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by Hadhrat Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh

Dhul-Hijjah is the last month of the Islamic calendar. The literal meaning of Dhul-Hijjah is ‘the month of hajj’. The fifth pillar of Islam, hajj, is performed in this sacred month.

The tenth day of this blessed month is known as ‘Īdul-Adhā (the festival of sacrifice) or yawmun-nahr (the day of camel sacrifice). Muslims all over rejoice and sacrifice animals for the Pleasure of Allāh ta‘ālā with the intention of gaining His nearness, and commemorate the incomparable and unique obedience of Sayyidunā Ibrāhīm ‘alayhis salām towards Allāh ta‘ālā Who ordered him to sacrifice his only son who was the apple of his eye.



It is an important ‘ibādah (worship), and from among the sha‘ā’ir (symbols) of lslām. It is not a custom of ‘Īd or a source of merry-making and celebration; but it is a religious command to renew the commemoration of the sunnah of Sayyidunā Ibrāhīm ‘alayhis salām and create the spirit and desire of selflessness and sacrifice.

The Qur’ān says:

It is not their flesh nor their blood that reaches Allāh; it is your piety that reaches him. (22:37)

Thus, the actual purpose of udhiyah is to create piety, devotion and a desire for obedience and submission in a human.

Mas’alah: Udhiyah cannot be offered in the name of anyone besides Allāh ta‘ālā. It is stated in the Qur’ān:

Indeed, my salāh and my sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allāh, Lord of the worlds. (6:162)

The History of Udhiyah

Although udhiyah had been ordained an ‘ibādah from the time of Sayyidunā Ādam ‘alayhis salām, special importance was attached to it only after an incident which took place with Sayyidunā Ibrāhīm ‘alayhis salām, and consequently it was made wājib (incumbent) in the time of our Beloved Nabī Muhammad sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam in memory of Sayyidunā Ibrāhīm ‘alayhis salām. This is a unique incident in world history and of great spiritual value, which the Qur’ān mentions in Sūratus-Sāffāt:

Thereafter, when he (his son) reached an age in which he was able to work with him, he said: ‘O my dear son, I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering you, so consider what is your view?’ (37:102)

The dreams of the Prophets are regarded as revelations; thus, the observance of slaughtering in a dream is just like receiving the command to slaughter. Sayyidunā Ibrāhīm ‘alayhis salām therefore asked, ‘Are you ready to fulfil this Command of Allāh?’ The son replied, ‘O my father! do that which you are commanded. If Allāh wills, you will find me to be among those who are patient.

This was a great trial for Sayyidunā Ibrāhīm ‘alayhis salām. He is commanded to slaughter his only child. A child, who was blessed to him by Allāh ta‘ālā in his old age after making numerous supplications and now reaching the stage where he could assist his old father in his duties and mission. Similarly, it was a great trial for the son too. To obey the command and give away his life was not a trivial or simple thing. However, the son too showed the qualities of his father by submitting and not relying on his own intentions, determination and courage. Entrusting himself to Allāh ta‘ālā, he said, ‘If Allāh wills.’ Further, he did not say, ‘I will have patience,’ but said, ‘you will find me to be among those who are patient’, which is a sign of humility that indicates that he does not claim the quality of patience for himself only.

Through the blessings of entrusting themselves to Allāh ta‘ālā and their humility, they did not falter during the stages of this difficult path. The sole bread winning father and his obedient son left home for Minā to carry out the Command of Allāh ta‘ālā. When they finally reached Minā, the father turned the face of his son and placed the knife on his throat and used his full strength to fulfil the order and decree of sacrifice, but the Power of Allāh ta‘ālā intervened in the function of the knife and a call from the heavens turned the events of this whole scene:

Then when they had both surrendered (to Allāh) and he had flung him down on his face, we called unto him: ‘O Ibrāhīm! You have already fulfilled the vision. Indeed do we reward the good. Indeed this was a clear test.’ And we ransomed him with a tremendous sacrifice. (37:103-107)

And with it a ram was sent down from the Heavens as a ransom for Sayyidunā Ismā‘īl ‘alayhis salām, so that it may be slaughtered in his place. Allāh ta‘ālā accepted this sincere act and deed of his Messenger, Sayyidunā Ibrāhīm ‘alayhis salām - so much so that to keep this act alive as a rite of remembrance till the Day of Judgement, He made it wājib (incumbent) upon the pilgrims in particular and upon the Muslims in general to sacrifice an animal.

The Command of Udhiyah is for All Muslims

The udhiyah has been made wājib (incumbent) upon the whole Ummah and not only upon the pilgrims. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam, the Sahābah radhiyallāhu ‘anhum, Tābi’īn and the whole of the Ummah all over have kept up this wājib steadfastly throughout all ages. It is a Command of Allāh ta‘ālā to all, be they in Makkah, Madīnah or any other part of the globe. It is not a distinguished feature confined to Makkah Mukarramah, nor as wrongly understood by some, to be a speciality only attached to rituals of hajj and for pilgrims therein. The udhiyah under discussion is incumbent on every person in every town after ascertaining its conditions which are mentioned under the heading ‘On Whom is Udhiyah Wājib?’. The sacrifice offered by pilgrims as part of the rituals of hajj is known as damush-shukr (the sacrifice of thanksgiving), which is wājib upon those performing hajjul-qirān or hajjut-tamattu‘ and mustahabb (desirable) for those performing hajjul-ifrād.

