Sacrifice is the offering of food, objects or the lives of animals to a higher purpose, in particular divine beings, as an act of propitiation or worship. While sacrifice often implies ritual killing, the term offering (Latin oblatio) can be used for bloodless sacrifices of cereal food or artifacts. For offerings of liquids (beverages) by pouring, the term libation is used.
The centrality of sacrifices in Ancient Israel is clear, with much of the Bible, particularly the opening chapters of the book Leviticus, detailing the exact method of bringing sacrifices. Sacrifices were either blood sacrifices (animals) or bloodless offerings (grain and wine). Blood sacrifices were divided into the burnt offerings (Hebrew: עלה קרבנות) in which the whole animal was burnt, guilt offerings (in which part was burnt and part left for the priest) and peace offerings (in which similarly only part of the animal was burnt and the rest eaten in ritually pure conditions). The prophets point out that prayer and sacrifices are only a part of serving God and need to be accompanied by inner morality and goodness.
After the destruction of the Second Temple, ritual sacrifice ceased except among the Samaritans. Maimonides, a medieval Jewish rationalist, argued that God always held sacrifice inferior to prayer and philosophical meditation. However, God understood that the Israelites were used to the animal sacrifices that the surrounding pagan tribes used as the primary way to commune with their gods. As such, in Maimonides' view, it was only natural that Israelites would believe that sacrifice was a necessary part of the relationship between God and man. Maimonides concludes that God's decision to allow sacrifices was a concession to human psychological limitations.
In trinitarian Christian teaching, God became incarnate in Jesus Christ, sacrificing his son to accomplish the reconciliation of God and humanity, which had separated itself from God through sin (see the concept of original sin). According to a view that has featured prominently in Western theology since early in the 2nd millennium, God's justice required an atonement for sin from humanity if human beings were to be restored to their place in creation and saved from damnation. However, God knew limited human beings could not make sufficient atonement, for humanity's offense to God was infinite, so God created a covenant with Abraham, which he fulfilled when he sent his only Son to become the sacrifice for the broken covenant. In Christian theology, this sacrifice replaced the insufficient animal sacrifice of the Old Covenant; Christ the "Lamb of God" replaced the lambs' sacrifice of the ancient Korban Todah (the Rite of Thanksgiving), chief of which is the Passover in the Mosaic law.
The concept of self-sacrifice and martyrs are central to Christianity. Often found in Roman Catholicism is the idea of joining one's own sufferings to the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Thus one can offer up involuntary suffering, such as illness, or purposefully embrace suffering in acts of penance. Some Protestants criticize this as a denial of the all-sufficiency of Christ's sacrifice, but it finds support in St. Paul: "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church" (Col 1:24).
An animal sacrifice in Arabic is called ḏabiḥa (ذَبِيْحَة) or Qurban (قُرْبَان) . The term may have roots from the Jewish term Korban; in some places such as in Pakistan, qurbani is always used for Islamic animal sacrifice. In the Islamic context, an animal sacrifice referred to as ḏabiḥa (ذَبِيْحَة) meaning "sacrifice as a ritual" is offered only in Eid ul-Adha. The sacrificial animal may be a lamb, a sheep, a goat, a camel, or a cow. The animal must be healthy and conscious. ..."Therefore to the Lord turn in Prayer and Sacrifice. " (Surat Al-Kawthar) Quran, 108.2 Qurban is an Islamic prescription for the affluent to share their good fortune with the needy in the community. On the occasion of Eid ul Adha (Festival of Sacrifice), affluent Muslims all over the world perform the Sunnah of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) by sacrificing a cow or sheep. The meat is then divided into three equal parts. One part is retained by the person who performs the sacrifice. The second is given to his relatives. The third part is distributed to the poor. The Qur'an states that the sacrifice has nothing to do with the blood and gore (Qur'an 22:37: "It is not their meat nor their blood that reaches God. It is your piety that reaches Him..."). Rather, it is done to help the poor and in remembrance of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael at God's command.
The Urdu and Persian word "Qurbani" comes from the Arabic word 'Qurban'. It suggests that associate act performed to hunt distance to Almighty God and to hunt His sensible pleasure. Originally, the word 'Qurban' enclosed all acts of charity as a result of the aim of charity is nothing however to hunt Allah's pleasure. But, in precise non secular nomenclature, the word was later confined to the sacrifice of associate animal slaughtered for the sake of God.
The Sanskrit Yagya is often translated as "sacrifice" (also "offering, oblation", or more generically as "worship"). It is especially used to describe the offering of ghee (clarified butter), grains, spices, and wood into a fire along with the chanting of sacred mantras. The fire represents Agni, the divine messenger who carries offerings to the Devas. The offerings can represent devotion, aspiration, and seeds of past karma. In Vedic times, Yagya commonly included the sacrifice of milk, ghee, curd, grains, and the soma plant—animal offerings were less common. In modern times, Yagya is often performed at weddings and funerals, and in personal worship. Sacrifice in Hinduism can also refer to personal surrender through acts of inner and outer worship.