Rulings pertaining to the sacrificing of Udh-hiya – Lesson Two

In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Bestower of mercy

Rulings concerning the Slaughter of Eidul Adh-haa

Taken from the lessons of The Noble Shaykh Abu Abdillah Muhammad Ibn Hizam.

Lesson Two:

All Praise belongs to Allah. We praise Him, we seek His aid and forgiveness. We seek refuge with Him from our evilness and our evil actions. I declare that none has the right to be worshiped except Allah alone, without any partner(s) and I declare that Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Allah The Most High be upon him and his family) is his slave and messenger.

As for what follows:

So far we have covered some of the issues pertaining to ‘Al-Adhahee’, such as the type(s) of animal(s) to be slaughtered and the defects that invalidate the slaughter.

And we have yet to discuss the age of the animal. The acceptable age of slaughter is taken from the statement of the Prophet: (peace and blessings be upon him) ‘Do not slaughter except the musinnah (mature) – unless it is difficult for you – then slaughter a lamb instead’ (recorded by Imam Muslim from the narration of Jabir, may Allah be pleased with him)

Q48. What is the meaning of his (The Prophet- peace and blessings be upon him) statement: ‘Do not sacrifice except the musinnah (mature animal) – unless it is difficult for you – then (you may) sacrifice a lamb (aged between 6 months to a year). When is an animal considered ‘musinnah’?

A48. This refers to the change of the front two incisors. This usually occurs with camels and cows after reaching five years.

Some scholars said the goat/sheep reaches this at one year, whereas others said it is two years. In any case, the main point is the change in the incisors – whether it occurs after a year, or after six months.

Q49. If a cow owner informs you it is two years old but the teeth have not yet changed, is it permissible to purchase it if he is truthful?

A49. Even if he is truthful, the point is the incisors must have changed. The age is only mentioned as a guideline, because this is when the incisors usually change. Therefore, it is not permissible.

Q50. What is the prescribed age for the lamb to be slaughtered?

A51. The minimum age required for a lamb is an area of disagreement between the scholars. The Hanbalis consider the minimum age to be six months. Some of the Shafi’ees put it at eight, some at ten and others at twelve months. But the correct view is that of the ‘Hanbali’s as attested to by the scholars of the Arabic language.

Q51. Can one sacrifice a lamb if there are mature animals available?

Q52. The wording of the Hadeeth of Jabir suggests that it is not permissible to sacrifice a lamb so long as a mature sheep/goat is attainable. However, Imam Nawawi mentioned that the scholars have unanimously agreed that this is not the case. Rather, it is permitted even if a mature animal is attainable. This is based on the Hadeeth of Mujaashi’ ibn Masoud in which The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) stated: ‘Verily the lamb fulfills that which a mature animal fulfils’. A similar narration was recorded by Al-Bauhaqi.

The goat, cow and camel cannot be sacrificed unless they are mature. However, some people (due to their ignorance) purchase goats less than 8 months, whilst the scholars have unilaterally agreed it is a condition for it to have teethed.

Q52. What is best to slaughter; a camel, a cow or goat/sheep?

A52. It is best to slaughter a camel if possible, because it is the best of the grazing livestock. And it is better to purchase it individually.

Purchasing a goat individually is better than purchasing one seventh of a camel or a cow, because if one has a goat to himself then it is a sacrifice solely between him and Allah. However purchasing a camel or a cow individually is undoubtedly better.

Q53. Is it permissible for two households to jointly purchase one goat and divide it into two halves?

A53. It is not permissible for more than one household to share in the sacrifice of a goat if it is for the purpose of Udh-hiya. However, it is permissible to divide the meat between them

Q54. How many people can jointly purchase a cow?

A54. It is agreed upon that one cow may be shared between 7 stakeholders as mentioned in the Hadeeth of Jaabir: ‘we slaughtered during the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) on the day of Hudaybiyah a cow on behalf of 7 people’.

But the scholars differed with regards to how many people can share in the slaughter of a camel. Ibn Abbas stated: ‘we were travelling with the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and shared the camel between 10 people and the cow between 7′. This was recorded by Ahmad and Nasa’i. The Hadeeth of Jaabir in Saheeh Muslim is however, more authentic.

In the Hadeeth of Raafi’ ibn Khadeej in Bukhari and Muslim the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) equates ten goats to one camel. On this basis some scholars (such as Ishaaq) permitted a camel to be shared among 10. However, the opinion of Sa’eed ibn Musayyib and the majority of the scholars is that this can only be shared amongst 7.

Q55. Some people make an agreement with others that they will slaughter on the first day and give half to their companion and in return the companion will do the same on the following day. (What is the ruling of this practice?)

A55. It is not permissible to do so, as this enters into trade, because exchanging is a form of trade, and trading Udh-hiya is not permissible. This person should therefore be advised accordingly. If it is a gift then there is no prpblem. however, in this case its a pre-conditional exchange.

