Udhiyah, sometimes termed qurbani or dhabhah, refers to the act of slaughtering an animal (a camel, cow, sheep or goat) for Allah on the 10th of Dhu’l-Hijjah, Eid al-Ad’ha, the main festival of Islam.
According to the Hanafi school of thought, it is wajib (compulsory) whilst the other schools of thought generally argue it is sunnah mu’akadah. No matter which school you follow, performing it carries a great reward as this is something the Prophet (saw) did personally and encouraged his followers to do too.
The Prophet (saw) said (on the day of Eid), "The first thing we will do on this day of ours, is to offer the (Eid) prayer and then return to make the sacrifice. Whoever does so, he acted according to our Sunnah…" (Bukhari)
The Hanafi school states any adult, sane Muslim who possesses the nisab value that requires he give zakat must do it, whilst the Maliki and Hanbali schools state the person responsible for the household can do it on their behalf.
Ata bin Yasar reported, ‘I asked Abu Ayub (Al-Ansari) how the sacrifices (of animals) were done during the time of the Messenger of Allah (saw). He said, “A man would sacrifice a sheep for himself and the people in his household”’. (Tirmidhi)
It has not been mentioned the Prophet commanded his household members to sacrifice individual sheep on behalf of themselves. In fact, he would say when he sacrificed a ram, “this is on my behalf, that of my household and the ummah of Muhammed.” (Muslim)
Many households today often have two or more people who pay zakat so the safest option is for all those who pay zakat to offer their own.
An udhiyah usually comprises a small animal, such as a sheep or a goat, or a share in a larger animal, like a cow. Either is fine.
One can also sacrifice for others:
‘The Prophet (saw) sacrificed for the one who could not sacrifice from his Ummah, one who bore witness to the Oneness of Allah and (his) Prophethood’. (Tabarani and Ahmad)
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