Udhiyah means seeking nearness to Allaah by slaughtering a specific animal on the day of ‘Eid al-Adha. It is a ritual that is prescribed in Islam according to the Qur’an and Sunnah.

Evidences from the Qur’an:

* Surat al-Kawthar (108:2)  

* Surat al-An’aam (6:162)  

* Surat al-Hajj (22:34)

Anas ibn Maalik (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to sacrifice two-horned rams. He would mention Allaah’s Name and say: “Allaah is the Most Great,” and place his foot on their sides; in another version: “He slaughtered them with his own hands.” [Agreed upon]

Muslim also reported from the Hadeeth of ‘Aishah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anha) that he (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “In the Name of Allaah, O Allaah, accept it from Muhammad, the family of Muhammad and from the Ummah (followers) of Muhammad.” Then he (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) sacrificed it.

This action is Sunnah Mu’akkadah (a stressed Sunnah), i.e. the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) practiced it and stressed the performance of this supererogatory act. This is according to the opinion of the majority of scholars. However, others such as Shaikh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said it is obligatory.

Shaikh Ibn ‘Uthaimeen (Rahimahullaah) said: “Offering Udhiyah is Sunnah Mu’akkadah (stressed Sunnah) for the one who is able to offer it. He offers it on behalf of his own self and his household.” [Fatawa Ibn ‘Uthaimeen]

So if one can afford it, he should not leave this act which is beloved to Allaah.

Fatawa concerning the Udhiyah 

Q.1. Shaikh Ibn Baaz (Rahimahullaah) was asked about a man who is married and lives in a city other than his father’s city. Is it enough for his father to offer the Udhiyah on his (the son’s) behalf and on behalf of his children?

A.1. He (Rahimahullaah) answered: “If you live in a separate house, then it is prescribed that you offer a sacrificial animal on behalf of yourself and your own family (i.e. wife and children) because you are not living with your father; you are in a separate house.”

Q.2. We are two families and each family is living in a separate house. The distance between the houses is 200 meters. They are my family and the family of my father. And my father is alive. Is it permissible to offer one Udhiyah on behalf of the two families?

A.2. The legal way is that every family offers an Udhiyah separately from the other family. [Fatawa Lajnah Daa’imah 11/406]

Q.3. My wife and I are living with my father. Is one Udhiyah enough for all of us, or shall we offer two sacrificial animals?

A.3. One Udhiyah is sufficient for all of you, because the Sunnah quotes that one Udhiyah is offered for the man and his family.

Ataa ibn Yasaar asked Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) about how the Udhiyah was offered at the time of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). He (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) answered saying: “A man would offer (sacrifice) a ram on behalf of himself and his family. They would eat from it and feed others.” [Authenticated by al-Albaani in Saheeh at-Tirmidhi]

Q.4. If a man is going to offer the sacrificial animal, should his wife and children refrain from removing their hair, nails and skin?

A.4. Only the one who will offer the Udhiyah should refrain from removing his hair, nails and skin. This ruling is specific to this person alone and not his family. [Fatawa Islamiyyah 2/316]

This ruling applies to the person who offers or intends to offer Udhiyah starting from first day of Dhul-Hijjah till he slaughters his animal. [Fatawa Lajna Daa’imah 11/397]

Q.5. Shaikh Ibn ‘Uthaimeen (Rahimahullaah) was asked: Is it better for a woman to offer Udhiyah on behalf of herself even though her husband is offering Udhiyah on behalf of himself and his family and she is one of them?

A.5. He (Rahimahullaah) said: “This is contradicting the Sunnah. It is enough for each house to offer one Udhiyah. This suffices all the members of the family.

He (Rahimahullaah) said: “Sometimes we see that the husband offers Udhiyah on behalf of his family, and the wife also offers Udhiyah, and the sister also does the same. So, many sacrificial animals have been offered in one house. This is against the way of the Righteous Predecessors (Salaf). The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), though he had nine wives i.e. nine houses, he offered one sacrifice on behalf of his family and another animal on behalf of his Ummah.

Similarly, this was the attitude of the Sahaabah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhum). Therefore, what the people practice nowadays is considered extravagance. There are people who are poor and in need of this money that is spent on the Udhiyah.” [Liqa’ al-Baab al-Maftooh no. 3/92] [Fatawa Ibn ‘Uthaimeen 15/175]

Q.6. What is the ruling concerning offering Udhiyah on behalf of the dead people?

A.6. Shaikh Ibn ‘Uthaimeen (Rahimahullaah) said: “Bear in mind, offering the Udhiyah on behalf of the dead is not obligatory. Basically the Udhiyah is offered on behalf of the living people. As long as the dead did not bequeath (in his will) for an Udhiyah to be offered on his behalf, then it is better not to offer a sacrificial animal on his behalf. The person just offers one ram on behalf of himself and his family members including the living and the dead. The evidence for that is that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) did not offer Udhiyah on behalf of his dead uncle (Hamzah) or his wives, neither  (Khadijah) nor (Zainab bint Khuzaimah). If this action were good, he (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would have done it.

So, if one intends to offer the Udhiyah on behalf of the living and dead members of his family, that is permissible, insha’ Allaah, and the wills should be executed as they are bequeathed.” [Silsilah al-Liqa ash-Shahri for Shaikh Ibn ‘Uthaimeen]


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