The Qurbani sacrifice for Eid al Adha is due to fall on 4/5 October in the UK. This has created a problem in the lamb and sheep industry. It is a principle of Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence), that sheep for Qurbani should be healthy and have the build and maturity of the minimum of a 1 year old animal.
Muslims across the country have asked religious scholars for guidelines on whether lambs under 12 months are acceptable for Qurbani, as most lambs, which they find preferable for slaughter, are under the age of 12 months in this country.
It has been determined by Hazrat Allama Pir Faiz-ul-Aqtab Siddiqi principal of the Hijaz College, National Convenor of the Muslim Action Committee (MAC), Secretary General of the International Muslims Organisation, Grand Blessed Guide of the Naqshbandi Hijazi Sufi and the Board of ‘Ulema with respect to the sacrifice of animals for Qurbani or Udhiyya (sheep, goats & cows) at the time of Eid-ul-Adhaa, that the following, established criterion should be followed:
1. It is an act which is wajib (obligation) on every adult Muslim and Muslimah who possesses the equivalent of 613.35 grams of silver (apprx. £233), surplus to needs, and should be performed on the day of Eid-ul-Adhaa and up to two days thereafter.
2. It is accepted that the Qurbani can be performed in other countries through trust, providing the sacrifice is undertaken during the correct days and the meat is distributed correctly.
3. It is accepted that the meat can be chilled or frozen and transported to where required.
4. A cow, ox or buffalo consists of 7 parts (i.e. 7 persons can share its sacrifice) and goats, sheep and rams consist of 1 part (i.e. 1 sacrifice per person.)
5. Animals should be healthy.
6. Goats, sheep and rams must be at least one year old, and cows and bulls at least 2 years old.
7. It is permitted but not essential to split the sacrifice into 3 parts for home, relatives and the poor or to give all to the poor and needy.
8. Qurbani meat should not be sold except to prevent waste in which case the money should be given to the poor.
9. It is permissible to sacrifice additional animals and dedicate the blessings of such to those deceased or living as is the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
Naved Syed, Halal adviser to Yorkshire Asian Business Association (YABA), said that a decision being made regarding the age of the animal for Qurbani was down to religious scholars, and not the industry. The religious leaders have now given clear guidelines as to what is expected when performing a Qurbani.
Unfortunately this will be a bad blow for the farmers who were expecting a bumper harvest of lambs this year. This will also have a detrimental effect for the UK economy as the funds/cost of these Qurbani for Eid-ul-Adhaa will most likely be sent overseas.