The animal that is being sacrificed for Qurbani should be respected and treated in the best possible manner. The Qurbani animal must qualify in terms of specification, quality, age and being free from defects. The following domesticated animals are permitted for Qurbani:
goat/sheep/ram 1 year or older
bull/buffalo/cow/ox 2 years or older
camel 5 years or older
Animals younger than the prescribed age are not suitable for Qurbani
A sheep that is more than six months old but less than a year, and physically appears to be a year old will suffice for Qurbani.
A cow, bull, buffalo or camel will suffice for seven persons provided no single share is less than one seventh and the intention of all partners is to attain reward and not merely to benefit from the meat.
Animals chosen for Qurbani should be healthy and free from defects.
Animals with Defects
The following animals are not suitable for Qurbani:
1. An animal whose horn/s has been broken off from the root. However, an animal born without horns or if the horns are broken off but not from the root is suitable for Qurbani.
2. An animal that has lost its sight, has one eye only or has lost more than one-third of its vision.
3. An animal that is born without ears or lost more than a third of the ear.
4. An animal that limps and walks on three legs and cannot put the injured (fourth) leg onto the ground, or that it can put the injured leg onto the ground, but is unable to walk on it. However, if it is unable to walk on it, but can still take support from it, then Qurbani is permitted with such an animal.
5. Animals that are so lean and thin that their bones have no marrow.
6. If an animal gets injured while slaughtering, e.g. breaks its leg, ear gets cut etc., the Qurbani will be valid.
7. If an animal was bought in a healthy and perfect state and thereafter became unfit for Qurbani then,
a. If the owner is not wealthy (possessor of nisab) it will be permissible to offer this animal for Qurbani.
b. If the owner is wealthy (possesses the nisab), then it is compulsory for him to obtain another animal.
Method of Slaughtering an Animal
Every care should be taken to slaughter the animal without subjecting it to unnecessary pain and torture. The following pertinent points are to be kept in mind:
The knife must be sharp so that it slits the throat swiftly, without causing undue pain to the animal.
The knife should not be sharpened in the presence of the animals.
The animal should not be slaughtered whilst it is hungry and thirsty.
The animal should not be dragged along to the place of slaughter.
The animal should be slaughtered at a place where other animals cannot witness the slaughter.
It should be laid on the ground with ease and slaughtered without delay.
The animal should not be slaughtered with such a force that its head is severed, or the knife reaches the spinal cord.
It is incorrect to slaughter the animal above the neck because it causes the animal too much pain and agony.
After slaughtering, the head should not be cut off nor should the animal be skinned until the body is cold (lifeless).
The Qurbani animal should be placed on its left side facing the Qiblah and the following dua should be recited before slaughtering the animal:
Inni wajjah tu wajhiya lillazi fataras samawati wal arda haneefaw wama ana minal mushrikeen – Inna salati wanusuki wa mahyaya wa mamati lillahi rabbil alameen – La shareekalah wa bizalika umirtu wa ana awwalul muslimeen
"For me I have set my face firmly and truly towards Him Who created the heavens end the earth. And never shall I associate partners with Allah. Verily my worship, my sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the worlds. O Allah this sacrifice is from you and is for you."
When slaughtering the animal recite: Bismillahi Allahu Akbar. (In the name of Allah - Allah is the Greatest)
Du'aa to be read after zabah (slaughter):
Allahumma taqabbalhu minni kama taqabbalta min habeebika Muhammadin wa Khaleelika Ibrahim alayhimas salam
“O Allah accept from me this sacrifice like You have accepted from Your beloved Muhammad r and Your friend Ibrahim u peace be upon them.”
The Meat of the Sacrificed Animal
It is advisable but not compulsory to apportion the Qurbani animal into three parts. One part for one's family, another may be distributed among friends and relatives and the third to the poor and needy. It is permissible to keep all the meat for oneself.
The meat of the animal which has more than one share should be distributed by weighing it and not by estimation unless the head, feet and skin form part or the distributed shares.
It is unlawful to sell the Qurbani meat.
It is not permissible to tender the skin or meat as payment to the slaughterer (or skinner). Their fees should be paid separately.
The meat of the voluntary (nafl) Qurbani, made on behalf of a deceased person may be eaten by all.
Qurbani meat may be consumed by oneself and may be served to others, e.g. at a Walima.
It is permissible to utilize the skin for one's personal use, e.g. as a Musalla or a leather pouch. However, if the skin is sold, it is not permissible to use the income thereof. It is Wajib to give it in charity.
Reference: Sahih Muslim,Sunanus Sughra lil Baihaqi, Mishkat, I'laaus Sunan, Sunan Ibn Majah, Tanweerul Absaar, Bazlul Majhood, Raddul Muhtar, Ad Durrul Mukhtar
Darul Ihsan Centre