What does Qurbani mean? The word qurbani comes from the word qurban, meaning ‘nearness’.
We know this practice to be a ‘ritual slaughter’ in commemoration of the ordeal of Ibrahim (SA) and Ismail (SA). The patience and faith in the decree of Allah SWT shown by Ibrahim (SA) and Ismail (SA) brought them a great ‘nearness’ with their Lord, who showed His Mercy by replacing Ismail (SA) with a goat.
So what relevance does it have today? We draw near Allah SWT through our own good action. When we make a sacrifice of an animal in this way, we continue to honour the memory of those illustrious few who stood as pillars of faith and guides for humanity; the prophets. The Prophets are loved by Allah SWT and when we honour them we draw near to Him. We offer some or all of the meat to those in need and so we draw near to Allah through our charitable good action. In doing so, we also gather a greater closeness in our community.
Why does Allah SWT require an animal sacrifice? He SWT does not. The word ‘sacrifice’ has many connotations that are not relevant to qurbani. The word sacrifice really just means that you have two things of value and you choose one over the other. In this case, you have the life of an animal and you have the feast of Eid and a poor community in need of food so you sacrifice the life of the animal in favour of the celebration of Eid feeding the poor.
Is it still a relevant practice today? This is an interesting debate. There are countries where there is plenty, England being one of those. To perform and distribute meat in this country is Islamically acceptable as it conforms to the basic principles. However, there is a lot of food waste in England and too many extra animals being reared and slaughtered is not useful for the environment and has little community impact unless you an find the right people to donate the meat to. However, there are many ‘developing’ countries where food and protein especially is a luxury. Children need protein to grow.
We are therefore asking that people donate to us so that we can distribute the meat to those who really need it (please see below for details of this years campaign.)
We have requested the advice of Willowbrook Farm who rear and slaughter animals according to precise halal and ethical principles so that we can best ensure that the animals going for slaughter are treated humanely both before and leading up to their slaughter.