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Sacrifice on ‘Eid Al Adha

Nov 15, 2010 by     7 Comments    Posted under: Articles, Fiqh
What is this sacrifice?

Udhiyah (sacrifice) is derived from the word Dahwahwhich means early morning time. The reason why this sacrifice is derived from this root is because the preferable, rather the start time for it is early morning.
The technical definition of Udhiyah is as follows: It is the livestock that is slaughtered in worship to Allah between the day of ‘Eid Al-Adha and the last of the three days of At-Tashreeq (the three days that follow ‘Eid).

What are the proofs for this sacrifice?

1. Allah (SWT) says in the Quran,

“Pray for your lord and sacrifice!” [Al-Kawthar/2]

2. Bukhari relates in his Saheeh that “the Prophet (PBUH) slaughtered two rams, black and white in color (as sacrifices), and I saw him putting his foot on their sides and mentioning Allah’s Name and Takbir (Allahu Akbar). Then he slaughtered them with his own hands.”
What is the ruling of this sacrifice?

The scholars differed about this issue into two opinions:

1. The standpoint of the majority is that this sacrifice is merely a voluntary act.
2. Imam Al-Awza’i, Al-Layth ibn Sa’ad, Abu Hanifa, and others held that this yearly slaughter is obligatory

A beautiful principle that I would like to bring to everyone’s attention is,

الخروج من الخلاف سنة
“Keeping away from the differences of opinions is preferable”

What this means is if “person A” believes something to be just a mere Sunnah, where another group of scholars grade it to be obligatory, it becomes even more of a Sunnah for “person A” to perform this act so that he can assure he is on safe grounds.

Ibn Hajar Al-Haitami, while mentioning this principle, commented that this is only applicable if the application of this principle doesn’t lead to omission of an established Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH).

Who has to Sacrifice?

It is preferable for a person who has the following traits to perform this sacrifice:

1. Islam
2. Puberty
3. Sanity
4. Capability

If one person from amongst the family members presents a sacrifice, it is sufficient for the entire family. This just means that the other family members are not required to slaughter, but in no way does it mean that every family member with the mentioned traits is rewarded for it. If one of the other family members also wishes to attain the reward, then he/she should also present his/her own sacrifice.

Note: Capability is established if a person has the cost of the sacrifice, and that which he requires for himself and his family’s livelihood (which includes clothing, food, and shelter) for the entire day of ‘Eid and the three preceding days.

Note: It is preferable for one who intends on slaughtering to

1. avoid shaving/trimming his hair from the first day of Dhul-Hijjah until the sacrifice;
2. avoid cutting his nails from the first day of Dhul-Hijjah until the sacrifice;
3. slaughter the sacrifice himself, or at least witness the sacrifice.

What can be slaughtered? What are the age requirements?

The following are the legislated sacrifices along with the age requirements:

Camels: must be above the age of 5.
Cows: must be above the age of 2.
Goats: must be above the age of 2 in the Shafi school of thought, whereas according to the Hanbali position, above a year is acceptable.
Sheeps: must be above the age of 1 in the Shafi school of thought, and in the Hanbali school, 6 months is acceptable.

Note: The following defects make the animal insufficient as a sacrifice:

1. When the animal has obviously lost an eye
2. When the animal is obviously lame
3. When the animal is obviously sick or is so sick that it is senseless

When do I slaughter?

The time of slaughter begins when the sun rises and enough time has passed to pray two units of prayer and deliver a short sermon, and lasts until the sun of the last day from the days of At-Tashreeq (i.e. The third day after the day of ‘Eid) sets.

The most virtuous time for this sacrifice is as soon as one finishes performing ‘Eid prayer. This is based on the following tradition of our dear Prophet (PBUH):


“The first action that we initiate this day of ours with is prayer. We then return and sacrifice. Whomsoever does such, he has surely attained our Sunnah. Whoever slaughters before this time then it is merely meat which he is presenting to his family; and is in no way a sacrifice.” [Bukhari/Muslim]
What to do with the meat?

The wisdom behind the sacrifice is “to suffice the poor from the humility of begging on the days of ‘Eid” as mentioned by Ahmad Al-Binhawi in his book Al-Jawahir An-Naqiyyah. Based on this, the most virtuous distribution of the meat is to donate most of it except a slight portion that one eats himself to attain the blessings of the sacrifice.

If a person would like to keep for himself a larger portion, then it is also virtuous to divide the meat in three portions in the following manner:

1. a third for him and his family to eat
2. a third for neighbours and friends as a present
3. a third for donations to the poor

The mention of this form of distribution is found in the following verse:

“Eat of them and feed the content and the beggar…” [Hajj/36]
Note: In either case it is obligatory to donate a portion of the meat, be it equivalent to a few morsels.

Can I slaughter on behalf of my deceased relatives?

The scholars divided up into two popular opinions about this issue:

1. It is permissible to do such. This is the opinion of the Hanafi, Maliki, and Hanbali schools. It is also the adapted opinion of Shaykhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah. The following is the exact citation of Ibn Taymiyyah’s opinion, “It is permissible to do Udhiyah on behalf of a deceased, just as it is permissible to perform Hajj on his behailf, and give donations.” [Majmoo’ Al-Fatawa 306/26]
2. The second opinion is the opinion of the Shafi school of thought, which states that it is only permissible for one to sacrifice on behalf of a deceased if the deceased mentioned that in a will. Imam An-Nawawi mentions in his ever so popular text Minhaaj At-Talibeen, “One is not to sacrifice on behalf of another except with his/her permission. Moreover, one can not sacrifice on behalf of a deceased except if he willed it.” This also seems to be the adapted position of Shaykh Ibn Uthaimeen.

And Allah Almighty Knows Best,

Happy ‘Eid everyone!
Abdul Wahab Saleem
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Tuesday, November 16, 2010

7 Comments + Add Comment

  • السلام علبكم
    Thankyou so much for all your posts and videos. I have learned a lot and I wish to learn more. Please continue to post such relevant posts to our daily lives.

    May Allah reward you for all your efforts and May He increase you in knowledge,
    جزاك الله

  • Great work, keep it up

  • If you like it, dont forget to follow the blog!

  • Assalam’alaikum wa rahmatullah!

    Jazakallah Sheikh! You’re my hero!

  • Wsalam,

    Well, Oh my… I’m awfully flattered. lol.

    I hope you remembered to participate in the poll!

  • That reminds me, what happened to the poll?!

    But Masha’a Allah, an amazing article indeed!

  • I have prepared an article on the winning question on the poll: Moonsighting issue. iA, I will release it in the near future.

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