Our scholars have characterized the practice of Udhiya as either a confirmed practice of the Prophet (which nearly carries the weight of an obligation), or as an outright obligation (wajib). The first opinion is that of the three schools of Sacred Law established by Malik, Al-Shaf’i and Ahmad Ibn Hanbal. The latter opinion is from Abu Hanifah.

So neglect of the Udhiya when one is able to do it is in the least case a reprehensible (makruh) act and possibly an outright violation of a compulsory religious injunction. Obviously we should provide for sacrifice if at all possible.

According to the majority of the scholars, one has to perform his or her own Udhiya before he/she makes the intention to give Udhiya on behalf of a loved one who had passed away.

Zakat Foundation of America considers three criteria when choosing where to perform Udhiya/Qurbani.

1. The poorest countries in regions known to house large indigent populations. For example, the slums in Bangladesh and New Delhi, drought-stricken Mali and Somalia are among the poorest areas in the world.

2. Regions that have been beset by violent conflicts and access to food is limited, such as Syria, Palestine and Myanmar/Burma.

3. Countries like Sudan that, despite having areas of severe poverty, do not receive as much attention as they should. Udhiya grants these deserving people meat in their diet.

In countries where Zakat Foundation of America has regional offices, like Bangladesh, Ghana, Jordan, and others, animals are purchased before Eid ul-Adha to ensure the best prices and the first pick of sheep, lambs, and cows. The animals are fed and treated with gentle, humane husbandry.

In other countries, Zakat Foundation of America partner organizations purchase the animals on our behalf. Under the supervision of a Zakat Foundation of America representative, the animals are kept in healthy, humane conditions in preparation for sacrifice.

The animals chosen and distributed are of the best quality available, in accordance with the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (saw), to give in charity from the best of one’s belongings and to give to others what you would wish for yourself. Zakat Foundation of America supports the local economy of the countries by buying livestock and feed from local farmers. This ensures a fair return for the farmers as well as better and familiar quality meat for recipients. Even in regions like Lebanon (for Palestinian refugees), Zakat Foundation of America offers the local sheep and lamb, known to be fatty and have a better taste than the imported New Zealand sheep and lamb.

Zakat Foundation of America buys animals in the countries where they are sacrificed. We do this in order to provide fresh meat, instead of frozen or canned, to the people on the first three days of Eid. The price of livestock varies from country to country, and we match our Qurbani prices to the actual cost of buying livestock. The price of an animal in New Zealand, for instance, is one third of the price in Jordan or Egypt. But Zakat Foundation of America buys livestock in Jordan in order to provide fresh meat to needy people.

Natural disasters such as flooding, earthquakes, drought, or man-made disasters such as wars affect the prices of animals.