“So pray to your Lord and sacrifice to Him alone” (Al-Kawthar 108:2)
Eid-ul-Adha (the festival of Sacrifice) is a glorious day for Muslims all around the world. The day is celebrated by offering Eid prayers at dawn, chanting of Takbeer, carrying out the sunnah of sacrificing an animal, donning the best attire, spreading the joy among relatives and friends. However, the sunnah of sacrificing is limited to those who can afford it. The significance of Udhiya or sacrifice can be understoon by the fact that Prophet Muhammed PBUH lived in Madinah and not one he missed out on this great Sunnah which is also known as Sunnah of Prophet Ibrahim PBUH.
It was narrated Abdullah bin Umar RA said: “The Prophet PBUH stayed in Madinah for ten years, offering sacrifice (every year on Eid).” Narrated by Ahmad, al-Tirmidhi classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Mishkaat al-Masaabeeh.
Sacrifice is not merely symbolic but has a deep religious sentiment attached for a Muslim. Essence of Eid-ul-Adha is elaborated at Essence of Eid-ul-Adha . , According the a majority of scholars, offering sacrifice on this day is a Sunnah Moakkadah (a Sunnah that has been emphasized upon). But Imam Abu Hanifah and Ibn Taimiyyah (may ALLAH have mercy on both of them) have opined it to be Wajib (compulsory). Allah SWT said to Prophet Muhammad PBUH, “So pray to your Lord and sacrifice to Him alone” (Al-Kawthar 108:2). Prophet PBUH said, “whosoever has the means of performing sacrifice, and does not do so shall not even come near our Eidgah (place of performing Eid salaat),” (Baihaqi and Hakim, classed Hasan by Albanee).
Post slaughtering, the meat should be divided into three parts. One third for himself and his family, one third is to be distributed amid relatives and friends, and the other one third should be distributed to the poor and needy. Prophet PBUH said, “Eat, store and give in charity,” [Muslim]. ALLAH mentions, “And the camels and cattle WE have appointed for you as among the symbols [i.e., the rites] of ALLAH; for you therein is good. So mention the name of ALLAH upon them when lined up [for sacrifice]; and when they are [lifeless] on their sides, then eat from them and feed the needy [who do not seek aid] and the beggar” (Al-Hajj: 22:36).
There are mainly five conditions for offering the sacrifice:
- That the sacrificial animal should be one of the grazing livestock, specifically: camels, cattle, sheep and goats. It should be noted that there can be 7 shares of sacrifice in camel and cow. Jabir (RA)is reported to have said, “We slaughtered (the animal of sacrifice) at Hudaibiyah along with the holy Prophet PBUH on the basis of partners; in the camel for seven persons and in the cow for seven persons” (Ibn Majah). Whereas sheep and goats cannot be shared but can be offered on behalf of a whole family as Abu Ayyub Ansari (RA)said, “A person during the lifetime of the holy prophet PBUH used to sacrifice on behalf of himself and his family,” (Ibn Majah).
- That the sacrificial animal should attain the prescribed age as specified in the Hadith. Reported by Jabir (RA) that the holy Prophet PBUH said, “Do not slaughter (an animal as sacrifice) except that which has reached the age of musinnah, unless it is hard upon you (to sacrifice a musinnah animal). In that case, slaughter a jaza of a sheep” (Muslim). A camel is musinnah at 5 years, a cow at 2 years and the goat at 1 year. A jaza of a sheep is when it has completed only half a year.
- That the sacrificial animal should be devoid from the four main defects as stated in the Hadith. The Prophet PBUH said, “Four kind of animals are unlawful for sacrifice: An animal which has lost sight of one eye and the loss of which is visible, a sick animal the sickness of which is evident, a lame animal the lameness of which is apparent, and an animal whose limbs are fractured and the core of the bones of which is exhausted,” (Muwatta Malik and Ibn Majah).
- That the person should be the owner of that sacrificial animal (like if he is a shepherd or the one who has bought). Disowned animal cannot be sacrificed.
- That the sacrifice should be offered on the prescribed time. The time commences after the Eid prayer on the 10th of Zul Hijjah until the sunset of 13th Zul Hijjah. It is permitted to slaughter at day or night during these four days. It is advised to offer on the 10th itself after the Eid prayer as the Prophet PBUH did. Sacrifice will be invalid if it is offered before the approved time. Narrated Al-Bara’ bin ‘Azib (RA) that The Prophet PBUH said, “The first thing that we should do on this day of ours is to pray and then return to slaughter the sacrifice. So anyone who does so, he acted according to our Sunnah (tradition), and whoever slaughtered the sacrifice before the prayer, it was just meat which he presented to his family and would not be considered as Nusuk (sacrifice),” [Bukhari].
A doubt might trigger in an individual’s mind that what ALLAH SWT has got to do with the sacrifice. The best reply for this is what ALLAH SWT says, “Their meat will not reach ALLAH, nor will their blood, but what reaches Him is piety from you. Thus have WE subjected them to you that you may glorify ALLAH for that [to] which He has guided you; and give good tidings to the doers of good,” (Al-Hajj 22:37).