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Have you ever wondered what the difference was between Qurban (or korban) and ‘Aqiqah (or akikah)?

No, they’re not the same thing! 

Which one should you prioritise, and is there a better animal to sacrifice than another?

This article will help you navigate the world of Qurban and ‘Aqiqah in a quick and easy way! 

Similarity Between Qurban and ‘Aqiqah

Qurban and ‘Aqiqah are almost always lumped together. We know that there are differences, but what is it that binds them together? 

That thing is the ritual sacrifice of a domestic animal – it be a sheep, goat, cattle or even camel.

It is therefore convenient, logistically speaking, to put these two rituals together. 

Differences Between Qurban and ‘Aqiqah 

The major differences between Qurban and ‘Aqiqah are the why and the when. In total, there are about five differences in why Qurban and ‘Aqiqah are actually two different things.  

#1 Objective of Ritual – Why? 

Qurban is the solemn observance of the story of Nabi Ibrahim AS and Nabi Ismail AS – very significant in the celebration of Aidiladha and are intimately connected with the rites during this Islamic month of Dzul Hijjah – for Hajj and for Qurban.  

Let’s look at Surah As-Saffat, verse 102-109: 


"When the boy was old enough to work with his father, Abraham said, ‘My son, I have seen myself sacrificing you in a dream. What do you think?’ He said, ‘Father, do as you are commanded and, 

God willing, you will find me steadfast.’ And when they had both submitted and he put him down upon his forehead, We called out to him, ‘Abraham, you have fulfilled the dream.’  This is how We reward those who do good- it was a test to prove [their true characters]- And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice, And We left for him [favorable mention] among later generations: ‘Peace be upon Abraham!’” 

Nabi Ibrahim AS was commanded by Allah, through a dream, to sacrifice his son Nabi Ismail AS, and upon which, the latter agreed without hesitation. As both Nabi Ibrahim AS and Nabi Ismail AS had shown their unwavering faith to Allah SWT, Allah SWT replaced Nabi Ismail AS with a ram instead, and his life was spared. 

Surah As-Saffat verses 108-109 shows the significance of Qurban as an encouraged ritual during Aidiladha, and leaving behind good legacies that would make us be remembered by people. In the Shafi’e mazhab, Qurban is considered a sunnah mu’akkadah (a strong sunnah that one should attempt not to miss). 

‘Aqiqah is the ritual sacrifice of a domestic animal, to show gratitude for and to celebrate the birth of your child. 

Rasulullah SAW said:


"A child is in pledge for his ‘Aqiqah. Perform the slaughter on the seventh day, give him a name and shave his hair.” (Abu Daud). 

In accordance to a hadith, parents are encouraged to sacrifice: 

  • two goats/sheep for a baby boy, and 

  • one goat/sheep for a baby girl. 

(Credit: Alqudsi Agribusiness)

Saidatina ‘Aishah RA narrataed that Rasulullah SAW said:


"Slaughter two comparable sheep for a male newborn and one sheep for a female. (Ahmad and Tirmidhi)."

It is a sunnah for the parents of a child to perform ‘Aqiqah, if it is not a hardship for them. If a parent can only afford one sheep or goat for an infant son, then the parent should not have to bear the hardship of getting two sheep. 

#2 Time Period – When?

Qurban can only be performed during the period of Aidiladha (10 Dzul Hijjah) and the Days of Tashriq (11 to 13 Dzul Hijjah). 

‘Aqiqah does not have to follow the Aidiladha season or any fixed event in the Islamic calendar. 

#3 Frequency – How Many Times? 

Qurban can be performed as many times as the person wish to and can afford to do so, as it is a Sunnah Mu’akkadah. 

As for ‘Aqiqah, it is only done once in a lifetime. If a baby’s parents have fulfilled ‘Aqiqah on his behalf, there will be no need for another ‘Aqiqah to be performed again the following year. 

#4 Age Limit – How Old? 

Qurban can be performed from infancy to adulthood. 

However, ‘Aqiqah is performed to celebrate the birth of a child – so it is to be performed when the child is in his infancy till the stage of puberty. 

As such, if you are performing a sacrificial ritual on behalf of your child, do take note if ‘Aqiqah has been fulfilled, as that would be the priority. 

#5 Distribution – How? 

Meat from a Qurban ritual is to be distributed raw. The one who performed Qurban may keep a third of the meat for himself, and distribute the other two thirds away – preferably at least a third to charity. 

This sharing of meat to the community is to give thanks to the blessings of Allah SWT, and more significantly, to share these blessings to those who are in lesser situations where consuming meat is seen as an unaffordable luxury. Qurban meat provides an annual opportunity for the poor and needy to enjoy meat, if they were unable to have them at other times of the year. 

This differs from the tradition of ‘Aqiqah, where it is sunnah that the meat from the ritual is cooked and served to people for a meal. It is also sunnah for the parents who performed the ‘Aqiqah to have at least a taste of the dish served as well. 

You’re all set!

We hope you’ve gained some insight on the differences and the similarities Qurban and ‘Aqiqah share and that it has clarified any the questions you have. 

What is your favourite fact about the Qurban or the ‘Aqiqah? 

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