Those who hold the view that udhiyah is confined only to Makkah Mukarramah have based their opinion on total ignorance of the Qur’ān and Sunnah. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam and the Sahābah radhiyallāhu ‘anhum performed udhiyah in Madīnah and elsewhere every year as is evident from the Ahādīth mentioned hereunder:

  1. Sayyidunā ‘Abdullāh Ibn ‘Umar radhiyallāhu ‘anhu reports that Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam lived in Madīnah Munawwarah for ten years. He performed udhiyah (every year). (At-Tirmidhī)
  2. Sayyidunā ‘Abdullāh Ibn ‘Abbās radhiyallāhu ‘anhu reports that we were with Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam in one of his travels. The day of ‘Īdul-Adhā came. We became seven partners in a cow (and sacrificed it). (At-Tirmidhī)
  3. Sayyidunā ‘Abdullāh Ibn ‘Umar radhiyallāhu ‘anhu reports that Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam used to sacrifice (the udhiyah animal in Madīnah Munawwarah) at the Musallā (i.e. where the ‘Īd salāh is performed). (Al-Bukhārī)
  4. Sayyidunā Barā’ Ibn ‘Āzib radhiyallāhu ‘anhu reports that Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam went towards Jannatul-Baqī‘(the cemetery of Madīnah Munawwarah) on the day of ‘Īdul-Adhā and offered two raka’āt of salāh and faced us and said, ‘On this day of ours, our first act of worship is the offering of salāh, thereafter we will return and slaughter the sacrifices. Whosoever acts accordingly, concords with our sunnah (way), and whosoever has offered udhiyah (before the salāh) then that was a thing which he prepared earlier for his family and it would not be considered as a qurbānī.” (Al-Bukhārī, Muslim)
  5. Sayyidunā Anas Ibn Mālik radhiyallāhu ‘anhu reports that Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam offered salāh on the day of ‘Īdul-Adhā and then delivered the sermon and ordered that whoever had slaughtered his sacrifice before the prayer should repeat it. (Al-Bukhārī)
  6. Sayyidunā Jundub radhiyallāhu ‘anhu reports that Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam offered the salāh on ‘Īdul-Adhā, delivered the sermon and then slaughtered (the udhiyah animal). (Al-Bukhārī)
  7. Sayyidunā Anas Ibn Mālik radhiyallāhu ‘anhu narrates that Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam used to offer two rams as sacrifice, and I also used to offer two rams. (Al-Bukhārī)
  8. Sayyidunā Anas radhiyallāhu ‘anhu reports that Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam came towards two horned rams having black and white colours and slaughtered them with his own hands. (Al-Bukhārī)
  9. Sayyidunā ‘Uqbah Ibn ‘Āmir radhiyallāhu ‘anhu narrates that Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam gave him a few sheep to distribute among his companions to slaughter as sacrifice. (Al-Bukhārī)
  10. Sayyidunā Abū Umārah Ibn Sahl radhiyallāhu ‘anhu reports that we used to fatten the udhiyah animals in Madīnah and the Muslims used to fatten (the same). (Al-Bukhārī)
  11. Sayyidah ‘Ā’ishah radhiyallāhu ‘anhā narrates that we used to salt some of the meat of sacrifice and present it to Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam in Madīnah. (Al-Bukhārī)
  12. Sayyidunā ‘Alī radhiyallāhu ‘anhu sacrificed two rams for udhiyah; one on behalf of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam and one for himself, and said, ‘Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam ordered me to offer udhiyah on his behalf, therefore I will always do so (for as long as I remain alive).’ (Al-Hākim)
  13. Sayyidunā Anas radhiyallāhu ‘anhu relates that Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam sacrificed two horned rams, black and white in colour, in Madīnah. (Al-Bukhārī)

Virtues of Udhiyah

On Whom is Udhiyah Wājib?

Days of Udhiyah

Time for Udhiyah

The Udhiyah Animal

Method of Sacrifice

The Udhiyah Meat and Skin

Udhiyah on Behalf of the Deceased

If one has been favoured by Allāh ta‘ālā with wealth, then he should also perform udhiyah on behalf of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam, the Ambiya ‘alayhimus salām, the Sahābah radhiyallāhu ‘anhum, the Ummah, and for his own living or deceased relatives, friends, mashayikh and teachers who have conveyed to him Dīnī knowledge.

One should always remember our Beloved Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam and perform udhiyah on his behalf. Sayyidunā ‘Alī radhiyallāhu ‘anhu sacrificed two rams for udhiyah; one on behalf of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam and one for himself, and said, ‘Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam ordered me to offer udhiyah on his behalf, therefore I will always do so (for as long as I remain alive).’ (Al-Hākim)

Our Beloved Nabi sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam himself performed udhiyah on behalf of his Ummah. Sayyidunā Abū Talhah radhiyallāhu ‘anhu has related that Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam sacrificed one ram and while sacrificing the other he said, “This is on behalf of every one of my Ummah who believed in me and testified (to my prophethood).” (At-Tabarānī)

It is a matter for deep thought and consideration that Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam kept his Ummah in his mind while offering the sacrifice; hence it would be inappropriate for the Ummah not to remember him and offer udhiyah on his behalf.