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Sacrificial Animals (Hady and Udhiyah)


Hady refers to a legally edible animal (such a camel, a cow or a sheep) brought to the Sacred Mosque, slaughtered there, and sacrificed for the sake of Allaah, Glorified and Exalted be He.

Udhiyah refers to a legally edible animal slaughtered and sacrificed on the Day of Sacrifice or the Days of Tashrîq for the sake of attaining the closeness and pleasure of Allaah.

There is an agreement among the Muslim scholars on the prescription of offering a sacrificial animal for the sake of Allaah. For instance, Imâm Ibnul-Qayyim said:

"Offering a sacrificial animal for the sake of Allaah, the Creator, is regarded as a sacrifice for one’s own self as one’s self tends to fall into ruin by sinning. Allaah, Exalted be He, says, “…And for all religion We have appointed a rite [of sacrifice] that they may mention the Name of Allaah over what He has provided for them of [sacrificial] animals…” (Qur’aan: Al-Hajj: 34) Moreover, the slaughtering of sacrificial animals and the shedding of their blood while mentioning the Name of Allaah over them are legislated in all religions.”

The best sacrificial animal to offer is a camel, then a cow, then a sheep. It is better if a camel or a cow is offered by an individual, as it will be a sign of one’s generosity, and it will also be more beneficial for the poor due to the amount of meat they have. On the other hand, the best animal to sacrifice is the fattest, then the most expensive, as Allaah, Exalted be He, says:

“…And whoever honors the symbols [i.e. rites] of Allaah – indeed, it is from the piety of hearts.” (Qur’ân: Al-Hajj: 32)

It is insufficient to offer a sacrificial animal before it reaches the prescribed age for being slaughtered, which is six months for a sheep, five years for a camel, two years for a cow, and one year for a goat.

A ewe is good enough to be offered as hady on behalf of one man, and as udhiyah on behalf of one man and his household. A camel or a cow is sufficient as a hady or udhiyah on behalf of seven people according to the hadîth narrated by Jabîr that states:

“Allaah’s Messenger (salallaahu ‘alayhi wassallam) commanded us to become seven partners (in the sacrifice) of a camel or a cow.” (1)

Abû Ayyûb (may Allaah be pleased with him) also narrated:

“In the lifetime of the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alayhi wassallam), a person used to sacrifice a ewe on behalf of himself and his household; and they would eat (from it) and feed (others).” (2)

(Related by Ibn Mâjah and At-Tirmidhî who deemed it sahîh)

Yet, it is important to point out that it is better to slaughter a single ewe to have seven persons share in slaughtering a camel or a cow.

It is a condition that a sacrificial animal, whether a hady or udhiyah, must be free from all physical defects. Thus, it is sufficient to offer a skinny or sick animal as sacrifice. Likewise, it is insufficient to sacrifice a blind animal, a one-eyed animal, or a lame animal that can hardly walk. A mad animal, a toothless one, or a very old one with very small or dry udders, are not acceptable as sacrifice as well; the same goes for an animal which is obviously sick, for Al-Barâ Ibn ‘Âzib (may Allaah pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said:

“Four (types of animals) are impermissible to be offered as sacrifice: a one-eyed animal which has obviously lost the sight of one eye, a sick animal which is obviously sick, a lame animal which obviously limps, and an animal with a broken leg and no marrow.” (3)

(Related by Abû Dâwûd and An-Nasâ’î)

According to the most valid opinion, the optimum time for slaughtering a sacrificial animal, whether it is udhiyah or hady offered by one performing Hajj as tammatu’, is during the period from after the Feast of (‘Eed) prayer until the last of the Days of Tashrîq. It is preferable for one to eat from the sacrificial animal one offers as udhiyah, or hady in case of performing Hajj as tammatu‘ or qirân; its meat is divided as follows: one third for the owner, one third to be given as gifts, and one third to be given in charity, as Allaah, Exalted be He, says:

“…So eat of them and feed the miserable and poor.” (Qur’aan: Al-Hajj: 28)

As for a pilgrim who is offering expiatory hady (in expiation for missing any of the essential rituals of Hajj or for committing something forbidden while in a state of ihrâm), he must not eat any of it at all. If one wants to offer a sacrificial animal, one should by no means cut any of one’s hair or trim any of one’s nails from the first day of Dhul-Hijjah until one offers the sacrificial animal, for the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said:

“When it is the beginning of Dhul-Hijjah and anyone of you intends to offer a sacrificial animal, he should not get any of his hair cut or nails trimmed until he offers it.” (4)

(Related by Imâm Muslim)

In case one does (i.e. one has trimmed one’s hair or nails), one must seek the forgiveness of Allaah, yet one is not obliged to offer anything in expiation in this case.


1) Muslim (3173) [571]

2) At-Tirmidhî (1509) [4/91] and Ibn Mâjah (3147) [3541]

3) Abû Dâwûd (2802) [3/161], At-Tirmidhî (1501) [485], An-Nasâ’î (4381) [4/244], and Ibn Mâjah (3144) [3/539]

4) Muslim (5089) [7/139]

Transcribed from: A Summary of Islaamic Jurisprudence -Shaykh Saalih Al-Fawzaan (rahimahullaah)

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