According to Hazrat Imam Abu Hanifa (رحمة الله عليه), offering a sacrifice is obligatory, and this is the preferred opinion. It is also confirmed in the sayings of other esteemed Imams.
In Al-Bahrur Ra’iq, it is mentioned:
قال رَحِمَهُ اللهُ: (تَجِبُ على حُرٍّ مُسْلِمٍ مُوسِرٍ مُقِيمٍ على نَفْسِهِ لَا عن طِفْلِهِ شَاةٌ أو سُبُعُ بَدَنَةٍ فَجْرَ يَوْمِ النَّحْرِ إلَى آخِرِ أَيَّامِهِ) يَعْنِي صِفَتُهَا أنها وَاجِبَةٌ، وَعَنْ أبي يُوسُفَ: أنها سُنَّةٌ، وَذَكَرَ الطَّحَاوِيُّ أنها سُنَّةٌ على قَوْلِ أبي يُوسُفَ وَمُحَمَّدٍ، وهو قول الشافعي، لهم قَوْلُهُ ﷺ: إذَا رَأَيْتُمْ هِلَالَ ذِي الْحِجَّةِ وَأَرَادَ أحدكم أَنْ يُضَحِّيَ فَلْيُمْسِكْ عن شَعْرِهِ وَأَظْفَارِهِ. رَوَاهُ مُسْلِمٌ وَجَمَاعَةٌ أخرى، وَالتَّعْلِيقُ بِالْإِرَادَةِ يُنَافِي الْوُجُوبَ، وَلِأَنَّهَا لو كانت وَاجِبَةً على الْمُقِيمِ لَوَجَبَتْ على الْمُسَافِرِ كَالزَّكَاةِ وَصَدَقَةِ الْفِطْرِ؛ لِأَنَّهُمَا لَا يَخْتَلِفَانِ بِالْعِبَادَةِ الْمَالِيَّةِ. وَدَلِيلُ الْوُجُوبِ قَوْلُهُ ﷺ: من وَجَدَ سَعَةً ولم يُضَحِّ فَلَا يَقْرَبَنَّ مُصَلَّانَا. رَوَاهُ أَحْمَدُ وابن مَاجَهْ، وَمِثْلُ هذا الْوَعِيدِ لَا يَلْحَقُ بِتَرْكِ غَيْرِ الْوَاجِبِ، وَلِأَنَّهُ عليه الصَّلَاةُ وَالسَّلَامُ أَمَرَ بِإِعَادَتِهَا من قَوْلِهِ: من ضَحَّى قبل الصَّلَاةِ فَلْيُعِد الْأُضْحِيَّةَ. وَإِنَّمَا لَا تَجِبُ على الْمُسَافِرِ؛ لِأَنَّ أَدَاءَهَا مُخْتَصٌّ بِأَسْبَابٍ تَشُقُّ على الْمُسَافِرِ وَتَفُوتُ بِمُضِيِّ الْوَقْتِ فَلَا يَجِبُ عليه شَيْءٌ لِدَفْعِ الْحَرَجِ عنه كَالْجُمُعَةِ، بِخِلَافِ الزَّكَاةِ وَصَدَقَةِ الْفِطْرِ؛ لِأَنَّهُمَا لَا يَفُوتَانِ بِمُضِيِّ الزَّمَانِ فَلَا يَخْرُجُ…
Furthermore, the sacrifice must be performed by the individual himself and not on behalf of their children, whether the children are adults or minors, wealthy or not.
