The Udhiyah (the Sacrificial Animal) and its rulings

Since 2012-11-29

Allah, Glorified and Exalted, has decreed the Udhiyah as a relief for people on the day of Eid. Allah has ordered the father of the Prophets Ibrahim, peace be upon him, to sacrifice his son Ismail.

 

All the praises of the grateful be to Allah, and peace and blessings of Allah be upon Muhammad, the mercy revealed to mankind and upon his family and companions and upon whoever abide by his Sunnah till the Day of Resurrection.
 
Allah, Glorified and Exalted, has decreed the Udhiyah as a relief for people on the day of Eid. Allah has ordered the father of the Prophets Ibrahim, peace be upon him, to sacrifice his son Ismail. He responded to the command of Allah and did not hesitate; so Allah has sent for him a scapegoat from heaven, {And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice (i.e. a ram)} [Surat As-Sâfât 37:107].
 
{وَفَدَيْنَاهُ بِذِبْحٍ عَظِيمٍ} الصافات: 107
 
Transliteration: Wafadaynahu bithibhin AAatheemin
 
Since that time on, people sacrifice the beast of cattle obeying the order of Allah to shed sacrificial blood because it is one of the most preferable acts of obedience. The Udhiyah is a confirmed Sunnah; it is undesirable to be left with the ability to perform it; and its virtue is great.
 
 
Its definition and meaning in language and Islamic law
 
Al-Guhari said, “Al-Asma’i (a scholar in the Arabic language) said, ‘the word Udhiya in Arabic has four almost similar lettering with four almost similar pronunciations; the plural is different in lettering in each case but they all take the meaning of the sacrificial animal to be slaughtered on the day of Eid. This day is named “Eid Al-Adha” after it: the Udhiyah.”
 
That was mentioned by An-Nawawi in Tahrîr At-Tanbîh (the Writing of the Remarks). Al-Qadi said: “it was named udhiyah because it is done in the dhuha (forenoon) which is the rise of the day.”
 
And the udhiyah in Islam: the name of the slaughtered animal of camels, cattle and sheep on Nahr Day (the 10th of Dhul-Hijjah) and the days of tashrîq (11th, 12th and 13th of Dhul-Hijjah) as an act of closeness to Allah Almighty.
 
 
The wisdom of decreeing it
 
1 – Getting closer to Allah by performing it: Allah Almighty has said, {Therefore turn in prayer to your Lord and sacrifice (to Him only).} [Surat Al-Kawthar 108:2]
 
{فَصَلِّ لِرَبِّكَ وَانْحَرْ} الكوثر: 2
 
Transliteration: Fasalli lirabbika wainhar
 
The Glorified and Exalted has also said, {Say (O Muhammad): “Verily, my Salât (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allâh, the Lord of the ‘Alamîn (mankind, jinn and all that exists).} [Surat Al-An’âmn 6:162]
 
{قُلْ إِنَّ صَلَاتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلَّـهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ} الأنعام: 162
 
Transliteration: Qul inna salatee wanusukee wamahyaya wamamatee lillahi rabbi alAAalameena

The sacrifice here is slaughtering the sacrificial animal to be closer to Allah Almighty.
 
2 – Reviving the Sunnah of the Imam of the monotheists Al-Khalil Ibrahim, peace be upon him, as Allah has inspired him to sacrifice his son Ismail and then He has ransomed him with ram, and Ibrahim sacrificed it instead of Ismail. The Almighty has said, {And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice (i.e. a ram);} [Surat As-Sâfât 37:107]
 
{وَفَدَيْنَاهُ بِذِبْحٍ عَظِيمٍ} الصافات: 107
 
Transliteration: Wafadaynahu bithibhin AAatheemin
 
3 – Relieving and spending generously on the family on the day of Eid.
 
4 – Spreading happiness among the poor and the needy by giving them from the sacrifice as a charity.
 
