Answered by Ustadha Shaista Maqbool
In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Kind.
The udhhiya is the sacrifice which is made during the Days of Sacrifice - from the the first day of Eid al-Adhha, i.e. 10th Day of Dhul Hijjah, until the last day - the end (i.e. sunset) of the 12th of Dhul Hijjah. The best is to do the sacrifice on the first day.
It is obligatory on every sane, mature (one who has reached puberty) Muslim who is not a traveler, who is rich (meaning who owns wealth which is beyond one's need equal to (or more than) nisab = 72 grams of gold or 100 grams of silver), and who has come upon the Day of Sacrifice of Eid.
Therefore, a wife who fulfills the latter conditions is obliged to pay for herself, though children who have not reached puberty are not. If one fulfills the above, it is obligatory on him to sacrifice one goat or sheep, or a seventh of a camel or cow. (In other words, one goat or sheep fulfills one person's obligation, and one camel or cow fulfills seven peoples' obligation.)
Conditions of the validity of the sacrifice
1-If the animal is a camel - it is at least 5 years old; if a cow, it is at least 2 years old, if a sheep or goat, it is at least 1 year old.
2-It does not have any defects e.g. blindness in one or both eyes, or a limp which prevents it from walking to the place of sacrificing, or that it is very skinny, or it has an ear (or most of the ear) cut off, or its tail is cut off, or other deficiencies, worst than those mentioned.
3-That the sacrifice be made after the 'Eid prayer, such that if it is done before, it is considered merely a slaughter, and the person stills owes a sacrifice.
From the sunnah acts of sacrifice:
-To eat from the meat of the animal he has sacrificed. It is also sunnah for him to give some of it as charity (to the poor), and to store some, and to give some as a gift to the wealthy.
-To not cut the animal's hair or nails when the month of Dhul Hijjah comes.
It is sunnah to do the slaughter by oneself, if capable, and to say and do what the Prophet, the greatest of peace and blessings of Allah upon him, did.
Abu Dawud narrated in his Sunan: "The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah upon him, sacrificed on the day of sacrifice...When he turned the faces (of the animals for sacrifice), he said: [Arabic text:]
'I turn my face to the Creator of the of the heavens and the earth, on the religion of Ibrahim, worshipping only Allah, 'and he [Ibrahim] was not of the idolators'. Indeed my prayer, my rituals, my life and my death are for Allah, the Lord of Worlds, He has no partner, and with this I was commanded and I am from the Muslims. O Allah! [It is] from You and to You, on [behalf of] Muhammad [peace and blessings of Allah upon him] and his ummah. In the Name of Allah, Allah is the Greatest.'
Then he slaughtered."
-If one is incapable of slaughtering by oneself, he gives the animal to someone who is and he witnesses the slaughter.
-It is preferable (mustahab) for the one who is sacrificing to give the skin of the animal in charity. He may use it for himself, but he may not sell it or use it to pay the slaughterer with it.
-It is not valid to give the price of the sacrificial animal instead of actually slaughtering it. This is because here the sacrifice in itself is the objective, contrary to zakah - where money may be given instead of the actual food - because the aim is to aid the poor.
-It is okay to delay slaughtering the animal to the third day if there is an excuse such as rain, after this it is not allowed.
[References from Al-Hadiyyah al-'Alaiyyah of Imam 'Ala al-Din son of Ibn 'Abideen and from Arkan al-Islam of Dr.Wahbi Sulayman Ghawiji, a contemporary Hanafi scholar.]
If one did not make the sacrifice in previous years in which it was obligatory on him, he must give the price (rather than slaughtering an
animal) of a sacrificial animal in charity, as stated in the Hashiyah of Ibn Abdieen. See Mufti Muhammad Kawthari's response on this topic (under Giving Qurbani -
http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=1&ID=8333&CATE=15) for more detail.
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