Eid-ul- Adha: What to do before and after slaughtering your ram


The Eid-ul-Adha festival celebrates the ransom with a ram of the Prophet Ibrahim’s son Ismail as enunciated in the Holy Quran.

Prophet Ibrahim’s entire life, from childhood to youth to old age fatherhood, was filled with hardships, trials, and sacrifices.

He was tested in his faith when he was seeking the Creator of the universe, as a child.

He was physically tortured when he challenged the beliefs and vices of the dominant culture of his father.

His patience was again tested as a husband and father, when he was instructed by God to leave his wife, Hajar, and son, Ismail, in the scorching heat of the barren desert of Makkah.

He faced the ultimate trial of his life in old age with the potential loss of his only child, Ismail, as he was commanded by God in a dream to sacrifice his son.

Prophet Ibrahim was the ultimate paragon of sacrifice for generations to follow.

The Quran states: Say, “Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah , Lord of the worlds. (Anam 6:162)

This is the spirit of selflessness and sacrifice that we need to revive in an era defined by greed, mass consumption, wastefulness, laziness, narcissism, selfishness, self-promotion, and selfies!

Animal sacrifice for Eid-il-Adha is performed on the first day of ‘Eid, 10th of Dhul-Hijjah and on the days of Tashreeq, i.e. 11th, 12th and 13th of Dhul-Hijjah. Any of these days is allowed for sacrifice. The sacrifice is to be performed every year.

The slaughtering cannot be performed before the Eid prayer. Bukhri and Muslim reported from Anas (radiyallhu ‘anhu) that Allah’s Messenger (salallhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “The one who slaughtered before the ‘Eid prayer, then his sacrifice is not counted, rather it is merely meat that he had offered to his family.”

Ahmad and Ibn Hibbn reported from Jubayr bin Mut’im that Allah’s Messenger (salallhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “All the days of Tashreeq are for slaughtering.” (Hasan, see As-Silsilah, no. 2467). The days of Tashreeq are 11th, 12th and 13th of Dhul-Hijjah.

“Allah’s Messenger would sacrifice a noble, sturdy, horned ram that had black around its eyes, its mouth and legs.” (Abu Dawkd, no. 2796, graded saheeh by Al-Albni) In narration, he warned against sacrificing animals that have obvious defects. Al-Bar bin ‘zib narrated that Allah’s Messenger (salallhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said:

“There are four animals not allowed for sacrifice (on ‘Eid): The one-eyed animal which has obviously lost the sight of one eye, a sick animal which is obviously sick, a lame animal which obviously limps and an animal with a broken leg with no marrow.” Al-Bar said: “I also detest an animal which has defective teeth.” So, the Messenger (salallhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “Leave what you detest, but don’t prohibit it for others.” (Abu Dawkd, no. 2802, Al-Albani declared it to be saheeh)

Abu Dawkd and Ibn Mjah also reported from Ali bin Abi Tlib (radiyallhu ‘anu) that Allah’s Messenger (salallhu ‘alaihi wasallam) commanded the Companions to examine the eyes and ears of the animals and he prohibited from sacrificing an animal that has lost most of its ear.

It is from the Sunnah that the one who offered the sacrifice to eat from the meat, to give some to his relatives, neighbours and to give some away as charity for the needy.

Withholding from cutting hair and clipping nails

It is not allowed for the one offering the sacrifice to cut any of his/her hair or to clip their nails. This is due to the saying of the Prophet (salallhu ‘alaihi wasallam): “When the month of Dhul-Hijjah begins, and one of you intends to make a sacrifice (ud’hiyah), then let him not take anything from the hair of his body, or his nails until he has sacrificed.” (Muslim, no. 1977 from Umm Salamah) The time begins from sunset, the night before the first day of Dhul-Hijjah.

If a person forgetfully cuts their hair or nails, then they are not held accountable or sinful this also applies to the one who combs their hair, washes it, or scratches their scalp and hair falls out or if they pull away a broken nail they are excused. However, if a person deliberately cuts any of the hair of his body, or clips his nails, then he has disobeyed the Messenger (salallhu ‘alaihi wasallam) but it does not invalidate the sacrifice.

As for the one who is appointed to carry out the sacrifice on your behalf such as the butcher or another Muslim, then he is not prevented from cutting his hair or clipping his nails because he is not offering the sacrifice himself, rather he is only carrying out the sacrifice on someone else’s behalf.

The Animals that are acceptable to be sacrificed and their ages

The sacrificial animals are not accepted unless they are cattle due to the saying of Allah:
“And for every nation, We have appointed religious ceremonies, that they may mention the name of Allah over the beast of cattle that He has given them for food. And your God is One God (Allah), so you must submit to Him alone. And (O Prophet) give glad tidings to those who obey Allah with humility.” (Al-Hajj: 34)

So, the cattle are the following animals: Camels, cows, sheep and goats whether male or female, even though the male animal is better as a sacrifice.

As for the ages, then in all categories, the animal should be of Thaniyy age. A Thaniyy animal is one that is old enough to lose its front teeth permanently.

For a camel: Five years old and entered into its sixth year.

For a cow: Two years old and entered into its third year.

Sheep: One-year-old and entered into its second year.

Goat: One-year-old and entered into its second year.

Any animal less than these ages is not acceptable as a sacrifice except in the case when one finds it difficult to acquire a sheep of thaat age, then he is permitted to sacrifice a jadha’ which is a sheep that has reached six months in age. This is due to the saying of the Prophet (s.a.w):

“Do not sacrifice except a mature animal unless that is difficult upon you then you should sacrifice a jadha’ah (younger) sheep.” (Muslim, no. 1963) And in that case, the Prophet (s.a.w) said:
“Verily, a younger sheep is as acceptable as a mature goat.”(Abu Dwkd, no. 2799, Ibn Mjah, no 3140 and graded saheeh by Al-Albni)