5 – Thanking Allah Almighty for subjecting all the beasts of cattle for us. Allah Almighty has said, {eat thereof, and feed the poor who does not ask (men), and the beggar who asks (men). Thus have We made them subject to you that you may be grateful. (36) It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allâh, but it is piety from you that reaches Him. Thus have We made them subject to you that you may magnify Allâh for His Guidance to you. And give glad tidings (O Muhammad) to the Muhsinûn (doers of good).} [Surat Al-Hajj 22:36-37]
 
{فَكُلُوا مِنْهَا وَأَطْعِمُوا الْقَانِعَ وَالْمُعْتَرَّ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ سَخَّرْنَاهَا لَكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ ﴿٣٦﴾ لَن يَنَالَ اللَّـهَ لُحُومُهَا وَلَا دِمَاؤُهَا وَلَـٰكِن يَنَالُهُ التَّقْوَىٰ مِنكُمْ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ سَخَّرَهَا لَكُمْ لِتُكَبِّرُوا اللَّـهَ عَلَىٰ مَا هَدَاكُمْ ۗ وَبَشِّرِ الْمُحْسِنِينَ} الحج: 36-37
 
Transliteration: fakuloo minha waatAAimoo alqaniAAa waalmuAAtarra kathalika sakhkharnaha lakum laAAallakum tashkuroona (36) Lan yanala Allaha luhoomuha wala dimaoha walakin yanaluhu alttaqwaminkum kathalika sakhkharaha lakum litukabbiroo Allaha AAala ma hadakum wabashshiri almuhsineena
 
Its ruling: the majority of the religious scholars are of the opinion that udhiyah is a confirmed Sunnah; it is undesirable to be left with the ability to perform it. Some has said: it is an obligatory Sunnah upon each Muslim family that can perform it because of the words of Allah Almighty, {Therefore turn in prayer to your Lord and sacrifice (to Him only).} [Surat Al-Kawthar 108:2]
 
{فَصَلِّ لِرَبِّكَ وَانْحَرْ} الكوثر: 2
 
Transliteration: Fasalli lirabbika wainhar

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has said, “Anybody who has slaughtered (his sacrifice) before the prayer (the Eid prayer), so let him slaughter another animal in place of the first.” [Agreed upon]
 
«من كان ذبح قبل الصلاة فليعد» متفق عليه
 
 
The rulings of the Udhiyah
 
1 – What is to be avoided by the one who intends to offer a sacrifice: When any one intends to offer a sacrifice enters in the first ten days of the month of Dhul-Hijjah he should not get his hair or nails trimmed until he offers the sacrifice in its due time. Muslim has reported in his authentic book of Hadith that Umm Salama, may Allah be pleased with her, said that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has said, “when you see the crescent of the month of Dhul-Hijjah and that anyone of you intends to offer a sacrifice, so let him not touch his hair or nails.” [Reported by Muslim]
 
«إذا رأيتم هلال ذي الحجة وأراد أحدكم أن يضحي فليمسك عن شعره وأظفاره» رواه مسلم


In another narration, “let him not cut a hair or trim a nail.” [Muslim]
 
«فلا يأخذن شعراً ولا يقلمن ظفراً» رواه مسلم
 
The reason for the prevention: to keep the entire parts as a whole to be emancipated of Hellfire, it was also said, “It is in imitation of the pilgrims; which was mentioned by An-Nawawi.” (Muslim: Sharh An-Nawawi (the interpretation of An-Nawawi: 13120)
 
A question: what about him who cut his hair and trimmed his nails?
 
Ibn Qudamah, may Allah have mercy on him, said, “one should leave cutting the hair and clipping the nails; but if one did them he should ask Allah Almighty for forgiveness. There is no sacrifice to be offered, by a scholarly consensus, whether one did this deliberately or by mistake.” (Al-Mughni (the Sufficient) 13363)
 
2- The age of the sacrificial animal: Muslim reported in his Sahih that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has said, “Slaughter Musinah only. If it is too hard for you, you may slaughter jatha’ah (six months old) of sheep in this case.” [Muslim: 1963] Musinah is two-year-old sheep.
 
«لا تذبحوا إلا مُسنّة إلا أن يعسر عليكم فتذبحوا جذعة من الضأن» رواه مسلم
 
Imam Ibn al-Qayyim said in his book, Zad al-Ma’âd (the Provision for the Promise) 2/317, “He, The prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), commanded them to slaughter a jatha’ah of sheep and thaniyyah of other kinds which is the Musinah.” Al-Bukhari and Muslim reported that ‘Uqba ibn ‘Amir narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) distributed some animals among his companions to offer them as sacrifices. ‘Uqba’s share was a jatha’ah. The Prophet said to him, “You may offer it as a sacrifice.”
 
«قسم النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم بين أصحابه ضحايا، فصارت لعقبة جذعة، فقلت: يا رسول الله، صارت جذعة؟ قال: (ضح بها)» رواه البخاري
 
According to Hanafi and Hanbali schools, jatha’ah is six month old sheep. At-Tirmidhi reported that Waki’ said that it is six or seven months old. The author of al-Hidâya (the Guidance) said, “The thaniyyah of camels is that which is five years old, and of cattle and goats is that which completed two years and has entered the third year.”
 
