Performing Sacrifice in Another Country

By Darul Ifta, Darul Uloom Karachi
Posted: 6 Zul-Hijjah 1423, 8 February 2003

Q.) A person living in Pakistan asks for the sacrifice to be done on his behalf in Afghanistan. If Afghanistan celebrates Eid a day earlier, as is normally the case, and the sacrifice is carried out on that day, would it be valid or not? [Muhammad Abdullah, Karachi]

A.) Sacrifice becomes wajib (obligatory) based on time i.e. from daybreak on 10th of Zhul-Hijjah to sunset on the 12th. Owning sufficient funds (qualifying amount for Zakat) is a condition for this obligation. For a city dweller it is a condition of execution that the slaughter be performed after Eid prayers. This means that sacrifice does not become obligatory before day break on Yaum-in-Nahar (10th of Zhul-Hijjah). Just like Salat does not become obligatory before its time, and if offered would not discharge the later obligation, in a similar way any sacrifice done before its time would not be valid.

Those statements of Fuqaha that explicitly or implicitly suggest that the validity of sacrifice depends upon the location of the animal actually refer to the validity of execution, not obligation. For execution, certainly the location of the animal is the determining factor because it is an act which is centered around the animal. On this basis, the Fuqaha have derived some corollaries. For example:

1. If a city dweller sends his animal to a village, while he remains behind in the city, and if the animal is slaughtered at daybreak, the sacrifice would be valid even though in the city of the person on whose behalf it is being done Eid prayer has not been offered yet.

2. Conversely, if a villager sends his animal to the city, while he remains behind in the village, and if the animal is sacrificed at daybreak in the city then the sacrifice would not be valid even though Eid prayer is not even wajib in the village.

3. Zaid lives in Karachi while his family is in Peshawar. He writes to his family asking them to sacrifice, say a goat, on his behalf. The validity of this sacrifice will be dependent upon the time of Eid Salat in Peshawar, not in Karachi where Zaid is residing.

All of the above examples deal with the issue of execution and in these cases the location of the animal is the determining factor.

But we should remember that execution becomes valid only after the act has become an obligation in the first place. The obligation is dependent upon the person who carries the obligation. Therefore the obligation of sacrifice is to be determined based on the location of the person and not the location of the animal. To determine whether the obligation is there or not, one needs to see whether in the place of residence of the person is it Yaum-un-Nahar or not. If Yaum-un-Nahr has occurred then obligation is determined and if other conditions are met, then this person can either perform the sacrifice himself or someone else can perform it with his permission. In both cases the obligation will be discharged. But if in his location, Yaum-un-Nahr has not yet arrived, then just like he cannot perform the sacrifice himself, in a similar way, nobody else can perform it on his behalf, even though in the city of his agent Yaum-un-Nahr may have started.

Thus it should be clear that for a person living in Pakistan and asking for the sacrifice to be done on his behalf in Afghanistan, the obligation will be determined based on the calendar in Pakistan. If Eid-ul-Adha is observed in Afghanistan a day earlier and if the sacrifice is done on the first day on behalf of this person, then the sacrifice will not be valid. Thus it is mandatory for people asking their agents to perform sacrifice on their behalf, to require them to do so on a day which is a valid day of sacrifice in the location of the person making the request. Further, for a person living in the UK, the sacrifice done on his behalf in Pakistan would not be valid unless it is done after day break of Yaum-un-Nahr in the UK.

Mufti Ismatullah, Darul Ifta, Darul Uloom Karachi.

Concurred by Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani, Mufti Muhammad Rafi Usmani, and many others. 23 Shaban 1420/2 December 1999

(Translated from Monthly Albalagh Urdu, Zul-Qa'dah 1420/February 2000 pg. 47-50. Translated by Khalid Baig.)