FAQ in the category of Vow - Sacrifice

1 For whom is it wajib to sacrifice an animal? Who sacrifices an animal?

According to Hanafis, the person who has the wealth needs to sacrifice an animal; therefore, anyone who has his own money in the family needs to sacrifice an animal whether male or female. If both the woman and the man in a family have their own capitals, the person who is regarded as rich by the religion needs to sacrifice an animal. If both of them are regarded rich, both of them need to sacrifice animals. 

It is wajib for Muslims who are regarded rich by the religion to sacrifice an animal. The criterion for being rich regarding sacrificing animal is as follows:  

A person who has 85 grams of gold or 595 grams of silver or the equivalent of it as cash or goods apart from his essential needs is regarded as rich. 

Unlike zakah, it is not necessary to own the nisab amount of gold, silver, money, etc for a year. Besides, grazing animals like sheep, goats and cattle, and the commercial goods are taken into consideration while calculating the nisab amount. These goods do not have to be from the ones that increase. For instance, a person who has twenty sheep is regarded rich if the value of his sheep is equal to or more than the nisab amount. A person who has commercial goods equal to nisab amount is regarded rich in terms of sacrificing an animal and needs to sacrifice an animal.

On the other hand, if a person who has a real estate other than the house he lives in, receives rent for it and if nisab amount of money is left after he meets his needs with it, it becomes wajib for him to sacrifice an animal. 

Similarly, if a person who is in debt has more goods than the equivalent of his debt and if nisab amount of money is left after he pays his debt, it becomes wajib for him to sacrifice an animal. What is more, a person who has a lot of clothes equal to nisab amount apart from two suits, one for winter and one for summer, for his essential needs is regarded rich. The following decree exists in our fiqh books:

"If a person has another house apart from the house he lives in, it is wajib for him to sacrifice an animal even if he does not use it for business or he does not get any rent for it."

It becomes wajib for a person who owns as much money or goods as the amount of nisab before eid al-adha or even on the first, second or third days of eid al-adha to sacrifice an animal.  That is, the condition of owning the amount for a year is not valid for sacrificing an animal. For instance, it is wajib for a person who receives enough money for the nisab amount apart from his essential needs on the first day of eid al-adha to sacrifice an animal.

Essential needs taken into consideration for sacrificing an animal or zakah are as follows:

The house where a person lives, household goods, car, materials used for one's trade and job,  clothes for winter and summer, food and drinks for a month, or according to another view, for a year.

If a person has nisab amount apart from the things above, it becomes wajib for him to sacrifice an animal.

Besides, the following statement has no religious evidence: “Is it possible not to sacrifice an animal? It is necessary for a healthy person.” If a man is rich but ill or disabled, he has to sacrifice an animal. On the other hand, “health” is not among the conditions of the obligation of sacrificing an animal. However, the person who will sacrifice an animal can utter the following intention:

“O Lord! I should have sacrificed myself to You for the boons you granted to me but you rendered it haram to sacrifice a human being. I am sacrificing this animal instead of me.”

These words show the sincere intention of a person.

One cannot sacrifice an animal by borrowing money from others. If a person has enough money on the days of eid al-adha, it becomes wajib for him to sacrifice an animal.

It is not appropriate to borrow money and sacrifice an animal thinking, “I wonder what the people around and my neighbors will say if I do not sacrifice an animal. They may criticize me." For, Allah Almighty does not place on a person a burden greater than he can bear. Such a thought harms sincerity. For, in that case, a person will sacrifice an animal so that others will see and that others will not criticize him, which is contrary to the consciousness of servitude.

However, if a person who is not rich has enough money to buy an animal, he can sacrifice an animal and can eat its meat with his family. He will get rewards if he does so.

2 What are the conditions that are necessary for the animals to be sacrificed? Which defects prevent an animal from being sacrificed?

What are the conditions that are necessary for the animals to be sacrificed?

If the animal to be sacrificed is healthy, proper and fleshy, and has full organs, it will be appropriate for the purpose and nature of the worship and for hygiene.

If the animal is very ill like a crippled animal and weak, if it lacks some organs, for instance, if it is blind in one or two eyes, if its horns and ears are cut off, if its tongue is cut off, if all or most of its teeth have fallen off, if its tail and udder are cut off, it cannot be sacrificed.

However, if an animal has no horns by nature, if it is cross-eyed, lame, mad, slightly ill, if one of its ears is pierced or torn, it can be sacrificed.

If the tail of the sheep is cut off partly or wholly so that it will be fleshier and tastier, it is not a drawback.

What are the conditions for sacrificing an animal to be sound?

The essence of sacrificing is to sacrifice an animal that is permissible to slaughter. There are two conditions for the animal to be sacrificed to be sound:

1. Time: The time for sacrificing an animal is the three-day period that starts with the sunrise on the first day of eid al-adha and ends when the sun sets on the third day of eid al adha. If an animal is sacrificed at other than those times, it is not valid. It is makruh to sacrifice an animal at night.

2. The animal to be slaughtered must not have any defects. Muslims are ordered by many hadiths of the Prophet to take care that the animals to be slaughtered in order to approach Allah and worship Him do not to have any defects.

Those defects are divided into two:

a. Big excuses that are regarded as big defects and that prevent an animal from being sacrificed.

Main big defects are as follows:

1) Blind in two eyes or one eye.

2) So lame as not to be able to walk to the place where it will be slaughtered.

3) Both ears or one ear cut off.

4) Without any teeth or most of the teeth lost.

5) Both horns or one horn broken from the root.

6) Half or more than one third of the tail cut off.

7) Testicles or nipples of the udder broken off.

8) So weak and thin as to have no marrow in the bones.

9) Born without ears and tail.

10) So mad as not to be controlled and taken to the herd.

11) An animal that eats dirt. It cannot be sacrificed unless it is cleaned as it is necessary.

b. Minor defects that make animals permissible but makruh to be sacrificed.

Main minor defects are as follows:

1) An animal that is cross-eyed or that cannot see very well.

2) An animal whose one leg is lame but can walk with the other three legs, though limping.

3) An animal born without horns or whose horn is broken off a bit.

4) An animal whose ears are pierced, torn, or whose earlobes are droopy or cut off.

5) An animal some of whose teeth are lost.

6) An animal that is a bit mad but can graze.

7) An animal some part of whose tail, testicle or ear is cut off (more than two-thirds must exist).

8) An animal with small ears naturally.

9) A scabby but fleshy animal.

10) An animal that was castrated.

Which Animals Can Be Sacrificed and What Are Their Qualifications?

The following three kinds of animals can be sacrificed:

1 - Sheep and goat.

2 - Cattle. Buffalos are also regarded as cattle.

3 – Camel.

Animals other than those mentioned above cannot be sacrificed. 

Both females and males of those three kinds of animals can be sacrificed. However, the males of sheep and goats are preferred.

Sheep and goats that are under age one, cattle that are under age two and camels that are under age five cannot be sacrificed.

However, if a 6-month-old sheep is bulky and good- looking, it is religiously permissible to be slaughtered as a sacrifice. A goat must be at least one year old.

It is obligatory for a sacrificial animal to be plump, good- looking and fat.

A sheep and a goat can be sacrificed on behalf of only one person.       

All kinds of cattle, or a camel can be sacrificed by one person or it can be sacrificed jointly by up to 7 people. (7 is included.)

It is obligatory for each of those seven people to have the intention of sacrificing the animal for Allah’s pleasure. If one of them participates just for taking some meat without the intention of sacrifice, then none of their sacrifice is sound.

It is not important whether the number of the participants is even or odd.

Participants should separate their share by weighing. Distribution without weighing is not permissible.