3- Its being free of defects: The only acceptable sacrifice is the one that is free of defects. The one that is one-eyed, lame, its horn is completely broken, slit-eared, sick, or emaciated with no marrow in its bones is not rewarded as a sacrifice because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has said, “Four (types of animals) are not lawful to be offered as a sacrifice: A One-eyed animal which has obviously lost the sight of one eye, a sick animal which is obviously sick, a lame animal which obviously limps and an animal with a broken leg that has no marrow in its bones i.e. the emaciated wasted one.” [Reported by Abu Dawud: 2802, and authenticated by Al-Albani]
 
«أربع لا تجوز في الأضاحي فقال العوراء بين عورها والمريضة بين مرضها والعرجاء بين ظلعها والكسير التي لا تنقى» رواه أبو داود وصححه الألباني
 
4- The best ones: The best sacrifice is the horned black and white ram because this is the description of the sacrificial animal that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) liked to offer as a sacrifice. Al-Bukhari and Muslim reported in their Sahihs that Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) said that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) “Offered two horned amlahayn rams as a sacrifice… etc.” [Al-Bukhari: 5558 and Muslim: 1966]
 
«ضحى النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم بكبشين أملحين أقرنين...» رواه البخاري ومسلم
 
amlahayn is interpreted as the one that is black and white in color as was reported by Muslim 1967. He reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) “commanded that a ram with black legs, black belly and black (circles) round the eyes to be brought to him… etc.” [Muslim: an-Nawawi’s explanation 13105]
 
«أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أمر بكبش أقرن، يطأ في سواد، ويبرك في سواد، وينظر في سواد...» رواه مسلم
 
An-Nawawi said, “This means that its legs, belly and what around its eyes are black, and Allah knows the best.”
 
It is recommended to choose a fat sacrifice and a good one because Allah, the Almighty has said, {Thus it is [what has been mentioned in the above said Verses (27, 28, 29, 30, 31) is an obligation that mankind owes to Allah]. And whosoever honours the Symbols of Allah, then it is truly from the piety of the heart.} [Surat Al-Hajj 22:23]
 
{ذَٰلِكَ وَمَن يُعَظِّمْ شَعَائِرَ اللَّـهِ فَإِنَّهَا مِن تَقْوَى الْقُلُوبِ} الحج: 23
 
Transliteration: Thalika waman yuAAaththim shaAAaira Allahi fainnaha min taqwa alquloobi
 
Ibn Abbas said, “honour it means to choose a fat, great and good one.” [At-Tabari, Jami’ al-Bayân: 17156]
 
The more expensive the thing, the better it is to be offered if one seeks Allah’s reward only; whether that is manumitting a slave or offering a sacrifice because of what was reported in Sahih al-Bukhari that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was asked, “Which slave is the best to be freed?” The Prophet said, “The most expensive and the dearest one for his/her owner.” [Al-Bukhari: 2518]
 
«فأي الرقاب أفضل؟ قال: أغلاها ثمنا، وأنفسها عند أهلها» رواه البخاري
 
Imam ibn Khuzaymah (may Allah have mercy on him) said, “The more the thing is difficult for one to lose, the more reward one gets when he gives it for charity.”
 
5- Time of its slaughter: There is a consensus that it is the morning of the ‘Eid day after the prayer. It is not rewarded before that. One should slaughter it after performing the ‘Eid prayer to be rewarded according to all the scholars as imam an-Nawawi said. Imam Muslim reported in his Sahih that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Who offers a sacrifice before ‘Eid prayer, he slaughters it for his own self, and who slaughters after the prayer, his ritual is complete and he observes the religious practice of the Muslims.” [Muslim: 5/1961]
 
«من ضحى قبل الصلاة فإنما ذبح لنفسه ومن ذبح بعد الصلاة فقد تمّ نسكه وأصاب سنة المسلمين» رواه
 
This was also stressed on the Hadith of Muslim that al-Bara’ ibn ‘Azib said that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) delivered a sermon on day of slaughter in which he said, “None of you should slaughter (his sacrifice) until he prays (the ‘Eid prayer).” [Muslim: 1961]
 
«خطبنا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يوم النحر فقال: لا يذبحن أحد حتى يصلي» رواه مسلم
 
