Q: Our tribe lives in a village to the south of
whose population is more than 200 people. We give Sadaqah (voluntary charity) every Ramadan by slaughtering a young calf, which all the male members of the tribe pay for. We divide the meat up and give it to the poor and the rest we distribute equally amongst the tribe. When we asked some of the elders about this tradition, they told us that it started in the time of our grandfathers, 50 years ago. The chief of our tribe at that time went to see some soothsayers, who told him that he had to slaughter a calf every Ramadan for the Sake of Allah (Exalted be He). They said this because the people from our village had killed someone without a just cause, and they all then died, apart from a few of them; no more than nine people remained. This sacrifice was to be a Kaffarah (expiation) for that. From then on, the people of our tribe have continued to offer this sacrifice every year. Please guide us in this matter, knowing that we only slaughter for Sake of Allah (Exalted be He) and do not intend anything other than that.
It is not permissible for you to continue practicing this tradition, in fact it is Wajib (obligatory) for you to abandon it and make Tawbah (repentance to Allah) of it, because it is considered an act of Jahiliyyah (the pre-Islamic time of ignorance) and is based on the advice of soothsayers.
It is not permissible to go to soothsayers or believe in them, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,
“Anyone who goes to a soothsayer and believes what they say has disbelieved in what was revealed to Muhammad (peace be upon him).”
What is Wajib, if someone is deliberately assaulted and killed, is Qisas (just retaliation) (Part No. 1; Page No. 71) for the dead person, unless their family forgive it in return for paying Diyah (blood money) or for nothing in return. If the death was accidental, it is Wajib for the Diyah to be paid by the murderer’s kin to the family of the murdered person, unless they excuse it. In addition, the Kaffarah that should be made for killing a soul is by freeing a believing slave. If this is not possible, Sawm (Fast) should be observed for two successive months. This is the Shar‘y (Islamic legal) ruling which prescribes the obligatory action in case of killing without a just cause, which you should refer to the Shari‘ah (Islamic law) court. As to what you mentioned, this is one of the rulings of Jahiliyyah which you must stop performing.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.