A Sheep Less than 1-Year-Old for Sacrifice (Qurbānī)


There was always a debate on the age of animal. If you have a healthy grown sheep that’s balig (which can happen at 8 or 9 months) then??

Answer: بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Do not slaughter but a musinnah, unless it is difficult for you, in which case you can slaughter a jadhaʿ lamb.”[1]

The scholars agree that a musinnah are the following ages of the following animals:

A goat, she-goat:One Year
A sheep, ram:One Year
A cow, buffalo, bull:Two Years
A camel:Five Years[2]

As for the jadhaʿ lamb, then Ḥazrat Muftī Ahmed Ṣāḥib Khanpūrī حفظه الله ونفعنا به says in his ‘fatāwā’:

“In the books of Fiqh, the sacrifice (qurbānī) of the jadhaʿ of the sheep has been permitted on the condition that it is so big that if let loose amongst one-year-olds, one would not be able to differentiate between them from afar.[3]

This is restricted to sheep. Therefore, the sacrifice of a jadhaʿ of a goat, whether male or female, will not be valid. Thus, in all the books it is explicitly mentioned that the sacrifice of a goat or she-goat will only be valid if it is one full year old [or older], otherwise not.

Many of the ḥanafī fuqahā (jurist) explain jadhaʿ to mean a sheep which has lived the major part of a year. However, there is a difference in pinpointing what is meant by “the major part of a year.”

  1. The author of ‘Muḥīṭ’ said: The sheep which has entered the eighth month.
  2. Zaʿfaranī writes that the sheep is of seven months. (The opinion of eight or nine months has also been transmitted from him.)
  3. In ‘Khazānah the following is mentioned: The sheep which has lived more than six months.[4]

Since [the great ḥanafī jurist] Qādhī-Khān has only mentioned the opinion of ‘Khazānah, it is the one given preference.

The summary is that if a sheep is older than six months and it is so big that when it is let loose amongst other one-year-old sheep, one cannot tell the difference between it and the other one year old sheep, then in such a case there is a consensus [of later scholars] that its qurbāni will be valid.”[5]

Note: If a jadhaʿ lamb is small in size, then its sacrifice (qurbānī) is not valid. [6]

Note: If a one-year-old sheep is small in size, its sacrifice (qurbānī) is still valid.[7]

Note: From this ḥadīth above, it may seem that the only situation one is allowed to sacrifice a jadhaʿ lamb is if they are unable to afford or acquire a musinnah one. However, due to many other aḥadīth which give general permission, all the fuqahā agree that one is allowed to use a jadhaʿ lamb even if they can afford or acquire a musinnah one. Yes, Imām Nawawī رحمه الله states that the ḥadīth do indicate to it being best (mustḥab) to use a musinnah sheep instead of a jadhaʿ lamb.[8]

And Allāh Taʿālā knows best

Ibn Suleman

Dārul Iftā wal Irshād

Sirājul ʿUlūm Institute

Reviewed and concurred by:

Muftī Waheeb Saiyid

Muftī Muhammad Mahdi (Guiding Stars Academy)

Muftī Reza Deonarine

Muftī Mujahid Dan Lubrin

[1] Abū Dāwūd #2797

[2] Kitābul Masāʾil Vol.2 Pg.312

[3] Imām Sarakhsī explains it as: “This is when the jadhaʿ is so large that when it is mixed with the one-year-olds one will not be able to differentiate between them at first glance.” [Al-Mabsūṭ 2/183] The author of ‘Hidāyah’ expressed it in the following manner: “This is when it (the jadhaʿ) is so large that if it is mixed with the one-year-olds, it would be unclear to the onlooker from afar [ whether it is a jadhaʿ or a one year old]” [Al-Bināyah 12/47]

[4] While many scholars have listed the differing opinions, the following great ḥanafī jurists sufficed on or chose the opinion of six months: Imām Abū Bakr Jaṣṣāṣ (d. 370 AH) in ‘Sharḥ Mukhtaṣar Ṭaḥāwī’ 7/324, Imām Qudūrī (d. 428 AH) in ‘Sharḥ Mukhtaṣar Karakhī’ 6/372, ʿAllāmah Ḥaskafī (d.1088) in ‘Al-Durr’ and ʿAllāmah Shāmī (d. 1256) in ‘Raddul Muḥtār’ 9/465, ʿAllāmah Al-Maidānī (d.1298) in ‘Al-Lubāb’ 4/592

[5] Maḥmūdul Fatāwā Vol.7 Pg.448 bi taqdīm wa taʾkhīr

[6] This is already understood by their restriction of ‘big’. However, the following scholars explicitly mentioned it as well: Imām Ṭāhir Al-Bukhārī (d. after 600 AH) in ‘Khulāsatul Fatāwā’ 4/314, Al-ʿAynī in ‘Al-Bināyah’ 12/47, Ṭaḥṭāwī ʿala Durr 11/20, ʿAllāmah Shāmī in ‘Raddul Muḥtār’ 9/466

[7] ibid

[8] See: Badhlul Majhūd Vol.9 Pg.543

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