Q. Why is the animals face covered during the sacrifice of Qurbani? Can you please explain why this was a custom in T & T some time ago?
A. It’s the first time I have heard about this custom. This is not one which is widespread in our country.
With respect to why it was done, it seems that some people thought that just as Ibraheem (AS) covered the face of his son Ismail (AS) (for the sacrifice) so too, they should cover the face of the animal which they are slaughtering. This sort of thinking is however, wrong.
If they are covering the face of the standing animals which are yet to be slaughtered, while slaughtering another animal on the ground, then the reason could be that the people do not wish that the standing animals see another animal being slaughtered, since it is not a good sight for these animals. The Prophet (SA) also said that one should not slaughter one animal in front of another one, since it creates pain for the animal (to be slaughtered). If this is reason for covering the face of the standing animals (those that are yet to be slaughtered), then it is permissible, but the better option is to keep the standing animals away from the place of slaughter, until they are ready to be slaughter. However with respect to covering the face of the animal on the ground which is being slaughtered, there is no basis for this.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan