Sacrifice on behalf of the deceased
Hazrat Hunaydah (رضي الله عنه) narrates that he witnessed Hazrat Ali (رضي الله عنه) sacrificing two camels and asked him, “What is this? Isn’t one camel sufficient for sacrifice? Why do you sacrifice two camels?” Hazrat Ali (رضي الله عنه) replied, “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) instructed me to sacrifice on his behalf after his passing away. Therefore, I sacrifice on his behalf.” (Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi)
Benefit: This narration presents two possibilities. Either Hazrat Ali (رضي الله عنه) was sacrificing on behalf of the Prophet (ﷺ) and himself, as the Prophet (ﷺ) used to sacrifice two camels during his lifetime, or Hazrat Ali (رضي الله عنه) was sacrificing one camel on his behalf and another camel on behalf of the Prophet (ﷺ). It seems apparent that it was Hazrat Ali’s regular practice to sacrifice every year on behalf of the Prophet (ﷺ).
This hadith also indicates that sacrificing on behalf of the deceased is permissible, although some scholars consider it impermissible. Ibn Mubarak (رضي الله عنه) stated that he preferred spending in the way of Allah on behalf of the deceased rather than offering sacrifice. However, if sacrifice is performed on behalf of the deceased, the meat should not be consumed but distributed among people, all in the name of Allah. (Mazahir Haq)
Is it necessary to perform personal sacrifice for the deceased?
It is commonly known that if one intends to offer sacrifice in the name of a deceased loved one, it is advisable to first offer a personal sacrifice in one’s own name and then offer another sacrifice on behalf of the deceased. However, the issue is that if one is responsible for performing the sacrifice, it is necessary and obligatory to offer it personally. If there is room for an additional sacrifice later, then one can perform it on behalf of the deceased. However, if one is not obliged to perform the sacrifice, they can still offer it on behalf of the deceased, even if they do not offer a personal sacrifice.
○ Sacrifices can be offered on behalf of deceased individuals, and there is no separate method for distributing the meat. Simply having the intention to offer sacrifice on behalf of the deceased is sufficient.
Performing sacrifice on behalf of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and religious dignitaries:
If someone has the means, it is highly recommended to offer sacrifices on behalf of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), the Companions (رضي الله عنه), and other religious dignitaries. It is a blessed act, and they will receive the reward, God willing.
Offering sacrifice in the name of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) is undoubtedly permissible and correct. In fact, it is a means of attaining blessings. This is mentioned in Shamī.
وختم ابن السراج عنه صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم أکثر من عشرة آلاف ختمه، وضحی عنه مثل ذلک، وقول علمائنا له أن یجعل ثواب عمله لغیرہ یدخل فیه النبی صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم فإنه أحق بذلک
Sacrifices can indeed be offered in the names of the deceased. This practice continues within the Muslim community without any disagreement, and the reward reaches them. Similarly, another person can perform Umrah on behalf of a living individual. Seeking the blessings and rewards for both the living and the deceased is permissible.
A resolution of a misconception
If a person is obligated to offer a sacrifice, it is necessary for them to perform the sacrifice themselves. However, if there is sufficient capacity, they may perform a separate sacrifice on behalf of their deceased parents, other relatives, and so on. If they themselves do not possess the required wealth and the sacrifice is not obligatory upon them, they have the option to perform it either on their own behalf or on behalf of their parents. If both the husband and wife are financially capable, then it is obligatory for both of them to perform separate sacrifices. Similarly, if the father is financially capable and his sons are also mature and financially capable, it is obligatory for each of them to perform separate sacrifices. Nevertheless, in many households, despite the presence of many financially capable individuals, only one sacrifice is performed on the occasion of sacrifice. Sometimes it is done on the intention of the husband, sometimes on behalf of the wife, and sometimes on behalf of the deceased. This practice is incorrect. In fact, as many financially capable individuals there are, all of them are obligated to offer sacrifices.
From whose side will the sacrifice be offered on behalf of the deceased?
The sacrifice can be offered on behalf of the deceased. It is mentioned in a narration that the Noble Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) had instructed Hazrat Ali Al-Murtaza (رضي الله عنه) to offer sacrifices on his behalf. Therefore, Hazrat Ali (رضي الله عنه) used to offer sacrifices on behalf of the Prophet. When a sacrifice is offered on behalf of the deceased, the reward of the sacrifice will be for the deceased, and the ownership of the slaughtered animal will belong to the person who performed the sacrifice. Just as in one’s own sacrifice, the meat is divided into three portions: one portion for oneself, one portion for friends and relatives, and one portion for the poor. Similarly, the same division will be made for the sacrifice on behalf of the deceased. (من ضحّٰی عن المیت ۔۔۔ والأجر للمیت، والملک للذابح) However, if the deceased has specifically instructed in their will to offer a sacrifice on their behalf, then it is necessary that the person performing the sacrifice does not consume any portion of it. (والمختار أنہ ضحّٰی بأمر المیت لا یأکل وإلا یأکل (رد المختار))
Performing Sacrifice at the Place of Eid
Narrated by Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar (رضي الله عنه), the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) used to slaughter and sacrifice animals at the place of Eid. (Bukhari)
Benefit: Only specific animals, such as goats, sheep, cows, and camels, whether male or female, are permissible for sacrifice. Other animals are not permissible for sacrifice. The act of slaughtering other animals is referred to as “Dhabh,” while the act of slaughtering a camel is called “Nahr.” The method of Nahr involves standing the camel upright and striking it in the chest with a weapon, causing it to fall. Although it is permissible to slaughter a camel, Nahr is considered preferable.
Eating or not eating before the Eid Prayer
Narrated by Hazrat Buraydah (رضي الله عنه), the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) used to refrain from eating or drinking anything before going to the place of Eid on the day of Eid. On the day of sacrificing the animal, he would not eat or drink anything until after performing the Eid prayer. (Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Darimi)
Benefit: On the day of sacrificing the animal, the Prophet (ﷺ) would accompany the needy and poor, providing them with company and support. He would partake of some food only after performing the Eid prayer, as the distribution of the meat among the needy and poor would take place at that time. Hence, he would delay his own eating and drinking in order to prioritize the provision of food for those deserving individuals.