Imam ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said in Zad al-Ma’âd, “He (The Prophet) has never left out offering a sacrifice. He used to offer two rams as a sacrifice and slaughter them after observing the ‘Eid prayer. He said that who slaughtered his sacrifice before the prayer what he slaughtered was not of the ritual at all, but it is just meat that he presented to his family. This is what is shown from the Sunnah and guidance of the Prophet.” (Zad al-Ma’âd: 2317)
 
6- What is recommended at the time of slaughter: It is recommended for one to turn the animal towards the Kiblah direction and to say, “Verily, I have turned my face towards Him Who has created the heavens and the earth Hanîfa (Islâmic Monotheism, i.e. worshipping none but Allâh Alone), and I am not of Al-Mushrikûn (the polytheists). “Verily, my Salât (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allâh, the Lord of the ‘Alamîn (mankind, jinn and all that exists). He has no partner. And of this I have been commanded, and I am the first of the Muslims.” And when he is about to slaughter he should say, “In the name of Allah and Allah is the Greatest. Oh Allah, This is from You and it is for You.” Saying Allah’s name is obligatory because of the words of Allah Almighty, {Eat not (O believers) of that (meat) on which Allâh’s Name has not been pronounced (at the time of the slaughtering of the animal),} [Surat Al-An’âm 6:121]
 
{وَلَا تَأْكُلُوا مِمَّا لَمْ يُذْكَرِ اسْمُ اللَّـهِ عَلَيْهِ} الأنعام: 121
 
Transliteration: Wala takuloo mimma lam yuthkari ismu Allahi AAalayhi
 
Imam ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said, “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to offer the sacrifice in the place of ‘Eid prayer. Abu Dawud reported that Jabir ibn Abdullah said that he witnessed some ‘Eid prayer with the Prophet at the place of prayer. When he finished his sermon, he descended from the pulpit, and a ram was brought to him. The Prophet slaughtered it with his hand and said, “In the name of Allah, and Allah is the Greatest. This is on behalf of me and on behalf of those who did not offer sacrifice from my Ummah.” [Reported by Abu Dawud and authenticated by Al-Albani]
 
«بسم الله والله أكبر هذا عني وعمن لم يضح من أمتي» رواه أبو داود وصححه الألباني
 
It is reported in Al-Bukhari, that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to slaughter the sacrifice (camel or another animal) in the place of ‘Eid prayer.”
 
«كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يذبح وينحر بالمصلى» رواه البخاري
 
Ibn Battal said, “The slaughter in the place ‘Eid prayer is recommended just for the Imam according to Malik.” Ibn Wahb narrated that Malik said, “He (the Prophet) made that in order not to let anyone slaughter before him.” Al-Muhallab added, “To make them (the companions) sure when they slaughter after him, and to learn from him the way of slaughter.” ‘Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) said, “... He placed it on the ground and when he was about to slaughter it, he said, ‘In the name of Allah, O Allah, accept (this sacrifice) on behalf of Muhammad, the family of Muhammad and the Umma of Muhammad;’ then he slaughtered it.” [Muslim: 1967]
 
«وأخذ الكبش فأضجعه ثم ذبحه. ثم قال: باسم الله اللهم تقبل من محمد وآل محمد. ومن أمة محمد، ثم ضحى به» رواه مسلم
 
This proves that it is recommended for one to say when he is about to slaughter, “Oh Allah, accept from me,” along with saying Allah’s name and Takbir. Some scholars prefer to say the exact wording of this verse, {“Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us. Verily! You are the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.”} [Surat Al-Baqarah 2:127]
 
{رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّا ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ} البقرة: 127
 
Transliteration: rabbanataqabbal minna innaka anta alssameeAAu alAAaleemu
 
7- Slaughtering in a good way: Ibn al-Qayyem said, “He (the Prophet) commanded people to slaughter in a good way, and to kill in a good way.” Muslim reported in his Sahih that Shaddad ibn Aws said, “I remember two things from the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). He said, “Verily, Allah has enjoined Al-Ihsân [i.e. to be patient in performing your duties to Allâh, totally for Allah’s sake and in accordance with the Sunnah (legal ways) of the Prophet in a perfect manner], with regard to everything; so when you kill, kill with Al-Ihsân and when you slaughter, slaughter with Al-Ihsân. So every one of you should sharpen his knife, and let the slaughtered animal die comfortably.” [Reported by Muslim]
 
«إن الله كتب الإحسان على كل شيء. فإذا قتلتم فأحسنوا القتلة. وإذا ذبحتم فأحسنوا الذبح. وليحد أحدكم شفرته. فليرح ذبيحته» رواه مسلم
 
The prophet used to put his foot on the animal’s neck to prevent it from movement at the time of slaughtering as Anas, who saw the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) slaughtering, mentioned that, and this is because of the mercy of the Prophet toward it.
 
