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:
Sacrifice in Islam is a symbolic ritual. It is intended to teach the spirit of sacrifice and an opportunity to feed the poor and the destitute. Furthermore, it is a celebration of a festive occasion to strengthen the bonds of family and community.
In responding to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:
Sacrifice is part of every religious tradition. The purpose of the ritual is two-fold: Firstly, to teach the spirit of sacrifice for the causes that are considered noble in the sight of God. Secondly, to feed the poor and destitute. The meat of the sacrificial animals provides a source of protein for the poor who may not be able to afford to eat meat.
It was the great prophet Ibrahim who first instituted the ritual of sacrifice in Islam. He saw a dream that God was ordering him to sacrifice his only son at the time, namely Ismaeel. He was ready to carry out the order of Allah.
However, when he was ready to act upon it, he was stopped by God. God told him that he had passed the test. God sent an angel with a ram and ordered him to sacrifice it instead.
The Quran also tells us that that neither the flesh nor the blood of the animals reaches God. Instead, it is the piety of their hearts. In other words, what counts is the spirit of sacrifice.
Furthermore, we are told to eat of the sacrificial meat and give it to the poor and needy.
In conclusion, sacrifice in Islam is a symbolic ritual. It is intended to teach the spirit of sacrifice and an opportunity to feed the poor and the destitute. Furthermore, it is a celebration of a festive occasion to strengthen the bonds of family and community.
Almighty Allah knows best.