بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Recently, a respected scholar -may Allāh preserve him- responded to a question posed to him on Twitter regarding the current situation of those who are struggling and whether giving them charity rather than sacrificing an animal this Eid was preferable. The following is his response:
“Giving charity to needy family members is more rewarding than uḍḥiyah (qurbānī). Saʿīd b. al-Musayyib (d. 95) said he would rather give a poor person three dirhams than sacrifice (meaning if someone is needy that is more rewarding). In current circumstances, you may follow this.”
Firstly, we will address the ascription of this opinion to Saʿīd b. al-Musayyib.
Ibn al-Mundhir penned a chapter discussing the difference of opinion on if giving charity or slaughtering is best. As mentioned in his passage, there is a difference of opinion. Opining that charity is best was attributed to al-Shaʿbī, Abū Thawr, and a few others. However, after consulting several reference works, an attribution of it to Ibn al-Musayyib was not located. There is a passage that Ibn Ḥazm related that seems similar to what was tweeted. It is:
وصح أن الأضحية ليست واجبة عن سعيد بن المسيب والشعبي وأنه قال لأن أتصدق بثلاثة دراهم أحب إلي من أن أضحي
“It is correct that uḍḥiyah is not obligatory according to Saʿīd b. al-Musayyib and al-Shaʿbī. And he (Shaʿbī) said: ‘To give three dirhams as charity is better than slaughtering.’”
The opinion preferring charity in this passage is being ascribed to al-Shaʿbī and not to Ibn al-Musayyib. This is how it is presented in the reference works. Furthermore, ʿAbd al-Razzāq related Ibn al-Musayyib’s opinion on this issue. Ibn al-Musayyib said:
لأن أضحي بشاة أحب إلي من أن أتصدق بمائة درهم
“Slaughtering is better than giving a hundred dirhams in charity.”
Thus, his opinion on that uḍḥiyah is not obligatory may have been conflated with Shaʿbī’s opinion that charity should be given. Ibn al-Musayyib’s opinion, as ʿAbd al-Razzāq related, is that it is best for one to slaughter. In fact, he opines that slaughtering is better than giving a hundred dirhams as charity.
Even if Ibn al-Musayyib did not maintain this view, it is documented and related from others. Still, those who held this opinion are few. The unanimous verdict found within the recognized schools of jurisprudence maintains that one should slaughter. And the evidence on which this is based is compelling.
It is mentioned in the Qurʾān where Allāh says:
فَصَلِّ لِرَبِّكَ وَانْحَرْ
“Pray to your Lord and offer the sacrifice.”
وَيَذْكُرُوا اسْمَ اللَّهِ فِي أَيَّامٍ مَعْلُومَاتٍ عَلَى مَا رَزَقَهُمْ مِنْ بَهِيمَةِ الْأَنْعَامِ فَكُلُوا مِنْهَا وَأَطْعِمُوا الْبَائِسَ الْفَقِيرَ
“…And they shall mention Allāh’s name during the known days over what He provided them of grazing beasts to sacrifice. Eat from them and feed the afflicted ones, the indigent poor.”
وَلِكُلِّ أُمَّةٍ جَعَلْنَا مَنْسَكًا لِيَذْكُرُوا اسْمَ اللَّهِ عَلَى مَا رَزَقَهُمْ مِنْ بَهِيمَةِ الْأَنْعَامِ فَإِلَهُكُمْ إِلَهٌ وَاحِدٌ فَلَهُ أَسْلِمُوا وَبَشِّرِ الْمُخْبِتِينَ
“For every community, We appointed a sacrificial rite so that they may mention the name of God over the grazing beasts that they sacrifice from what He provided them. Your God is One God. Submit to Him and give glad tidings to those who humble themselves.”
وَالْبُدْنَ جَعَلْنَاهَا لَكُمْ مِنْ شَعَائِرِ اللَّهِ لَكُمْ
“As for the sacrificial camels and cattle, We have made sacrificing them from among the prescribed rituals of God for you…”
Additionally, offering the sacrifice was observed by the Prophet (ṣallā Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) and his Companions, including the four Rightly Guided Caliphs who succeeded him. If giving charity rather than slaughtering was best, they would have practiced on it. However, they did not. Rather, they continued to observe the ritual of sacrificing an animal. This observance continued in the generations that came after until today. ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā is coming in a few days. If one finds himself legally accountable to offer the sacrifice, he should do so, inshāʾ Allāh. By observing it, one will be adhering to a Qurʾānic commandment according to how the Prophet (ṣallaAllāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) and his noble Companions observed it.
We acknowledge the financial difficulty that many are facing now. The Covid-19 pandemic essentially shut down major sectors of many economies, which led to lots of people losing their jobs. This discussion underlies a financial consideration; thus, it may be important to discuss one of the conditions for it that relates to one’s financial person. Namely, if one is wealthy (ar. yasār), he must slaughter. And the jurists evaluated this differently. The Ḥanafīs consider that one who possesses two-hundred dirhams or twenty dīnārs, excluding what is needed for his home, basic needs, and debts, is wealthy. That is equal to $5,310.
If one falls below the threshold, then he will not be considered wealthy. And for this reason, he does not need to slaughter. If he would not slaughter and give charity to his family, this would be permissible. And this is not the same as believing that ṣadaqah should be given in place of uḍḥiyah/qurbānī. And if Allāh blessed one with an amount of money that is above the threshold, then he is considered wealthy. He should slaughter and also help his family out financially as he is well-off and thus able to do so.
And Allāh knows best.
Compiled by Mln. Yaqub Abdurrahman, Dhū al-Ḥijjah 2, 1441
 Dr. Yasir Qadhi (@yasirqadhi), “Giving charity to needy family members is more rewarding than uḍḥiyah (qurbānī),” Twitter, July 20, 2020, www.twitter.com/YasirQadhi/status/1285373599726080000.
 Ishrāf, 3:405.
 Ibn Baṭṭāl’s Sharḥ al-Bukhārī, 6:7; Ibn al-Mundhir’s Ishrāf, 3:405; Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr’s Istidhkār, 5:227; Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr’s Tamhīd, 23:192; al-Mawsūʿat al-Fiqhīyah al-Kuwaytīyah, 5:107; Ibn Qudāmah’s Mughnī, 9:432.
 Muḥallā, 6:10.
 Muṣannaf ʿAbd al-Razzāq, 4:387.
 Mughnī, 9:435.
 Fatḥ al-Bārī, 10:3.
 Majmūʿ, 8:383.
 Q, 108:2.
 Q, 22:28.
 Q, 22:34.
 Q, 22:36.
 al-Mawsūʿat al-Fiqhīyah al-Kuwaytīyah, 5:107.
 Radd al-Muḥtār, 5:198.
 Masjid DarusSalam, “Zakat Calculator,” July 22, 2020, http://www.masjidds.org/zakat-calculator/. Today’s gold price is $60.70 per gram. The current value of gold x 87.48 grams = $5,310.