1) The obligation of fearing Allaah and thanking Him for legislating the ritual of sacrificing an animal.
2) Slaughtering Udhiyah (sacrificial animal) is better than donating its monetary value.
3) Some rules of offering Udhiyah and its Sunnahs.
4) What suffices as Udhiyah and defects that make it unacceptable.
5) Issues related to Udhiyah.
O people! Fear Allaah, your Lord, and thank Him on account of the favor He endowed upon you by ordaining you to offer sacrificial animals as a means of seeking His pleasure. This act of sacrifice is the tradition of your father Ibraaheem, peace be upon him, and your Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam. You are promised by your Lord, reward for each part of the body of your offering, even its hair or wool. The Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said, “On the day of sacrifice, no one does a deed more pleasing to Allaah than the shedding of blood. The sacrificial animal will come on the Day of Resurrection with its horns, hair and hooves (and its owner will be rewarded on that basis); and (its) blood finds acceptance with Allaah (for its owner) before it falls on the ground, so be glad about it." (Tirmidhi)
O Muslims! Purchasing a sacrifice and slaughtering it is better than giving its monetary value in charity. The deed of sacrificing an animal is a stressed Sunnah (Sunnah Mu'akkadah) to be emulated by the financially able persons. So, slaughter on behalf of yourselves and your households, including your wives, children and parents, so that all of them will gain its reward and you will thus follow the practice of the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, who slayed for himself and his family. Some people offer sacrifice only on behalf of their parents, depriving themselves and their households of the reward; it is preferable to do so in the name of all. This is regarding offering sacrifice by an individual for himself.
As for slaughtering as an appointed person, one should satisfy the items of the will accurately, unless it contains (instructions to offer) more than one sacrifice and there is such a shortage of funds that the cost for the sacrificial animals cannot be met. In such a case, if the one entrusted to slay is an individual, one sacrificial animal may be sacrificed with the intention (and hope) of earning the reward for the rest as well.
A number of people slaughter on behalf of their deceased relatives during the first year of their death, naming it ‘Dahiyyah Al-Hufrah’ (the sacrifice of the grave) – this practice has no basis in the Islaamic law. Similarly, as a means of specifying the owner of the sacrificial animal, some people wipe or mark its face until the back of its neck. According to Islaamic principles, though, one should state its owner merely by mentioning his name during slaughtering, without wiping – this is in accordance with the conduct of the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam. Moreover, if one sacrifices the animal even with only the intention, without mentioning the name of its owner, it will be sufficient.
The sacrifice should be one of the following kinds of animals: camels, cows, sheep or goats. It cannot be valid unless it meets two conditions: that it is of the specified age and is free from certain defects that invalidate it.
As far as age is concerned, it is specified as follows:
- Camels should be five years old.
- Cows should be two years old.
- Goats should be one year old.
- Sheep should be six months old.
Regarding the defects that invalidate the sacrifice, they were explained by the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam in the following Hadeeth: “Four (types of animals) should be avoided in sacrifice: A lame animal whose lameness is evident, a one-eyed animal which is clearly one-eyed, an animal which is clearly ill and an emaciated animal with no fat on it." (Ahmad)The clear lameness is identified by the animal’s inability to contend and keep up with sound animals. An animal with a defective eye either popping out or which is completely concealed, identifies it as being clearly one-eyed; yet, if the imperfection is not detected, even though it cannot see with it, it will still be a valid sacrifice but disliked. The way it trots, the type of appetite it has, as well as other similar factors determine whether or not the animal is considered well or ill, such as due to obvious sicknesses like mild or severe scabies. An ailing animal whose poor health has not had an obvious effect can be accepted as a legitimate sacrifice; in any case, it is preferable to offer a sacrifice that is free from all such defects. If the sacrificial animal is so emaciated that its bones contain no marrow, it will not be accepted as a valid sacrifice. Thus, these are the defects that render the sacrifice invalid. There are other imperfections which can be overlooked, such as slit ears, broken horns and missing teeth. However, the better the condition of the sacrificial animal, the more acceptable it is.
The male animal, whether castrated or not, is accepted as a sacrifice as the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam offered both. However, the fleshier the animal, the more satisfactory it is.
It is better to slaughter a goat or a sheep than one-seventh of a camel or cow, even though both are basically equivalent. One may share a cow or camel with six other persons, in the hope of all of them attaining the reward. Also, the pregnant sacrifice is equally acceptable as one not carrying a child.
If a person is able, he should slaughter his sacrifice himself; however, if he cannot, he may hire someone to do it and should attend the slaughtering. All the same, if he is not present, the sacrifice is still valid. Furthermore, if a person slaughters an animal thinking it is his, but later discovers that it belongs to someone else, then the sacrifice will suffice for its owner, that is he (the owner) receives the reward for it and takes the meat. For instance, if there is a yard with several sacrificial animals in it and a person takes one of them, assuming it is his and slaughters it, but later discovers that it did not belong to him, then although the sacrifice is valid, the one who mistakenly slaughtered the animal does not receive the credit or reward for it, rather, his position is like that of someone appointed to slaughter on behalf of the owner.
Allaah says which means, “Indeed, We have granted you, (O Muhammad), Al-Kawthar (a river in Paradise'''''). So pray to your Lord and sacrifice (to Him alone).” (Al Kawthur: 1-2)