Is it permissible to give some of the meat of animal sacrifice (for qorban) as payment to those who helped slaughter the animals?
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
There is a sound and valid hadith regarding the above-mentioned issue where there is a direct prohibition to give some of the meat of animal sacrifice as payment for those who helped slaughter the animals. ‘Ali bin Abi Talib RA narrated the hadith stating:
أَمَرَنِي النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَنْ أَقُومَ عَلَى الْبُدْنِ، وَلاَ أُعْطِيَ عَلَيْهَا شَيْئًا فِي جِزَارَتِهَا
"The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) appointed me to be in charge of his sacrificial animals, and commanded me to distribute all their meat, hides and saddlery to the poor, and not to give anything from them to the slaughterer."
Sahih al-Bukhari (1716) and Sahih Muslim (1317)
While in another narration by Muslim, there is an addition from ‘Ali bin Abi Talib RA where he said: “We pay those who helped with the slaughter from our own (property).”
Al-Imam al-Son’ani Rahimahullah commented on the above hadith in his book Subul al-Salam stating:
“The hadith clearly states that the skin and meat of the sacrificed animal are all distributed in the form of donation. It is prohibited to be given to those who helped with the slaughter even for a small amount. The reason is, it will be similar to trade for it is considered as a payment. The ruling for animal sacrifice for qorban is the same as the animal sacrifice for hajj, where the skin and meat of the sacrificed animal are prohibited to be sold and even a small amount of it is also prohibited to be given to the slaughterer as wages.” (See Subul al-Salam. Dar al-Hadith, 2/537)
Next, al-Imam al-Nawawi Rahimahullah states in his book al-Minhaj where he commented on the hadiths in Sahih Muslim saying:
“It is prohibited to give anything from the sacrificed animal to al-Jazzar (slaughterer) and this is the opinion of our madhab. This is also the opinion of ‘Atho, al-Nakha’ie, Malik, Ahmad, Ishak and it is narrated from Ibn al-Munzir from Ibnu Umar from Ahmad and Ishak that it is permissible to sell the skin of animal sacrifice and donate the proceeds to charity.” (See al-Minhaj Syarh Sahih Muslim. Dar Ihya’ al-Turath al-‘Arabi, 9/65)
In another book of his al-Majmu Syarh al-Muhazzab, al-Imam al-Nawawi reiterated the same opinion.
According to the above discussion and reviewing the evidences and scholars’ opinion regarding this issue, we would like to state that it is prohibited to give any part of animal sacrifice to the slaughterer as payment for them.
As for an alternative solution for payment, we could take the example of ‘Ali bin Abi Talib RA in the hadith in Sahih Muslim where he said that the wages for the slaughterer can be paid by the person/organization who sacrifices the animal using their own property/assets.
Mosques which are responsible in managing the qorban could also include a reasonable cost for each qorban portion; considering the payment of slaughterers for their expertise and time, and other related costs such as the transportation costs and others.
As for the meat of the sacrificed animal, it is prohibited to be given as payment for the slaughterer. However, if the slaughterer is among the poor or needy, some of the meat can be given to him, distributing it to him because he is a poor or needy person and not as payment for his work of slaughtering the animal. It is also permissible for the person who is performing the worship of sacrifice to give some of the meat to the slaughterer as a gift and not as payment for the slaughter, for it is the right of those who perform sacrifice. Wallahua’lam.