I asked Abu 'ayyuub al-'ansaari: How were the sacrifices (udhiyah) during the time of the Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam? Thereupon he said: A man would sacrifice a sheep on behalf of himself and his family. Then, they would eat a portion of it and give away a portion of it to be eaten by others.
Sheikh al-albaani has graded this hadiith as Sahiih.
The Hadiith was collected by imaam al-Tirmidhi in his Jaami' al-Tirmidhi. The Hadiith number in the book is 1505. Imaam Ibn Maajah also collected the Hadiith in his Sunan. The Hadith number in Sunan Ibn Maajah is 3147.
This is explicit evidence that just one sheep suffices a man and the members of his household. Every member of the household does not have to sacrifice a sheep. That is the incorrect view propagated by the Hanafi school of thought.
If a man sacrifices one sheep on behalf of himself and his family, then that suffices.
It should also be noted that the udhiyah is a stressed upon Sunnah. It is not a waajib act as the Hanafi school promotes it to be. The Shaafi'i and Hanbali schools both have correctly stated that the 'udhiyah is a stressed upon Sunnah and not a waajib act.
What is interesting to note is that there is even one narration from Abu Yusuf from the Hanafi school which says it is a stressed upon Sunnah. This opinion is also the preferred opinion with Imaam Maalik.
More importantly this opinion is the opinion of
Abu Mas'uud al-Badrii
From among the evidences that the udhiyah is a stressed upon Sunnah and not a waajib are the following:
When any one of you intends to sacrifice the animal and enters in the month (of Dhu'l-Hijja) he should not get his hair or nails touched (cut). It was said to Sufyan that some of the (scholars) did not deem this hadith to be Marfu'. He said: But I deem it as Marfu' (i. e. chain of narration traceable right up to the Holy Prophet).
Sahiih Muslim Hadiith No. 1977
The reason why this hadiith is evidence is because the Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu alyahi wa sallam said:
When any one of you intends to sacrifice
Such words are used when someone has an option to do something and not when the act is obligatory upon the person. You do not say to a person when you intend to do this if the act is something he has to do. You say it when he has an option to do so or not to do so.
In addition to the above, Abu Bakr and Umar would not sacrifice on Eid for one or two years. The reason they left the sacrifice on Eid for a year or two was so that people would not think that it is waajib.
The narration of Abu Bakr and Umar was related by Imaam al-Baihaqi. Imaam al-Nawawi graded the narration as hasan (authentic).
The fact that they did this shows that they learned from the Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam that the udhiyah is not waajib. None of the Companions opposed Abu Bakr and Umar in regards to this action of theirs.
All of this is further evidence that the stance of the ahnaaf that the udhiyah is waajib is a flawed one. Who knows the Diin better than the Companions of the Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu alayi wa sallam?
Who knows the Diin better than the Companions?
Quite clearly the ahnaaf have it all wrong. Their claim it is waajib opposes what the Companions believed. It is quite obvious that any Muslim would choose the opinion of the Companions like Abu Bakr and Umar over what the ahnaaf have to promote.
In a nutshell, the udhiyah is a stressed upon Sunnah. It is not a waajib. If a man sacrifices one udhiyah, it suffices for himself and his whole family. Every member of the family does not have to sacrifice.
One sacrifice suffices.