Offering cows as Ud-hiyah

Q: Muslims in Thailand offer cows as Ud-hiyah (sacrificial animal offered by non-pilgrims), is this better than offering sheep? They offer a cow on behalf of seven people, bring a paper with the names of the participants, and say Tasmiyah (saying, "Bismillah [In the Name of Allah]") upon slaughtering. Is this valid? Is a sheep sufficient as an Ud-hiyah for one family, namely, the father, mother and children? Are the grandchildren included or only one's dependants? Is it permissible to slaughter an Ud-hiyah on behalf of the dead and say, "This is the Ud-hiyah of so-and-so, the deceased"? Is it permissible (Part No. 10; Page No. 430) to include the dead as partners in a cow? Is it permissible for a number of families to participate in one cow? Is there evidence on dividing the Ud-hiyah among seven people as in the case of Hady (sacrificial animal offered by pilgrims) and Dam (atonement required of a pilgrim for a willful violation of a prohibition or obligation while in the ritual state for Hajj and `Umrah)? We hope that you will give us a written Fatwa (legal opinion issued by a qualified Muslim scholar) in order to translate it to Thai and circulate it. Answer us from what you have of knowledge. May Allah reward you with the best!

A: The Ud-hiyah is offered from any livestock, including camels, cows and sheep. A sheep is sufficient for a man and his family, while a camel or a cow is enough for seven. It was reported on the authority of Jabir that he said: Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) commanded us to become seven partners (in the sacrifice) of a camel or a cow. (Agreed upon by Al-Bukhari and Muslim) However, one sheep is better than one seventh of a camel or a cow. Moreover, there is no harm in mentioning the name of participants of Ud-hiyah when slaughtering it, because the Prophet (peace be upon him) said when slaughtering an Ud-hiyah: On behalf of Muhammad and the family of Muhammad. Also, it is permissible to offer the Ud-hiyah on behalf of the living and the dead according to the act of Muslims and general evidence.One seventh of a camel or a cow is offered on behalf of only one person alive or dead. One's family members include the wife and children as well as the grandchildren and parents if they are dependants.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.