What Does Sacrifice Mean in Islam?
What does qurban mean literally?
Qurban (sacrifice) is a special animal slaughtered for the man to become closer to Allah’s compassion. In fiqh sacrifice is “udhiyya” meaning the animal slaughtered during Eid Al-Adha. We call this “sacrifice”.
Slaughtering an animal is called “tadhiyya” which means slaughtering a special animal at a certain time with the intention of worship and submission. This may also be called “zabh” and “nahr”.
What is meant by a special animal is animals which are religiously acceptable as sacrifice such as sheep, goat, cattle and camel. What is meant by certain time is the days of Eid Al-Adha. In Islamic Law sacrifice is to perform an obligatory ritual (vajeeb) in this world and to gain good deeds for the hereafter (akhirah). The reason is arrival of the due time. As time goes on the due time repeats and the obligation of sacrifice is also repeated. (Ebu Davud)
Sacrifice (Adha) meaning “getting closer” in the dictionary defines getting closer to Allah, sacrificing worldly belongings for the sake of Allah, submission to Allah and being thankful to Allah. It became a legitimate Islamic Practice on the second year of Hijrah.
Sacrifice is performed with the intent of getting closer to Allah and only for the sake of Allah. It is forbidden by religion (haram) to sacrifice an animal for anybody but Allah. Rasulullah (pbuh) warned those people attempting to sacrifice for someone other than Allah with these words:
“May Allah damn those people who sacrifice an animal for anyone other than Allah.” (Muslim, Nasai) (Shameel Islamic Encyclopedia)