The animal sacrificed is symbolic of the animal in man (man's nature). So, when he slaughters, he is reminded of the necessity to eliminate that "animal nature" which he has within him. It actually signifies the sacrifice of the sacrificer himself, and becomes the outward symbol of his readiness to lay down his life in the cause of the Supreme Creator of the universe. This sacrifice by the Muslims throughout the world on this particular occasion, is intended to let Muslim hearts beat in unison with the hundreds of thousands who have gone on Pilgrimage to Mecca (which is also a pillar of Islam and is compulsory on Muslims who can afford going there). They re-enact, as it were, the beautiful incident of old, where Almighty Allah had commanded Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) to sacrifice his then only son. On finding him obedient and prepared to act on His command, Allah submitted a ram for him to slaughter instead of his beloved son.
Our Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) confirmed this act, and always covered his head with respect during sacrifice. He would lay the animal down and gently stroke it, then, placing his foot on the body and uttering the words "In the name of Allah, Allah is Great. O Allah! This is a sacrifice from You and is for You" he would speedily severe its throat, allowing the blood to flow readily with the least possible pain to the animal. The sacrifice is done after the I'd prayer is over . The chosen animal must be free from any apparent physical defect and must be fully grown and healthy. In the case of a goat or sheep, one suffices, but if it a camel or cow, seven may be partners thereto. Because many poor and beggars in the community cannot afford to sacrifice, this occasion allows for charity, and when the sacrifice is over the meat is divided as is necessary (one third minimum be allotted for distribution to the poor), the meat is delivered to the homes of the poor so that they too can enjoy and participate on this day of festival. As Islam does not permit wastage, whatever is left over of the meat may be dried, cured or prepared, so long as it is consumed and not wasted. The skin also must be disposed of and the FUNDS used for charity. Almighty Allah says in the Holy Quran, Chapter 22 Verse 37:"Nor their flesh, nor their blood, reaches Allah,but to Him is acceptable observance of duty on your part".
It is permissible for less than seven people to have shares in a camel or a head of cattle for Qurbani; but not permissible for more than 7 people to do so. WHAT TYPE OF DEFECTIVE ANIMALS ARE TO BE AVOIDED? The animals for Qurbani in the Name of Almighty Allah shall be in prime condition of health and free from defects. The following defects in animals disqualifies them from being used for Qurbani:- Animals without ears or more than one third of the ear is defective, partially blind (one third or more), or totally blind animals; animals with horns broken from the root; animals that have most or all their teeth missing; animals which have limbs broken or used three legs to walk; animals with a third or more or their tail cut off. Sick and emaciated animals that lack the ability to move or walk. WHO SHOULD MAKE ZABAH OR SLAUGHTER AND WHAT IS TO BE RECITED? Owners of Qurbani animals, whether male or female, who have the knowledge of making Zabah should slaughter their own animals. If other persons are appointed to slaughter on their behalf, then it is better for the owners of the Qurbani animals to be present at the place and time of slaughter. Before slaughtering, the following Dua should be recited: "Inni wajjahtu wajhiya lillazi fataras samawaati wal arda hanifaw wa maaa ana minal mushrikeen. Inna salaati wanusuki wa mahyaya wamamati lillahi rabbil a'lameen. La sharika lahu wabizaalika umirtu wa ana minal muslimeen. Allahumma minka walak." The person should then slaughter the animal reading: "Bismillahi Allahu Akbar." This Dua must also be read: "Allahumma takabalhu minni kama takabalta min habeebika Muhammadiw wa Khaleelika Ibraheema alayhimas salaatu was salaamu."