Qurban or Udhiya is animal (livestock) sacrifice usually done at the time of Dhuha. It is accepted to slaughter at other times, but could pose problem with time constraint as it takes long time to slaughter, skin and cut the bones and meat.
In mazhab Shafi’i, it is sunnah muakkad to do qurban. This holds for a pilgrim or non-pilgrim alike. Qurban is never obligatory unless stated beforehand as a nazar. A nazar is like a vow where we impose obligation to ourselves to perform something sunnah as an appreciation if something that we wish for materialize.
Qurban could also become obligatory if we put a ta’yin on animal that belongs to us. This is another vow that we make to ourselves such as: "Once this goat matures, I’m going to slaughter it and make a feast."
In comparison to mazhab Hanafi, qurban is obligatory to every person who can afford.
Aqiqah is livestock sacrifice made anytime of the year when a child is born. In a hadith, a child is held ransom until he or she is paid off with an aqiqah. It is said that a child who dies before puberty can give shafa’ah (intercession) to his parents in the akhirah. Imam Ahmad (r.h.) also of the same opinion, but he said parents who have not done aqiqah on their child are not entitled to such shafa’ah.
The time for qurban starts once the sun rises on the day of Nahar (10th of Zulhijjah). However It is preferered to wait until the sun rises about 2 feet up. This time lapses 4 days later - once the sun goes down on the third day of tashriq (13th Zulhijjah).
Animals qualified to be slaughtered could be camels, cattle, buffaloes, sheep, or goats. Meat of a camel, cow, or buffalo can be distributed into 7 equal parts to be shared by 7 persons. 1 such part is equivalent to a whole goat. There is no restriction that all 7 parts of a sacrificed animal be used exclusively for qurban only. From the 7 parts, it is allowed to make 1 part as qurban, another as aqiqah, another to be sold at the meat market, another for family consumption etc.
Among the qualifications are that the animal must be of mature age and it has no defect. A cow missing an earlobe, or tail cut-off, or mad (diseased) all are not fit to be sacrificed since a part of the edibles is missing.
Our prophet (saw) has told us to select a meaty animal for sacrifice. In the day of Judgement, it will become our mount while crossing the Sirot (the bridge that makes the sinners slip down and the faithful pass through). The bridge is the most crucial moment of our life, if you cross safely, there is a good chance that you will be safe in the Akhirah.
If you cannot afford an animal, then you can always share with 6 other fellow muslims. Qurban is the most preferred sadaqah among all recommended sadaqah. (Zakah being the highest ranked sadaqah, but is obligatory.)
There is a hadith that says there are no deeds more noble on the day of nahar than shedding (livestock) blood. Ibnu Abbas (r.anhuma) made further commentary from this hadith that if you cannot afford even 1/7 of an animal, then at least slaughter a chicken. In this case, you get a reward for shedding blood even though you have no reward for qurban.
Allah demands that a financially able person make a qurban ever year.
In a hadith, Allah will give reward for every inch of the slaughtered animal. Even a single strand of hair is taken into account. Imagine the huge reward we get by sacrificing an animal and giving away the meat to the poor who rarely see meat on their dinner table.
The meat and other edible parts are to be given away to the needy, but a portion of them can still be consumed by the person who does the qurban or aqiqah.
It is not right to complain in case we do not get enough of our share of meat. Whenever we perform deeds for the sake of Islam, we should never expect worldly benefit from them. Look instead at the rewards Allah reserves for us in the Akhirah.
As of today, 3 parts of a cow have been pledged for our madrasah. We hope to get 4 more so we can slaughter a single cow and cook the meat for the students. The madrasah is there for the students, so we have to give the meat to them. It is unfortunate that in the past, a cow had been donated to the madrasah, but the meat was all eaten by the guests. The students could only watch from far. Even I myself was not offered.
As for our qurban initiative for the country of Kemboja, we already have 40 cattle. Our target is 50. Anyway my phone has been ringing feverishly, and a lot of interested Muslims have inquired because they want to participate.