The following animals can be sacrificed: camel, she-camel, goat, ewe, sheep, ram, cow, ox, buffalo, and bison. Except for the ram, goat, ewe, and sheep, which require a minimum of seven participants, all other animals can be shared by fewer individuals, provided that no participant receives less than one-seventh of the animal and all intend to offer the sacrifice together or intend to perform Aqiqah. It is important not to have the intention of sharing only the meat. In the case of cows, buffaloes, and camels, fewer than seven individuals can also share; for example, if there are four people, three individuals can take two shares, and one person can take one share. Similarly, if the entire animal is divided into four parts, that is also acceptable. If two individuals are present, they can divide equally. Likewise, if several individuals want to perform a single act of reward, it is permissible, but it is necessary that they collect their respective amounts and give them to one participant, who will then perform the sacrifice. In this way, the sacrifice will be considered performed on behalf of one person, and the rewards will be shared among all. If an animal is purchased for sacrifice with the intention that someone else will share it later, it is permissible. However, it is essential that the second animal is of at least equal value. If it is of lesser value, it is not permissible to keep the extra amount, but it should be given to charity. Yes, if verbally it is not specified which animal to purchase, but the intention is that if a good deal is found, it will be bought, then there is no problem in keeping the excess amount. If the sacrificial animal is lost and another animal is purchased instead, if the person offering the sacrifice is wealthy, they can slaughter either of the two animals. However, if the person offering the sacrifice is poor, both animals must be sacrificed. Clarification: If someone has purchased an animal for sacrifice, and before sacrificing it, the animal is lost, it is not necessary to buy another animal for sacrifice because the obligation to offer the sacrifice was fulfilled by the initial purchase, even if it was not performed. However, if a wealthy person loses the first animal and then finds it along with the second animal, the wealthy person is only obligated to fulfil the religious duty (sacrifice), and slaughtering any of the two animals is sufficient. On the other hand, it was not obligatory for the poor person to purchase a second animal for sacrifice. However, since the poor person himself bought another animal and made it obligatory upon himself, then the sacrifice of that particular animal will be obligatory.
In addition, this scholarly point will be useful for the people of knowledge that according to the Hanafi school of thought, the obligation of sacrifice is considered less significant compared to other obligatory acts, such as Sadaqat al-Fitr (charity given before Eid al-Fitr) and Sajdat al-Tilawah (prostration of recitation). It is mentioned in Al-Bahrur Ra’iq:
قال الْقُدُورِيُّ: الْوَاجِبُ على مَرَاتِبَ بَعْضُهَا آكَدُ من بَعْضٍ، وَوُجُوبُ سَجْدَةِ التِّلَاوَةِ آكَدُ من وُجُوبِ صَدَقَةِ الْفِطْرِ، وَصَدَقَةُ الْفِطْرِ وُجُوبُهَا آكَدُ من وُجُوبِ الْأُضْحِيَّةِ. (كتاب الأضحية)
Sunan Ibn Majah narrates that the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said, “Whoever has the means to offer a sacrifice but does not do so, let him not come near our place of prayer for Eid.” (Hadith: 3123)
From this hadith, several matters become apparent:
1. The mentioned hadith emphasizes the importance and significance of sacrifice despite having the means to do so. It indicates the importance of sacrifice as an obligation, even though it may be considered less significant than other acts.
2. Despite having the means, neglecting the obligation of sacrifice is mentioned in the warning, which implies the obligation of sacrifice and highlights the possibility of committing a sin by neglecting this duty. (Al-Bahrur Ra’iq)
3. However, it should be clear that this hadith does not imply that someone who neglects offering a sacrifice will also not attend the Eid prayer or that their Eid prayer will not be valid. The correctness and performance of the Eid prayer are not dependent on offering a sacrifice, but rather the Eid prayer is obligatory upon individuals regardless. In reality, this hadith aims to discourage and express displeasure at those who, despite having the means, intentionally neglect or make excuses for not offering a sacrifice. It is astonishing that people readily spend large sums of money on their weddings and celebrations, even taking loans and bearing the burden, yet when it comes to sacrifice, they come up with various excuses and pretexts. Surely, Allah knows best, and He is well aware of what excuses are acceptable and what are not. We should consider whether such excuses and pretexts will be acceptable in the court of Allah in the Hereafter. Allah, the All-Knowing and All-Seeing, is well aware of which excuses are valid and which are not. We should reflect on whether presenting excuses and pretexts before Allah will be accepted or not. We should seek His protection and grant us the ability to fulfil the obligation of sacrifice joyfully and not become deserving of the severe warning for neglecting it.
4. Similarly, this hadith highlights the requirement of having the means (wish) to offer a sacrifice, indicating that sacrifice is not obligatory for everyone but only for those who have the means and capability, specifically those who meet the criteria of possessing the prescribed amount (nisaab).
It is mentioned in Sunan Ibn Majah:
حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو بَكْرِ بْنُ أَبِي شَيْبَةَ، حَدَّثَنَا زَيْدُ بْنُ الْحُبَابِ، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ عَيَّاشٍ، عَنْ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ الأَعْرَجِ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ قَالَ “ مَنْ كَانَ لَهُ سَعَةٌ وَلَمْ يُضَحِّ فَلاَ يَقْرَبَنَّ مُصَلاَّنَا ” .
It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “Whoever can afford it, but does not offer a sacrifice, let him not come near our prayer place.” (Sunan Ibn Majah)