Fixing the price of the sacrificial animal and investing the difference
For the past two years, the Egyptian Food Bank has been implementing the "Sacrifice animal project" which involves slaughtering sacrificial animals on behalf of others from both inside Egypt and abroad. The meat is distributed among deserving recipients according to the ruling obtained in a previous fatwa (no. 1732 for the year 2006).
Because the price of imported animals is cheaper than local market prices, this year, the Egyptian Food Bank intends to import some of the sacrificial animals (they will be slaughtered in the exporting country according to Islamic law and at the legally prescribed time for slaughtering) and distribute their meat over the course of the year. The imported meat will not arrive until one month after the 'Eid, therefore the bank will purchase animals from the local market and distribute their meat on the days of 'Eid.
After conducting a price comparison study, we found that animals from the Bank's farms cost 950 EGP per head, (cheaper than local market price) and that the cost of the imported animals is even less. For this reason, we would like to know whether it is permissible to fix the price of the sacrifice bond to 950 EGP and invest the difference in the following:
Feeding the poor throughout the year.Spending part of the money on administrative costs and advertising related to the project. Other projects undertaken by the Food Bank.
The Food Bank will import a complementary number of sacrificial animals from Australia. It will pay 50% of the price and the remaining sum will be paid after the animals arrive in Egypt.
The Food Bank is a legal entity that undertakes charitable programs previously undertaken by the State Treasury such as providing food and welfare to the poor and the destitute. A legal entity is entitled to accept to act as an agent to those who wish to buy sacrificial animals. In addition, it may slaughter the animals on behalf of its commissioners at the legally prescribed time which extends from after the 'Eid prayer until before sunset of the third of the days of tashreeq.
It may distribute the meat over the course of the year according to the needs of the poor. It is permissible for the Food Bank to use the difference in price to fund other charitable deeds that benefit the poor such as providing food, administration costs and advertising related to the sacrifice animal project (in analogy to the category of zakat workers who are eligible to receive zakat) and any other beneficial charity project. The Food bank belongs to the entire community and its employees do not benefit personally from it, and certainly not in a self-enriching manner.
It is permissible to pay for the sacrificial animals in installments; this is not incompatible with the rulings pertaining to sacrifice and will be accepted by Allah whether the sacrifice is obligatory (as in fulfillment of a vow) or voluntary.