Giving qurbani (a sacrifice) is a sacred act of worship highly encouraged by Allah (SWT). Every year during the holy month of Dhul Hijjah, Muslims all over the world slaughter an animal – a goat, sheep, cow or camel – to reflect the Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail, for the sake of God. There are many qurbani rules that must be adhered to for the slaughter of the animal to be counted as a qurbani.

What are the qurbani rules?

Who needs to give qurbani? When do we offer our sacrifice? Are there any other things we need to take into consideration?

Worry not! We’ve put together everything you need to know about this sacred sacrifice.

Who must perform qurbani?

According to most Muslims, giving qurbani is highly recommended and according to the Hanafi madhab, it is obligatory for every sane adult Muslim who has wealth in excess to their needs (i.e. who meet the nisab threshold).

Normally those who are eligible to pay zakat are obliged to give qurbani.

The Hanafi school of thought states that it is obligatory for:

Current Nisab value (21 May 2024)

Using value of silver 612.36 grams = £489.08
Using value of gold 87.48 grams = £5,361.89

At what age is qurbani Fardh?

The opinion on whether qurbani is compulsory or not differs between the different schools of thought. However, for the benefit of those less fortunate, the sacred act of qurbani is highly rewarding and recommended for anyone who is of a mature age (has reached the age of puberty), and possesses wealth above the nisab threshold.

When must qurbani animals be purchased?

You must aim to give your qurbani donation in a timely manner. Islamic Relief aims to implement all qurbanis over 3 days (10th to 12th Dhul Hijjah).

The time for sacrifice ends when the sun sets on the fourth day. Therefore, you can make payments right up until the end of the third day after Eid (13th of Dhul-Hijjah) before Maghrib salah. However, we advise giving your qurbani as early as possible.

When must qurbani be performed?

There is a difference of opinion amongst the scholars as to whether qurbani can be done over 3 or 4 days. To respect this difference of opinion, Islamic Relief strives to perform qurbani in 3 days. We only extend into the fourth day in localities where this is religiously accepted by the local Muslim population – and if there is an operational need for this extra day.

We purchase the animals to be slaughtered in advance based on forecasted quotas. Hence if you give a qurbani on any of these days, the qurbani will be carried out in time.

When is qurbani distributed?

Qurbanis are performed through Islamic Relief country offices who purchase and slaughter animals locally. After the animal has been sacrificed, its meat is then distributed to those most in need. If there are problems with livestock supply in a particular country (due to limited local supply, natural disaster etc.) then animals are sourced and slaughtered abroad, and then shipped to the affected countries. All animals are sacrificed according to Islamic guidelines.

Which animals can be sacrificed?

The animals which are eligible should meet minimum requirements, such as the age of the animal for qurbani and their condition, including:

should be at least one year in age (this is equivalent to 1 person’s qurbani)

should be at least 2 years in age (this is equivalent to 7 people’s qurbani)

should be of at least 5 years in age (enough for 7 people’s qurbani)

In addition, all animals must be healthy and free of disease, including the following conditions:

How to slaughter a qurbani animal

For a slaughter of an animal to be counted as qurbani, it is essential that the slaughter is carried out humanely following qurbani rules. Below are some of the rules that should be followed:

How to distribute qurbani meat?

It is recommended to split qurbani meat equally into three parts. Following the sacrifice, 1 part is kept for yourself, 1 part is distributed to your family and friends, and 1 part is given to the poor and needy. Many Muslims prefer to have their qurbani performed in the world’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged communitiesWhen you donate your qurbani to Islamic Relief, we distribute all 3 parts to the poor and needy. 

Who can receive Qurbani meat?

When distributing your qurbani meat to the poor and needy, we’ve set criteria and scoring systems in place to determine qurbani recipients, which ensures we reach the most vulnerable without bias. 

The scoring system is based on the following criteria: 

Should I avoid cutting my nails and hair if I’m giving qurbani?

There are differences of opinions on whether it is unlawful for you to cut your nails and hair or whether it’s disliked. Refraining from cutting your nails and hair if you’re donating qurbani is obligatory according to the Hanbali madhab and recommended according to the majority of scholars. 

How many animals do I have to sacrifice?

Donating qurbani is obligatory for every Muslim who is financially able to do so in the Hanafi madhab and according to the majority of scholars, it is highly recommended. If you’re obligated to donate qurbani, the minimum you can donate is 1 qurbani share, which is equivalent to 1 sheep/goat or 1/7th of a cow/buffalo/camel.  

It’s permissible to donate more than 1 share of qurbani should you wish to do so. The Prophet (peace be upon him) himself carried out multiple qurbani for himself and the ummah. Therefore, many Muslims offer multiple qurbani on behalf of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and for deceased parents. 

How many qurbani per family?

