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What is Udhiyah and is it Obligatory?

Udhiyah is mentioned in the Quran in many verses.

“So that they witness benefits for them, and recite Allah’s name in specified days, over the provision He gave them from the cattle. So, eat thereof and feed the distressed, the poor.” [22:28]

 

Allah (SWT) says in another verse:

“Therefore, turn in prayer to your Lord and sacrifice (to Him only).” [Al-Kawthar 108:2]

 

What is Udhiyah?

Udhiyah means an animal that is sacrificed for the sake of Allah (SWT) in the days of Eid al-Adha. It is another word for Qurbani, as specified in the Quran and the Sunnah. Udhiyah’s meaning hints at submission, which requires the purity of intention. It is important that the slaughter is performed for the sake of Allah (SWT) only.

Udhiyah imitates the great Qurbani of the Prophet Ibrahim (AS), who presented his son’s sacrifice to Allah (SWT). The story of the Prophet Ibrahim (AS) mentions how he received the divine command to sacrifice his beloved son, Ismail (AS) in his dream. He shared his dream with his faithful son who expressed complete submission to Allah (SWT). The event of this great sacrifice is mentioned in the Quran.

“Thereafter, when he (the boy) reached an age in which he could work with him, he (Ibrahim) said, ‘O my little son, I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering you, so consider, what is your opinion?’ He said, “O my dear father, do what you have been ordered to do. You will find me, inshallah, (if Allah wills) one of those who endure patiently.” [Al-Quran 37:102]

 

The Conditions of Udhiyah

The main requirement of a valid Udhiyah is that the Qurbani should be offered with an animal that’s permissible for slaughter in Islam, which includes camels, sheep, cows, and goats. In addition to this, there are further conditions stipulated by scholars in the light of Islamic teachings. Some of these are discussed below:

  • The selected animal should have reached the age prescribed in Islam. It is the age of five for camels and two for other types of cattle. A sheep must be at least one year old.
  • The animal specified for Qurbani should belong to the person making the sacrifice.
  • It should be slaughtered at the time prescribed for Udhiyah, which begins after Eid prayer on the 10th of Dhul Hijjah and lasts until the end of the 12th of Dhul Hijjah.
  • The animal should be healthy and should not have any defects that could make it invalid for the Qurbani. These include blindness, obvious sickness, weakness, or lameness.

In a hadith, the Messenger of Allah (SAW) advised to avoid four types of animals:

“Four: a lame animal which is obviously lame, a one-eyed animal whose defect is obvious, a sick animal whose sickness is obvious, and an emaciated animal that no one would choose.” [al-Muwatta]

 

Hadith on Udhiyah

Qurbani is the confirmed Sunnah of the Prophet (SAW). According to a distinguished companion, Abdullah ibn Umar:

“The Prophet (SAW) stayed in Madinah for ten years, offering sacrifice (every year on Eid).” [Ahmad 4935]

 

In another report, Anas ibn Malik (R.A.) 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.” [Bukhari 5558]

 

The Prophet (SAW) said about Qurbani on the Day of Sacrifice:

“There is no act of man on the day of Nahr (Eid al-Adha) more beloved unto Allah than the sacrifice. And indeed, the sacrificed animal will appear on Qiyamah day with its horns, hooves, and skin. And indeed, the blood of the sacrifice is accepted by Allah even before it touches the ground. So, perform the sacrifice with a happy heart.” [Ibn Maja, Tirmidhi]

 

Qurbani is a highly recommended Sunnah of the Prophet (SAW) and an act of great reward. The Prophet (SAW) said:

“Whoever offers a sacrifice after the prayer has completed his rituals (of Eid) and has followed the way of the Muslims.” [Bukhari 5545]

 

Is Udhiyah Compulsory?

The rules of Udhiyah and Qurbani specify the sacrifice as a highly recommended act of worship. However, there is a disagreement among scholars about Qurbani being obligatory. In Hanafi fiqh, Qurbani is compulsory for all able Muslims. Whereas it is considered to be a confirmed Sunnah according to other schools of thought.

Despite scholarly disagreement, believers are strongly advised to offer the sacrifice, particularly if they have sufficient means to do so. The Prophet’s (SAW) practice and the hadith about Udhiyah emphasise this in essence.

Qurbani with Orphans in Need

With Orphans in Need, you can give Qurbani for just £25. Your Qurbani will help feed many orphans and widowed families during the blessed month of Dhul Hijjah. Donate your Qurbani where it is needed most with Orphans in Need.

In addition to Qurbani, you can also donate towards Eid Gifts and cooked meals for families living in poverty. Give generously in the days of Dhul Hijjah and support Orphans in Need in our fight against hunger.