Q. I have a question about the age of the animal used for qurbani. I was taught that the goat or sheep MUST be at least a year old, the bull 2 years and camel 5 years. However I go to a certain masjid in Charlieville, with a certain foreign “ulama” and he said, once the goat or sheep looks like a year old, in that if it is mature, the qurbani could be performed with that animal. Please clarify the age that the qurbani animal should be, and the islamic definition of a mature sheep or goat, since everyone’s definition of what is mature will vary and many qurbanis will be spoilt because of the opinion of a certain “ulama”.
A. According to that which is authentically narrated is that a goat must be one year old. The sheep must also be one year old. However, due to the fact that a sheep which is younger than one year, may sometimes look like a one year old, it has been allowed for Qurbani. This allowance is only given for the sheep and not the goat. Looking like a one year old means that in size, height, and in maturity it must look like a one year old (sheep), to the extent that an onlooker, without knowing its age, may deem it to be a one year old sheep. The jurists have stated that it must be for the minimum, six months old and, looking like a one year old means that if it is placed along with a one year old sheep, the difference between the both would not be seen.
If this is not the case and it is clear that the 6 months old (or above) sheep does not look like a one year old, then it would not be appropriate for Qurbani and getting a one year old sheep would be essential.
The cow, bull and buffalo must be 2 years old and a camel must be 5 years old.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan