Eid al-Adha is one of the two Muslim holidays celebrated around the world every year. It can also be referred to as the “Sacrifice Feast” or the “Feast of Sacrifice”. This holiday always falls on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah and takes place over four days.
During this holiday, which is considered to be the holiest of holidays, a ritual called Qurban is performed. The purpose of Qurban is to celebrate and honor the tradition of the Prophet Ibrahim by sacrificing an animal and then distributing the meat to those in need.
The history of the Qurban ritual derives from the story of Ibrahim and how he was ready to sacrifice his son to meet the God’s commands. However, before he was able to sacrifice his son, God intervened and one of his angels put a sheep in the son’s place.
How is it practiced?
Qurban is performed by adults who are of sound mind and who have the means to do so. Some schools of thought believe Qurban to be an obligatory event, however, other schools disagree and think you should only perform it if it is within your means. As a general rule, if you can afford to do the ritual, then you should do so to help those less fortunate than yourself.
Some of the animals that are sacrificed include goats, cattle, sheep, buffalo, and camels. These animals are to be free of any illnesses, disabilities, and must be in perfect health. Depending on the size of the animal, many people can participate in one sacrifice together. For example, a buffalo is worth seven Qurban shares, whereas a goat is worth one share. Therefore, many people can purchase a large animal together and perform Qurban.
After the sacrifice, the meat of the animal is then separated into three different pieces and distributed to different groups of people. The family who did the sacrificing keeps one third of the animal, another third goes to relatives, neighbors, and friends, and the final third goes to the poor and the less fortunate.
Qurban practices worldwide
While the meat from Qurban is supposed to be distributed amongst the rich and the poor, due to the lack of poverty in many Western countries, Muslims are traveling to poorer regions to perform Qurban. At which point, the meat will be distributed to the neediest and to those who are suffering the most.
It is also quite common for Muslims to send money and have someone do Qurban on their behalf should they not be able to travel to a poorer country. As the intent of Qurban is to give the meat to the less fortunate, Muslims do not want to perform Qurban where poverty is uncommon. In this case, someone would perform Qurban on their behalf and make it known that it is being done in the name of another family.
Some of the countries where Qurban occurs includes: Bangladesh, Bosnia, Syria, India, Gaza, Pakistan, Somalia, and Kenya. While it is practiced in many different countries, the practice itself is the same.
As previously stated, Qurban is a ritual that takes place during Eid ul-Adha, which is a public holiday in Muslim countries where they give thanks to Allah for all the blessings they have received. While people’s forms of celebration may differ, they do not stray from the traditional ritual of Qurban, which focuses on giving back to the less fortunate.