Comparing Prophethood’s Covenant to the Present Covenant: Sacrifice’s Price
Complaints about the Cost of Sacrifice and its Evaluation in Sacrificial Matters
In the eyes of Sharia, sacrifice holds a clear significance, importance, and emphasis. Its requirement is that the Muslim who possesses the necessary means should fulfil the obligation of sacrifice without displaying any hesitation or reluctance. Instead, they should perform the sacrifice willingly. However, the current situation is such that many people, despite being financially capable, complain that it is a time of inflation and animals are expensive. Therefore, in such circumstances, the purchasing power that existed during the time of the Holy Prophet (ﷺ) is no longer available, making it difficult to perform the sacrifice. It seems as if due to ignorance or weariness of faith, the act of sacrifice, which is a form of worship, is being pushed aside, and excuses are being made. In light of the written record, a brief evaluation of this doubt is being conducted to ascertain its reality. Along with that, the benefits derived from this hadith are also mentioned, which will clarify numerous issues by the will of Allah.
📿 Blessed Hadith
It is narrated from Hazrat Urwah (رضي الله عنها) that the Holy Prophet (ﷺ) gave them one dinar so that they could buy a goat in exchange for it. Hazrat Urwah bought two goats in exchange for that one dinar. Then he sold one goat in exchange for one dinar, and with one goat and one dinar, he presented himself before the Holy Prophet (ﷺ). The Holy Prophet (ﷺ) supplicated for blessings upon them, and (the effect of this supplication was such that) if they were to buy mud, it would also bring them benefits. (As we have a proverb that whatever he touches turns to gold.)
This incident is also mentioned in Sahih Bukhari.
حَدَّثَنَا عَلِيُّ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ، أَخْبَرَنَا سُفْيَانُ، حَدَّثَنَا شَبِيبُ بْنُ غَرْقَدَةَ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ الْحَىَّ، يُحَدِّثُونَ عَنْ عُرْوَةَ، أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَعْطَاهُ دِينَارًا يَشْتَرِي بِهِ شَاةً، فَاشْتَرَى لَهُ بِهِ شَاتَيْنِ، فَبَاعَ إِحْدَاهُمَا بِدِينَارٍ وَجَاءَهُ بِدِينَارٍ وَشَاةٍ، فَدَعَا لَهُ بِالْبَرَكَةِ فِي بَيْعِهِ، وَكَانَ لَوِ اشْتَرَى التُّرَابَ لَرَبِحَ فِيهِ. قَالَ سُفْيَانُ كَانَ الْحَسَنُ بْنُ عُمَارَةَ جَاءَنَا بِهَذَا الْحَدِيثِ عَنْهُ، قَالَ سَمِعَهُ شَبِيبٌ مِنْ عُرْوَةَ، فَأَتَيْتُهُ فَقَالَ شَبِيبٌ إِنِّي لَمْ أَسْمَعْهُ مِنْ عُرْوَةَ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ الْحَىَّ يُخْبِرُونَهُ عَنْهُ. وَلَكِنْ سَمِعْتُهُ يَقُولُ سَمِعْتُ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ “ الْخَيْرُ مَعْقُودٌ بِنَوَاصِي الْخَيْلِ إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ ”. قَالَ وَقَدْ رَأَيْتُ فِي دَارِهِ سَبْعِينَ فَرَسًا. قَالَ سُفْيَانُ يَشْتَرِي لَهُ شَاةً كَأَنَّهَا أُضْحِيَّةٌ.
Narrated `Urwa: That the Prophet (ﷺ) gave him one Dinar so as to buy a sheep for him. `Urwa bought two sheep for him with the money. Then he sold one of the sheep for one Dinar, and brought one Dinar and a sheep to the Prophet. On that, the Prophet (ﷺ) invoked Allah to bless him in his deals. So `Urwa used to gain (from any deal) even if he bought dust. (In another narration) `Urwa said, “I heard Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) saying, “There is always goodness in horses till the Day of Resurrection.” (The subnarrator added, “I saw 70 horses in `Urwa’s house.’) (Sufyan said, “The Prophet (ﷺ) asked `Urwa to buy a sheep for him as a sacrifice.”) (Sahih al-Bukhari)
This incident is also narrated in reference to Hazrat Hakim bin Hizam (رضي الله عنهما), in which it is explicitly mentioned that the Holy Prophet (ﷺ) had sent them to buy a sacrificial animal. Furthermore, at the end of this hadith, it is mentioned that the Holy Prophet (ﷺ) ordered them to give that dinar in charity.
