Is it obligatory for pilgrims or all Muslims to sacrifice animals on Hajj?


Someone from Canada wrote to Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa that Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh had once stated that the obligation of sacrifice [qurbani] is only upon those who perform Hajj. He asked, if someone does not go for Hajj but has the means to offer a sacrifice, is it then not obligatory upon him? Huzoor-e-Anwaraa, in his letter dated 9 July 2022, provided the following answer to this question:

“Regarding the sacrifice on Eid al-Adha, it is important to remember that the Holy Prophetsa would perform the sacrifice annually with great regularity, whether He had performed Hajj or stayed in Medina. At times, He even sent His sacrificial animals to Mecca from Medina with others for the purpose of the sacrifice. Hazrat Aishara recounts that Allah’s Messengersa had sent his sacrificial animals to Mecca with herhis father. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-hajj, Bab man qallada l-qala’ida bi yadih) Similarly, Hazrat Abdullah bin Umarra narrates that the Holy Prophetsa stayed in Medina for 10ten years and performed the sacrifice every year. (Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Kitab al-adahi, Bab ad-dalil ‘ala anna l-udhiyyata sunnah) Moreover, it was also a sunnah of Holy Prophetsa to sacrifice more than one animal. Hence, Hazrat Abu Hurairara relates that when the Holy Prophetsa wished to perform the sacrifice, he would buy two rams that were fat, horned, and castrated. He would then slaughter one on behalf of his ummah and the other on his own behalf and on behalf of his household. (Sunan Ibn Majah, Kitab al-adahi, Bab adahiyyi rasulillahsa)

“The Holy Prophetsa also emphasised to his Companions the importance of sacrifice on various occasions. For instance, it is narrated by Hazrat Mikhnafra bin Sulaym that the Holy Prophetsa said, ‘O people! Every household should perform a sacrifice every year.’ (Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Kitab al-udhiyyah, Bab al-adhan fi uzuni l-mawlud) Similarly, it is related by Hazrat Abu Hurairara that the Holy Prophetsa declared, ‘Whoever, despite having the means, does not offer a sacrifice, should not come near our place of prayer.’ (Sunan Ibn Majah, Kitab al-adahi, Bab al-adahiyyi wajibatun hiya am la)

“In addition to this, the Holy Prophetsa also instructed Hazrat Alira to perform the sacrifice on his behalf every year. (Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab ad-dahaya, Bab al-udhiyyati ‘ani l-mayyit)

“In light of these narrations, some Islamic jurists [fuqaha], including Hazrat Abu Hanifahrh, have deemed the sacrifice on Eid al-Adha to be obligatory [wajib].

“Moreover, the Promised Messiahas has also declared sacrifice as obligatory [fardh] for those who can afford it.

“Hence, a gentleman presented a query to the Promised Messiahas as follows: ‘I had allocated a modest sum as my share in an animal sacrifice. However, due to my being Ahmadi, I was excluded from that share. Would it suffice as a sacrifice if I donate that amount to the Miskin Fund [i.e., a fund set up for the poor] in Qadian?’

“In response, the Promised Messiahas stated: ‘A sacrifice is accomplished only by actually partaking in the slaughter of an animal. A donation to the Miskin Fund does not fulfil the obligation of a sacrifice. If the amount you possess is adequate for the procurement of a goat, then proceed with the sacrifice. However, if the amount is insufficient and you are not granted the means to contribute more, then you are not obliged to make a sacrifice.’ (Badr, Vol. 6, No. 7, 14 February 1907, p. 8)

“Thus, for a person who has the means to perform a sacrifice, it becomes obligatory to do so according to their ability; for one who lacks the means, the sacrifice is not obligatory. 

“As for the response regarding the issue of sacrifice given by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh, to which you referred through a YouTube clip—if you listen attentively to the entire response, it becomes evident that Huzoorrh emphasises the following point: In countries where people live in comfort and have abundant access to food throughout the year, offering sacrifices during Eid with the mindset that greater spiritual reward will be earned by personally performing the sacrifice within affluent countries, while overlooking the people of impoverished nations, contradicts the true spirit of sacrifice. Yes, some sacrifices should be made in prosperous countries as a form of blessing, but the majority should be performed in impoverished countries to include their people in the joys of Eid. This approach aligns perfectly with the true spirit of sacrifice. Thus, in response to the question: ‘Is it not necessary, in the light of Islamic philosophy, for a person who can afford to make a sacrifice to do it himself rather than sending money and asking someone else to perform it? What is the correct way?’ Huzoorrh elaborated:

“‘As far as the matter of sacrifice is concerned, the sacrifice that is obligatory [fardh] is only for pilgrims at the time of Hajj within the sacred precincts of the Haram. For others, the Holy Quran has not explicitly mentioned the obligation of sacrifice. Therefore, others only perform the Hajj sacrifice with the intent of receiving that spiritual reward. While seeking this reward, one should bear in mind the concept of spiritual reward. Would it make sense to merely slaughter animals by one’s own hands at all costs in a society where people are already going crazy from excessive meat consumption and where Mad Cow Disease is prevalent? Conversely, in regions where impoverished Muslims or Africans are dying of hunger, should sacrifices not be performed there just for fear of forgoing the spiritual reward of carrying out the slaughter? In such circumstances, would one gain reward or invite punishment? If someone opts to perform some sacrifices here [in Europe] as a blessing, I am not against it. However, it is better for Muslims in affluent countries to perform sacrifices in their impoverished nations for their brethren who, throughout the year, might not even get meat to eat, except perhaps on the day of sacrifice. For Allah the Almighty states, and it is a verse of the Holy Quran, that neither meat nor blood reaches Allah; it is your piety that reaches Him. Thus, if you perform sacrifices in another country with piety, the piety will indeed reach Allah. The reward is for piety, not for the meat.’ (Question-and-Answer Session, 27 April 1997)”

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