Qurbani, also known as Udhiyah, is an important Islamic practice performed during Eid al-Adha, commemorating the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to Allah. This ritual involves the slaughtering of specific animals, typically goats, sheep, cows, or camels, and distributing the meat among family, friends, and the needy. The act is deeply symbolic, representing submission to Allah’s will and compassion towards others, particularly the less fortunate.

The Traditional Practice of Qurbani

The traditional practice of Qurbani is rooted in Islamic teachings and the Sunnah (traditions of the Prophet Muhammad). The act of slaughtering an animal is not merely a physical task but a spiritual endeavor intended to reflect a believer’s faith and devotion. The process involves selecting a healthy animal, performing the slaughter in a humane manner, and distributing the meat in specific portions: one-third for the family, one-third for relatives and friends, and one-third for the poor and needy.

Modern Challenges and Alternative Views

In modern times, various challenges have arisen that prompt some Muslims to question the feasibility and practicality of performing Qurbani in the traditional sense. Urbanization, environmental concerns, and economic constraints are some factors that make the traditional practice difficult for some individuals. In response to these challenges, a growing number of scholars and community leaders have explored the possibility of substituting Qurbani with monetary donations to charity organizations that can then provide for the needy in different ways.

Scholarly Perspectives on Monetary Donations

The permissibility of giving money instead of performing Qurbani is a topic of debate among Islamic scholars. Traditionalists argue that the ritual of animal sacrifice is a prescribed act of worship that should not be altered. They emphasize the importance of following the Prophet’s example and maintaining the continuity of this practice. However, other scholars take a more pragmatic approach, suggesting that the underlying intention of Qurbani—providing for the poor and demonstrating generosity—can be fulfilled through monetary donations.

Arguments in Favor of Monetary Donations

Proponents of substituting Qurbani with monetary donations present several arguments. First, they argue that the essence of Qurbani is to help those in need, and monetary donations can be a more efficient and effective means of providing support. They point out that in some regions, the logistics of distributing meat can be complicated and may not address the immediate needs of the poor. Additionally, they highlight environmental concerns related to large-scale animal slaughter, such as waste management and the carbon footprint associated with livestock farming.

Ethical and Practical Considerations

From an ethical standpoint, some argue that monetary donations can better align with contemporary values of sustainability and resource management. The modern world faces numerous challenges, including hunger, poverty, and environmental degradation, and financial contributions can be directed towards sustainable development projects, education, healthcare, and other critical areas. Practically, in urban settings where performing Qurbani might be logistically challenging or even impossible, giving money can be a more feasible option.

Counterarguments and Traditionalist Views

Opponents of replacing Qurbani with monetary donations stress the significance of adhering to religious traditions as closely as possible. They argue that the physical act of sacrificing an animal carries spiritual and communal benefits that cannot be replicated by simply giving money. The ritual fosters a sense of community, reminds believers of the sacrifices made by Prophet Ibrahim, and provides an opportunity for families to come together and share in the blessings of Eid.

Balancing Tradition and Modernity

Balancing tradition and modernity are a challenge faced by many religious communities. In the case of Qurbani, this balance involves respecting the traditional aspects of the practice while also considering contemporary realities. Some scholars advocate for a middle-ground approach where individuals perform Qurbani if feasible and complement it with additional charitable donations. This approach honors the ritual’s significance while addressing modern concerns and expanding the impact of charitable giving.


Ultimately, the decision to give money instead of performing Qurbani is a personal one, influenced by individual circumstances, beliefs, and interpretations of religious teachings. For some, adhering strictly to the traditional practice is paramount, while others may find that monetary donations better align with their ability to contribute meaningfully to their communities. It is important for Muslims to seek guidance from knowledgeable scholars and consider their own context when making this decision. Regardless of the method chosen, the core values of compassion, generosity, and support for those in need remain central to the spirit of Qurbani.