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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Answering the Qurbani Question: Where and How to Give?

How and where are you giving your Qurbani this year? Like many Muslim families in the United States, my family asks the same questions: Can we give Qurbani here (where we live in the U.S.) by ourselves? Should we have family living abroad perform and distribute our Qurbani? How can we get the meat from Qurbani to those who really need it?

Last week, my family and I sat around the dinner table and tried to answer these difficult questions for this year’s Qurbani. My father-in-law, who had returned from a lecture at our local mosque, told us how the speaker, a visiting mufti, related the story behind Eid-al-Adha, why we give Qurbani/Udhiyah and how to go about doing it. The best way, the mufti said, is to bring the goat (sheep, camel or cow, whatever you will be sacrificing) to your home and let your attachment to that animal grow a bit.

That way, the mufti said, when you sacrifice the animal, it will be a little difficult for you, but you will do it for the sake of Allah (swt). That will more closely mimic the difficulty the Prophet Ibrahim had when Allah asked him to sacrifice his son Ismail, and at the last minute, Allah replaced Ismail with a sheep for the sacrifice.

That got me to thinking: Surely doing the Qurbani by your own hand is ideal, but as all things evolve and change, so have our lifestyles. In the United States (and I suspect many countries), it’s difficult, if not impermissible, to bring an animal into your home and perform the Qurbani there. Many areas organize a Qurbani where you can go and perform the sacrifice yourself, but often they permit you to do only one.

And in our family, we have five Qurbanis to do. So this year, we’ve decided to utilize Islamic Relief USA’s Udhiyah/Qurbani program and get a number of our Qurbanis done abroad, perhaps in India or Pakistan (still figuring the location out). The more we thought about it, the more it made sense: We make our niyyat (intention) when we fill out the Qurbani donation form online, the sacrifice is done on our behalf and all the meat will go to people who really need it.

One we will do here where we live, so we can go through the process ourselves, and we will distribute the meat to friends and family, the less fortunate and keep a third for ourselves. And Alhamdulillah, I have immense peace of mind that our other Qurbanis will be taken care of Islamically as well.

There are a lot of options out there for how you can give your Qurbani/Udhiyah, and there are thousands of people around the world who desperately need that meat — it's often the only meat they receive the entire year. Consider giving your Qurbani online through Islamic Relief USA, and may Allah (swt) accept our intentions and bless us all.

-- Dilshad D. Ali
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