Who did the first sacrifice to start the ritual of sacrificing animals on Eid-ul-adha? Did it start from the next year after the happenings of Prophet Ibrahim going to sacrifice his son on the hilltop?

In short, I want to know when this ritual started.

  • Ritual sacrifices go back to the time of Adam (5:27) and were prescribed for every Ummah (22:34).
    – UmH
    May 23, 2023 at 4:17
  • @UmH : I am not asking for the occasional sacrifices made during those times. I am asking about the specific Eid-Ul-Adha sacrificing ritual. As I have mentioned in the description, Did it start from the following year after the happenings of Prophet Ibrahim going to sacrifice his son on the hilltop? or did it begin to happen after the commandments were revealed in the Quaran by Allah SWT? Also in quran.com/22/34?translations=20, what "religious" community is being referred to?
    – Ganit
    May 23, 2023 at 9:50

1 Answer 1


The sacrifice order for 'Id al-Adha in Islam

What is answerable from a Muslim perspective is when was the sacrifice on 'Id al-Adha ordered and this was according to some resources around the 2nd year of Hijra in which also the fast of Ramadan was ordered followed by 'Id al-Fitr. As mentioned in a long hadith which was claimed to be reported on the authenticity of 'Aishah(), ibn 'Umar and abu Sa'id al-Khudri in ibn Sayyid an-Nass's ابن سيد الناس 'Uyun al-Athaar عيون الأثر في فنون المغازي والشمائل والسير via al_Waqidi and ibn Sa'ad etc., where it says (only the relevant parts have been translated here):

رُوِّينَا عَنِ ابْنِ سَعْدٍ قَالَ: أَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ عُمَرَ، ثَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ الْجُمَحِيُّ عَنِ الزُّهْرِيِّ عَنْ عُرْوَةَ عَنْ عَائِشَةَ، قَالَ الْوَاقِدِيُّ: وَأَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ عُمَرَ عَنْ نَافِعٍ عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ قَالَ: وَأَنَا عَبْدُ الْعَزِيزِ بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ عَنْ رُبَيْحِ بْنِ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنِ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ الْخُدْرِيِّ عَنْ أَبِيهِ عَنْ جَدِّهِ قَالُوا:
نَزَلَ فَرْضُ شَهْرِ رَمَضَانَ بَعْدَ مَا صُرِفَتِ الْقِبْلَةُ إِلَى الْكَعْبَةِ بِشَهْرٍ، فِي شَعْبَانَ عَلَى رَأْسِ ثَمَانِيَةَ عَشَرَ شَهْرًا مِنْ مُهَاجِرِ رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم، وأمر رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم في هَذِهِ السَّنَةِ بِزَكَاةِ الْفِطْرِ،
The obligation of the month of Ramadan came a month after the qiblah had been directed towards the Kaaba. In Sha’ban, at the beginning of the eighteenth month of the emigration of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s prayers and peace be upon him, and the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s prayers and peace be upon him, commanded in this year to pay zakat al-fitr.

وَذَلِكَ قَبْلَ أَنْ تُفْرَضَ الزَّكَاةُ فِي الأَمْوَالِ، وَأَنْ تُخَرَّجَ عَنِ الصَّغِيرِ وَالْكَبِيرِ، وَالْحُرِّ وَالْعَبْدِ، وَالذَّكَرِ وَالأُنْثَى، صَاعٌ مِنْ تَمْرٍ، أَوْ صَاعٌ مِنْ شَعِيرٍ، أَوْ صَاعٌ مِنْ زَبِيبٍ، أَوْ مُدَّانِ مِنْ بُرٍّ، وَكَانَ يَخْطُبُ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَبْلَ الْفِطْرِ بِيَوْمَيْنِ فَيَأْمُرُ بِإِخْرَاجِهَا قَبْلَ أَنْ يَغْدُوَ إِلَى الْمُصَلَّى وَقَالَ: «اغْنُوهُمْ- يَعْنِي الْمَسَاكِينَ- عَنْ طَوَافِ هَذَا الْيَوْمِ» وَكان يُقَسِّمُهَا إِذَا رَجَعَ،
وصلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم صَلاةَ الْعِيدِ يَوْمَ الْفِطْرِ بِالْمُصَلَّى قَبْلَ الْخُطْبَةِ، وَصَلَّى الْعِيدَ يَوْمَ الأَضْحَى، وَأَمَرَ بِالأُضْحِيَةِ، وَأَقَامَ بِالْمَدِينَةِ عَشْرَ سِنِينَ يُضَحِّي فِي كُلِّ عَامٍ،
The Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s prayers and peace be upon him, performed the 'Id prayer on the day of al-Fitr in the prayer place before the sermon, and the 'Id prayer on the day of al-Adha, and he commanded that the sacrifice be performed, and the Prophet stayed in al-Madinah for ten years sacrificing every year,
(Source and following page)

A part of this hadith was also compiled by the imam's imam Ahmad and a-Thirmidhi.

