What are the conditions that are necessary for the animals to be sacrificed? Which defects prevent an animal from being sacrificed?

Details of the Question

What are the conditions that are necessary for the animals to be sacrificed? Which defects prevent an animal from being sacrificed?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

What are the conditions that are necessary for the animals to be sacrificed?

If the animal to be sacrificed is healthy, proper and fleshy, and has full organs, it will be appropriate for the purpose and nature of the worship and for hygiene.

If the animal is very ill like a crippled animal and weak, if it lacks some organs, for instance, if it is blind in one or two eyes, if its horns and ears are cut off, if its tongue is cut off, if all or most of its teeth have fallen off, if its tail and udder are cut off, it cannot be sacrificed.

However, if an animal has no horns by nature, if it is cross-eyed, lame, mad, slightly ill, if one of its ears is pierced or torn, it can be sacrificed.

If the tail of the sheep is cut off partly or wholly so that it will be fleshier and tastier, it is not a drawback.

What are the conditions for sacrificing an animal to be sound?

The essence of sacrificing is to sacrifice an animal that is permissible to slaughter. There are two conditions for the animal to be sacrificed to be sound:

1. Time: The time for sacrificing an animal is the three-day period that starts with the sunrise on the first day of eid al-adha and ends when the sun sets on the third day of eid al adha. If an animal is sacrificed at other than those times, it is not valid. It is makruh to sacrifice an animal at night.

2. The animal to be slaughtered must not have any defects. Muslims are ordered by many hadiths of the Prophet to take care that the animals to be slaughtered in order to approach Allah and worship Him do not to have any defects.

Those defects are divided into two:

a. Big excuses that are regarded as big defects and that prevent an animal from being sacrificed.

Main big defects are as follows:

1) Blind in two eyes or one eye.

2) So lame as not to be able to walk to the place where it will be slaughtered.

3) Both ears or one ear cut off.

4) Without any teeth or most of the teeth lost.

5) Both horns or one horn broken from the root.

6) Half or more than one third of the tail cut off.

7) Testicles or nipples of the udder broken off.

8) So weak and thin as to have no marrow in the bones.

9) Born without ears and tail.

10) So mad as not to be controlled and taken to the herd.

11) An animal that eats dirt. It cannot be sacrificed unless it is cleaned as it is necessary.

b. Minor defects that make animals permissible but makruh to be sacrificed.

Main minor defects are as follows:

1) An animal that is cross-eyed or that cannot see very well.

2) An animal whose one leg is lame but can walk with the other three legs, though limping.

3) An animal born without horns or whose horn is broken off a bit.

4) An animal whose ears are pierced, torn, or whose earlobes are droopy or cut off.

5) An animal some of whose teeth are lost.

6) An animal that is a bit mad but can graze.

7) An animal some part of whose tail, testicle or ear is cut off (more than two-thirds must exist).

8) An animal with small ears naturally.

9) A scabby but fleshy animal.

10) An animal that was castrated.

Which Animals Can Be Sacrificed and What Are Their Qualifications?

The following three kinds of animals can be sacrificed:

1 - Sheep and goat.

2 - Cattle. Buffalos are also regarded as cattle.

3 – Camel.

Animals other than those mentioned above cannot be sacrificed. 

Both females and males of those three kinds of animals can be sacrificed. However, the males of sheep and goats are preferred.

Sheep and goats that are under age one, cattle that are under age two and camels that are under age five cannot be sacrificed.

However, if a 6-month-old sheep is bulky and good- looking, it is religiously permissible to be slaughtered as a sacrifice. A goat must be at least one year old.

It is obligatory for a sacrificial animal to be plump, good- looking and fat.

A sheep and a goat can be sacrificed on behalf of only one person.       

All kinds of cattle, or a camel can be sacrificed by one person or it can be sacrificed jointly by up to 7 people. (7 is included.)

It is obligatory for each of those seven people to have the intention of sacrificing the animal for Allah’s pleasure. If one of them participates just for taking some meat without the intention of sacrifice, then none of their sacrifice is sound.

It is not important whether the number of the participants is even or odd.

Participants should separate their share by weighing. Distribution without weighing is not permissible.

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