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Udhiyyah: Slaughtering animal in worship of Allah

Two of the most important Islamic holidays of the year are Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha. While the former marks the end of the fasting month of…

Two of the most important Islamic holidays of the year are Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha. While the former marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, Eid-ul-Adha marks the end of Hajj, the sacred pilgrimage to the holy city of Makkah.
Udhiyah refers to the animal (camel, cattle or sheep) that is sacrificed as an act of worship to Allâh (SWT), from after the Eid prayer on the Day of Nahr (Eid al-Adha) to the last day of Tashrîq (the 13th of Dhul-Hijjah).
Allâh says: “Say (O Muhammad (SAW)): ‘Verily, my prayer, my sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allâh, the Lord of the Alamîn (mankind, jinns and all that exists).” [Sûrah al-An’âm]
Is Udhiyah fardh (obligatory) or sunnah?
There are two scholarly opinions on udhiyah:
1) that it is wajib (obligatory). This is the opinion of al-Oza’i, al-Layth and Abu Hanifah, and it is one of the two opinions narrated from Imam Ahmad and Ahmad Ibn Taymiyyah. It was also the opinion of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah. Those who favour this opinion take the following as evidence:   
The ayah: “Therefore turn in prayer to your Lord and sacrifice (to Him only).”   [al-Kawthar 108:2]. This is a command, and a command implies that something is obligatory. 
The hadith of Jundub (AS), reported in al-Sahihayn and elsewhere: “The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “Whoever slaughtered his sacrifice before he prays, let him slaughter another one in its place, and whoever did not slaughter a sacrifice, let him do so in the name of Allah.’” (Muslim, 3621) 
2). That it is a confirmed Sunnah, sunnah mu’akkadah. This is the opinion of the majority, and it is the madhhab of al-Shafa’i and the better-known opinion of Malik and Ahmad. But most of those who favour this opinion stated that it is makrooh (disliked) for the one who is able to offer a sacrifice to neglect to do so. They base their opinion on the following:   
The hadith of Jaabir (AS) in Sunan  Abi Dawood, where he said: “I prayed on Eid al-Adha with the Messenger of Allah  (SAW), and when he finished (the prayer), he was brought  two rams, and he sacrificed them. He said, `In the Name of Allah, Allah is Most Great. This is on behalf of myself and any member of my ummah who did not offer a sacrifice.” (Sunan Abi Dawood bi Sharh Muhammad Shams al-Haq Abaadi, 7/486)   
The hadith is reported by all the famous muhadditheen apart from -Bukhari:   “Whoever among you wants to offer a sacrifice, let him not take anything from his hair or nails.” Shaykh Ibn `Uthaymeen, may Allah preserve him, said, following his discussion of those who say it is obligatory and  those who say it is Sunnah, “Each point of view has its evidence, but to be on the safe side, the one who is able to offer a sacrifice should not neglect to do so, because of what is involved in this act of reverence towards Allah, remembering Him, and making sure that one has nothing to be blamed for.
Who is supposed to offer the sacrifice?
The basic rule of Udhiyah is that sacrifice is required at an appointed time from one who is alive, either on behalf of himself and on behalf of his household (both alive and dead). If during his sacrifice he intends the reward of this charity to reach his dead parents, relatives, Muslims, then this is permissible and mustahhab.
It is from the Sunnah that one includes his household during sacrifice. So, when he slaughters his sheep, he should say, “Bismillah Allahu Akbar Allahumma haatha ‘annee wa ‘an ahli baytee” meaning “O Allah! This is on my behalf and on behalf of my family members.”
It is from the virtues of Udhiyah that one animal is sufficient for one man and his family; he is not required to make separate sacrifices on behalf of every member (living or dead).
Abu Ayyub narrated that: “At the time of Allah’s Messenger (SAW), a man would sacrifice a sheep on behalf of himself and the members of his household, and they would eat from it and give some to others.” [Sunan Ibn Majah (Sahih) by Shaikh al-Albanee in Sahih Sunan Ibn Majah v: 2, no: 2546] [also, see previously mentioned Hadeeth reported by Jaabir (RA) (Abu Dawood)]
Sacrificing on behalf of a deceased (dead) person
The basic principle concerning the udhiyah is that it is prescribed for the living, as the Messenger of Allaah (SAW) and his companions used to offer the sacrifice on behalf of themselves and their families.
