Udhiyah ( Sacrifice or Qurbani in urdu)

Udhiyah is one of the great rituals of Islam. The word Udhiyah means an animal of the a'ana'aam  class (i.e., camel, cow, sheep or goat) that is slaughtered during the period after the Eid prayer on the day of Nahr (Eid al-Adha) until the last days of Tashreeq (last day being the 13th of Dhul Hijjah).

 It is often called Qurbani by Muslims of India and Pakistan. but the correct word for this ritual is Udhiyah. It is an amazing ritual with an important history and reason behind it. In order to fully appreciate it and benefit from it we need to understand the history and purpose behind it.

What is the History and the purpose of the Udhiyah (qurbani)?

The history of this sacrifice dates back to the time of Prophet Ibraheem peace be upon him and his family(Abraham in English).

Islam by definition means the submission and surrender of one's will to the only true god worthy of worship "Allah". And this submission and surrender must be down peacefully, in that one should not protest or complain about Allah's orders.

This was demonstrated by the Prophet Ibraheem, his wife Hajjar and his son Ismaeel. Their sacrifice showed what it means to be a true Muslim.

Ibraheem was ordered to travel to a far away land with his wife and child. The land was Makkah.  Makkah was an extremely hot place in those days. So hot that even the mountains cannot retain any moisture and the soils must have dried up and fallen leaving the mountains bare. The would have been impossible to grow anything there and water was no were to be seen.

So it would be extremely difficult for someone to emigrate to Makkah in those days and expect to survive there for long. If ones food and water reserves finished what would one do?

If a husband and wife went there with their baby they would leave right away. If the husband left and the wife stayed behind she would be all alone with no one to talk to. No one to protect and help her.

But this is exactly what happened with Ibraheem and his family.

One day, Ibraheem woke up and asked his wife Hajar to get her son and prepare for a long journey. In a few days Ibraheem started out with his wife Hajar and their son Ishmael. The child was still nursing and not yet weaned. Ibraheem walked through cultivated land, desert, and mountains until he reached the desert of the Arabian Peninsula and came to an uncultivated valley having no fruit, no trees, no food, no water. The valley had no sign of life.


 Ibraheem had helped his wife and child to dismount. He gave her of food and water which he had brought with him. Then he turned his around with his back facing his wife and child and started to walk away.

 He wife hurried after him asking: "Where are you going Ibraheem, leaving us in this barren valley?"

Ibraheem did not answer her and continued walking. She repeated what she had said, but he remained silent. He kept walking and did not turn around to look at his beloved wife and child.

Often when fathers leave their wife and children in England to travel to say Pakistan for a holiday their eyes fill with tears upon seeing the face of their child and wife even though they know they are leaving them in the safety of their huge extended families and in a land which had shops just around the corner.

For Ibraheem to leaving his wife and baby son in a barren land with no people to protect them and with food and water which would barely last them 2 days would require huge amounts of  will power

 Why did he not look at them we will never know in this life. We can only imagine what it would be like for us to do that.

But this part of the story shows the determination Ibraheem had to obey Allah's commands and it shows that  when a person has been commanded by Allah to do something very difficult he has no choice in the matter and to accomplish that task he should make a firm commitment in his mind and march  forward without looking back.

Finally being a pious and extremely intelligent woman Hajjar knew her husband was a good pious man who loved his wife and son dearly and would not have taken them to a barren uninhabited land to simply leave them there. It must have been an order from Allah and orders are there to be obeyed. She knew that when the orders are from Allah then she should not fear as Allah is able to look after his servants no matter how bad the environment is.

So the wise  Hajjar asked her husband : "Did Allah command you to do so?" He replied: "Yes." Then his amazing woman said: "We are not going to be lost, since Allah Who has commanded you is with us."

Through Hajjar, Allah showed us what a good Muslim wife is. A good wife is one who is pious and wise. She realises the dangers she is in and asks her husband why is he abandoning her. If he doesnt answer she quickly realises that her husband is a pious man and would not abandon her for no reason in a barren deserted place. So she asks him if what he is doing is an order from Allah, if it is from Islam.

 Once she realises that her husband is merely following Allah's orders then she realizes that orders no matter how difficult, are to there to be followed. She also realizes that her lord is loving and caring and will not abandon her and that He is the best protector. After this she realizes how difficult it would be for her husband to leave his beloved and the apple of his eye (his child), so she reassures him that what he is doing is the right thing to do and that he should not worry about them for Allah will look after them.

This is the wonderful wife that Allah blessed the Prophet Ibraheem with. However for some, their wife (in case of the wife her husband) becomes a loss for them. A loss because instead of encouraging them to do as Allah commands the spouse tells her husband (or he his wife) to do go against what Allah has commanded

Allah says:

 O you who believe! Verily, among your wives and your children there are enemies for you (i.e. may stop you from the obedience of Allah), therefore beware of them! But if you pardon (them) and overlook, and forgive (their faults), then verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

 Your wealth and your children are only a trial, whereas Allah! With Him is a great reward (Paradise).

