'Eid-el-Kabir': The Complete Islamic Injunctions For Animal Sacrifices During Hajj

From Nigerian Tribune | 12th Nov 2010 | By Sheikh Islam AB Muhammed *note, Eid el-Kabir is used for Eid ul-Adha in South-West Africa ...

From Nigerian Tribune | 12th Nov 2010 | By Sheikh Islam AB Muhammed

*note, Eid el-Kabir is used for Eid ul-Adha in South-West Africa

Rams are vital to Eid-el-Kabir celebration.
As faithful Muslims prepare to celebrate this year’s Eid to commemorate Prophet Ibrahim’s obedience to Allah, Sheikh Islam AB Muhammed writes on the Islamic injunction of slaughtering animals for the sole purpose of worshipping Allah.

“It is not their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah. It is your piety that reaches Him.” (Qur'an, 22:37)

It is the fear of Allah (SWT) that is mentioned in the above verse that will assist a Muslim to be able to follow Allah’s injunctions and the Holy Prophet’s (SAW) way of doing things. This includes sacrifice of animals for Eid-el-Kabir and for food.

Islam on sacrificing animals 

Almighty Allah instructed the Holy Prophet Muhammed (SAW) to “pray unto your God and sacrifice the animal.” (Qur'an, 2:108)
To start with, animals permissible for Eid-el-Kabir (Eid ul-Adha), which commemorate Prophet Ibrahim’s obedience to Allah’s command for him to sacrifice his son Ismail, are ram, goat, sheep, cow and camel. For Muslims to get the reward for sacrificing animals during the festival or any other Islamic festival, they must observe the following tenets:
  • They must proclaim the intention by mentioning the name of Allah, at least saying Bisimillahi, Allahu Akbar, meaning in the name of Allah, Allah is the greatest
  • A sharp knife must be used in cutting the jugular vein of the animal sharply to ensure a continuous and free flow of blood from the animal. 
  • If the animals are killed by any other means apart from using a sharp knife, for example, a gun or arrow, such animals must not be eaten. 
  • According to the Sharia, animals must be slaughtered with a sharp knife facing the Qibla. However, if for a reason this direction could not be faced, the Sharia permits that any other direction that is convenient can be faced, while such animal is Halal (allowed).
In the case of camel, however, a very sharp arrow must be used to kill it. Also, an arrow can be used to kill a cow if, for a reason, it is not convenient to use a knife.
If the knife being used to slaughter the sacrificial animal is not sharpened enough to cut the veins at once, such that the person slaughtering it lifted the knife up and finally completed the slaughtering, such an animal is forbidden to be eaten by Muslims. It should be thrown away. If cattle or poultry birds are killed in this manner, they become Haram.
If incidentally the animal is completely beheaded as a result of the sharpened object and the vigour of the person killing it, such an animal is accepted as long as the name of Allah is mentioned at the beginning.
It must be noted that slaughtering animals for Allah, as stated above or for domestic consumption, must be properly done, making sure that the jugular veins are thoroughly cut, not at the back of the neck. Eating any animal not slaughtered directly from the neck is not permissible in Sharia. If the slaughterer forgot to say God's name before killing the animal completely, the name of Allah can still be mentioned (in the time of the anima's death) which makes the animal halal. But, if the person completely forgot to say God's name right until the knife is lifted, the animal becomes forbidden for Muslims to eat. Animals killed by mentioning names of idols or names of any other thing, person or even saints apart from that of Allah or combination of His names is forbidden.
Names of Allah that have to be mentioned when one intends to kill animal are Bisimillahi; Subhanalla; Allahu Akbar; Lau la wa lakuwata illabi lahi; Alhamdulilahi or at least Allah. As long as you mention one of these, the animal is fit for eating. It is also recommended that after mentioning one of these names of Allah, one should add Rabbana taqabbali mina, meaning “Oh Allah accept it from us.” This is not only for animals slaughtered for Eid but also for all occasions, such as a baby naming ceremony or Hadayah, animal slaughtered by Hujjaj (pilgrims performing Hajj) to atone for Hajj rites, or for marriages.

Who can slaughter
  • Slaughtering animals for any Islamic rite, according to the Sharia, must be done by a Muslim man or woman by his/herself. 
  • But if he/she is unable to do this, they can hire someone who is knowledgeable to do it for them at a price. It is not compulsory to give that 'hired' person a portion of the animal meat. 
  • It is good to get helpers to slaughter animals for others, especially those who cannot afford it.
  • The Sharia forbids an underaged and non-knowledgeable person to kill the animal. 
  • Also forbidden to slaughter animals are drunks - someone under the influence of alcohol; thugs, an unbeliever or an uncircumcised person. 
  • However, the Sharia does permit women who are menstruating to slaughter the animal. 
The time recommended for slaughtering of animals for Eid starts from the sunrise, after observing the Eid prayer till the sun is about to set. The Sharia allows for three days to kill animals for Eid-el-Kabir. It is forbidden to kill animals in the night so as to avoid slaughtering them in improperly, as well as avoiding putting the poor at inconvenience, who are to be given portions of the animal meat. But if it is for home consumption (not Eid), it can be killed at anytime.
Let it be stated that acquatic animals are acceptable to eat without having to slaughter them. Example of such animals are fish, among others.
Equally important here is the fact that Muslims are forbidden to eat
  • pigs, 
  • hamstrung animals, 
  • animals that fall from a height and dies, (e.g. birds that are shot)
  • animals gored to death by another animal, 
  • remnants of hunting animals like dogs,
  • sacrificed animals by the disbelievers, and
  • animals that are killed by mentioning the name of a sage e.g. Jesus Christ. (Read Qur'an, 5:3)

Animals that are recommended

The Holy Prophet (SAW) says that Allah is Holy and will not accept anything unholy from anyone. In view of this, anyone who has the intention of slaughtering animals to worship Allah (SWT) must do so with the best intention devoid of any mundane motive. Also, he/she must buy animals that are healthy and have been treated ethically Animals that are recommended for this should be - 
  • for camels, a six-year-old camel, 
  • a four-year-old cow, 
  • while a ram, goat or sheep should be, at least, a year old. 
  • Note that it is allowed for people up to seven in number to contribute money to jointly buy a larger animal.
On the other hand, the following animals are forbidden for the Eid sacrifice and home consumption: 
  • a blind animal, either one or the two eyes; 
  • an animal with any form of disease; 
  • a deformed animal, either in its legs or any part of its body; 
  • an emaciated animal (anorexic!); 
  • an animal whose tail is cut off by more than one-third without healing,
  • an animal whose ears are torn over one-third; 
  • any animal that has a broken horn by over one-third. If it is not up to one-third and it is healed, it is permissible for slaughter.
Sheikh AB Muhammed is the Chief Missioner of Islaudeen Missionary Association of Nigeria.


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