Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Rulings and Conditions of Sacrifice

Sacrifice or Udhiyah is one of the great rituals of Islam, which is performed as an act of obedience to Almighty Allah as Prophet Ibrahim a.s and Isma’il a.s willingness to make ultimate sacrifice. Udhiyah refers to the animal (camel, cattle or sheep) that is sacrificed as an act of worship to Allah, during the period from after the Eid prayer on the Day of Nahr (Eid ul-Adhaa) until the last of the Days of Tashriq (the 13th day of Dhu’l-Hijjah).


“Therefore turn in prayer to your Lord and sacrifice (to Him only).” [Al-Kawthar 108:2]

“Say (O Muhammad): ‘Verily, my prayer, my sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the ‘Aalamiin (mankind, jinns and all that exists).” [Al-An’aam 6:162]

“And for every nation We have appointed religious ceremonies, that they may mention the Name of Allah over the beast of cattle that He has given them for food. And your God is One God, so you must submit to Him Alone (in Islam)…” [Al-Hajj 22:34]

It is a Sunnah mu’akkad and according to Hadith narrated by Ahmad, Ibnu Majah, Daud and others, it is the Practice of Prophet Muhammad SAW that every Eidul-Adha to deliver the sermon and lead the Eidul-Adha prayer, after which he would perform the sacrifice of two fat and healthy sheep, with horn and white fleece, and before commencing the slaughter he would supplicate:

‘ O Allah! This is from Muhammad and His household members.’

And he would slaughter the next animal with supplication:

‘ O Allah! This is from Muhammad and My Ummah.’

A portion of the slaughtered meat was eaten by the Prophet SAW and His family, whilst the other portion was distributed evenly to all the poor and needy.

Jundub reported: “The Messenger of Allaah SAW said: ‘Whoever slaughtered his sacrifice before he prays, let him slaughter another one in its place, and whoever did not slaughter a sacrifice, let him do so in the name of Allaah.’” (Muslim, 3621)

With regard those who is dead, if the deceased bequeathed up to one third of his wealth for that purpose, or included it in his waqf (endowment), then these wishes must be carried out, otherwise, if a person wishes to offer a sacrifice on behalf of someone who has died, this is a good deed and is considered to be giving charity on behalf of the dead.

The conditions of Sacrifice.

One should slaughter his sacrifice either personally or through the appointment of somebody else to do it on his behalf. One should slaughter either a sheep, or share a cow or a camel with six others. This animal is called hadi. A goat should be no less than 1 year old; a sheep no less than 6 months on condition that it is fat; a cow no less than 2 years; and a camel 5 years.The animal should be healthy and free from physical defects. It should not be one-eyed, limping, mangy, or very thin and weak.

1. Intention.

One must have the intention (niyyah) of sacrificing before doing so. The sacrifice has to meet certain conditions, the first of which is the intention. The person who sacrifices must set his or her intention before slaughtering. The sacrifice is done to seek closeness to Allah, and then the intention has to precede the act. It is not required that the person who is actually doing the slaughter mention on whose behalf he is slaughtering because the intention will suffice.

2. Muslim

The person who does the slaughtering should be a Muslim. The slaughtering is an act of worship for the purpose of pleasing Allah Almighty.

3. Preferable To Slaughter the Sacrifice Himself

It is preferable for the person who sacrifices to slaughter the sacrificial animal himself or herself. It is preferable for the person sacrificing-be it a man or a woman-to slaughter the animal with his or her own hands. But if he does not, it is mustahabb for him to be present when it is slaughtered or delegate it. The Prophet SAW slaughtered two rams with his own hands one for him and the other for the ummah.

4. Slaughter In The Name of ALLAH.

One should say “Bismillah” (In the name of Allah) before slaughtering. No name other than Allah’s should be mentioned over the animal at the time of slaughter. It was reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to say when slaughtering, “Bismillah, Allahu Akbar” (In the name of Allah, Allah is the Greatest). Ibn ‘Umar and Qutadah said they don’t know anyone who disagrees with the foregoing. If one has forgotten to utter these words, the sacrifice will be acceptable; and if one adds to it the following supplication it would be even better according to many scholars: “O Allah, This is from You and unto You, so please accept it from me or from the person on whose behalf I am slaughtering.”

5. The Time of Sacrifice

It is required at the appointed time from one who is alive on behalf of himself and the members of his household, and he may include in the reward for it whoever he wishes, living or dead. The earliest time to slaughter is after the ‘Eid Prayer and sermon; the latest time is the end of the second Day of Tashreeq (the days following ‘Eid). The slaughtering days, therefore, are three: the ‘Eid and the two days following it, i.e., 10, 11, and 12 Dhul-Hijjah. This is according to `Umar, ‘Ali, Ibn ‘Umar, Ibn Abbas, Abu Hurairah, Anas, and the opinion of Ibn Hanbal.

6. What to Do with the Sacrificial Meat

The person who is sacrificing should take one-third of the meat for his or her family and the rest to give away other Muslims; one-third as a gift and one-third to the poor. If he or she keeps more than one-third it is all right. The followers of Ibn Hanifah say the more you give to the poor the better.

7. Should Not Pay the Butcher

Ibn Hanbal declared that the butcher should not be paid with the meat of the sacrificed animal instead of with money. Ash-Shaf’ie and the scholars of his school supported this opinion but said that if the butcher is a poor man, it is all right to give him part of the meat as a present the same as others, especially when he has slaughtered the animal and seen the meat that he is deprived of .

8. Selling the Meat or Skin

Abu Hanbal declared that it is forbidden to sell any of the meat or the skin of the sacrificial animal, whether this animal is slaughtered to fulfill a vow or slaughtered voluntarily. Imam Ahmad and Imam Shaf’ie forbade selling its meat or any part of it. Al-Hasan and An-Nukha’i permitted selling the skin and buying with the money something beneficial to oneself and others; thus he differentiated between the meat and the skin. Abu Hanifah said to sell the meat and donate the money to the poor.

9. Age

The animal should have reached the required age, which is six months for a lamb, one year for a goat, two years for a cow and five years for a camel.

10. Good Condition

Prophet SAW said: “There are four that will not do for sacrifice: a one-eyed animal whose defect is obvious, a sick animal whose sickness is obvious, a lame animal whose limp is obvious and an emaciated animal that has no marrow in its bones.” (Sahih al-Jaami’, no. 886). There are milder defects that do not disqualify an animal, but it is makruh to sacrifice such animals, such as an animal with a horn or ear missing, or an animal with slits in its ears, etc. Udhiyah is an act of worship to Allaah, and Allaah is Good and accepts only that which is good. Whoever honours the rites of Allaah; this has to do with the piety (taqwa) of the heart.

11. Slaughtered By A Sharp Knife.

The animal should be slaughtered by a sharp object which is capable of making it bleed by severing blood vessels, even if the sharp object is a stone or a piece of wood.

The slaughtering is to be done by cutting the throat of the animal or by piercing the hollow of the throat, causing its death. The best way is to cut the windpipe, the gullet, and the two jugular veins.


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