As mentioned by the author Ibn Abi Shaybah:
حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ كَثِيرٍ الْعَبْدِيُّ، أَخْبَرَنَا سُفْيَانُ، حَدَّثَنِي أَبُو حُصَيْنٍ، عَنْ شَيْخٍ، مِنْ أَهْلِ الْمَدِينَةِ عَنْ حَكِيمِ بْنِ حِزَامٍ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم بَعَثَ مَعَهُ بِدِينَارٍ يَشْتَرِي لَهُ أُضْحِيَةً فَاشْتَرَاهَا بِدِينَارٍ وَبَاعَهَا بِدِينَارَيْنِ فَرَجَعَ فَاشْتَرَى لَهُ أُضْحِيَةً بِدِينَارٍ وَجَاءَ بِدِينَارٍ إِلَى النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَتَصَدَّقَ بِهِ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَدَعَا لَهُ أَنْ يُبَارَكَ لَهُ فِي تِجَارَتِهِ .
Narrated Hakim ibn Hizam:
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) sent with him a dinar to buy a sacrificial animal for him. He bought a sheep for a dinar, sold it for two and then returned and bought a sacrificial animal for a dinar for him and brought the (extra) dinar to the Prophet (ﷺ). The Prophet (ﷺ) gave it as alms (sadaqah) and invoked blessing on him in his trading. (Sunan Abi Dawud)
The Prophet (ﷺ) granted Hazrat Urwah (رضي الله عنها), a companion, one dinar to buy a sacrificial goat. This indicates that it is not necessary to personally buy the sacrificial animal; rather, it is permissible to delegate someone else to do so.
A Shari’a dinar corresponds to 4.374 grams of gold, which means that even with the current value, a suitable and good-quality goat can be easily purchased at a considerably lower price than the dinar. This refutes the argument of those who, despite having the means, complain about inflation and use it as an excuse to avoid the significant act of sacrifice. Even if this argument is accepted to some extent, it cannot justify completely abandoning the great act of worship like a sacrifice. Furthermore, it is astonishing how some individuals readily spend large amounts of money on their weddings and celebrations without considering inflation or making excuses, yet when it comes to sacrifice, they come up with various justifications and complaints. Surely, Allah Ta’ala is All-Knowing and All-Seeing. He knows which excuses are acceptable and which are not. We should reflect upon whether these excuses and justifications will be accepted in the presence of Allah in the Hereafter.
Hazrat Urwah (رضي الله عنها) bought two goats for one dinar and sold one goat for one dinar. It is evident that if one refrains from falsehood, deceit, and other unlawful and unethical actions, it is permissible to benefit and gain profit.
When Hazrat Urwah (رضي الله عنها) bought the goats and presented them to the Prophet (ﷺ), it implies that in such a situation, a representative cannot keep anything for themselves without the permission of the principal. If the representative has fulfilled their duties and put in effort on behalf of the principal, they are entitled to reasonable remuneration. However, if nothing has been specified, the representative’s action is considered a favour (ihsan) rather than an entitlement. Therefore, a representative cannot keep anything for themselves without the permission of the principal.
The incident involving Hazrat Hakim bin Hizam (رضي الله عنهما) indicates that in a similar scenario, it is the intention of the principal that holds weight when purchasing the sacrificial animal through a representative. As mentioned in the hadith, even though Hazrat Hakim bin Hizam (رضي الله عنهما) engaged in the trade of the dinar, it was because he was a representative. This is why the Prophet (ﷺ) commanded him to give the surplus amount from the dinar to charity. However, if an individual who is not a representative intends to buy an animal for sacrifice, it is not permissible to change that animal, according to some scholars, while others consider it permissible.
If Hazrat Hakim bin Hizam (رضي الله عنهما) had initially bought a half-dinar goat, the Prophet (ﷺ) would not have commanded him to give the remaining half a dinar in charity. This is because the Prophet (ﷺ) had granted him one dinar to exercise general permission, allowing for the purchase of any suitable goat for sacrifice, without stipulating that it must be exactly one dinar. It is understood that the amount spent to purchase the animal determines the value of the sacrifice, and the remaining amount is considered general money, for which there is no command to give in charity.
This incident also indicates that when someone is appointed as a representative for purchasing the sacrificial animal, the intention of the principal is valid. Although it is preferable for the principal to provide the representative with detailed.