Fatwa n°: 830
Category: Fatwas of Hadiy (offering) and Sacrifices
The required age for the sacrificial animal
What is the required age of the sacrificial animal of `Îd al-Adha?
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon whom Allah sent as a mercy to the Worlds, upon his Family, his Companions and his Brothers till the Day of Resurrection.
The principle as regards the sacrificial animal is that it is not accepted unless it is of the beast of cattle which are: camels (camel and she-camel), cows (cow and ox) sheep (ram and ewe) and goats (billy goat and nanny goat), in accordance with Allah’s جلَّ جلاله saying:
﴿لِيَذْكُرُوا اسْمَ اللهِ عَلَى مَا رَزَقَهُمْ مِن بَهِيمَةِ الأَنْعَامِ﴾ [الحج: 34].
The meaning of the verse:
﴾…that they may mention the Name of Allâh over the beast of cattle that He has given them for food﴿ [Al-Hajj (The Pilgrimage): 34].
As for the acceptable age of the beast, it is the Thaniyya of all these kinds. The Thaniyya of camels is a five-year-old camel starting the sixth.
The Thaniyya of cows is: a two-year-old starting the third.
The Thaniyya of sheep is: a one-year-old starting the second.
The Thaniyya of goats is: a one-year-old starting the second.
A sacrificial animal is not accepted under these ages for all these kinds, except in case it is difficult to get a sheep fulfilling the required age. In such a case, a Jadha` suffices. A Jadha` is a six-month-old sheep, in accordance with the Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم saying: “Sacrifice only Al-Mussina (i.e.Thaniya) of animals, unless it is difficult for you, in which case sacrifice a ram (of even less than a year, but more than six months’ age)”(1).
The apparent meaning of the hadith is that the Jadha` of sheep is not accepted unless it is not possible to sacrifice a Mussinna. As for the reported hadiths concerning the permissibility of sacrificing a Jadha` of sheep, the authentic ones should be understood that it is allowed to sacrifice a Jadha` in case a person is not able to sacrifice a Mussinna either because it is not available when needed or because of its high price, in accordance with the hadith of `Âssim Ibn Kulayb on the authority of his father, he said: “We used to take as leader, during conquests, one of the messenger’s صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم Companions. Once we were at Persia, it was the day of sacrifice and the Mussinna beasts were expensive, so we slaughtered two or three of Jadha` instead of the Mussinna. A man from Muzayna among us stood up and said: We were with the Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم and the same thing as today happened to us, so we sacrificed two Jadha` or three instead of a Mussinna, then the Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم told us: “The Jadha` suffices as well as the Thaniy”(2).
The perfect knowledge belongs to Allah سبحانه وتعالى. Our last prayer is all praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon our Prophet, his Family, his Companions and his Brothers till the Day of Resurrection.
Algiers Muharram 14th, 1429 H
January the 22nd, 2008
(1) Reported by Muslim in the chapter of “Sacrifices” concerning the age of the animal that should be sacrificed (hadith 5082), Abu Dâwûd in the chapter of “Sacrifices” concerning the age of the sacrificial animal (hadith 2797), Ibn Mâjah in the chapter of “Sacrifices” concerning the required age of the sacrificial animal (hadith 3141) and Ahmad in his “Musnad” (hadith 14093), from the hadith of Jâbir رضي الله عنه.
(2) Reported by Abu Dâwûd in the chapter of “Sacrifices” concerning the age of the sacrificial animal (hadith 2799), An-Nassâ'i in the chapter of “Sacrifices” concerning the Mussinna and the Jadha`a (hadith 4383), Ibn Mâjah in the chapter of “Sacrifices” concerning the required age of the sacrificial animal (hadith 3140) and Al-Hâkim in “Al-Mustadrak” (hadith 7538), on the authority of Mujâshi` Ibn Mass`ûd رضي الله عنه. This hadith is authenticated by Al-Albâni in “Al-Irwâ'” (hadith 1146).