The word “Qurbani” implies accomplishing the closeness of Allah Most High. Everything that supports a bondsman slave in accomplishing this goes under the category of sacrifice. If a man spends his hours and seconds, his capabilities, wealth and empire and his life too, for acquiring approval and pleasure of Allah Most High, and still, after all that the obligation of love is not satisfied. We get the above lesson from the auspicious lives of the virtuous bondsmen of Allah Most High. Particularly one of a kind lessons of sacrifice appear in the entire life of Hadhrat Ibrahim (May peace be upon Him).
Sacrifice of an animal is instructed and preferred by Allah Most High. Without this, a bondsman can’t acquire piety. Allah Most High says in the Holy Quran:
You can never accomplish piety unless you spend (in the reason for Allah) out of that which you like the most; and Allah clearly knows well whatever you give away. Surah Al Imran (3:92)
So pray to your Lord and offer sacrifice (a token of appreciation). Surah Al Kauthar (108:2)
The aim and purpose of sacrifice is servitude and obedience to Allah Most High. The meat, blood, etc. does not reach the Lord Almighty, He sees the piety and sincerity of the bondsman.
For those who don’t have the means to sacrifice of an animal, the Holy Prophet Mohammed ﷺ has benevolently given the glad tidings that if that person has a hair cut, trims the nails, the moustache and removes pubic hair, then that person will be given the reward of a complete sacrifice.
There is a Hadith in Sunnah Abu Dawood:
It is narrated on the authority of Hadhrat Abdullah Bin ‘Amr (May Allah be well pleased with them) that the Holy Prophet ﷺ said: I have been ordered to celebrate ‘Eid on the day of sacrifice. Allah Most High has declared it as Eid for the whole Ummah. One Companion said: I don’t have the means to perform sacrifice but I have a borrowed milch goat. Shall I sacrifice that goat? The Holy Prophet ﷺ said: No, but you cut your hair, trim your nails, your moustache and remove your pubic hair. This itself is a complete sacrifice for you before Allah Most High. (Sunan Abu Dawood, Hadith No. 2791)