Eid ul Adha 2024 rules everyone must follow including how to give Qurbani donations

A man and woman holding Qurbani food donations at Masjid Al Falaah in Birmingham
-Credit: (Image: Islamic Relief UK)

Families in the UK and around the world are preparing to take part in Eid ul Adha 2024, which translates as the Festival of the Sacrifice. These are all the rules for the event which includes a sacred act of worship known as Qurbani.

Every year during the holy month of Dhul Hijjah, Muslims carry out - or pay for - the slaughter of livestock to honour the Prophet Ibrahim's willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail, when Allah ordered him to do so. Just when he was about to fulfil the command, he was presented with a ram to slay instead.

So, every year, at Eid ul Adha, each family head arranges for the slaughter of a domesticated animal. This is known as Qurbani, an Arabic term that means sacrifice. There are many rules that must be adhered to for this to count as a proper Qurbani.


Traditionally, one-third of the meat is kept by the family for their own Eid feast, another third goes to relatives and the final portion is given to those in need. These days this often takes the form of a donation to a relief organisation which uses the funds to provide meals to people living in poverty-stricken areas of the world so that they too have the chance to celebrate.

People can arrange with local charities to give some or all of the meat to the needy in their immediate area or overseas countries. Green Lane Masjid and Community Centre (GLMCC) in Birmingham runs an international Qurbani service through its Taskforce GLM charity which lets people choose from over 10 countries where their donations can be distributed.

It said: "We work diligently to ensure that your donations reach those who need them most, making a tangible difference in their lives. By donating your Qurbani to Taskforce GLM, you will enable the world’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities to enjoy Eid, as this is the only time many families eat meat in the entire year."

What are the rules of Qurbani?

  • Qurbani is obligatory for every Muslim adult who is financially able to do it; of sound mind; and not travelling too far away from home.

  • Qurbani must be given on the 10th, 11th and 12th days of Dhul Hijjah

  • Sacrifices can only be made after the Eid prayer (sacrifices made before do not count as Qurbani)

  • Animals for sacrifice must meet minimum age and health requirements

  • Qurbani sacrifices should be given in three shares - one for the individual performing it (who then shares with their family), one for friends and relatives, and one for the poor. Meat is shared by weight.

Each adult should offer at least one Qurbani which is then divided up into three parts. This would typically be a smaller animal like a sheep or goat. Bigger animals such as camels, cows, and buffalo can represent up to seven people's Qurbani.

Qurbani animals must be purchased a few days before the sacrifice. They must be properly fed and well cared for in the days after that. The eligible animals are:

  • Sheep and goats at least one year old (enough for one person's Qurbani)

  • Cows or buffalo at least two years' old (enough for seven people's Qurbani)

  • Camels of at least five years' old (enough for seven people's Qurbani)

All animals must be healthy and free of disease. In the UK, animal slaughter can only be carried out by registered abattoirs. Sacrifices can begin after Eid prayer on the first day of Eid ul Adha and continue until Maghrib (sunset prayers) on the third day of Eid.

Muslims are permitted to donate Qurbani on behalf of other people, including those who have died. But they are not expected to donate on behalf of adult children who are expected to pay their own share. If you are obliged to donate Qurbani, the minimum is one share, which is equivalent to one sheep/goat or one-seventh of a cow, buffalo or camel.

It's permitted to donate more than one Qurbani if you wish to do so. Some charities allow you to donate one Qurbani in the UK and another abroad. Many people offer multiple donations.

Islamic Relief says it decides who will get the meat purchased with the donations it receives by using the following criteria:

  • Families who live on less than the minimum income for that particular country

  • Female-headed households

  • Families including disabled and/or elderly people

  • Children under five years old

  • Pregnant women

  • Breastfeeding mothers

  • Families with little or no access to the market

Scholars recommend that once the new moon of Dhul Hijjah appears, people should not trim their hair or nails until they have offered the sacrifice. Some believe this is obligatory but opinions vary.