In Islam, the sacrifice of an animal is legal from the morning of the 10th to sunset of the 12th Dhu l-Hijjah, the 12th lunar month of the Islamic calendar. On these days Muslims all over the world offer Qurbani which means a sacrifice/ slaughter of an animal on specific days for the pleasure of Allah.


Islam traces the history of sacrifice back to Abel and Cain (Habil and Qabil), whose story is mentioned in the Qur’an.[2] Abel was the first human being to sacrifice an animal for God. Ibn Kathir narrates that Abel had offered a sheep whilst his brother Cain offered part of the crops of his land. The ordained procedure of God was that a fire would descend from the heavens and consume the accepted sacrifice.

Accordingly, a fire came down and enveloped the animal slaughtered by Abel thus accepting the sacrifice of Abel while Cain’s sacrifice was rejected. This led to jealousy on the part of Cain resulting in the first human death when he murdered his brother Abel. After much repentance and remorse, Cain was forgiven by God.