Nadhr (Vows) To Sacrifice an Animal in Islam: Its Ruling and Conditions?

19 Jun 2023
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Some Muslims commit themselves to perform acts of obedience or charity in the event of a favorable occurrence, such as: the recovery of a sick person or the return of a traveler. This commitment is known as a Nadhr (vow). 

Nadhr in islam is considered an act of worship when it is solely dedicated to Allah, but it is not permissible to intend it to remove harm. For example, you should not assume that merely uttering a vow will guarantee the recovery of a sick relative. The intention behind a Nadhr should be to express gratitude to Allah for His blessings after alleviating the affliction.


However, Nadhr is strictly prohibited if you direct it toward someone other than Allah. For instance, if you vow to sacrifice an animal to your boss for a promotion, you are expressing gratitude to the boss instead of Allah. But the sacrifice should be as gratitude to Allah for providing you with better opportunities or increased provisions.

Since the subject of a vow of sacrifice involves intricate details that may be confusing in some instances, we will delve into the specifics of a Nadhr of sacrificing an animal within this article.


What Is a Nadhr of Sacrificing an Animal


A Nadhr of sacrificing an animal is when you vow to sacrifice a sheep or any permissible animal as an act of gratitude and a means to draw closer to Allah upon the occurrence of a particular event. In a Nadhr, your intention should be solely dedicated to Allah, and apply the Nadhr the way you express it, as Allah has mentioned the obligation to fulfill vows in Surah Al-Hajj, verse 29: " Then let them groom themselves,1 fulfill their vows, and circle the Ancient House." Some examples include:

  • If you vow to sacrifice a calf and give it to the poor and needy people, you must sacrifice a calf and give all of it to them.
  • If you vow to sacrifice a sheep and present it to your relatives, you must fulfill that vow. However, the poor and needy people have greater rights than others.


Nadhr of Sacrificing an Animal Ruling


Fulfilling a Nadhr is obligatory in Islam, although it is generally unpreferable. The Nadhr rules, including different types of Nadhr, are mentioned in various noble verses and Prophetic traditions, such as:

  • In Surah Al-Insan, verse 7, Allah says: "They ˹are those who˺ fulfill ˹their˺ vows and fear a Day of sweeping horror."
  • Ibn `Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet, may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him, forbade vowing and said: "Indeed, a vow does not bring any good, rather it is only a means to extract something from the miser." It is important to clarify the intended meaning of this prohibition. The Prophet prohibited making a vow before its occurrence. However, once the event has occurred, it becomes obligatory to fulfill what was vowed.

If you cannot fulfill your vow, the obligation remains until you can. If you cannot fulfill it at all, you must pay Kaffara. You cannot assign someone else to do it on your behalf. However, you can request someone to carry out the vow in another country, for example, due to lower prices in that country, as stated by the Fatwa issued by the Iftaa Department in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. If the person making the vow passes away, the responsibility for fulfilling the vow falls upon their children until it is fulfilled.


Conditions for a Nadhr of Sacrificing an Animal


The following conditions apply to a Nadhr of sacrificing an animal:

  • You must utter the Nadhr in a specific form to be considered a vow, such as saying, "I vow to Allah" or "I vow upon myself." The phrase "I will sacrifice a sheep" is not considered a vow.
  • You cannot make a vow involving disobedience or fulfill that vow under any circumstances. The Prophet (peace be upon him) informed us in a noble Hadith: "Whoever vows that he will be obedient to Allah, should remain obedient to Him; and whoever made a vow that he will disobey Allah, should not disobey Him."


Conditions for the Dhabihah


The religious texts do not explicitly mention the conditions for the sacrifice of a vow. However, the majority of scholars agree that the requirements applicable to the sacrifice of an Udhiyah should also apply to the Nadhr of sacrificing an animal, such as:

  • It should be from the livestock category, such as camels, cattle, sheep, or goats.
  • Camels should be at least five years old.
  • Cattle should be at least two years old.
  • Sheep should be at least one year old.
  • The animal should be free from any defects that decrease its value, such as blindness, chronic skin disease, deep wounds, lameness, emaciation, loss of a limb, and others.
  • The person should own the animal to sacrifice it and not entrust, steal, or mortgage it.

The only exception where these conditions do not apply is when someone explicitly vows to sacrifice a particular animal. In that case, it is obligatory to sacrifice that specific animal, regardless of any defects it may have.

Although Nadhr is prohibited according to the noble Sunnah, you must fulfill what you have vowed. Also, you can pay the sacrifice cost to a trusted relative or a reliable organization to fulfill the vow on your behalf. As the proper fulfillment of the Nadhr of sacrificing an animal involves offering the sacrifice to the poor and needy Muslims, Tkyiet Um Ali has decided to provide an opportunity for those who have made a Nadhr of sacrificing an animal to fulfill their vows through its Udhiyah and  Dhabihah program. Fulfill your vow now with Tkyiet Um Ali to ensure that your sacrifice reaches those deserving among the poor and needy people.