Qurban means sacrifice. The significance of this eid is from the offering of Prophet Abraham(as), who prepared to present his son Ismail(as) to Allah, upon having dream of such a command. He prepared to offer his son, but this was a test from Allah, so before he could slaughter his boy, the angels replaced him with a sacrificing animal.
To remember this sacrifice of him we, Muslim who can afford to, make an offering to Allah of an animal. This is called Qurbani. It is not an obligation, but necessary for all who are earning and have enough money to do it. The meat of the animal should be divided into three portions, of which one third is distributed among the poor, another part among relatives and friends, and the third is consumed in the family.
Consumer advice on Qurbani, produced by AHDB, click on the link:
On whom is Qurbani Wajib (obligatory)?
Qurbani is Wajib (obligatory) on all who fulfill the following three conditions:
Muslim who is of sound mind – mature (has reached the age of puberty),
a Muqeem (a Shari traveller is exempted from Qurbani) one who possesses Zakatable wealth in excess of one’s basic needs and debts on any of the three days of Qurbani. It is not necessary that this amount be in one’s possession for a complete lunar year. (Ad Durrul Mukhtar)
Qurbani is not incumbent on a child or an insane person nor is it incumbent upon their guardians to perform it on their behalf (Raddul Muhtar, Fatawa Mahmoodiyyah). Similarly, it is not Wajib on a musafir (one considered a traveller in Shariah) (Ad Durrul Mukhtar, Hidayah).
NB. If Qurbani is Wajib, the obligation must be executed. Compensation or sadaqah cannot be given in lieu of Qurbani. If Qurbani was not offered due to ignorance, negligence or for some other reason, then it is Wajib to give in Sadaqah the price of the Qurbani animal or the unslaughtered animal itself to the poor. (Raddul Muhtar)
When should Qurbani be performed?
The time for Qurbani commences after the Eid Salah on the 10th of Zul Hijjah and ends at the setting of the sun on the 12th of Zul Hijjah. It is better to make Qurbani on the first day. (Sahih Bukhari, Muatta Imam Malik, Ad Durrul Mukhtar, Al Bahrur Raaiq)
In rural areas where Jumu’ah and Eid Salah are not performed, Qurbani may be performed as soon as Fajr (Subhus Sadiq) sets in on the 10th of Zul Hijjah. (Ad Durrul Mukhtar)
If a person who resides in a town (where Eid Salah is performed) arranges for his animal to be slaughtered in a rural area (where Eid Salah is not performed), then it is permissible for his animal to be slaughtered before he performs his Eid Salah. (Raddul Muhtar Alad Durril Mukhtar)
If the Qurbani has been offered before the ‘Eid Salah, it will have to be repeated. (Sahih Bukhari, Ad Durrul Mukhtar)
It is preferable to slaughter during the day. (Ad Durrul Mukhtar)
Some Important Rulings
A man may purchase an animal for his wife from his wealth with her consent. (Raddul Muhtar)
It is Mustahab (preferable) for a person intending Qurbani not to cut/trim the hair and nails from the first of Zul Hijjah until after the animal is slaughtered. (Sahih Muslim, Ahsanul Fatawa)
Qurbani will be discharged if one appoints a proxy. The proxy may be an organisation or an individual.
If a traveller returned home or a person acquired the required wealth on the 12th of Zul Hijjah before sunset, it will be Wajib upon the person to perform Qurbani.
The Qurbani (slaughter) done by a woman in Haidh (menstruation) or Nifas (period after childbirth) is valid and permissible. (Fatawa Mahmoodiyyah)
Offering Sacrifice on behalf of Rasulullah r or any Deceased Muslim
After one completes the compulsory Qurbani, and one still has the means, it is recommended to perform Qurbani on behalf of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) as well. One may also include the Sahabah (RA), the entire Ummah, the Prophets (AS) and all those living or deceased relatives, friends and teachers who have conveyed Deeni knowledge or been a cause of benefit to one.
Abu Talha (RA) has related that the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) sacrificed one ram and while sacrificing the other he said, “This is on behalf of every one of my Ummah who believed in me and testified (to my prophethood).” (Tabrani/Mustadrak)
Warning for those who Ignore Qurbani
Hazrat Abu Hurayra (radiyallahu anhu) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said, “He who has the means of performing Qurbani but does not do so should not come close to our Eid Gah (place where Eid Salah is performed). (Sunan Ibnu Majah)