Q56. Can a goat be shared by two people if it is big and over three years old?

A56. It is not accepted as a sacrifice except from one (person or family)

Q57. Is a camel shared between 7 or 10 people?

A57. It is safer to act in accordance to the Hadeeth of Jaabir, which states 7. And although some claim it to be weak, it appears to be, in fact, ‘hasan’.

Q58. What if the animal is split between 8 people, or two people share one seventh?

A58. It is not permissible to split the sacrifice between 8 people, or to split one seventh between two. The minimum stake is one seventh.

Certainly, actions are but by intentions and every person will be rewarded according to his intention. If It is slaughtered for the purpose of ‘Udh-hiya’ then this is what it will be for everyone who possesses a minimum share of one seventh. Whoever owns less than a seventh has no portion of the ‘Udh-hiya’ – he merely possess a share in the meat.

Q59. Some people say: I go to the butchers and purchase one seventh of an ‘Udh-hiya’ from him whilst he sells the remainder to somebody else. Is this valid?

A59. This is invalid because the butcher slaughters with the intention of trade – not for the sake of ‘Udh-hiya’

Q60. Can the butcher be given a compensatory portion of the ‘Udh-hiya’ for his butchery?

A61. He is not to be given a compensatory portion of the meat for his butchery. However, if he wishes, he may gift him something, such as the skin, head or even meat – voluntarily.

Q62. What if the butcher says: if you give me the head and skin I will give you a one thousand riyal discount, but if you don’t you must pay the full price for my butchery.

A62. This is not permissible. Agree the cost of butchery with him including the head and skin. Thereafter the choice is yours, if you want, gift some to him.

But it is recommended to distribute a portion of the meat to the under-privilged.

Allah The Most High states:

ِۖ فَكُلُوا۟ مِنْهَا وَأَطْعِمُوا۟ ٱلْبَآئِسَ ٱلْفَقِيرَ

So eat from them [ sacrificial animals] and feed the miserable and poor.

[Al-Hajj 22:28]

فَكُلُوا۟ مِنْهَا وَأَطْعِمُوا۟ ٱلْقَانِعَ وَٱلْمُعْتَرَّۚ

Then eat from them and feed the needy and the beggar.

[Al-Hajj 22:36]

The meaning of ‘needy’ in this context, is he who does not appear before the people with his needs, as opposed to the beggar who displays his hardships to the people. The opposite meanings have also been mentioned, but this is the most accurate(in sha Allah) and Allah knows best.

Q63. Is the owner of a sacrificial animal obliged or advised to distribute a portion of it to the under-privilged?

A63. It is recommended. Although Ibn Hazm and some of the ‘Hanbali’ scholars viewed this to be obligatory. However, the correct view is that it is recommended. And whilst he is permitted to eat all of his meat if he wishes, it is better for him to distribute a portion to the under-privilged due to aforementioned statements of Allah The Most High:

ِۖ فَكُلُوا۟ مِنْهَا وَأَطْعِمُوا۟ ٱلْبَآئِسَ ٱلْفَقِيرَ

So eat from them [ sacrificial animals] and feed the miserable and poor.

[Al-Hajj 22:28]

فَكُلُوا۟ مِنْهَا وَأَطْعِمُوا۟ ٱلْقَانِعَ وَٱلْمُعْتَرَّۚ

Then eat from them and feed the needy and the beggar.

[Al-Hajj 22:36]

Q64. Is it permissible for the meat to be stored for more than three days?

A64. It was forbidden to do so previously, but this was later abrogated. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: ‘I previously forbade you from storing your Adhaahee meat for more than three days, but now (you may) eat, store and distribute it to the needy (beyond three days)’.

Q65. How much of the meat should be distributed to the needy?

A65. There is no specific amount. However it has been reported that Imam Ash-Shaaf’ ee (may Allah have mercy on him) mentioned the following distribution: one-third for the owner of the sacrifice, one-third to be distributed amongst the needy and one-third to be gifted.

This is the preference of Imam Shaaf’ee (may Allah have mercy upon him) and not the that of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).

Q66. Can one specify for a particular animal to be his designated Udh-hiya by stating that ‘this Udh-hiya is on my behalf and it is for the sake of Allah’.

A66. Specifying an Udh-hiya resembles it to a vow. This is the view of The Four Imams, (Malik, Ash-Shaaf’ee, Ahmad and Abu-Haneefa) as well as Shaykhul Islam and Ibn Uthaymeen. But they differed concerning how this specification/ allocation occurs.

Q67. Does the specification occur by simply making a purchase, or by the buyer pinpointing the Udh-hiya by stating something along the lines of: ‘This is the ‘Udh-hiya I will be slaughtering for Allah’s sake.

A67. Imam Malik held the view that it becomes a vow, which one must carry out once a purchase is made, because it was bought with the intention of it being an ‘Udh-hiya’. This was also the view of Shaykhul Islam.