According to the Hanafi school of thought, anyone obligated to donate qurbani in the household must donate a minimum of one qurbani each. For example, 1 qurbani is equivalent to a sheep/goat. A large animal such as a cow/buffalo/camel is enough for 7 people’s qurbani.  

Qurbani rules for husband and wife

According to the Hanafi school of thought, both the husband and wife must donate a minimum of 1 qurbani each if they’re sane Muslims who possess wealth more than their needs. What is beyond their needs equal to (or more than) the current level of nisab (87.48 grams of gold or 612.36 grams of silver).

What should I do if I’ve missed my qurbani?

If you would like to make up for any qurbani donations which you’ve missed in previous years, simply calculate the total number of years missed and donate the total number of shares this year. For example, if donating qurbani was compulsory for you in the last 3 years, which you’d missed, you can donate 4 Qurbani shares this year. 

Offering a sacrifice comes with restrictions

For those who want to offer a sacrifice, it’s recommended according to the majority of the scholars that once the new moon of Dhul Hijjah appears (i.e. on the 1st of Dhul Hijjah), you do not remove anything from your hair, nails or skin until you have offered the sacrifice.

Reap the rewards of the blessed days of Dhul Hijjah, give qurbani now.

We ensure our content is reviewed and verified by qualified scholars to provide you with the most accurate information. This webpage was last reviewed by Sheikh Saalim Al-Azhari.

Page last reviewed: 20th May 2024.

Qurbani resources

new director

Director of Network and Resource Development

Adnan joined Islamic Relief in 2004 as a regional fundraiser in the UK. He worked in multiple roles over 10 years at Islamic Relief UK, including setting up the first digital team and leading the growth of digital fundraising and engagement. Adnan also led numerous fundraising and marketing campaigns, which played a significant part in the growth of Islamic Relief UK.

Having moved to Islamic Relief Worldwide in 2014, Adnan has held different roles that have helped grow Islamic Relief’s global digital footprint into new geographic territories, supporting Islamic Relief members with their digital and marketing growth as well as developing new products and initiatives for the Islamic Relief family.

Adnan graduated in Industrial Design and Technology from Loughborough University. He has since completed an Advanced Diploma in Business Administration from Durham University and a Diploma in Digital Marketing from the Institute of Data and Marketing.

Nadeem Azhar

General Counsel

Nadeem joined Islamic Relief Worldwide in September 2022. He has worked in the charitable sector for over a decade.

He studied Modern History and Politics at Manchester University, and at the University of Law in London before qualifying as a solicitor in 2011.

Nadeem is an experienced corporate, commercial and governance lawyer, having worked with various faith-based and grant making charities as well those in health and education settings. He was a partner at a law firm in London before moving in-house where he focused on setting up and restructuring charities and social enterprises.

Most recently, Nadeem was Lead Counsel at Mind, a leading mental health charity, where he co-authored a new federation agreement, revamped legal processes, and played a major role in developing its strategic and fundraising partnerships.

Nadeem has been a charity trustee for the Seafarers Charity, as well as many grant-making bodies and theatre companies.

Adnan Hafiz

Director of Network and Resource Development

Adnan joined Islamic Relief in 2004 as a regional fundraiser in the UK. He worked in multiple roles over 10 years at Islamic Relief UK, including setting up the first digital team and leading the growth of digital fundraising and engagement. Adnan also led numerous fundraising and marketing campaigns, which played a significant part in the growth of Islamic Relief UK.

Having moved to Islamic Relief Worldwide in 2014, Adnan has held different roles that have helped grow Islamic Relief’s global digital footprint into new geographic territories, supporting Islamic Relief members with their digital and marketing growth as well as developing new products and initiatives for the Islamic Relief family.

Adnan graduated in Industrial Design and Technology from Loughborough University. He has since completed an Advanced Diploma in Business Administration from Durham University and a Diploma in Digital Marketing from the Institute of Data and Marketing.

Board of Directors
Javed Akhtar

Director of Finance

Javed Akhtar has more than a decade of experience at Islamic Relief, having worked in a similar role between 2003-2014. In that role he strove to implement wide-ranging financial and accounting processes which aided in the transparent nature in which Islamic Relief now operates.

Javed also has diverse experience across the private sector, having worked at American chemicals and pharmaceutical giant DuPont, shipping firm FedEX and technology consultancy company Accenture. In all his roles, he prioritises using the latest technologies to improve monitoring and reporting at every level. Javed’s commitment to embracing digital end-to-end technology, enhancing accountability to our stakeholders and promoting financial transparency is ensuring that we remain at the forefront of financial developments in the sector.

By training, Javed is a chartered accountant with a Master’s degree in NGO Management with Charity Accounting and Financial Management from Cass Business School.
Board of Directors
Affan Cheema  

Director of International Programmes

Affan Cheema is an experienced leader who has spent 25 years working in the international aid sector on poverty eradication in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. He has worked in fast onset emergencies, protracted crisis and development environments whilst working for Islamic Relief Worldwide and Care International. He is also a trustee of South West International Development Network (SWIDN).

