Answered by Shaykh Idris Watts
Question: Can someone share in the price of a sacrificial animal on Eid in the Maliki School? Our family usually gives one sheep for the whole family. Is this correct?
Answer: It depends. The Eid sacrifice is an emphasized sunnah (should not be left out of laziness) for every free Muslim whether they are male or female, young or old, resident or traveling. It is not an obligation (wājib) unlike in other schools of law. This is as long as the money they spend on the animal they sacrifice is not needed for one’s basic annual expenses. If that money is needed, then it is not an emphasized sunnah for them to sacrifice an animal on Eid. Likewise, the person performing Hajj is not required to sacrifice for Eid because he is required to sacrifice an animal for his Hajj rites (hady) for Hajj.
A man is responsible for himself and his dependents i.e. those he is legally responsible to support such as sons before puberty, daughters until they get married and his parents if they are poor i.e. they don’t have enough money to cover their basic annual expenses for the whole year and is in need of that money they would use to sacrifice an animal. As for his wife, he is not required to provide for her in this regard. Therefore, she is obliged to sacrifice an animal herself behalf as well.
However, it is permissible for one person to slaughter on the behalf of others even if it is an obligation for those others as well. Their number can even exceed seven and they can all to share in the reward (not price) as long as:
i) they do not share in the price
ii) that they all live in the same house
iii) that they be related by blood such as a brother, son or daughter or the person be their wife
iv) that the other people be amongst those for whom the person provides financially either as a legal responsibility like a son or wife or out of good will such as a brother or uncle.
You can sacrifice a camel, cow, buffalo, goat or sheep. The sheep must have entered its second lunar year. As for a goat, it must have entered its second year by a month or more, as cow must have entered its fourth year and a camel must have entered its sixth year. However, you cannot come together as a group of people and share in the price of the animal, no matter how expensive it is.
Therefore, to summarize, it is an emphasized sunnah for every Muslim young or old, male of female to sacrifice an animal, but it is enough for the head of the family to sacrifice one animal on all everyone’s behalf as long as the group do not share in the price, as long as they live under the same roof and the head of the family provides for them all financially. If they share in the price, it will not be valid from any of them. Likewise, if people of the family came together and each paid a sum of money for one sheep, cow or camel, it would not be valid according to the School of Imam Malik. But this would not mean that they would have to make up for mistakes made in the past because sacrificing an animal is a sunnah and not a obligation (wājib) in the Maliki School.
Abu Zahra Foundation
Shaykh Idris Watts accepted Islam in 1998 in the first year of his Arabic Language Degree at the University of Leeds. In the second year of the degree programme, he set off to the ancient city of Fez, Morocco to further his Arabic Language studies. During this period he attended circles of knowledge and zawiyahs around Fez. Shaykh Idris graduated in 2002 from the University with First Class Honors and also received an award of excellence for his language skills. He moved back to Fez to embark on an intensive period of study. He attended classes at the Qarawiyeen University in the Old City for the next four years studying with the likes of the adept grammarian Shaykh Abdel-Hayy al-’Amrāwī and many other teachers. He also had the opportunity of sitting with the students of the late Shaykh Makkī bin Kīrān, (may God bless his soul), who was a master of the ten variant recitations of the Qurān and studied Tajwīd and four of the variant recitations with them.
He returned to England in 2007, and recently took up the full-time post of Resident Scholar at the Abu Zahra Foundation.