Sacrifice on behalf of the dead is of three types:
The first type is when the sacrifice is slaughtered on behalf of people who are alive. For instance, a man might slaughter a sacrifice for himself and his family including the dead among them, as the Prophet used to slaughter a sacrifice and say that it is for Muhammad and the family of Muhammad (including those who are dead).
The second type is to slaughter a sacrifice for the dead. For instance, one might donate a sacrifice on behalf of a dead Muslim person. Jurists of the Hanbali School said that the deceased receives the reward of such a sacrifice and benefits from it just like giving charity on behalf of the dead. Some scholars said that the sacrifice should only be slaughtered on behalf of the dead if he previously entrusted his family to do so. However, it is wrong to slaughter a sacrifice for the dead as a kind of donation or by virtue of the deceased’s will without slaughtering a sacrifice for themselves and the rest of the family who are alive. By so doing, they abandon the Sunnah and are deprived of the reward of the ‘Eed sacrifice. This is done out of ignorance as people do not know that the Sunnah is to slaughter a sacrifice for oneself and his family and that this will include the dead and those who are alive, as the grace of Allah is all-Encompassing.
The third type is to slaughter a sacrifice on behalf of a dead person by virtue of a bequest that he made. This should be executed just as he said without any increase or decrease.
The time of the ‘Eed sacrifice starts after the ‘Eed Prayer as the Prophet said: “Whoever slaughters after the prayer will have completed the rites and followed the Sunnah of the Muslims.” The time of ‘Eed sacrifice ends at sunset of the last day of Tashreeq (the thirteenth of Thul-Hijjah). Slaughtering is permissible during four days; the ‘Eed Day which is the tenth of Thul-Hijjah and the three Days of Tashreeq which are the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth of Thul-Hijjah. Slaughtering is permissible during the day or night (slaughtering at night would be on the eve of the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth of Thul-Hijjah).
If someone slaughters his sacrifice before the ‘Eed Prayer, this does not suffice for the ‘Eed sacrifice and he should slaughter another one. It was narrated that the Messenger of Allah looked at sheep that were slaughtered before the ‘Eed Prayer and said: “Anyone who slaughtered before the prayer should slaughter another sheep and those who did not slaughter yet should slaughter in the Name of Allah.”
The ‘Eed sacrifice is an act of obedience that is done with the intention of drawing closer to Allah The Almighty so, it should be done according to what satisfies Him and this should fulfill two conditions:
The first is to have a sincere intention without ostentation, seeking fame and prestige or any of the gains of the worldly life or the satisfaction of any creature.
The second one is to follow the Sunnah of the Prophet as he said: “Whoever does something that does not belong to our matter (religion) it will be rejected.”
For the ‘Eed sacrifice to be in compliance with the orders of the Messenger of Allah it should meet certain conditions. The conditions of its time were pointed out above. The following are the four conditions that pertain to the sacrifice itself:
1) It should be owned by the person who sacrifices it as one cannot make Udh-hiyah with something that he does not own.
2) It should be livestock, namely camels, cows, sheep or goats.
3) It should have attained the age determined by Sharee‘ah (Islamic legislation): about six months for a sheep, one year for a goat, two years for a cow, and five years for a camel.
4) It should be free of defects; the one-eyed whose defect is obvious, the sick whose sickness is clear, the lame animal whose limping is apparent, and the weak that has no marrow are not sufficient for Udh-hiyah.