OFFERING A SACRIFICE

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Offering a sacrifice (a sheep, a goat, and for seven people a camel, a cow, or an ox) is incumbent (wajib) upon every adult Muslim who has the nisab amount of wealth. The difference between having to pay zakat and sacrificing is that zakat must be paid on it if the person has had it for one year, while a sacrifice must be offered if the person has had it for only one day. The sacrifice must be made on any of the first 3 days of ‘Iyd al-Adha.

Sacrifice during Hajj. Pilgrims performing Hajj Qiran and Hajj Tamattu‘, who miss any necessary act (e.g., throwing pebbles, putting on ihram from a miqat, or performing sa’y), or violate any ihram restriction or the sanctity of Haram Makka, must sacrifice.

Sacrificial Animals. The most common sacrificial animal is a sheep or a goat. Cattle and camels also can be offered as sacrifice. Pilgrims must sacrifice a camel if they perform tawaf in a state of major ritual impurity (junub), are still menstruating or having post-childbirth bleeding, have sexual intercourse with their spouse after spending Dhu’l-Hijja 9 (eve) in ‘Arafat but before shaving or clipping the hair, or have vowed to sacrifice a camel.

Conditions for Sacrifice. A sacrificial animal should satisfy the following conditions:

  • If it is a sheep, it must be 1 year old, or as fat and healthy as a 1-year-old sheep if it is more than 6 months old. A camel must be at least 5 years old, a cow 2 years old, and a goat 1 year old.
  • The animal should be healthy and without defect (i.e., it must not be one-eyed, have a limp, be mangy, very thin, or weak).

Time of Offering. The sacrifice must be made at a specific time, as follows:

  • Whether one is performing Hajj or not, a sacrifice must be offered on any of the first 3 days of ‘Iyd al-Adha.
  • A sacrifice made to fulfill a vow, atone for sins, or perform a supereroga-tory act of worship may be offered any time during the year.

Place of Offering. A sacrifice that will be offered during Hajj, whether it is necessary (wajib) or voluntary, must be offered within Makka’s Sacred Precincts.

Who Must Sacrifice the Animal. The one who kills the animal must be a Muslim or belong to the People of the Book (a Christian or a Jew). He must say Bismillah before sacrificing, for the meat of an animal slaughtered by an atheist, an agnostic, an apostate, or one who intentionally does not say Bismillah cannot be eaten.

Eating the Meat of the Sacrificial Animal. God commands Muslims to eat the meat of sacrificed animals: eat thereof and feed the poor such as (beg not but) live in contentment and such as beg with due humility (22:36). It is advis-able to eat one-third, give one-third to the poor, and one-third to one’s friends and relatives. Apparently, this command applies to both the obligatory and su-pererogatory sacrifice. However, one cannot eat the meat of any animal sacri-ficed in fulfillment of a vow, for all of the meat must be distributed among the poor and needy.

The sacrificed animal’s skin can be used as a rug or in another way, after it is tanned, or given away as charity. One cannot sell it.