Udhiyah on behalf of the dead may be of three types:
1 – When it is offered on their behalf as well as on behalf of the living, such as when a man offers a sacrifice on behalf of himself and the members of his  family, and intends thereby both those who are alive and those who are dead. This is permissible, and the basis of that is the fact that the Prophet (SAW) offered the sacrifice on behalf of himself and the members of his family, some of whom were dead.
2 – Offering the sacrifice on behalf of the dead in fulfillment of their wasaaya/will is obligatory except due to financial constraints or similar circumstances. The basis for this is the verse in which Allah says: “Then whoever changes the bequest (will) after hearing it, the sin shall be on those who make the change. Truly, Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower” [al-Baqarah 2:181]
3 – Offering the sacrifice on behalf of the dead voluntarily and independently of the living – such as offering a separate sacrifice on behalf of one’s father or mother. There is no basis for this  because the Prophet (SAW) did not offer a sacrifice specifically on behalf of any of his deceased loved ones. And it is not narrated that any of his companions offered a sacrifice on behalf of any of their deceased loved ones seperately (without having a will/wasaaya of that deceased person .
Kind of animals are used for the sacrifice
It was narrated in Sahih al-Bukhari (5558) and Sahih Muslim (1966) that Anas ibn Malik (AS) said: “The Prophet (SAW) sacrificed two white rams speckled with black. He slaughtered them with his own hand, said ‘Allahu akbar’ and put his foot on their necks (while slaughtering so as to prevent the animal from shaking a lot) .”
Muslim (1318) narrated that Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allah (RA) said: In the year of al-Hudaybiyah we offered the sacrifice with the Messenger of Allah (SAW), a camel on behalf of seven and a cow on behalf of seven.
Can we take shares or divide an animal which is to be sacrificed?
Abdullah lbn Abbas (RA) reported: We were with Allah’s Messenger (SAW) on a journey. The (eid) al-Adha came upon us. So we shared, seven in a cow and 10 in a camel. [Jaami’ at-Tirmidhi; Sunan al-Nasa’i; Ibn Majah;  Musnad Ahmed; Saheeh by Albane in Sahih al-Tirmidhi; Hassan by Ibn Hajar in Takhreej Mishkat al Masaabeh 2/132; Ibn Mulqin also classified all the narrators to be trustworthy in Badr al-Muneer 9/304]
The above two narrations show that the max limit to share in a camel is 10 and for a cow is 7
Note: If a sheep, goat or ram is offered for Udhiyah, then sharing  with non-family members is not allowed, since no evidence is found in the Sunnah for it. So a man may slaughter one sheep on behalf of himself and his family, or he may join six others and share a camel or a cow (not sheep/ram/goat), intending his part to be for himself and his family, and Allah knows best.  This is for non-obligatory slaughters, like the Adh’hiyah (for those who do not go for Hajj).
As for the obligatory slaughters (i.e for those who are doing their Hajj), there exists ijmaa’ (scholarly concensus) that a sheep (or cattle) may not be shared at all (at-Tamheed, ). 
It is from the virtues of Udhiyah that one animal is sufficient for one man and his family; he is not required to make separate sacrifices on behalf of every member (living or dead). Narrated Abu Ayyub: “At the time of Allah’s Messenger (SAW), a man would sacrifice a sheep on behalf of himself and the members of his household, and they would eat from it and give some to others.” [Sunan Ibn Majah v: 4, no: 3147. (Sahih) by Shaikh al-Albanee in Sahih Sunan Ibn Majah v: 2, no: 2546] [also, see previously mentioned Hadeeth reported by Jaabir (RA) (Abu Dawood)]
What  to do with the meat
Dividing the meat into three is Mustahabb  (preferable), one-third to keep for oneself, one-third to be given as gifts and one-third to be given in charity. Allah says ‘Then eat thereof and feed therewith the poor who have a very hard time.’ (Sura Hajj 28.
Actions that are haram
Scholars agree that it is not permissible to sell anything from the sacrificed animal’s meat, skin or fat. The Messenger of Allâh (SAW) said, “Whoever sells the skin of his Udhiyah, there is no Udhiyah for him (i.e. his sacrifice is not counted).” [(Hasan) by Shaikh al-Albanî in Sahîh al-Jamî, no: 6118]
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