Performing Ritual Sacrifice with a Rooster?

بسم الله و الحمد لله و الصلاة و السلام على من لا نبي بعده و على آله و صحبه و من اهتدى هداه، أما بعد

This excerpt from Bidayatul Mujtahid wa Nihayat al-Muqtasid by Ibn Ruysd al-Hafied clearly explains that, the so called permissibility to slaughter a rooster or sparrow and any other animals, other than the cattle; camels, sheeps or goats and oxen, is a peculiar view not to be followed and has no legal basis in Syari‘ah.

The first chapter: (with regards to) the ruling of performing a sacrifice “Ud-hiyah/Dohaya” and upon whom it is legislated?

Sacrifice (ad-Dohiyah) is not obligatory. When he shallallahu 'alayhi wasallam commanded Abu Burdah to redo his sacrificial slaughtering, since he did the slaughtering before the (Prayer of ‘Eid), some understood from that command, that sacrifice “Ud-hiyah/Dohaya” is obligatory, whereas Ibn ‘Abbas held the opinion that there is no obligation. ‘Ikrimah said:
Ibn ‘Abbas gave me 2 dirhams (silver coins) and ordered me to buy for him some meat and said: whoever you meet, say to him: this is the sacrifice of Ibn ‘Abbas. It has also been said (narrated with uncertainty - رُوِيَ) from Bilal that he sacrificed a rooster. 
Each of these narrations is not meant and doesn't serve the purpose of justification, thus using it as reference for justification is weak. They (the scholars) differ in opinions whether it is compulsory upon one who wishes to perform the sacrifice, not to remove any of his hair and nails during the first ten (days of Dzulhijjah) and the hadith related to it is justified.

From my research, I discovered these two narrations from Ibn ‘Abbas and Bilal in Musannaf Imam ‘Abdur Razzaq bin Hammam (d: 211H)

No: 8146 – From (the narration of) ats-Tasuriy from Abie Ma‘syar, (he said) Abu Bakr: Verily I heard from Abie Ma‘syar (who narrated) from a man, who was an ex-slave of Ibn ‘Abbas, who said:
Ibn ‘Abbas ordered me to by some meat for 2 dirhams and he said:  This is the Sacrifice of Ibn ‘Abbas.

“From a man”, this man is actually ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umair, Maula (a freed slave of) Ibn ‘Abbas as mentioned in al-Muhalla. The narrator Abu Ma‘syar al-Madieni has been classified weak (a weak narrator) by al-Hafiz in at-Taqrieb (7100).

As concluded by Ibn Rusyd, this narration is not worth for justification in rulings.

As for the narration that Bilal sacrificed a rooster, this is the explanation:

No: 8156 – From ats-Tsauriy from ‘Imran bin Muslim from Suwaid bin Ghafalah, he said:
I heard Bilal saying: I do not care even if I only sacrifice a rooster, or if I give the value in charity for the orphan or the poor is more preferred by me than to use it for sacrifice. He (the narrator) said: I do not know whether Suwaid was the one who said it from his own freewill or it was the saying of Bilal.

It is also narrated in al-Muhalla 2/258 and other books with similar wordings (in the form of “words” and “intention” of Bilal, instead of his action). Ibn Hazm came out with all he could to use this as a basis of justification. In his opinion, any one of the animals mentioned in the hadith about the excellence of going to the Masjid early for Friday Prayers; the first hour is like one who sacrifice a camel, second hour like a cow, the third like a sheep, then like a rooster, a sparrow and the least, an egg, can be made as a sacrifice, “Ud-hiyah/Dohaya”.

This is the view of the az-Zahiri Madzhab or School of Fiqh and as we knew, they conclude rulings based on textual content of the evidences of al-Qur’an and as-Sunnah. Although at times, the truth is with them, yet in this issue of sacrifice, Rasulullah himself never performed the Sacrificial Rites by slaughtering other than cattle.

Furthermore, the narration from Ibn ‘Abbas and Bilal are weak and unreliable and do not serve as a source of justification. Even if we take that these as reliable narrations from them, they fall under the category of “Qaul Sahabiy” i.e. an opinion of a Companion of Rasulullah and in the discipline of Usul Fiqh, this category is under the disputable sources for legal Islamic rulings.

With all these points taken into consideration, we can understand why most scholars, from the past to the present, take it that, it is a matter of concensus among scholars to perform the valid and accepted Sacrificial Ritual, by slaughtering animals under the category of al-An‘am and none other. What follows are evidences from the conclusion of renowned scholars.

In al-Majmu‘: 8/286 by al-Imam an-Nawawi:

asy-Syierazie said: The Sacrifice is not valid unless the animal being slaughtered is among the al-An‘am (Cattle), and it is either, camel, oxen or sheep/goat, based on Allah’s saying:

“such that they pronounce in remembrance, the name of Allah, for what He had granted them, the Cattle, as food” (Surah al-Hajj: 34)

an-Nawawi elaborated on this saying:

As for the rulings, so the condition for a valid Sacrifice is that it must be among the al-An‘am (Cattle) that is the camel, the oxen and the goat/sheep and it iwill not be valid with other than cattle. A few lines after that, he said:

A sub-topic/issue: The opinions of scholars with respect to the age of the Sacrficial animal. A group of scholars narrated the concensus of scholars on the Sacrificial animal that it is not valid unless it is performed by (slaughtering) the camel, the oxen or the sheep/goat and thus other animals will not be a valid sacrifice.

Imam Ibn Qudamah said (al-Mughnie: 13/361):

“It has been said (narrated with uncertainty - رُوِيَ) from Bilal that he said: I don’t care if I am performing the Sacrifice only by slaughtering a rooster….”

A proof that Imam Ibn Qudamah knew of the narration, yet afterwards he said (13/368):

“Sub-topic: The Sacrifice is not valid unless the animal being slaughtered is among the Bahiemat al-An‘am (Cattle).

If we refer to books of Tafsier, the scholars of Tafsier, al-Imam al-Qurtubiy and al-Imam al-Hafiz Ibn Katsier both of them also gave the interpretation of Bahiemat al-An‘am (Cattle) as Camel, Oxen and Sheep/Goat. In fact al-Imam Ibn Katsier even make reference to Surah al-An‘am verse 143-144, which clearly explains the “word” “al-An‘am” indicating that Allah the Exalted Himself explains His words; Bahiemat al-An‘am in Surah al-Hajj and al-An‘am with an elaboration. WalLahu a‘lam.

Having said all these, I can’t but wonder why should some among our fellow Muslims have a very unjust and dangerous attitude?

Instead of accepting what is crystal clear as evidences from the Qur’an and Sunnah and the teachings of Our Pious predecessors, giving due respect to all credible scholars, and not to blindly follow any of them, yet striving hard with a sound mind and a pure heart and bewaring of Allah, to closely follow the righteous opinons based on the evidences (without introducing any newly invented conclusion or opinion), some turn away from such a methodology and attitude. They regarded such an approach, methodology and attitude a form of disrespect towards the scholars. Ironically, they follow absurd and doubtful opinons, due to their love and obedience to the ones they follow, even if the ones that are being followed are nothing to be compared to those renowned and righteous scholars, in knowledge and deeds. Even if they contradict the clear teachings of Rasulullah.

Allahul Musta‘an. May Allah guide us to the Righteous Path. Ameen.

و صلى الله على نبينا محمد و على آله و صحبه و سلم و الحمد لله رب العالمين.

Prepared by: Ustadz Hamzah Jummat






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