Eid Al Adha
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Eid Al Adha F.A.Q

What is Udhiya (sacrifice) ?

Qurbani, or Udhiyah as it known in Arabic, is the word that describes the sacrifice of an animal to Allah (swt) during the period of Eid ul Adha.
On Eid Al Adha, which marks the completion of the annual Hajj pilgrimage, the Muslim world celebrates and honours the tradition of the Prophet Ibrahim (Alahi Salaam) by sacrificing an animal and distributing the meat to those in need.

Who should perform sacrifice ?

The general rule is that sacrifice should be performed by adults of sane mind and affordable means. It is generally agreed that if a person can afford udhiya, they should perform it. If you have any questions or doubts about this aspect of udhiya, please consult your local imam or mosque.

What animals are sacrificed at udhiya?

The animals to be slaughtered at Qurban are goats, sheep, cattle (cows or bulls), buffalo or camels. According to the rules of Qurbani, they can be male or female, but should be in good health, free from disability or handicap, and above a certain age. Goats and sheep must be at least one year old, while cattle must be two years, and camels five years.

We always hear that you should not cut your hair and nail before sacrificing yourudhiyah in order for it to be valid? Is that true?

It is reported in Sahih Muslim that Umm Salamah, the wife of the Prophet (peace be upon him) narrated that the Prophet said, “When the month of Dhu’l-Hijjah starts, if one of you wants to offer a sacrifice, let him refrain from (cutting) his hair and nails.” According to another version of the hadith he said, “When the ten days (of Dhu’l-Hijjah) begin, if one of you wants to offer a sacrifice, let him not touch his hair or skin with anything.” However, the hadith does not confirm that the sacrifice will not be accepted unless the person refrains from these acts. If anyone cuts his hair or nails by mistake, or out of ignorance, then he should still sacrifice the udhiyah.

What is better for western Muslims, to offer the sacrifice or make a financial donation towards Islamic projects?

Slaughtering for the sake of Allah is an Islamic symbol whether one is in the west or the east. We have to remember that when the shari’ah instructs us to perform an act that seems irregular, then the shari’ah intends this act as a ritual and Allah loves it. Let us remember that human beings never know what Allah loves except through revelation. Therefore, such acts are intended by Allah and beloved to him when they are performed in the way He commands. Charity is just one aspect of slaughtering with the other aspect being a show of obedience to Allah. This specific sacrifice is better than giving its price as charity. As explained earlier, it was practiced by the Prophet and his Companions. The Prophet could simply have given charity and allowed people the choice but he didn’t do so. Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said, “Sacrifice when divinely prescribed is better than giving its price in charity…even if you give many times more the value of the sacrifice for tamattu’ and qiraan, it will never take its place, and the same applies to the udhiya.”

How many Qurbani animals do I have to sacrifice?

Qurban animals have shares. Sheep and goats have one share each, camels and cattle each have seven shares. So for a single person, Qurbani is fulfilled with a sheep or a goat. Up to seven people can share in the purchase of a cow or a camel, and the sacrifice will be made for the seven.
1 small animal (Sheep or Goat) = 1 Qurbani
1 large animal (Cattle) = 7 Qurbanis
You can make as many Qurbanis as you want – for example two or three shares in a cow - and on behalf of as many individuals as you like, including those who have passed away.

Can we buy a lamb from the butchers and then intend it as an udhiya?

No. The animal has to be slaughtered with the intention of an udhiya – it is an act of worship that cannot be accepted without a specific intention. It cannot be slaughtered with one intention and then intended as something different.

Do I have to record the name of someone else if I am giving Qurbani on their behalf?

Many people do record names. However, it is not necessary to give the name of the person, even if you are making a Qurbani on their behalf, as long as you have made the intention that you are giving the Qurbani on their behalf.

When is Qurbani performed?

Qurbani can be performed from the 10th day of the month of Dhul-Hijjah until the sun sets on the 12th of Dhul-Hijjah. The best time is to perform the act of Qurbani is immediately after the completion of the Eid Al Adha prayers.

It is difficult in Western countries to sacrifice an animal yourself, so is it permissible to allow the meat shop to take care of your udhiyah?

It is permissible provided that the conditions of the udhiyah are met. Prior to listing these conditions it is essential to remember that slaughtering the udhiyah is an act of worship and so it must be carried out for the sake of Allah and in accordance with the way prescribed by the Qur’an and Sunnah. One main condition that many people forget when discussing the conditions of the udhiyahis the fact that it should be slaughtered as an udhiyah and not just in the name of Allah. Another requirement for the udhiyah which is a condition according to many scholars is that it must be slaughtered by a Muslim. It is true that we are allowed to eat the meat of the People of the Book as stated in the Qur’an; however, many scholars exclude the udhiyah as it is an act of ritual worship and thus can only be carried out by a Muslim.

The animal should be from amongst the bahimat al-an’aam, which consists of camels, cattle, sheep and goats.

Additionally the animal should have reached a certain age. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Do not sacrifice anything but musinnah (an adult animal) unless it is difficult for you, in which case you may slaughter a six-month old lamb (jadh’ah).”[15]  Al-Nawawi said in his al-Majmu’, “The Ummah has agreed that with regards to camels, cows and goats, nothing will be accepted as udhiyah except a thani, and with regard to sheep, nothing will be accepted as an udhiyah except a jad’ah.

The various schools of thought differed as to the years synonymous with a musinnah and thani. The various opinions are as follows:

1. With regard to the stipulated age of sacrificial animals, the scholars differed concerning that. Themusinnah (or thani) of goats is one that has reached the age of one year according to the Hanafis, Malikis and Hanbalis. According to the Shafi’is, it is one that has reached the age of two years. 

2. The musinnah (or thani) of cows is one of the has reached the age of two years according to the Hanafis, Shafi’is and Hanbalis; according to the Malikis it is one that has reached the age of three years. 

3. The musinnah (or thani) of camels is one that has reached the age of five years according to the Hanafis, Malikis, Shafi’is and Hanbalis. 

4. A jadh’ah of sheep is that has reached the age of six months, according to the Hanafis and Hanbalis. According to the Malikis and Shafi’is it is a sheep that has reached the age of one year.

The animal should not have major defects. Al-Bara’ ibn ‘Aazib narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “There are four which are not permissible for sacrifice, a lame animal which is obviously lame, a one-eyed animal whose defect is obvious, a sick animal whose sickness is obvious, and an emaciated animal that no one would choose”. In one of the reports of al-Nasa’i the fourth one was the one that has had one of its legs cut off.

The final condition is that the udhiyah is to be slaughtered at the correct time which begins after the Eid prayer on Eid al-Ad’ha and ends when the sun sets on the thirteenth of Dhu’l-Hijjah. Imam Ahmad narrated that Buraydah (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not go out on the day of (Eid) al-Fitr until he had eaten, and he did not eat on the day of (Eid) A lAdha until he came back, then he would eat from his sacrifice.” Therefore, there are four days of sacrifice in total – the day of al-Ad’ha and the three days after it.


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