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What is the ruling of giving non-Muslims the meat of animal sacrifice (qorban)?



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.

Allah SWT states:

فَكُلُواْ مِنۡهَا وَأَطۡعِمُواْ ٱلۡقَانِعَ وَٱلۡمُعۡتَرَّۚ كَذَٰلِكَ سَخَّرۡنَٰهَا لَكُمۡ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَشۡكُرُونَ

“Then eat from them and feed the needy and the beggar. Thus, have We subjected them to you that you may be grateful.”

Surah al-Hajj (36)

Al-Imam Ibn Kathir Rahimahullah in Tafsir al-Quran al-‘Azim (5/428) commented on the above verse stating, some of the salafs said that it is permissible to eat some of the sacrificed animals. Al-Imam Malik Rahimahullah said that it is sunnah to eat from the sacrificed animal and some even said it to be an obligation according to some of al-Syafi’eyyah scholars.

Al-Imam al-Nawawi Rahimahullah mentioned in al-Majmu’ that al-Imam Ibn Munzir Rahimahullah said that according to the consensus of scholars, it is permissible to feed the poor who are among the Muslims from the meat of animal of sacrifice and the only khilaf (difference of opinions among scholars) is whether it is permissible to distribute it to the poor from among the non-Muslims of ahl al-zimmah.

Hence, here we include the opinions related to this issue as stated by al-Imam al-Nawawi Rahimahullah in his book al-Majmu’ Syarh al-Muhazzab (8/425) which is also stated by Ibn Qudamah al-Maqdisi Rahimahullah in his book al-Mughni (9/450):

  • Al-Imam Abu Hanifah Rahimahullah gave a rukhsah (facilitation) to give the meat of animal sacrifice to the poor people from among the kafir zimmi. This is the opinion of al-Hasan al-Basri Rahimahullah and Abu Thaur Rahimahullah.
  • The opinion from madhab Maliki states that it is makruh (undesirable) to feed the Jews and the Christians.
  • Madhab Hanbali’s opinion states that it is permissible to gift the non-Muslims with the sunnah meat of the animal sacrifice. However, if the sacrifice is an obligatory sacrifice, then it is impermissible.
  • In madhab Syafi’e, the famous opinion states that it is impermissible, for the worship of sacrifice is a form of obedience to get closer to Allah SWT.

In our opinion, for this particular issue, the aspects of maslahah and Siyasah syar’iyyah should be taken into consideration in order for it to be an important tool of dakwah to our non-Muslim society.  Here, we state:

  1. If there are non-Muslims living in our neighbourhood and they are known to be kind in society and if there is an excess of the meat of animal sacrifice, then it is permissible to give it to them.
  2. However, if the meat of animal sacrifice is just enough for Muslims, then the Muslims in need are prioritized. Wallahua’lam.

The reason is, there is evidence from the Quran that commands us to do good to other non-Muslims. Allah SWT states:

لَّا يَنۡهَىٰكُمُ ٱللَّهُ عَنِ ٱلَّذِينَ لَمۡ يُقَٰتِلُوكُمۡ فِي ٱلدِّينِ وَلَمۡ يُخۡرِجُوكُم مِّن دِيَٰرِكُمۡ أَن تَبَرُّوهُمۡ وَتُقۡسِطُوٓاْ إِلَيۡهِمۡۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحِبُّ ٱلۡمُقۡسِطِينَ 

“Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes - from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.”

Surah al-Mumtahanah (8)

Giving the meat of animal sacrifice is also considered as doing good and being righteous to the non-Muslims which is permissible according to Allah SWT.

Furthermore, there is also another hadith which states that we should do good to our neighbours, regardless of whether they are Muslims or not. The hadith is from Abdullah bin ‘Amr al-‘As R.Anhuma; Mujahid said that Abdullah ibn Amr slaughtered a sheep and said: Have you presented a gift from it to my neighbour, the Jew, for I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say:

مَا زَالَ جِبْرِيلُ يُوصِينِي بِالْجَارِ حَتَّى ظَنَنْتُ أَنَّهُ سَيُوَرِّثُه

“Gabriel kept on commending the neighbour to me so that I thought he would make them heirs.”

Sunan Abu Daud (5152) and Sunan al-Tirmizi (1943)

Hopefully, this explanation could give us some understanding of our religion and help us in practising the sanctioned worship of sacrifice in the coming month of Zulhijjah. Wallahua’lam.