Is Sacrifice of a Single Goat Enough for the Whole Family?

 Is sacrifice of a single goat enough for the whole family:

A goat cannot be permissible on behalf of multiple persons as mentioned in this Hadith of Sunan Ibn Majah:

It is narrated on the authority of Hadhrat Abdullah Bin Abbas (May Allah be well pleased with them):  One person came to the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) and said:  I have to slaughter a camel (on behalf of 7 persons) and I can afford it as well.  However, I am not able to get a camel at all.  The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) ordered him to buy 7 goats and slaughter them.

(Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadith No. 3256)

This Hadith has also been mentioned by the great Hadith-expert of Deccan Hadhrat Abdullah Shah Sahab Naqshbandi Mujaddidi Qadri (May Allah shower His mercy on him) in Zujajatul Masabeeh, Vol. 1, Pg. No. no. 405/406.

If in the sacrifice of a goat, 7 persons could participate, then the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) would have said that if a camel cannot be gotten for sacrifice, then buy a goat and slaughter it on the behalf of 7 persons, but the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) did not order that a goat be slaughtered, but said that 7 goats should be slaughtered.

Also, if participation in the sacrifice of a goat were permissible the way it is in cows, camels, etc.:

The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said: A cow is on the behalf of 7 persons and a camel is on the behalf of 7 persons.

(Sunan Abu Dawood, Hadith No. 2810)

Then, the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) would have said the same about goats as well.  I have not seen any Hadith to this effect in the canons of Hadith.

Now, the Hadith in which the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) is reported to have slaughtered one sheep on behalf of His family and one sheep on behalf of His Ummah, the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) actually included them in the reward of that sacrifice.  As given in Sunan Ibn Majah:

It is narrated on the authority of Hadhrat Aisha Siddiqua and Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (May Allah be well pleased with them) that whenever the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) would decide to sacrifice animals, He (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) would select 2 plump, horned, spotted and castrated goats and would sacrifice one on the behalf of those people of the Ummah who testified to the Unity of Allah Most High and the Prophethood of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) and another on behalf of Himself and His family.

(Sunan Ibn Majah, Pg No. 225/226, Hadith No: 3113)

It is clear from this Hadith that the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) included His Ahle Bait (the family of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam)) in the reward of that sacrifice, as the author of Injaah Ul Haajah writes about this:

Translation: Slaughtering one sheep on behalf of the whole Ummah means that the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) benevolently included the whole Ummah in the reward of that sacrifice.

(Injaah Ul Haajah Sharh Sunan Ibn Majah, Pg. No. 226)

This shows that in supererogatory (Nafl) sacrifice of a goat, it is permissible to include more than one person in the reward.  However for a Compulsory (Wajib) sacrifice, one goat can be on behalf of one person only, not more than one.  Imam Nawawi (May Allah shower His mercy on him) has said:

Translation: The scholars have all agreed that participation in the sacrifice of a goat is not correct.  (Sharh Muslim Lin Nawawi, Pg. No. 424)

A similar ruling is also mentioned in Injaah Ul Haajah, Pg. No. 226.

Author: Mufti Hafidh Syed Ziauddin Naqshbandi Qadri,
Professor, Islamic Law, Jamia Nizamia.

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