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What Muslims must know about slaughtering animals for sallah

As the countdown to Eid el-Kabir festivities continues, ram sellers and ram buyers have stories to tell.

For one, ram sellers across the country say they are grappling with low patronage; while buyers say that the prices of rams are simply reprehensible.

They express frustration and worry, attributing the low patronage to a combination of economic challenges, insecurity, and cost of transporting the animals sourced from northern Nigeria.

Ram sellers say the prices of rams are high and that the situation is beyond them.

A cattle trader at Ibafo, Obafemi-Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State, Ibrahim Yusuf, said that a big ram sells between N500,000 and N700,000, with the least sold for N250,000.

an underage animal cannot be slaughtered for the Eid-ul-Adha feast

Ram price vs Niyyah
According to online platform My Masjid, Niyyah is an Arabic word meaning purpose or intention. It is a core principle of Islamic faith and is the foundation to every act of worship a Muslim performs. The niyyah of a person is the reason and intent behind their action.

So, it turns out that the average Muslim has the niyyar to slaughter a ram for the Eid-el-Kabir, but the price of the animals is a huge disservice to their noble intention!

Take, for instance, the case of Musa Al-Bashir, a Lagos resident who wants to buy a ram but has only N120,000.

He knew the money was inconsequential for a mid-sized ram, but he was comfortable with just anything regardless of the size, having been used to slaughtering ram every Eid and, in his view, things shouldn’t be different this time, even when the financial power is lacking.

animals that can be slaughtered for eid el-kabir are camels, cows, sheep and goats

Not all about rams
Yet, Islamic scholars are of the view that it is not only rams that should be slaughtered for the Eid ul-Adha celebration.

Eid al-Adha or the Feast of Sacrifice is the second of the two main holidays celebrated in Islam. In Islamic tradition, it honours the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God’s command.

Speaking on the issue, a Muslim cleric Mujahideen bin Ibrahim, says apart from ram, Muslims should know that Islam permits three other different types of animals to be slaughtered for the Eid.

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According to Algerian Muslim scholar, Sheikh Muhammad Ali Ferkus, the animals that can be slaughtered are camels (camel and she-camel), cows (cow and ox), sheep (ram and ewe) and goats (Billy goat and nanny goat).

Sheikh Ferkus advised Muslims that, before purchasing any of these, they should ask for the age of the animal, as an underage animal cannot be slaughtered for the Eid-ul-Adha feast.

Mature animals that are up to a year old can be identified through the horns

Age of sacrificial animals
Various Islamic scholars warn that the age of the animal individuals plan to slaughter should meet a minimum of one year of age for ram and goat, two years for cows and buffalo, and five years for camels.

Sheikh Ferkus on his web page, ferkous.com, indicates that, “A sacrificial animal is not accepted under these ages for all these kinds, except in case it is difficult to get a sheep (ram) fulfilling the required age. In such a case, a Jadha, which is a six-month-old sheep, suffices,” he says.

Apart from the maturity of the ram, Islamic scholars say the ram should not have any form of deformity in any part of its body such as a slit ear, broken horn or leg. “It should be a wholesome animal for sacrifice,” Sheikh Ibrahim said.

While an animal with deformity may be obvious, how can one ascertain the age of an animal?

Islam forbids anyone from borrowing money to buy a ram, goat, cow or camel because you are not seeking to impress people but you are worshipping Allah

Sheikh Ibrahim explains, “Mature animals that are up to a year old can be identified through the horns. The horn of a ram will make a bend; the number of twists on the horns is the number of years of the ram.

“The same thing with the cow. The cow’s horns may not twist, but it will bend. If the cow’s horn has not shot out enough to bend, then, it is not mature for slaughtering for Sallah.

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“Goat’s horn will not twist, but a mature goat’s horn must have more than one finger. If it is not longer than your longest finger, then, it is not up to one year, no matter the size.

“Meanwhile, if the person selling insisted the ram is up to a year, you will see the commencement of the twisting, as some animals have stunted growth. However, some do feed the animals some kind of feed to make them grow big.”

You are not going to miss anything if you don’t slaughter animal for Eid

Meanwhile, the clerics advise individuals who are incapable of purchasing any of the required animals due to financial reasons to not vex themselves on account of that.

“If you have your children’s school fees to pay or other equally important commitments and you don’t have any money to spare for rams, Islam forbids anyone from borrowing to buy a ram, goat, cow or camel.

“You are not slaughtering for people to be impressed but you are worshipping Allah. Do not put yourself under unnecessary pressure. What Allah has not given you, He does not ask from you.

“You are not going to miss anything if you don’t slaughter animal for Eid. The people around you who slaughter animals are obligated to give you,” Sheikh Ibrahim enthused.

Bridget Benson
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