Narrated Ibn 'Umar:
"The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) stayed in Al-Madinah for ten years performing the Udhiyah. (Jami' at-Tirmidhi)

The deviation that happened among Arabs after Ibraheem ()

However the qur'an tells us the Mekkan's changed the sunnah of Ibarheem ():

And the camels and cattle We have appointed for you as among the symbols of Allah ; for you therein is good. So mention the name of Allah upon them when lined up [for sacrifice]; and when they are [lifeless] on their sides, then eat from them and feed the needy and the beggar. Thus have We subjected them to you that you may be grateful. (36)
Their meat will not reach Allah , nor will their blood, but what reaches Him is piety from you. Thus have We subjected them to you that you may glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and give good tidings to the doers of good. (22:36-37)

So from this perspective sacrificing following the sunnah of Ibraheem () was in a way already practiced prior to Islam. According to imam al-Qurtobi in his tafseer of the above verses the reason for revelation of the second verse is as stated by ibn 'Abbas, is that the Arabs in al-Jahiliyah used to smear the Kaaba with the blood of their sacrificed cattle (they actually didn't eat from it nor do anything which the verse before recommended) and the Muslims wanted to do the same, but Allah informed them that this isn't right.
Somewhere in between the time of 'Isa and Muhammad, 'Amr ibn Luhay عمرو بن لحي from the tribe of Khuza'a, was able to first gain power and leadership in Mecca and was the first to introduce and innovate in the existing religious practices. He is also referred to as the "father of idols" because he introduced idolatry, which he encountered in a-Shaam (modern-day Damascus region) while seeking healing. In a research paper, a Dr. Ata'a Allah al-Ma'ayta narrowed down the period of his reign based on many historical facts e.g. the family line (he was the 8th grandfather of the sahabi Aktham ibn al-Joon al-Khuza'i أكثم بن الجون the husband of Umm Ma'abad al-Khuza'iya who made a great description of the prophet's appearance) and some reports and came to the conclusion that he worked in Mecca from around the end of the first century AD to the middle of the 2nd century considered a reasonable lifetime for that time, but if one believes a story reported by as-Sijistani, which claims that he lived about 300 years, then he would have lived until the 3rd century.
The qur'an further informed us about the reason why the tribe of Khuza'a moved from Yemen to al-Hijaz in (34:16). Some wikishi'a say that this dam was flooded on 524 AD. 'Amr ibn Luhay is also mentioned in some ahadith (see for example Sahih al-Bukhari):

Narrated Sa'id bin Al-Musaiyab:
Al-Bahira was an animal whose milk was spared for the idols and other dieties, and so nobody was allowed to milk it. As-Saiba was an animal which they (i.e infidels) used to set free in the names of their gods so that it would not be used for carrying anything.

This part of the hadith is an explanation of terms that were also mentioned in the qur'an (5:103).

Abu Huraira said, "The Prophet (ﷺ) said, 'I saw 'Amr bin 'Amir bin Luhai Al-Khuza'i dragging his intestines in the (Hell) Fire, for he was the first man who started the custom of releasing animals (for the sake of false gods).' "

So this hadith only explains the changes in terms of additions to what was performed earlier of 'Amr ibn Luhay, since he has chosen some kinds of cattle for specific "features" in the idol worship.
Ibn Hebban reported in his Sahih the following (see here):

وَكَانَ أَوَّلَ مَنْ غَيَّرَ عَهْدَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ And he was the first to change Abraham's covenant.

See also in Sahih Muslim, Sahih al-Bukhari on the authority of abu Hurrairah onhim being the father of Khuza'a on the authority 'Aishah in the context of the prayer at eclipse...

The qur'an also mentioned many other of his innovated changes elsewhere like in (5:97) and (6:142-146) as an example. The later example shows among other changes mentioned above, that the prohibition of eating the meat of the sacrifice was an innovation in the religion which has no basis in the revelation of Allah. His changes are seemingly also addressed in (39:3) by mentioning their shirk, (53:19-23) is mentioning the idols he invented and gave some tribes or clans. The first of which was Hubal which was placed on a well above the Ka'aba according ibn Ishaaq (see here in al-Bidaya wa an-Nihaya كتاب البداية والنهاية of ibn Kathir and the following and preceding pages) then the Arabs placed the idol pair Usaf and Na'ila (See here in Sunan a-Darimi and her in Sahih Muslim some of their innovated rites around these two idols) on Zamzam and the pilgrims were performing tawaf from as-Safa and al-Marwa to their location as a new rite.

  • Thanks for this well-explained answer! From the last paragraph you mentioned, I have inferred that the Sunnah of Ibraheem was performed prior to Islam by the people of Arabs in whatever way they were doing (sacrificing the animal and smearing the blood on Kaaba) but my question is who told them to perform this ritual? Why did they start this ritual? Did Prophet Ibrahim tell them to do so or did any other Prophet in between told them to do so? If any other Prophet told them to do so, then how come they told the wrong method of sacrificing the animal ?
    – Ganit
    May 24, 2023 at 2:39
  • @Ganit at least a big rupture to earlier "monotheist practices" happened by the innovations of 'Amr ibn Luhay عمرو بن لحي who is said to have deviated the Arabs from the religion of Ibraheem, he was a leader of the Meccan at his time who introduced idolatry (See also in Sahih al-Bukhari where his punishement for that is mentioned).
    – Medi1Saif
    May 24, 2023 at 7:04
  • DId Amr bin Luhai and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) existed during the same time? Can you please clarify on their time line?
    – Ganit
    May 24, 2023 at 10:01
  • I saw your edit to the answer. Ok! I understand what you wrote but you did not answer my question of how come the sacrificing ritual started. I get that in between Prophet Ibrahim's time and Prophet Muhammad's time, the sacrificing ritual went a change but because of 'Amr ibn Luhay but how did It start in the first place? What I can understand from your answer is that after the happenings of Prophet Ibrahim somehow the sacrificing ritual started (people started sacrificing animals) and in between it was changed by Amr ibn Luhay and again started back by Prophet Muhammad.
    – Ganit
    May 24, 2023 at 13:41
  • 1
    @Ganit I have no insight about what happened after the sacrificing story of 'Isma'il nor whether this was established as a part of what is called al-Hanafiya I can only assume this from these statements. I don't want to share information which is doubtful without being well enough informed to be able to qualify it.
    – Medi1Saif
    May 24, 2023 at 13:48

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