Can one offer a sacrifice (qurbani) on behalf of a deceased person?

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Last Updated on 19th August 2022

An Indonesian Ahmadi asked Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa whether it was possible to sacrifice an animal on behalf of the deceased on the occasion of Eid al-Adha. Huzoor-e-Anwaraa, in his letter dated 8 June 2021, provided the following reply to this question:

“There is nothing wrong with offering sacrifices on behalf of the deceased, rather it is a sunnah of the Holy Prophetsa. Hence, it is mentioned in the ahadith that on the occasion of Eid al-Adha the Holy Prophetsa used to offer one sacrifice on behalf of himself and his family and one sacrifice on behalf of his ummah. And in the ummah of the Holy Prophetsa, there were also many companions who had been martyred during his blessed life. They were also included in that sacrifice offered by him [i.e. the sacrifice was also on their behalf]. (Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-adahi & Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, musnad al-ansar min musnad al-qabaail, hadith abi rafi‘, hadith no. 25937)

“Apart from this, there is also a tradition recorded among the ahadith according to which a person saw Hazrat Alira sacrificing two animals and asked the reason for it. Hazrat Alira responded, ‘The Holy Prophetsa instructed me that I should also sacrifice on his behalf [after his demise]. Therefore, I sacrifice one animal on his behalf too.’ (Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab ad-dahaya, babu l-udhiyyati ‘ani l-mayyit)

“Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra, while describing the special place and status that Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira held in his heart and the love he had for him, once said: 

“‘Forty-two years have passed since the demise of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira. However, I still sacrifice [an animal] on his behalf whenever it is the occasion to offer qurbani […]  Later, when I went on Hajj, I offered qurbani on his behalf on that occasion too and I have continued to offer qurbani on his behalf on the occasion of every Eid till today.’ (Anwar-ul-Ulum, Vol. 25, p. 468)

“Thus, it is a sunnah of Allah’s Messengersa to offer a sacrifice on the occasion of Eid al-Adha on behalf of the deceased relatives and loved ones.”

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