What is Qurbani?
As we enter the days of the 12th Islamic month of Dhul-Hijjah, we are approaching one of the holiest celebrations of the year in Islam: Eid-ul Adha! And with Eid-ul Adha comes an obligation on every Muslim who is financially able, which is the giving of Qurbani (also known as Udhiya).
In our last blog, we discussed how Qurbani is an act of sacrificing an animal to gain Allah’s blessings. It is a practice that stems from the Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) and where our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) continued this obligation during his ten years in Madinah.
But aside from the fact that sacrificing an animal during this time is our spiritual obligation, did you know that it is a way to alter communities’ lives in the developing world? In this blog, we will discuss how your Qurbani donation can make a significant difference!
Reason #1: Qurbani donations tackle food insecurity
For millions around the globe, meat is a luxury that isn’t accessible most times of the year. Eating meat is a privilege that we take for granted in North America. While the average American person eats 270 pounds of meat per year, approximately two billion people eat less than 10 pounds of meat a year!
Yemen has one of the highest rates of malnutrition in the world at the moment. According to the World Food Programme (WFP), 1.2 million pregnant and breastfeeding women and 2.3 million children require acute care nutrition support. The WFP’s recent survey also concludes that “almost one-third of families have gaps in their diets, and hardly ever consume foods like pulses, vegetables, fruit, dairy products or meat.”
So imagine the impact your Qurbani donations will have on these families.
However, meat means more than just nourishment. It is a way to bring the family around the table. It is an opportunity to strengthen family and community bonds over a warm, delicious meal. It is a way to enhance the quality of life in any given community.
While it is required to donate one-third of your Qurbani, many Muslims decide to contribute more to the needy. Some Muslims choose to donate the entire Udhiya rather than a portion. Did you know that one cow or camel is the equivalent of seven portions of Qurbani? Imagine the sense of relief and smiles of the family that receives an entire cow for Eid!
By donating your Qurbani to a place where meat is scarce, such as Yemen, Gaza, or Rohingya, you are not only giving the blessing of one meat-filled meal but months’ worth of meals! Think of all the joy that will bring?
Reason #2: Qurbani stimulates the economy of developing countries
The meat around the world is expensive. Price differences reflect nuances in local economies. The cost of meat fluctuates due to multiple factors, including weather conditions, war or conflict, disease of animals, and supply available of livestock.
Unfortunately, some of these factors are more distressing and influential than others. For example, in 2009, Gaza lost 10% of its chicken livestock due to airstrikes. That’s about 250,000 chickens! The limited supply of chicken makes it unaffordable and out of reach for most Gazans.
Donating Qurbani can have two significant impacts on local economies:
- It increases the import or export of livestock between countries to meet demand and the sale of livestock by-products.
- Eid festivities increase the sales of by-products and other celebration-related products sold to bolster local entrepreneurs.
We can see an example of these benefits through Bangladesh’s economic activity. Bangladesh relies on imports from India during the Hajj season to support Eid Al-Adha’s needs. 4 million cattle are imported annually just for Eid ul-Adha! However, what really impacts Bangladesh’s economy is the production of by-products from cattle, such as leather and soap. Bangladesh makes about 60% of leather profits simply from this time!
But livestock and its by-products aren’t the only things that boost the economy, but commodities such as spices and other products to complement at Qurbani meal also go on sale. Businesses end up getting a bumper month for profits as a result.
So, as you can see, donating Qurbani to countries in need stimulates trade, boosts small businesses and helps build a healthy economy. Check out how to donate your Qurbani today with HCI.
Reason #3: Qurbani supports the ethical and humane sacrificing of animals
Animal welfare is paramount in Islam. Qurbani is a sacred sacrifice to Allah, which means strict rules need to be adhered to to ensure the sacrifice is accepted.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) forbade the beating or the branding of animals” (Muslim)
These strict rules are also crucial to maintain ethical and humane parting of animals. Here are a few rules that are required to sacrifice an animal:
- Animals need to be old enough. That means no babies!
- Animals need to be in healthy condition. They cannot be weak, blind, physically disabled, or have broken horns or teeth.
- Animals cannot be beaten, stressed or chased.
- Avoid dull instruments or sharpening them in the sight of animals.
- No animal can witness the sacrifice of another animal.
“When you must sacrifice a living being, do it properly – when you sacrifice, use the best method and sharpen your knife to cause as little pain as possible.” When the Prophet (peace be upon him) saw a man sharpening his knife in the presence of the animal destined for sacrifice, he said, “Do you intend to inflict death on the animal twice – once by sharpening the knife within its sight and once by cutting its throat?” (Muslim)
Islam views the humane and ethical sacrifice in its highest regard, starting before the sacrifice even begins. Animal welfare purifies the sacrifice and produces a higher quality of meat for the poor who receive it.
Reason #4: You are ultimately reviving the sunnah of giving
Qurbani originated from the story of Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him). Prophet Ibrahim submitted to the will of Allah by obeying the command to sacrifice his son Ismail (peace be upon him). However, Allah stopped his hand, and a ram was replaced instead for sacrifice.
The practice of Qurbani was continued by Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) during his ten years in Madinah during the 10th day of Dhul-Hijjah. Through this act, Prophet Muhammed taught us how important it is for humans to purify themselves through acts of charity. And that is the purpose of Qurbani. We earn the blessings of Allah through the act of giving and supporting the less fortunate:
“Their meat will not reach Allah, nor will their blood, but what reaches Him is piety from you. Thus have We subjected them to you that you may glorify Allah for that to which He has guided you; give good tidings to the doers of good” (22:37)
In the Qur’an, Allah often pairs ‘prayer’ with ‘charity’ in the same verses, emphasizing the importance of charity and sacrifice:
“Indeed, We have granted you, [O Muḥammad], al-Kawthar [a river in Paradise]. So pray to your Lord and offer sacrifice [to Him alone]”. (108:1-2)
The act of giving Qurbani is a symbol of obedience to Allah. The believer’s ego must be put aside to truly submit to the will of Allah, as did the Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) and his son Ismail (peace be upon him). Likewise, when giving to the needy and less fortunate, one must release their ego and submit to the will of Allah to truly reap the benefits of giving and gain the blessings of this sacred act.
Order your Qurbani today!
So when the time comes to determine where and how you want to give your Qurbani, consider the benefits of giving to countries that genuinely need it and reap the secondary benefits of Qurbani.
Human Concern International emphasizes the priority to give to the neediest. So rest assured, with HCI, your Qurbani will go to a family that will be most grateful. Order your Qurbani sooner than later to ensure your Qurbani reaches the community of your choice on time.
HCI has been proudly serving the Muslim community for 40 years, and through your generosity and support, our programs are continuously improving the lives of many vulnerable people. Each donation made enables us to further the mission of taking impoverished people from crisis to sustainability.
June 22, 2021
Human Concern International