Sacrificing a young and plump anima...

Egypt's Dar Al-Ifta

Sacrificing a young and plump animal


We reviewed request no. 2210 for the year 2003 which includes the following:

    Is it permissible to sacrifice young animals that are plump? Or must they meet the age requirement of sacrificial animals even though they may be lean?


    Slaughtering a sacrificial animal is a confirmed sunna for those who are capable, following the actions of the Prophet [pbuh] who said, "There are three things which are obligatory for me and voluntary for you: observing witr prayer, animal sacrifice and observing the duha prayer [mid-morning prayer]" [Reported in Ahmed's Musnad]. 

    Age requirement

    In consideration of the interest of the poor and the destitute, Islam stipulated a certain age for sacrificial animals based on the expectation that they be fully grown and therefore have a lot of meat. If sacrificial animals meeting the age requirement prescribed in Islamic law are emaciated and there are other animals that do not meet the age requirement but have a lot of flesh (as is the case at present when animals are fed concentrated diets to increase their bulk but when they reach a certain age they start losing weight), Islam takes into consideration the needs of people, for this is one of the objectives of Islamic law.

    If a plump animal meeting the age requirement is not available while a younger one with a lot of meat is, it is then permissible to offer the younger animal as a sacrifice due to the words of the Prophet [pbuh] who said, "Do not slaughter anything but a mussinah. But if this is difficult, slaughter a jadh'ah" [Muslim]. A musinnah is a two-year-old cow. A jadh'ah is a one-year-old male sheep.

    By analogy, it is permissible to sacrifice a young and plump animal instead of an emaciated one meeting the age requirement when there is a need; and needs sometimes reach the status of necessities, be they public or individual. Bilal (may Allah be pleased with him) is reported to have said, "[For sacrifice], I consider nothing except a rooster." 

    The ruling

    Based on this and in reference to the question, it is permissible to offer a young sacrificial animal that is plump.

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