 So keep your duty to Allah and fear Him as much as you can; listen and obey; and spend in charity, that is better for yourselves. And whosoever is saved from his own covetousness, then they are the successful ones.

 If you lend to Allah a goodly loan (i.e. spend in Allah's Cause) He will double it for you, and will forgive you. And Allah is Most Ready to appreciate and to reward, Most Forbearing,

 All-Knower of the unseen and seen, the All-Mighty, the All-Wise. (Quran 64:14-18)

Some time went buy and the provisions did run out and we can imagine what will happen to the heart of a mother when she has nothing left to feed her child and she is stuck in a barren land with no people around and the child start to cry and we are told how she ran between the two hills in the hope that maybe a caravan of people  would be passing by Makkah.

Eventually her test was over and Allah provided her with a spring of zamzam water with which she fed her child and her self.

So Ibraheem and his family had to go through tough tests.

It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Trials will continue to befall the believing man and woman, with regard to themselves, their children and their wealth, until they meet Allah with no sin on them.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 2399; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 2280.

Allah says :

“Or think you that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said, ‘When (will come) the Help of Allah?’ Yes! Certainly, the Help of Allah is near!”

[al-Baqarah 2:214]

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “There is nothing that befalls a believer, not even a thorn that pricks him, but Allah will record one good deed for him and will remove one bad deed from him.”

Narrated by Muslim.

 It was narrated that Jaabir said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “On the Day of Resurrection, when people who had suffered affliction are given their reward, those who were healthy will wish their skins had been cut to pieces with scissors when they were in the world.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 2402. See al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, no. 2206.

So it is not surprising that the more Allah loves some one the more Allah tests them. The Prophets are test the most , then the pious and Allah does not test anyone beyond their capability.
So Ibraheems tests did not stop there.  

 Allah says:

"And, when he (his son) was old enough to walk with him, he said: "O my son! I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering you (offer you in sacrifice to Allah), so look what you think!" He said: "O my father! Do that which you are commanded, InshaAllah (if Allah will), you shall find me of As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.)."

. Then, when they had both submitted themselves (to the Will of Allah), and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (or on the side of his forehead for slaughtering);

 And We called out to him: "O Abraham!

 You have fulfilled the dream (vision)!" Verily! Thus do We reward the Muhsinun (good-doers - see V.2:112).

Verily, that indeed was a manifest trial

 And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice (i.e.  - a ram);

 And We left for him (a goodly remembrance) among generations (to come) in later times.

 Salamun (peace) be upon Ibrahim (Abraham)!"

Thus indeed do We reward the Muhsinun (good-doers - see V.2:112).

Verily, he was one of Our believing slaves.

 And We gave him the glad tidings of Ishaque (Isaac) a Prophet from the righteous.

We blessed him and Ishaque (Isaac), and of their progeny are (some) that do right, and some that plainly wrong themselves."

(Quran 37: 102-113)


This was a test of utmost obedience. Ibraheem sacrificed his only son because that is what Allah wanted him to do. He heard and obeyed.

 In the end not only did Allah let him retain his son only son  but Allah blessed him with an additional pious son. Such is the reward of the good doers.

Now we are created beings and it is up to the Creator to ask us to sacrifice ourselves, our children, our wealth and whatever He wishes.

Now the Christians due to their lack of certainty in belief in Christianity are not ready to sacrifice themselves  for Allah. So to fool themselves they invent a lie against God and say that God sacrificed his only son for humanity. This is a way of making ones self look good. If someone comes to them and says are you not told to give even your life and sons up for your religion if that is required. If they say yes. Then the person could turn round and ask your religion says you must do this and that. Why do you not do that. or why do you commit these sins. Instead of saying they are bad people they could say oh it is not we humans who have to sacrifice things dear to us but it is God who has to sacrifice his son for our sins. And because he has done that we can sin all we like because he  has already  are forgiven us through killing his only son. So they commit lies and shirk just to make themselves not look bad.

This happens with human beings. When a person says what you are doing is haram and your not a good person. That person if he is honest with himself will agree that he is not a good person but if he wants to portray a false image of himself he will say no that is not haram and he will come out with arguments that are look convincing to the other person and others and thus make the haram  (forbidden ) into halal (lawful).But by doing so he not only sins but he commits the unforgiveable sin of shirk. Because making lawful what Allah has forbidden is competing with God and unless the person repents sincerely they will end up in hellfire forever. Were as a believer doing a mere sin may get forgiven or  punished for his sin by spending some jail time in hellfire. Which is far better than staying there forever.

.Allah says:

It is those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah and worship none but Him Alone) and confuse not their belief with Zulm (wrong i.e. by worshipping others besides Allâh), for them (only) there is security and they are the guided.

(Quran 6:82)

 The way in which Ibraheem (and his family) obeyed Allah's commands became a model for every Muslims. In order to  train Muslims in that way,  every year the head of Muslim house hold is required to sacrifice an animal for the sake of Allah only if the person can afford it..

