"It is not their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah; it is your piety that reaches Him." (Qur'an 22:37)'Qurban' literally means 'to be closer', that is, to be closer to Allah by abiding to His wish that we should strengthen our relationship among each other through sharing of meat from the sacrificed animal, and other good deeds.
It is a religious act that entails the sacrifice of approved animals on the 11, 12 and 13 Zulhijjah of the Hijrah Calendar (the three days of Tasyrik) with the conscious intentions of fulfilling Allah’s commandments. It is sunnah muakkad to the Mazhab Shafei for those who can afford it.
This is to commemorate the unparalleled sacrifice offered by Nabi Ibrahim a.s willingness to sacrifice everything, including his son, to Allah, and to celebrate Allah's deliverance of Ibrahim by providing a sheep as a substitute.
This ibadah may not go down well with vegetarians, animal lovers and animal rights groups who are opposed to any killing of or cruelty toward animals where at the same time there are thousands of farms which they considered modern, animals experience a lot of psychological and physical violence.
It is customary for Muslims to sharpen their knife before each slaughter. A very sharp knife will ensure a clean and fast cut across the neck (oesaphagus and tranchea to be exact). This will result in sudden loss of copious amount of blood from the brain and the heart. The sudden loss of blood from the brain will cause it to shut down almost immediately, ensuring faster and almost painless death. In fact, the sharpening of the knife should not be done in the presence of the animal.
The animal should only be slaughtered with a sharp knife or object. It is not permissible to use guns, electronic shock or carbon dioxide/tear gas
in the slaughtering process.
The distribution? Although the person offering a Qurban can keep all its meat for his own use, yet, it is preferable to distribute one-third among the poor, another one-third among his relatives and then, keep the rest for his personal consumption. All parts of the sacrificed animal can be used for personal benefit, but none can be sold.
The relevant of giving out the Qurban meat to the poor and needy is that yes, they can afford to buy and eat vegetables everyday since they are relatively very cheap but meat, most of the time, is beyond their purchasing power.
The cruelty towards animals done by so many ignorant people, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, should not cloud the objectiveness of Qurban, and the merciful method laid by Islam in dealing with animals.
By : Azim Idris
7 November 2011