (Mecca). Even the angels were astonished by this touching action of a father who was on the point of sacrifying his son, as an evidence of his faith and his obedience towards his creator. The angels started to celebrate praises to Allah ta’ala regarding the values of the father-son relationship. And Allah ta’ala wanted to show to the world that he in fact, tested the faith of Hazrat Ibraaheem (a.s) and his son and they both were victorious. On the moment that Hazrat Ibraaheem (a.s) was going to pass the knife on the throat of his son, Allah ta’ala sent the chief of his angels, Hazrat Jibraïl (angel Gabriel) (a.s) with a lamb, to cut its throat in the place of Hazrat Ismaïl (a.s), whom Allah had chosen to be the ancestor of the chief of all the prophets, Hazrat Muhammad Mustapha . Thus, Allah ta’ala ordered to his beloved Prophet Muhammad to establish to his people (ummah), for those having the means, to annually offer the sacrifice of an animal, in rememberance to the sacrifice of the Prophet Ibraaheem (a.s), commonly called the Qurbaani.
The compulsory character of Qurbaani
It is waajib (compulsory) on any Muslim who is “swahibe-nisaab”, i.e. those on whom the annual zakaat applies, to offer one share of qurbaani every year at the time of Eid-ul-Adha.
A “small” animal such as sheep, goat, lamb etc. includes one share and a “large” animal such as ox, bull, camel… includes seven (7) shares.
The goal of the qurbaani
The objective of Qurbaani is not only to celebrate the sacrifice of the prophet Ibraaheem (a.s), but also and inter alia, to feed the poor and destitute.
The hadiths teach us that when the qurbaani is offered with sincerity, even before the blood of the animal touches the ground, Allah ta’ala makes qaboul (accepts) the act of the believer on behalf of his sincere intention (niyyat). The effect of this blessing is that Allah ta’ala moves away the person (and all his family) from misfortunes and calamities.
Rules of Qurbaani
The animal to be sacrificed must be of age, in good health, without any defect or disease, also without any wound. It must be correctly slaughtered (see our article on slaughtering [ zaba ]) according to the usual islamic rite i.e. the neck of the animal in direction of Qiblah and to pronounce the formula: “Bismillaah, Allaahu akbar” (In the name of Allah, Allah is great) at the time of cuting the throat. The person who will cut the throat of the animal must be in a state of ritual cleanliness (ghusal and wazu) as for all ibaadats. He will also have to read the niyyat before qurbaani.
The qurbaani can be offered in the country where one resides or it can be made elsewhere (another country) provided that it is actually offered (but to make it with his own hands is of another barakat) and that the portion which is allocated to the poor goes really to poor.
The niyyat and recitation for Qurbaani
It is the person who will cut the throat of the animal which must read the immolation du’as as well as the niyyat. Once that the animal is ready, neck in direction of the ka’bah (qiblah), one must read the verse of the holy Koran (sourah 6, verse 79) as follows: “Innii wajjahtu wajhiya lillazi fatwaras-samaawaati wal ardwa haniifanw-wa maa anaa minal moushrikiin” (alike the du’a before namaz), translation: “I turn my face towards the one who created the skies and the earth. I am of pure belief and not an idolater”.
Then, he must read the niyyat as follows: “Allaahumma haazihi qurbiyyatu fulaanin ……… (specifying here the names of the people who are offering the qurbaani)……… damuhaa bidamihi, wa lahmuha bilahmihi, wa sha’ruha bisha’rihi, wa jilduhaa bijildihi, wa `azwmuhaa bi’azwmihi”, translation: “O Allah this sacrifice is from… (such and such people)” .Even if this du’a of Qurbaani is not read, the interiour intention of those who offer the sacrifice is enough.
Then continuing with the verses of the holy Koran (sourah 6, verses 162-163): “Inna swalaatii wanusukii wamahyaaya wamamaatii lillaahi rabbil `aalamiin. Laa shriikalahu wa bizaalika umirtu wa anaa awwalul muslimiin” adding “Allaahumma minka wa laka. Bismillaah Allaahu akbar”. The cuting of the throat of the animal is made at the time of reading: “Bismillaah Allaahu akbar”. Translation: “Certainly my prayers (namaz), my sacrifices, my life and my death belong to Allah Lord of the worlds. With him I do not associate anybody, to him my obedience and I am the first of those who submit” “O Allah, things which come from you is to you. In the name of Allah, Allah is great”.
After the animal has pushed its last breath, read this du’a: “Allaahumma taqabbalhu minnaa kamaa taqab balta min habiibika Muhammadinw-wa khaliilika Ibrahiima `alaïhimas-swalaatu was-salaam” which translates as follows: “O Allah, accept this from us, just like you accepted it from your beloved Muhammad and your friend Ibraheem, peace be upon them both”. This du’a can be also read in the fateha on the occasion of qurbaani.
It should be noted that the procedure of slaughtering specified here is suitable as example to be followed for current slaughtering (zabaa) in normal time, and just remove the word qurbaani in the niyyat. Concerning `aqeeqaa, just replace the word “qurbiyyatu” by the “aqiiqatu” in the niyyat.
The sharing of the meat of Qurbaani
The meat from qurbaani can be divided into three parts (portions). The first part can be reserved for home consumption (why not for a family feast?). The second part can be reserved for the distribution to close relations (members of his family and/or acquaintances). The third part MUST be given to the poor or to orphans or needy. It is good to remind muslims that, at least one third of the meat of the qurbaani must be offered to the poor. Therefore, a detailed attention must be made not to give them less than one third. In order to get the rewards (thawaabs) reserved for the qurbaani, it is necessary to give qurbaani meat to muslim poor. However, one can give the non-muslim poor, but without the intention to collect qurbaani rewards.
Also let us emphasize that the meat of qurbaani is sacred, that is more valuable than everyday meat from the butcher’s, the reason is that it was made in rememberance to prophets, who are in fact Hazrat Ibrahîm (a.s) and Hazrat Ismail (a.s).Source : http://chezdeen.com/eng/