Qurban or Korban (Sacrifice)
What is Qurban?
Qurban is an Arabic word which may be translated as sacrifice. As a religous practice it was started by Prophet Abraham by the commandment of Allah (God). Qurban can also be spelled as Korban.
In Islam, the practice of Qurban is celebrated in commemoration of Prophet Abraham's renowned act of obedience to the commandment of God to sacrifice his own son but which was later replaced by a ram.
Qurban is performed during the Haj season in the first three days of the Eidul Adha (Festival of Sacrifice) and the animals allowed for Qurban are goat, sheep, cow, buffalo or camel.
The meat from the Qurban are distributed among 3 categories of people:
1/3 for the poor and needy.
1/3 for family members and friends.
1/3 for the person doing the Qurban - and this portion can be given to non-Muslims.
God says in the Holy Quran:
"Lo! We have given thee Abundance. So pray unto thy Lord, and sacrifice."
(Quran 108:1 - 2)
"Say: Lo! my worship and my sacrifice and my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the Worlds."
How It All Began - The Story of Prophet Abraham's Qurban
Prophet Abraham was staying in Palestine and he was elated because his wife Sarah conceived a child and Isaac was born. One day, Prophet Abraham received a dream-vision in which he was commanded by God to sacrifice his first-born, Ishmael.
This was a great test on Prophet Abraham. Which father would be willing to sacrifice his own son, the most precious possession, his own flesh and blood. What's more when he became a father as a result of earnest prayers when he was already past 80 years old. Prophet Abraham was extremely saddened to carry out this command, but, being a true believer of God, he had to obey Him and execute His Behest.
So, he travelled to Mecca to see Ishmael who was by then a handsome, strong and intelligent youth. Prophet Abraham related the dream-vision to his son who, by himself being a firm believer of God, accepted his fate and was obediently prepared to observe the Divine Command.
God says: "And when (his son) was old enough to walk with him, (Abraham) said: O my dear son, I have seen in a dream that I must sacrifice thee. So look, what thinkest thou? He said: O my father! Do that which thou art commanded. Allah willing, thou shalt find me of the steadfast."
So, both father and son went towards the site of the sacrifice, as seen in Prophet Abraham's vision, the barren place now overlooking the third jamrah, Jamrah Aqabah. On the way, satan appeared as a man three times to them. The first manifestation took place where Jamrah Ula now stands. As they walked further, satan again appeared at the site of Jamrah Wustha. Satan's third manifestation took place at the spot now occupied by Jamrah Aqabah.
At each of the manifestations, satan instigated Ishmael to disobey his father and flee for his life, but each time Ishmael stoned satan for trying to deceive him. How courageous Ishmael was as he offered himself as a sacrifice. No fear could prevent this faithful youth from the obedience of God's Command. Of course, his father too, was unique in his faith and devotion to the One God. Prophet Abraham too was approached by satan and he too pelted satan with stones.
At the site of the sacrifice, Ishmael put his head down on a rock in preparation for the sacrifice, and Prophet Abraham, with a heavy heart, placed the knife to his son's throat about to execute the sacrifice. Suddenly a ram appeared and a voice, that of Archangel Gabriel, was heard. Conveying the Message of God, the Archangel said that God had received the sacrifice without requiring the death of Ishmael. The ram was to be offered in his stead, and Prophet Abraham sacrificed it.
God says in the Quran, thus:
"We called unto him: O Abraham! Thou hast already fulfilled the vision. Lo! thus do We reward the good. Lo! that verily was a clear test. Then We ransomed him with a tremendous sacrifice. And We left for him among the later folk (the salutation): Peace be unto Abraham! Thus do We reward the good. Lo! he is one of Our believing slaves."
(Quran 37:104 - 111)
Source: The Haj, The Annual Pilrimage of Islam - Written by Shaik A. Kadir