I only found out Qurbani was wajib not long ago. According to Mufti Muhammad’s answer I must make qadha for my past years. Now I am a student and I have the money but it will slightly inconvenience me next year when I hope to broaden my studies. My father has been giving his qurbani every year. He lives here in the UK but he sends money to his brother in Pakistan who purchases a goat from there and sacrifices it for him. The goat is a lot cheaper there which is why he buys it from there; however it is still very expensive for me to accumulate my 5 outstanding years. Can I take countries with low exchange rates (i.e., some place like Iraq, Yemen) and accumulate the amount equivalent of my 5 years according to these rates and then distribute the sadaqa wherever necessary?
Performing a ritual slaughter (udhiya) is necessary (wajib) upon every adult Muslim male and female who is sane, resident and owns 613.35 grams of silver or its equivalent in any form, which is in excess of one’s personal needs. As such, if an individual has in his/her ownership the equivalent of the above-mentioned amount in cash, stock, personal ornaments or in any other form, provided it is surplus to one’s basic needs, then this individual will be under an obligation to offer the ritual slaughter (udhiya).
Udhiya can only be performed in the days designated for it, namely the three days of Eid al-Adha. These three days are the 10th, 11th, and 12th of Dhu’l Hijjah. Slaughtering an animal with the intention of Udhiya outside these three days (and nights) will not be valid or recognised. (Fatawa al-Hindiyya, 5/291-294)
It should also be remembered that it is incorrect and invalid to give in charity instead of slaughtering an animal. The Shariah has prescribed different forms and modes of worship; hence, each one them holds its importance and special merit. Just as one is not allowed to give in charity in place of observing a fast in Ramadhan or give money to a poor person instead of travelling for Hajj, it is similarly not permitted to give some money in charity as an alternative to the ritual slaughter. Udhiya is an independent form of worship and cannot be substituted with something else. (See: Islamic Months by Mufti Taqi Usmani, P: 145)
However, if an individual, out of ignorance or laxity, did not carry out the obligation of Udhiya during the time designated for it, then he must make up for this by giving the price of an Udhiya in charity to those poor individuals who are entitled to receive Zakat. This does not mean that giving in charity is an alternative; rather, this is only when one was not able to slaughter the animal during the prescribed days. During the three days of Eid, the obligation will only be discharged by slaughtering the animal.
With regards to making up (qadha) for the ritual slaughter, the renowned Hanafi jurist, Imam al-Haskafi (Allah have mercy on him) states:
“If the ritual slaughter was not offered and the designated days have gone by, then one should give the live animal away in charity.”
Imam Ibn Abidin (Allah have mercy on him) comments on the above by stating:
“(His statement: “give the live animal away in charity” because one is now unable to acquire the rewards by sacrificing and slaughtering the animal. If one wishes to give the animal’s price in charity, then that will also be sufficient…” (Radd al-Muhtar ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar, 6/320)
Imam Ibn Abidin (Allah have mercy on him) further states that a well-off individual must give the price of the animal in the case of not purchasing an animal. However, if he had already purchased an animal, then he has a choice between giving the price of the animal or the living animal itself in charity …” (See: Radd al-Muhtar, 5/321)
Therefore, if the individual (upon whom Udhiya was Wajib) had already purchased an animal but was unable to slaughter it until the days of Udhiya had gone by, then he has an option between giving away the animal itself in charity without slaughtering it, and giving the price of the animal in charity. The second situation is where one had not purchased an animal for Udhiya. In this case, one only has the option of paying the price of an Udhiya animal in charity.
Now, what is the price that one is required to pay in charity? Imam al-Haskafi (Allah have mercy on him) answers this question by stating:
“The meaning of “its price” is the price of a goat that is adequate.”
Imam Ibn Abidin (Allah have mercy no him) explains the above by stating that if one had purchased the animal, then the price is obviously known to one. However, if one had not purchased an animal, then one will have to pay the price of a goat that is acceptable and adequate to be slaughtered as Udhiya. This goat should be of average type, as mentioned in other books.
Based on the above texts of Ibn Abidin and Haskafi, most scholars are of the opinion that only the price of an average goat that is worthy of being slaughtered will suffice as a make up for the ritual slaughter. It would not be permitted to give the price of a seventh of a camel or cow. (See: Imdad al-Ahkam, 4/274). Others, however, state that the responsibility will be discharged even if one paid the price of a seventh of a camel or cow (See: Fatawa Mahmudiyya, 14/343). As such, it would be better and precautionary to pay the price of an average and standard goat.
Finally, the price of this goat will be that of the country where one pays the charity. If one intends to give the charity in another country, then one must ascertain the market price of a goat in that particular country, and then give the money to those entitled to receive Zakat in that area.
In conclusion, you must first repent and seek Allah’s forgiveness for not being able to perform the ritual slaughter (udhiya) for the previous years. Thereafter, you need to pay the price of an average standard goat as charity to poor individuals who are entitled to receive Zakat. You can make this payment in whichever country you wish, with the local market price of the goat being that which you need to pay. It will not be allowed to take the market price of a goat of one country and pay that price in another.
And Allah knows best
[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Leicester , UK