Contrary to popular belief, the prophetic Qurbani does not mean giving Qurbani on behalf of the Prophet. This is a common misunderstanding amongst many Muslims. The Prophetic Qurbani is actually the Qurban given on behalf of the ummah. The Prophet (saw) used to give Qurbani on behalf of his family and another on behalf of the ummah. Giving Qurbani on behalf of the Prophet is a different matter.
For the ones who are able, it is encouraged to follow the Sunnah and give the Prophetic Qurbani as well as their own sacrifice. The Qur’an tell us the Prophet (saw) is the best example for mankind, ‘There is indeed a good model for you in the Messenger of Allah- for the one who has hope in Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah profusely’, (Qur’an 33:21) and he used to sacrifice two animals every year; one on behalf of himself and the members of his household, and the other on behalf of his ummah.
There are great rewards in following the actions of the Prophet (saw), and what an opportunity we have every year to make one extra sacrifice for the ummah as our Prophet (saw) did. The extra sacrifice can be given to the needy just as Zakat al-Fitr is given at the end of Ramadan; so that the poorest communities can enjoy a healthy, filling meal with fresh meat on the days of Eid.
Why give a Prophetic Qurbani?
Giving a Prophetic Qurbani is a special act because it follows the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet (saw). There is wisdom in everything the Prophet (saw) did and plenty of benefit in following him. As an ummah, we can revive this Sunnah and help feed the neediest families around the world, many of whom only eat fresh meat a few times a year. In poverty-stricken communities, meat is an unaffordable luxury and so it is a joyous occasion when they can enjoy the generosity of a Prophetic Qurbani.
Ibn Anas relates that the Prophet (saw) said, ‘None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself’ (Bukhari). For the people who have the means to give on behalf of the ummah, this hadith holds much importance. The recipients who receive the qurbani meat do not have the means to offer a sacrifice themselves. They do not get to participate in this religious ritual that commemorates the sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim (as) and so giving on behalf of these people ensures that they are involved not only in the festivities of Eid, but also the rewards of offering a sacrifice.
According to Aisha (ra):
‘There is nothing dearer to Allah during the days of Qurbani than the sacrificing of animals. The sacrificed animal shall come on the Day of Judgement with its horns, hair and hooves (to be weighed on a person’s good deeds). The sacrifice is accepted by Allah before the blood reaches the ground. Therefore, sacrifice with an open and happy heart’. (Tirmidhi)
So why give a Prophetic Qurbani this year with the intention of following the Sunnah, feeding the poor and gaining Allah’s (swt) reward?