The sacrifice of Eid ul Adha honors a prominent event that occurred during Prophet Ibrahim’s (AS) life. Allah tested him as he had a dream that had divine inspiration behind it. In the dream, Ibrahim witnessed himself sacrificing his beloved son, Ismail (AS). Ibrahim informed Ismail, his righteous son, about the dream. Ismail demonstrated exemplary faith in Allah and agreed that Ibrahim should obey God and sacrifice him.
Ibrahim proceeded with the sacrifice, fighting Satan’s efforts to get him to disobey Allah’s command. As Ibrahim drew closer to slaughtering his son for Allah’s sake, Allah stopped his hand and told him he did not have to take his son’s life, as his sacrifice was already complete. Indeed, willingly agreeing to sacrifice one’s own child to please Allah is an act of selflessness and shows strong faith in God and trust in His plan. A sheep replaced Ismail, and thus Muslims sacrifice sacrificial animals on Eid ul Adha. It serves as a reminder to always submit to Allah.
Who should offer the Eid Sacrifice?
One person in the household should offer the Eid sacrifice. The person should offer Eid sacrifice on his and the rest of his household’s behalf, including those of his relatives who are dead. If one leaves behind a third of his wealth to be used for offering sacrifice on his behalf, it should be done. If not, the Eid sacrifice on behalf of the dead counts as a virtuous deed and charity on the deceased’s behalf.
What can we offer as an Eid Sacrifice?
The animals that are eligible for Eid sacrifice are sheep, goats, cattle, and camels. One sheep suffices as a sacrifice for a person and his household members. Camels and cows are sufficient for seven people. Hence, one share out of seven in a camel or a cow would suffice for one and his household.
Other animals are not eligible for the Eid sacrifice. Moreover, there are conditions that we must fulfill in order for an animal to be eligible for sacrifice. In the case of sheep, six months is the minimum age. In the case of the other sacrificial animals, they should have reached the age at which they are regarded as adults. Camels need to be five years old, and cattle need to be two years old to be considered adults.
Additionally, the animal should not have defects that make it unfit for sacrifice. It should not have eye defects, like when the eye is white. Furthermore, it should not suffer from clearly visible ailments, like a fever that spoils its appetite, or severe wounds that impact its wellbeing. Additionally, it should not be lame and unable to walk properly. Also, emaciated animals and animals devoid of bone marrow do not qualify. Animals with these defects or similar flaws are not fit for sacrifice, and the same goes for animals that have more significant problems.
The person offering the sacrifice should be the one in possession of the animal, or have permission based on shariah or directly from the owner. The sacrifice is invalid if the person offering it as a sacrifice doesn’t own it. Therefore, one cannot offer a stolen, forcefully seized, or wrongfully taken animal as a sacrifice.
The time and distribution of the sacrifice
The ideal time to offer the sacrifice of Eid ul Adha is after the Eid prayer, during the day time. We can’t slaughter the animal before the completion of the Eid prayer. The sacrifice is valid as long as we perform it on the first day of Eid or the three days that follow. Just like it is invalid before the conclusion of the Eid prayer, it is also invalid after sunset on the 13th of Dhul Hijjah, as that is the deadline for sacrifice.
It is only permissible to offer the sacrifice after the deadline if one has a valid excuse, such as the animal running away without the owner being negligent. The slaughter can be carried out during the day or the night, but the day is preferable. Also, slaughtering on an earlier day is better than on a later day.
When it comes to the distribution of the meat from the slaughter, it should be divided into three parts. We should keep a third of the meat for the household to eat; one third for family, friends, and neighbors; and one third for the poor. In addition, it is impermissible to sell its meat, fat, or skin, as doing so invalidates the sacrifice. We also shouldn’t give the butcher anything from the animal’s meat, fat, or skin.
The etiquette and benefits of the sacrifice
It is essential to adhere to the etiquette of Eid sacrifice to avoid inflicting unnecessary pain and suffering on the animal. For example, the butcher must sharpen the knife before using it for slaughter. Also, he shouldn’t slaughter the animal in front of the other animals that are gathered for sacrifice.
It is preferable for the one offering the sacrifice to slaughter the animal himself. If he doesn’t slaughter the animal himself, it is recommended for him to witness the sacrifice personally. The one who offers the sacrifice should not cut his hair, nails, or skin from the 1st of Dhul Hijjah until the animal is sacrificed.
The Eid sacrifice reminds us of Ibrahim’s noble sacrifice and unwavering faith in Allah. It reminds people to always submit to Allah. Eid is also an occasion to spread goodwill, generosity, and relief in the society. We should give meat to people as gifts, bringing them closer and spreading goodwill in the community. We should also give it to the poor, granting those in poverty relief and nourishment. Muslims sacrifice from their wealth to bring benefit to society. We also obey Allah’s command, following in the footsteps of Ibrahim (AS).