Imam ibn Hajar said in his book, Fath al-Bari, “Scholars agree that the sacrifice should be placed on its left side. The one who slaughters puts his leg on its right side to be easier for him to hold the knife with his right hand and to hold the animal’s head with his left hand.”
 
8- The validity of slaughtering by proxy: It is recommended for a Muslim to slaughter the sacrifice by himself as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did. If he does not, there is consensus that there is no sin for him.
 
9- Its recommended division: It is recommended for who offers a sacrifice to divide its meat into three parts: one third for his family, one third for the poor as charity, and the other third for his friends as a present because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has said, “Eat, save and give in charity.” [Reported by Al-Bukhari]
 
«كلوا وأطعموا وادخروا» رواه البخاري
 
If he does not divide it as aforementioned, it is also permissible; he can give all of it as a charity or a present or eat all of it.
 
10- The fees of butcher should not be from it: The butcher should not be given a part of the sacrifice as a fee. Ali ibn Abu Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) commanded me to take care of the sacrifice of a camel, to give its meat, skin and saddle in charity, and not to give anything of it to the butcher as a compensation. He said, “I will give him something from what I have.” [Reported by Muslim]
 
«أمرني رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أن أقوم على بدنه، وأن أتصدق بلحمها وجلودها وأجلتها، وأن لا أعطي الجزار منها. قال: نحن نعطيه من عندنا» رواه مسلم
 
Important issues and benefits from Imam’s sayings
 
The permissibility of offering a sacrifice: There is consensus on its permissibility.
 
Sheikh of Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said, “Offering a sacrifice is better than giving its value as charity. If one has money and wants to give it for the sake of Allah, he may offer a sacrifice with it.”
 
Sheikh al-Bassam said, “Allah has combined between it and prayer in verses in the Holly Quran such as Allah’s saying, {Say (O Muhammad): “Verily, my Salât (prayer), my sacrifice,} [Surat Al-An’âm 6:162]
 
{قُلْ إِنَّ صَلَاتِي وَنُسُكِي} الأنعام: 162
 
Transliteration: Qul inna salatee wanusukee
 
and, {Therefore turn in prayer to your Lord and sacrifice (to Him only).} [Surat Al-Kawthar: 2]
 
{فَصَلِّ لِرَبِّكَ وَانْحَرْ} الكوثر: 2
 
Transliteration: Fasalli lirabbika wainhar
 
The sacrifice that is offered in that great day, the day of great slaughter, encompasses giving charity to the poor and enriching them.”
 
Sheikh al-Bassam said, “Offering the sacrifice is essentially legislated to be on behalf of the living, but it is lawful for one to offer it on behalf of a deceased one and the reward will be gained to him, but there is a mistake committed in some countries that they hardly make it for the living as if it is valid for the dead only. It is rare for the living persons of them to offer a sacrifice on behalf of himself. If one writes a bequest the first thing that he bequeaths of is to offer a sacrifice or sacrifices, according to his financial abilities, on behalf of himself. It is rare for one to bequeath for anything except for offering a sacrifice and distributing food in the nights of Ramadan. This is because of the negligence of the scholars towards those who write their bequests; they do not conduct them that the bequest should be of the best beneficial thing, although offering a sacrifice is a kind of beneficence, charity and good doing, there are other kinds that may be better than it”.
 
Sheihk of Islam ibn Taymiyyah said, “Offering a sacrifice on behalf of a deceased person is lawful as it is lawful for one to perform pilgrimage and give charity on behalf of him. If one offers a sacrifice on behalf of him and his family, it is acceptable according to the preferred opinion from the scholars’ two opinions. This is the approach of Malik and Ahmad in addition to the companions, who used to do that.”
 
I ask Allah, The Almighty, to accept this from me, you and all the Muslims all over the world, and to make it only for his sake. Peace and blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet, Muhammad, and upon all of his family and companions, and all praises and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of the ‘Alamîn (mankind, jinn and all that exists).
 
Revised by Sheikh Abdullah ibn Abdurrahman al-Jibrin, the member of Fatwa Committee in the KSA, who said, “I have read these pages regarding the permissibility of offering a sacrifice and its rulings and I have found it valid and proper according to my point of view. It is Allah who guides us.”
 
Peace and blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet, Muhammad, and upon all of his family and companions.
 
 
Ibn Khuzaymah House
 
 
 
 
 

 

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