Qurbani is sacrificing the animal in the name of Allah and for the pleasure of Him.
The Holy Quran describes, “And to every nation We have appointed rites (of sacrifice), so that they might celebrate the Name of Allah over the food He gave them from animals (fit for sacrifice). But your Ilaah (God) is One; then submit your will to Him.” [22: 34]
The question here is, what is the spirit of Qurbani, or what should we learn from it?
Spirit is like a soul in the body which is unseen but without it the body has no meaning. Similarly, in Qurbani, there is a spirit or the main teaching, which is very important for us to grasp. If we do not grab the spirit of the Qurbani, then our animal sacrifice will be ritual only like a scallop shell without the scallop in it.
Once a year sacrificing at the occasion of Eid-ul-Adha is a training for us to sacrifice what Allah has given us, in our daily lives according to Allah’s commandments. Sacrifice means giving up things dear to us if Allah wants us to.
For example, Allah commands us to sacrifice our wrong faith, bad manners, immorality, bad talks, bad feelings and intentions. In our daily lives, we are tempted to lie, cheat, hate, feel greedy, be selfish or stingy, swear with anger, fight unfairly, and do all sorts of things that Allah prohibited for us.
The spirit of Qurbani is to sacrifice all sinful actions. Holy Quran indicates for that spirit: “Say: Verily, my Salah, my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the universe.” [6:162]
The spirit of Qurbani includes thankfulness to Allah in every situation. Whether in giving or in receiving. Sacrificing an animal is an act of giving. But what we give is not owned by us. The real owner is Allah as the Creator. He provided the animals for us and gave us control over them.
Therefore, we should thank Allah for His provision and for granting us the ability to sacrifice His gifts in His cause. Allah says in the Quran, “We made the animals at your command, so that you may be thankful.” [22:38]
Finally, meat or blood from the sacrificed animals is not important in the Sight of Allah, and that is not what Allah wants from His servants. Allah asked Prophet Ibraheem (a) to sacrifice his beloved son, not to take the life of his son but to test their spirit.
That spirit was their submission to Allah. Allah reminds us in the Quran that He likes to see our spirit (the devotion) in our Qurbani: “It is neither their meat nor their blood, that reaches Allah: It is your devotion (to Allah) that reaches Him.” [Quran 22:37]
Therefore, may Allah help us keep practicing the spirit of Qurbani in our daily lives, Ameen!