Also due to this great sacrifices of theirs , Allah makes us remember them in each of our daily  prayer, every Eid al Adha and whenever we read the Quran and Hadith we come across their stories and are thus  reminded of them. This is a huge honour that Allah has bestowed upon this family and upon others who gave everything precious to them in a way of obedience to Allah.

You will find even during the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him sacrifices were met with great rewards both in this world and the next.

For example, The actions of  the non Muslim families of UmmSalamah and AbuSalamah lead to her being separated from both her beloved  husband and her dear child. Their cruelty lead her to sit upon a hill and cry all daylong  but not once did she say a word against her Rabb (Lord). Latter on when their cruelty ceased and she was allowed to travel with her  child to Madina. Her brave husband took part in a battle and died of his injuries in Jihad. He was such a good husband that she could replace him. She said to herself who can be better than AbuSalamah and she arrived at the conclusion that no one could be better than him as a husband.

But there was someone who was better than AbuSalamah as a husband and it did not occur to her that he would ask her hand for marriage.

As a reward for her sacrifice in the path of Allah, Allah gave her the best of creation (Prophet Muhammad) as a husband. Such is the true promise of Allah for the pious.


Another example is of a Sahabi who carried the flag of Islam in the battle . One of his arms was chopped off. So he carried it with his other arm and that was chopped off and then he was killed. The Prophet peace be upon him  was shown what this Sahabi was doing in heaven. He was in Jannah and he had wings and he was flying in Jannah enjoying the luxury of Jannah. Such was his reward for his sacrifice.

Allah says:
Say (O Muhammad ): "Truly, my Lord has guided me to a Straight Path, a right religion, the religion of Ibrâhim Hanifa and he was not of Al-Mushrikûn ."

Say (O Muhammad ): "Verily, my Salât (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allâh, the Lord of the 'Alamîn (mankind, jinns and all that exists).

(Quran 6:160 -162)

Most people don’t realise the true meaning of the Hajj nor that of  the sacrifice. They treat it as just a story to tell children rather than to learn from it to entertain them.. The story is mentioned for a purpose and that is to learn how to life this life. To be obedient to Allah only, to worship Allah only and to be willing to give up  everything, no matter how precious for Allah. Not to question why Allah asked for that sacrifice.

If their creator ask for their life they should be willing to give their life. If He asks them to give a sheep he should be willing to give a sheep.

This Udhiyah (qurbani, sacrifice) is not about sacrificing a lamb but it is a training for Muslim to be ready to sacrifice whatever is required of the by Allah, be it their time, their wealth, their sweet heart (wife), the apple of their eyes (children).


Allah says:
Say (O Muhammad ): "Truly, my Lord has guided me to a Straight Path, a right religion, the religion of Ibrâhim Hanifa and he was not of Al-Mushrikûn ."

Say (O Muhammad ): "Verily, my Salât (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allâh, the Lord of the 'Alamîn (mankind, jinns and all that exists).

(Quran 6:160 -162)

Even Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him was told to take Prophet Ibraheem as his example.

And you can see how remembering the beautiful example of Prophet Ibraheems sacrifices for Allah  would have helped the Prophet Muhammad on his very difficult journey. A Journey and responsibility that no other Prophet had been given before and that was to convey the message of Islam to everyone not just his own people. In this mission he would see his own people who loved him and respected him turn against him, slander him and try to starve, bribe him, threaten, threaten his loved ones in order to submit to their will and to their way of life.
The companions of the Prophet peace be upon him also had to endure the same trials and they too had to do things they initially disliked. Initially the Sahabah disliked  fighting the enemies of Islam even though the enemies of Islam had persecuted them, driven them out of their own homes and lands, looted their property, starved them with economic boycotts, tortured them and even killed some of their friends and family. Even after this they did not want to take engage in physical fighting with them. They thought fighting the enemies of Islam was a bad thing so Allah said to them.

 "Jihad (holy fighting in Allah's Cause) is ordained for you (Muslims) though you dislike it, and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know." (2:216)

Thus they carried out even fighting in the cause of Allah,

There was a  point when one of the companions said "When will the help of Allah come"

The Prophet peace be upon him disliked this statement and it made him angry and He reminded him that nations before us when through trials in which they were cut into pieces yet they still remained firm on Islam.

When the Muslims lost their Islamic state, there were  Muslims who were  tortured by Munafics and kaffirs because they want Muslims countries to be ruled by Islam and Islam only. You will find their loved ones may be raped and beaten in front of them, they may be beaten  severely and chopped bit by bit until they agree to leave this call for Islam to be established in Muslim lands. Their bodies were found to have been chopped into bits but they resisted till the end.

 However what do we see many of the  Muslims today doing. They are compromising on their Islam for even a mere job. They are not ready to upset their teacher or boss for fear of loosing their job or being harmed. Yet when distributing the meat of the Qurbani they become very enthusiastic and give advice and suggestions of how to distribute it. Because it is a mere ritual for them or about getting reward for giving to the poor. The do not understand this is not the purpose of the qurbani

  There are a few more important things that I wanted to mention in this article and inshaAllah I will add those details soon.

The next part will explain the rulings of the Udhiyah (qurbani or  sacrifice)


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