The History of Qurbaani
Although Qurbaani had been ordained an ibaadah from the time of Adam alayhis Salaam, special importance was attached to it only after an incident which took place with Ibraaheem alayhis salaam, and consequently it was made waajib (incumbent) in the Sharee'ah of Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wasallam in his memory. This is a unique incident in world history and of great spiritual value, which the Qur'aan mentions in Surah Saaffaat:
And when (his Son ) was old enough to walk with him, (Ibraaheem) Said: 'O my dear Son, I have Seen in a dream that I am Slaughtering you. Now See what is your view?' (37:102)
The dreams of the prophets are regarded as revelations; thus the observance of slaughtering in a dream is just like receiving the command to slaughter.Ibraaheem alayhis Salaam, therefore, asked, "Are you ready to fulfil this command of Allah?" The son replied, "O my father, do that which you are commanded. If Allah wills, you will find me to be among those who are patient."
This was a great trial for Ibraaheem alayhis salaam. He is commanded to slaughter his only child. A child, who was blessed to him by Allah in his old age after making numerous supplications and now reaching the stage where he could assist his old father in his duties and mission. Similarly, it was a great trial for the son too. To obey the command and give away his life was not a trivial or simple thing. However, the son too showed file qualities of his father by submitting and not re1ying on his oral intentions, determination and courage. Entrusting himself to Allah he said, "If Allah wills." Further, he did not say, "I will have patience," but said, ''you will find me to be among those who are patient", which is a sign of humility that indicates that he does not claim the quality of patience for himself only.
Through the blessings of entrusting themselves to Allah and their humility, they did not falter during the stages of thin difficult path. The sole bread winning father and his obedient son left home for Mina to carry out the command of Allah. When they finally reached Mina, the father turned the face of his son and placed the knife on his throat and used his full strength to fulfil the order and decree of sacrifice, but the power of Allah intervened in the function of the knife and a call from the heavens turned the events of this whole scene:
Then when they had both Surrendered (to Allah) and he had flung him down on his face, we called unto him: 'O Ibraaheem! You have already fulfilled the vision. Lo! thus indeed do we reward the good. Lo! Indeed this was a clear test.' And we ransomed him with a tremendous sacrifice. (37: 103-107)
And with it a ram was sent down from the Heaven as a ransom for Ismaa'eel alayhis salaam, so that it may be slaughtered in his place. Allah accepted this sincere act and deed of his messenger Ibraaheem alayhis Salaam - so much so that to keep this act alive as a rite of remembrance till the Day of Judgement, He made it waajib (incumbent) upon the pilgrims in particular and upon the Muslims in general to sacrifice an animal. It is stated in a Hadeeth that the Sahaabah radhiyallahu annum once inquired from Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam, "O Prophet of Allah! What is this Qurbaani? (i.e. where did it originate?)." He replied, "It is the Sunnah of your father Ibraaheem alayhis salaam (and a memorial in his honour)."
(Mishkaat pp. 129) (Ibne Maajah pp. 226)
The Command for Qurbaani is for All Muslims