Qurbaani or Udhiyah is to slaughter an animal during the days of Qurbaani, 10, 11 and 12 of Zulhijjah in order to emulate the example of Ibraheem عليه السلام and accomplish the injunction of Allaah سبحانه وتعالى. Allaah سبحانه وتعالى says:
“So turn in prayer towards your Lord and sacrifice (animals)”. (Suratul Kausar: 108/2)
After spending almost a century childless, the close friend of Allaah Ibraaheem عليه السلام was granted a child. As Isma`il grew up and became a helping hand to his old father, Allaah commanded the overjoyed father through a dream to sacrifice his beloved. Ibraaheem عليه السلام informed Isma`il of the command and asked for his opinion to make it easier for him and also to test his patience and determination at this very young age in obeying Allaah and his father. The patient and obedient son offered his life to the will of Allaah and suggested his father to obey the command.
The son followed his father to Minaa to carry out the command. On entering Minaa, Shaytaan came forth at the place where Jamaratul Uqbaa is to frighten Isma`il and mislead his father. Ibraheem عليه السلام stoned him with seven pebbles until he sank into the earth. As they were proceeding, Shaytaan appeared again at Jamartul Ustaa and Ibraaheem stoned him with another seven pebbles and he disappeared. Shaytaan made a final attempt to prevent them from accomplishing the command and appeared for the third time at Jamartul Ulaa. Ibraaheem threw Shaytaan with seven more pebbles and he went giving up hope under the surface.
As they reached the intended spot, the father placed his only son facedown so that he could slaughter him from behind without seeing the lovely face of his dear. He passed the knife over the neck but it did not cut Isma`il at all, because a sheet of copper was placed in-between. Suddenly a voice sounded from behind, ‘O Ibraaheem! You have fulfilled the dream!’ Ibraaheem عليه السلام turned, and saw a fine, horned, white ram. He slaughtered the ram, which had grazed in Paradise for forty years in lieu of Isma`il. “And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice”.
This episode is an evident proof of how Allaah makes a way out for those who obey Him in matters which are difficult for them and against their desires. “And whosoever has Taqwaa of Allaah, He will make a way for him to get out. And He will provide him from he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him. Verily, Allaah will accomplish his purpose. Indeed Allaah has set a measure for all things.” (65:2-3).
The command of sacrificing Isma`il was a test for Ibraaheem عليه السلام. “Verily, that indeed was a manifest trial”. As Ibraaheem عليه السلام went through the trial successfully, Allaah became so pleased with him that He granted him the reward of sacrificing his son praising him and proclaimed the practice of His friend as an obligatory act of worship for the generation to come. “And We left for him among the later generations. Salam be upon Ibrahim! Thus indeed do We reward the doers of good. Verily, he was one of Our believing servants”.
Emulating the example of Ibraaheem عليه السلام and accomplishing the injunction of Allaah, every well-to-do Muslim sacrifices an animal on the days of Qurbaani once in every year.