Allah The Most High states in his noble book:

ثُمَّ لْيَقْضُوا۟ تَفَثَهُمْ وَلْيُوفُوا۟ نُذُورَهُمْ وَلْيَطَّوَّفُوا۟ بِٱلْبَيْتِ ٱلْعَتِيقِ

Then let them end their untidiness and fulfill their vows and perform Tawaf around the ancient House.”

Al-Hajj 22:29

The statement of Allah The Most High: [fulfill their vows] has been interpreted as gifts and sacrificial animals.

Shaykh Uthaymeen inclined to the view that it does not assume the status of a vow unless one makes a verbal statement. He explained that if one buys a house as a religious endowment, when does it actually become an endowment? Is it when when he makes the actual purchase or when he verbally says, ‘This is an endowment to Allah’? The answer: until he states that it is as such.

In the same way, purchasing a sacrificial animal does not cause it to assume the status of a vow until he explicitly states it to be so, such as to say; I vow to slaughter this ‘Udh-hiya’ for the sake of Allah. This is the view of Ibn Hazm and As-Shawkaani.

The view of Imam Malik and Shaykhul islam is supported by the Hadeeth: ‘Verily the action is only by the intention’ and the explanation of the statement of Allah The Most High: [‘fulfill their vows’] (Al-Hajj 22:29) as gifts and sacrificial animals.

Q68. Is it permissible to use the meat of Udh-hiya for other functions, such as weddings, ‘Aqeeqah’ or hosting guests, after it has been set aside as ‘Udh-hiya’?

A68. According to the view that it assumes the status of a vow by setting it aside; it cannot be slaughtered for a wedding, ‘aqeeqah’ or anything other than that for which it was set aside for.

Q69. What if, after one has pledged to slaughter a particular animal, it is afflicted with a defect that renders it invalid for slaughter?

A69. The sacrifice is still valid because it was free from defects at the time of purchase. So he may proceed with its slaughter even after the defects.

Q69. Is it permissible to exchange one sacrificial animal for another?

A69. This issue; replacing one sacrificial animal with a better one, or replacing one endowment for a better one; the correct view is that they are both permissible based on the Hadeeth of Jabir (reported by Abu Dawood) that he said ‘Oh Messenger of Allah, verily I have vowed to pray two units (rakaats) of prayer in The Sacred House (in Jerusalem) if Allah opens for you (The gates of) Makkah’. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: ‘Pray here’. He asked him once more and he said ‘Pray here’ (i.e. in Makkah) because the reward (of praying in Al-Masjid Al-Haram) is greater (than praying in Masjid Al-Aqsaa). Thus fulfilling a vow by doing that which is better is permissible so long as it is from the same type.

Q70. What is the ruling of purchasing a goat with the intention of it being an ‘Udh-hiya’ whilst verbally specifying it for this purpose, but then he refrains from slaughtering it and instead sells it on without buying a replacement?

A70. It’s a mistake not to replace it, and it may also be a sinful act because after its purchase and specification it is as if he made a vow.

Q71. Are female sacrificial animals accepted?

A71. They are acceptable, even after giving birth, provided the required criterias are met.

Q72. Are pregnant animals accepted?

A72. They are acceptable. If the baby exits alive, then it must also be slaughtered, since it shares the same status as its in the slaughter.

Q73. If the baby exits without life, can it be eaten?

A73. Based on the Hadeeth of Abu Sa’eed; (recorded by Ibn Hiban and other than him) He may eat it if wishes. If he finds it distasteful, he may find poor and needy people to give it to.

Q74. What if the ‘Udh-hiya’ has a defect and he purchases it with the intention of slaughtering it as Udh-hiya?

A74. This is incorrect, and it is inappropriate to do so. Nonetheless, if it recovers from the defects then it is acceptable.

Q75. Is it permissible to sell the ‘Udh-hiya’?

A75. It is not permissible to sell any part of the ‘Udh-hiya’. If this occurs, then it is obligatory to repent (to Allah) for doing this.

Q76. What if a person purchases an ‘Udh-hiya’, then it dies and he is unable to afford a replacement?

A76. Allah does not burden a soul with more that it can bare. There is no sin upon him for this and he is rewarded according to his intention; it would be as though he had slaughtered (in sha Allah).

Q77. What is the ruling of slaughtering the sacrificial animal at the outdoor Prayer place?

A77. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to slaughter the sacrificial animal at the outdoor prayer place on Eid, as mentioned in the Hadeeth of Ibn Umar in Saheeh Bukhari.

Perhaps this was done in order to teach the people. Imam Bukhari gave the following chapter heading in his Saheeh, ‘Chapter of slaughtering at the place of prayer’. Therefore there is nothing wrong with this action, although it is difficult for the people to implement it these days, and it is Allah with whom aid is sought.


Translated by Abu Sufyan Saami Al-Ghani

Click the link to subscribe:

Original Fatwa: