About Animal Sacrifice
These are the sacrificial animals: Camels, cows, goats and sheep. One big animal like a camel or cow can be sacrificed on behalf of seven persons.
Animal sacrifice is of two kinds:
- This is the kind when one makes a vow that if his wish is fulfilled, he will offer sacrifice to Allah. All such vows shall be fulfilled first of all, except when there is an obstacle to it. Likewise is the sacrifice which becomes binding on performers of Tamattu’ and Qiran or a sacrifice which becomes binding on skipping some mandatory rite or doing some prohibited act.
- The second type of sacrifice is the one which a pilgrim offers purely to seek the pleasure of Allah. It is narrated through Hadrat Jabir (RadhiAllahu Anhu) that once they performed Hajj along with the Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) when he sacrificed one camel on behalf of seven persons and one cow on behalf of seven persons (Muslim, Ahmad). The restriction about the camel is that a camel should be at least of five years and a cow of at least two years. The goat and sheep must be of at least one year. The second restriction is that the animal should be healthy and free of all defects. For instance, its horns should not be broken, it should not be lame or blind or too thin.
Every pilgrim is bound to offer sacrifice on the Day of Sacrifice and during the Tashreeq days, that is on the tenth, eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth of Zul-Hijjah. Likewise, sacrifice can be offered within the limits of the sanctuary [harem] and not outside it. A pilgrim should eat some of the flesh of the sacrificed animal himself and the remaining portion should be distributed among others. Allah (Ta’ala) has ordained:
فَكُلُوا مِنْهَا وَأَطْعِمُوا الْبَائِسَ الْفَقِيرَ (الحج : 28)
(Translation of meaning)
If a sacrifice becomes binding on a pilgrim, but he is unable to offer it, he must fast for three days during Hajj days and when he comes back home, he has to fast for seven days. Allah Ta’ala says in the holy Quran:
فَمَنْ تَمَتَّعَ بِالْعُمْرَةِ إِلَى الْحَجِّ فَمَا اسْتَيْسَرَ مِنْ الْهَدْيِ فَمَنْ لَمْ يَجِدْ فَصِيَامُ ثَلاثَةِ أَيَّامٍ فِي الْحَجِّ وَسَبْعَةٍ
إِذَا رَجَعْتُمْ تِلْكَ عَشَرَةٌ كَامِلَةٌ ذَلِكَ لِمَنْ لَمْ يَكُنْ أَهْلُهُ حَاضِرِي الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ
اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ (البقرة : 196)
(Translation of meaning) [“. . . and whosoever cannot find [sacrificial animals], then a fast of three days while on the pilgrimage, and of seven when ye have returned; that, ten in all . . . .” (Al-Baqarah: 196)].