The time of sacrificing the animal
Hajj is a unique religious duty that combines different types of worships in it. People spend their money to travel for Hajj, thus taking out money from their earnings. They take the pain of travelling to obey the order of their Lord, thus offering physical struggle, they abide by the restrictions and forbidden things during Ihram and perform the hajj rituals as prescribed. They pray, stay awake and run between Safa and Marwa. They also offer sacrifice of animals on the tenth day of Dhulhajj after Eid prayers and distribute the meat among the poor thus feeding those who are needy.
The Muslim pilgrims can offer animal sacrifice they brought or bought from there, as it is mandatory to sacrifice an animal on 10th Dhulhajj because it is a part of Hajj rites. Sacrificial animal can be a camel, cow, sheep or goat. Camel and cow can be shared by seven people by dividing in seven parts and dividing equal share of price of the animal. Sacrificial animal should be healthy, beautiful and free of any disease.
There are also some rules about the age of the animals intended for sacrifice. A camel should be five years of age and not less, if bought for the purpose of sacrifice. In case of a cow, it should be two years of age, and if it is a goat, it must not be less than one year old. If someone wants to slaughter a sheep as sacrifice, sheep should be at least six months old.
Offering sacrifice of an animal on 10th Dhulhajj is a part of Hajj rites.
Sacrifice can be offered on the behalf of some other person, living or dead. Many people offer sacrifice on behalf of their loved ones away from there. Some people also offer aqiqah of their new born babies there.
It is appreciable to slaughter the sacrificial animal by the pilgrim himself but if he does not want to do so, he can take help of a butcher and pay him for this service. The sacrifice should be divided in three parts, one for the poor, one to be distributed as gift and one for personal use. It is also good to eat meat of one’s sacrifice. However, as majority of hajj pilgrims travel a long way from their home towns and countries, they give away most of the meat to the poor.
The purpose of sacrifice is to revive the old tradition of sacrifice initiated centuries ago by Prophet Ibrahim who was all set to sacrifice his own son Ismail, to obey the order of Allah. By the order of Allah, an angel put a sheep in place of his son and he slaughtered the sheep. To this day, Muslims all around the world offer sacrifice on 10th of Dhulhajj to commemorate the virtuous deed of Prophet Ibrahim. It awakens the spirit of obedience in them and teaches them to submit unconditionally before their Creator.
When the pilgrims offer a sacrifice and divide it among other Muslim brothers and poor, a sense of universal brotherhood is developed among them. Although Allah does not need the flesh and blood of the animals they offer, but he rewards them with his blessings and forgiveness.