There is a hadith from the Prophet PBUH prohibiting us from storing the meat of a sacrificed animal (qorban) for more than three days. How should we understand and apply this hadith in our lives?
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
Answering the above question, scholars have differing views as the ruling of storing the meat of sacrificed animal (qorban) for more than three days and three nights. Their opinions are divided into two popular opinions:
- First: It is prohibited to store the meat of sacrificed animals (qorban) for more than three days. This is the opinion of Ali RA and Umar R.Anhuma. It is based on a Muslim hadith from Abu Ubaid, where he said:
شَهِدْتُ الْعِيدَ مَعَ عَلِيِّ بْنِ أَبِي طَالِبٍ فَبَدَأَ بِالصَّلاَةِ قَبْلَ الْخُطْبَةِ وَقَالَ إِنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم نَهَانَا أَنْ نَأْكُلَ مِنْ لُحُومِ نُسُكِنَا بَعْدَ ثَلاَثٍ
“I was with 'Ali b. Abi Talib on the occasion of the 'Id day. He started with the 'Id prayer before delivering the sermon, and said: Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) forbade us to eat the flesh of our sacrificial animals beyond three days.”
Sahih Muslim (1969)
Next, Ibn Umar R.Anhuma said, the Prophet PBUH states:
لاَ يَأْكُلْ أَحَدٌ مِنْ لَحْمِ أُضْحِيَّتِهِ فَوْقَ ثَلاَثَةِ أَيَّامٍ
“None of you should eat the flesh of his sacrificial animal beyond three days.”
Sahih Muslim (1970)
There is also an athar stating that Ibn Umar R.Anhuma did not eat the meat of sacrificed animals after three days have passed and this is narrated by his son, Salim.
- Second: It is permissible to store the meat of sacrificed animals for more than three days and the prohibition on it is abrogated. This is the opinion of the majority of scholars.
There are numerous hadiths stating the permissibility of storing the meat of sacrificed animals for more than three days. One of the hadiths is from Abdul Rahman bin ‘Abis from his father, where he asked ‘Aisyah R.Anha, did the Prophet PBUH prohibit eating the meat of sacrificed animals if it has exceeded three days and ‘Aisyah R.Anha answered:
مَا فَعَلَهُ إِلاَّ فِي عَامٍ جَاعَ النَّاسُ فِيهِ فَأَرَادَ أَنْ يُطْعِمَ الْغَنِيُّ الْفَقِيرَ وَإِنْ كُنَّا لَنَرْفَعُ الْكُرَاعَ فَنَأْكُلُهُ بَعْدَ خَمْسَ عَشْرَةَ
“The Prophet (ﷺ) did not do this except in the year when the people were hungry, so he wanted the rich to feed the poor. But later we used to store even a trotter of a sheep to eat it fifteen days later.”
Sahih al-Bukhari (5423)
There are other hadiths that state the prohibition has been abrogated, some of them are:
- From Abu Salamah bin al-Akwa’, the Prophet PBUH said:
مَنْ ضَحَّى مِنْكُمْ فَلاَ يُصْبِحَنَّ بَعْدَ ثَالِثَةٍ وَفِي بَيْتِهِ مِنْهُ شَىْءٌ. فَلَمَّا كَانَ الْعَامُ الْمُقْبِلُ قَالُوا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ نَفْعَلُ كَمَا فَعَلْنَا عَامَ الْمَاضِي قَال َ: كُلُوا وَأَطْعِمُوا وَادَّخِرُوا فَإِنَّ ذَلِكَ الْعَامَ كَانَ بِالنَّاسِ جَهْدٌ فَأَرَدْتُ أَنْ تُعِينُوا فِيهَا
“Whoever has slaughtered a sacrifice should not keep anything of Its meat after three days." When it was the next year the people said, "O Allah's Messenger (ﷺ)! Shall we do as we did last year?" He said, ' Eat of it and feed it to others and store of it for in that year the people were having a hard time and I wanted you to help (the needy).”
Sahih al-Bukhari (5569) & Sahih Muslim (1974)
- From Abu Sa’id al-Khudri RA, the Prophet PBUH said:
يَا أَهْلَ الْمَدِينَةِ لاَ تَأْكُلُوا لُحُومَ الأَضَاحِيِّ فَوْقَ ثَلاَثٍ. وَقَالَ ابْنُ الْمُثَنَّى ثَلاَثَةِ أَيَّامٍ . فَشَكَوْا إِلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَنَّ لَهُمْ عِيَالاً وَحَشَمًا وَخَدَمًا فَقَالَ كُلُوا وَأَطْعِمُوا وَاحْبِسُوا أَوِ ادَّخِرُوا .
“O people of Medina, do not eat the flesh of sacrificed animals beyond three days. Ibn al-Muthanni said: Three days. They (the Companions of the Holy Prophet) complained to the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) that they had children and servants of theirs (to feed), whereupon he said: Eat, and feed others, and store, and make it a provision of food.”
Sahih Muslim (1873)
Reviewing the facts of the above discussion, we would like to state that the second opinion is more accurate and the first opinion is abrogated as stated in other related narrations stated previously.
Al-Imam al-Nawawi Rahimahullah said: “It is permissible to store some of the meat of the animals of sacrifice. The Prophet PBUH did originally prohibit storing it for more than three days but he later permits it in an authentic (sahih) and famous (masyhur) hadith.” (See al-Majmu’ Syarh al-Muhazzab. Dar al-Fikr, 8/418)
We should also consider the reason as to why the Prophet PBUH originally prohibited it, for there was famine during that time and the purpose of him prohibiting it is to help those who are in need of food. If the meat of sacrificed animals is stored for more than three days, surely the purpose of sacrifice itself which is to give those are in need is unfulfilled. This is also stated by al-Imam al-Nawawi in his book al-Mu’jam. Wallhua’lam.