Question # 125: How should the sacrificial meat be distributed? Can sacrificial meat be given to non-Muslims?

bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: The scholars differed concerning the amounts that should be eaten and given as gifts and in charity. The matter is broad in scope but the best way is to eat one-third, give one-third as gifts and give one-third in charity. Next, it is permissible to give meat from the sacrificial meat to non-Muslims, whether it be a poor person, or a relative, or a neighbor so as to soften their hearts toward Islam. 

Long Answer: 

DISTRIBUTION OF SACRIFICIAL MEAT 

Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “Eat thereof, and feed the beggar who does not ask (men), and the beggar who asks (men). Thus have We made them subject to you that you may be grateful.” (Soorah al-Hajj 22:36) 

It was narrated from ‘Aa’ishah (رضي الله عنه) that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Eat some, store some and give some in charity.” (Narrated by Muslim)

However, the scholars differed concerning the amounts that should be eaten and given as gifts and in charity. The matter is broad in scope but the best way is to eat one-third, give one-third as gifts and give one-third in charity. Following are some of the opinions:

  • Imam Malik said: “There is no limit to what may be eaten or given in charity or used to feed the poor or the rich, whether one wants to give it uncooked or cooked.” (Al-Kaafi) 
  • The Shafi’is said that it is mustahabb (recommended) to give most of it in charity, and said: “At least one third of it may be eaten, and one third given in charity, and one third given away as gifts.” They said that one half may be eaten, but it is more correct to give some of it away in charity.” (Nayl al-Awtaar; al-Siraaj al-Wahhaaj).
  • Imam Ahmad said: “We go along with the hadith of ‘Abd-Allah (ibn ‘Abbas (رضي الله عنه): ‘He should eat one third himself, feed one third to whomever he wants, and give one third in charity.” (Reported by Abu Moosa al-Isfahaani in al-Wazaa’if; he said it is a hasan hadith. This is also the opinion of Ibn Mas’ood and Ibn ‘Umar. No conflicting opinion is known among the Sahaabah. Al-Mughni)
  • An-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “It is obligatory to give in charity as much as may be described as such, because the purpose is to show kindness to the poor and needy. Based on that, if a person eats all of it, he is liable for what may be described as a reasonable amount of charity.” (Rawdat at-Taalibeen wa ‘Umdat al-Mufteen) He also said: “With regard to eating from it, it is mustahabb (recommended) and not obligatory. This is our view and the view of all the scholars, apart from what was narrated from some of the earlier generation, that they regarded it is obligatory to eat from it, because of the apparent meaning of the hadith which enjoins eating from it, in addition to the verse [mentioned above]. However the majority interpreted this command as meaning that it is recommended or permitted to eat from it.” (Sharh Saheeh Muslim)
  • Ibn Qudaamah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “If he gives all of it in charity, or most of it, that is permissible.” (Al-Mughni)
  • Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said in his commentary: The words “It is Sunnah to eat one third, give one third as gifts, and give one third in charity” mean it is prescribed, not in the sense that it is obligatory, but that it is mustahabb (recommended) to divide it into thirds and eat one third, give one third as gifts, and give one third in charity… With regard to the words “It is Sunnah to eat”, the apparent meaning is that if he gives all of it in charity, there is nothing wrong with that and he is not sinning. This is based on the fact that eating from one’s sacrifice is Sunnah, as is the view of the majority of scholars. Some of the scholars said: Rather eating from it is obligatory and he is sinning if he does not do that, because Allah has enjoined it and given it precedence over charity; and because the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم), during the Farewell Pilgrimage, enjoined that a piece be taken from each sacrificial animal and placed in a pot and cooked, then he ate some of its meat and drank some of its broth… Whatever the case, the individual should not refrain from eating from his sacrifice.” (al-Sharh al-Mumti)

GIVING SACRIFICIAL MEAT TO NON-MUSLIMS

In Fataawa al-Lajnah ad-Daa’imah it says: “It is permissible for us to give meat from the udhiyah to non-Muslims who have a treaty with the Muslims and to prisoners of war, and it is permissible to give it to him on the basis that he is poor, or a relative, or a neighbor, or so as to soften his heart towards Islam, because of the general meaning of the verses in which Allah (سبحانه و تعالى): “Allah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not against you on account of religion and did not drive you out of your homes. Verily, Allah loves those who deal with equity.” (Soorah al-Mumtahinah, 60:8)

And because the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) instructed Asma’ bint Abi Bakr (رضي الله عنه) to uphold ties of kinship with her mother by giving her money when she was still a mushrik at the time of the truce.”

Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “With regard to the disbeliever who is not in a state of war with us, such as one who has been granted protection by the Muslims or one who is living under Muslim rule, he may be given meat from the udhiyah, and other kinds of charity.” (Majmoo‘ Fataawa Ibn Baaz)

Ibn Qudamah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “It is permissible to give some of it – i.e., the udhiyah meat – to a disbeliever. This is the view of al-Hasan, Abu Thawr and ashaab ar-ra’y. That is because it is charity that is voluntarily given, so it is permissible to give it to a dhimmi (non-Muslim living under Muslim rule) and prisoners of war, as in the case of other kinds of voluntary charity. But in the case of obligatory charity, it is not acceptable to give it to a disbeliever, because it is obligatory charity and therefore is more akin to zakah and kafaarat yamen (expiation for breaking an oath).” (Al-Mughni)

(The above reply is based on various answers by Islamqa.info on the topic)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam