Animal sacrifice

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Sacrifice of a pig in ancient Greece cup, 510–500 BC

Animal sacrifice is the ritual killing and offering of an animal usually as part of a religious ritual or to appease or maintain favour with a deity. Animal sacrifices were common throughout Europe and the Ancient Near East until the spread of Christianity in Late Antiquity, and continue in some cultures or religions today. Human sacrifice, where it existed, was always much more rare.


  • The sacrificial camels We have made for you As among the Symbols from Allah: in them is (much) Good for you: then pronounce The name of Allah over them As they line up (for sacrifice):When they are down On their sides (after slaughter), Eat ye thereof, and feed Such as (beg not but) Live in contentment,And such as beg With due humility: thus have We made animals subject To you, that ye May be grateful.
    • Quran 22:36. Yusuf Ali’s translation
  • It is the duty of every free Muslim arrived at the age of maturity to offer a sacrifice, on the ‘Idu’l-Azha’, or ‘Festival of the Sacrifice’, provided he be then possessed of a Nisab (i.e., sufficient property), and be not a traveller. This is the opinion of Abu Hanifah, Muhammad, Zufar, and Hasan, and likewise of Abu Yusuf, according to one tradition. According to ash-Shafi’i, sacrifice is not an indispensable duty, but only laudable. At-Tahawi reports that, in the opinion of Abu Hanifah, it is indispensable, whilst the disciples hold it to be in a strong degree laudable. The offering of a sacrifice is incumbent on a man on account of himself, and on account of his infant child. This is the opinion of Abu Hanifah in one tradition. In another he has said that it is not incumbent on a man to offer a sacrifice for his child...
    • The Hidayah, quoted in Arun Shourie - The World of Fatwas Or The Sharia in Action (2012, Harper Collins)

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