Slaughtering the sacrifice is better than giving its price in charity

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If there are poor people in my country who need money, can I give them the price of the sacrifice in charity, or should I offer the sacrifice?.

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Answer:

Praise be to Allaah.

Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: 

Slaughtering the sacrifice is better than giving its price in charity, because that was what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and the Muslims with him did. And because the sacrifice is one of the ritual of Islam; if the people turn away from it and give charity instead, that symbol will die out. If giving the price of the sacrifice in charity was better than slaughtering the sacrifice, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) would have explained that to his ummah in word and deed, because he did not omit to explain anything that was good for the ummah. Indeed, if giving charity was equal to offering the sacrifice he would have explained that too, because it is easier than going to the trouble of offering the sacrifice. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) never failed to point out the easier option to his ummah when it was equal to the more difficult option. There was a famine during the lifetime of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and he said, “Whoever among you offers a sacrifice should not keep any of it in his house for more than three days.”

 The following year, they said, “O Messenger of Allaah, should we do what we did last year?” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Eat and feed the poor and store some, for last year the people were having a hard time and I wanted you to help them.” Agreed upon.

 Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Sacrifice when prescribed is better than giving its price in charity. He said, Hence even if you give many times more the value of the sacrifice for tamattu’ and qiraan, it will never take its place, and the same applies to udhiyah.

Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah's Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.

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