Offering Udhiyah or Helping People Affected by COVID-19?

24 July, 2020
Q I am planning to offer udhiyah this year. But I can see that there are many families affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19). Can I skip udhiyah and help those families instead? Which takes priority?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. 

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.


In this fatwa:

If there is a great need for financial help for families affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic; one may choose to skip the udhiyah (sacrifice) and donate the money instead.


In responding to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:

Offering udhiyah (sacrificial animal) is a recommended practice and not an obligatory ritual in Islam.

Consequently, where there is a great need for monetary or financial help (for families faced with difficulties due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, one may choose to skip the udhiyah (sacrifice) and donate the money instead.

Islam emphasizes the principle of priorities. That could very well be one of the reasons why the pious caliphs Abu Bakr and Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) used to skip offering sacrifice one or two years.  According to some scholars, they did so lest people mistake it for an obligatory ritual.

Almighty Allah knows best.