Through his career Affan has held numerous roles including institutional fundraising, programme and grant management, and programme quality assurance.  Affan’s leadership has helped Islamic Relief Worldwide secure the highly coveted Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS), seen as the sector’s premier benchmark for operational excellence.

Affan completed his BA in Economics and Geography from University of London (School of Oriental and African Studies) and his MSc in Development Administration and Planning from the University of Bristol. He is PRINCE2 qualified, is a keen sportsman and recently co-edited a book entitled -Islam and International Development: Insights for working with Muslim Communities-.
Board of Directors
Dr Hossam Said

Managing Director, Humanitarian Academy for Development (HAD)

For nearly three decades Dr Hossam has provided the strategic vision to manage, lead and develop a range of international humanitarian interventions around the world.

At the start of his career, Dr Hossam served on the Board of Directors of the Egyptian Medical Syndicate, before moving to Islamic Relief Worldwide to manage the core global business activities as International Programmes Director.

During this time the organisation increased its global reach, gaining both domestic and international repute and credibility. Dr Hossam has also served on the Islamic Relief Worldwide Board of Management and Executive Committee for the past 15 years; sharing responsibility for strategic organisational development and the change management process, whilst forging strong relationships with many other charities.

Dr Hossam gained an MBA from Aston Business School in 2004 and graduated as a Medical Doctor from Cairo University in 1981.
Board of Directors
Martin Cottingham  

Director of External Relations and Advocacy

Martin Cottingham joined Islamic Relief in 2012 as IRUK Media Relations Manager, and was appointed Head of Communications in 2015 before taking up his current position as Director of External Relations and Advocacy for Islamic Relief Worldwide.

Martin has helped Islamic Relief to increase its mainstream media profile and expand its campaigning work, producing hard-hitting advocacy reports on floods in Pakistan (2011) famine in Somalia (2012) disaster risk reduction (2013) and aid to Afghanistan (2014). He has over 20 years’ experience working in media, communications and marketing roles for international development and environmental charities.

Martin graduated from the University of London with a degree in English and Drama (1982-85) then trained as a journalist with a postgraduate diploma at City University (1986-87). He has previously worked for Christian Aid as Editor of Christian Aid News and Media Relations Manager (1988-97) for Oxfam as Regional Campaigns Manager (1997-2000) and at the Soil Association as Marketing Director (2001-2006), as well as working for a wide range of organisations as a freelance writer, researcher and communications consultant.

Tufail Hussain

Director of Islamic Relief UK

Tufail Hussain has 17 years’ experience in the humanitarian and development sector, leading on marketing and fundraising campaigns for several organisations before joining Islamic Relief UK in 2016 as Deputy Director. Tufail was appointed Director of Islamic Relief UK in 2019 and in 2021 provided valuable leadership as interim CEO of Islamic Relief Worldwide.

Tufail is driven by a passion for empowering disadvantaged youth and mentors a number of young people. He also works to strengthen engagement between British Muslims and wider society. Under his leadership, Islamic Relief UK has significantly increased its income and developed successful partnerships with communities across the country. He has travelled around the world to raise awareness of major emergencies such as the Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan crises and the floods in Pakistan and Sudan.

A father to 5 daughters and a son, Tufail is also a sports enthusiast and passionate Liverpool FC supporter. Tufail has run the London Marathon twice, raising over £35,000 for humanitarian causes.

Before joining Islamic Relief he was CEO of Orphans in Need, where he oversaw a new strategy that increased income from £2 million to £9 million in 3 years and opened up new UK and international offices. Tufail is also a trustee of the Muslim Charities Forum and a Director of TIC International (Islamic Relief Worldwide’s clothes recycling and trading arm).
Waseem Ahmad

Chief Executive Officer

Waseem Ahmad joined the Islamic Relief family over 24 years ago, serving as Programme Officer in the Balochistan province of south-western Pakistan before becoming Head of Programmes in Pakistan. Waseem then moved to Oxfam and Tearfund before returning to Islamic Relief to establish our mission in Malawi. Later serving as Head of Programme Funding and Partnerships, Waseem led the response to major crises across the globe, including the East Africa drought, Pakistan earthquake and the Indian Ocean Tsunami.

Waseem then served for nearly 6 years as our Director of International Programmes, during which time the charity secured and retained the coveted Core Humanitarian Standard certification in recognition of the quality of our programming. He was appointed CEO of Islamic Relief in May 2021.

With a special interest in community mobilisation and infrastructure, Waseem received an MSc in Project Planning and Management from the University of Bradford, as well as an MSc in Economics from Arid Agriculture University in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

Waseem has also worked for Lepra Health in Action and is a member of the International Civil Society Centre’s Board of Trustees. The father-of-3 enjoys walking and playing football, and is a keen birdwatcher.