Praise be to Allaah.
If a person makes a vow to sacrifice a sheep, for example, if
Allah saves his relative, this is a vow to do an act of worship which must
be fulfilled. If your mother died before fulfilling her vow, then it is
regarded as a debt that she owes and must be paid for out of her estate. If
she did not have any wealth, it is mustahabb for her children to do it on
her behalf. Al-Bukhaari (2761) and Muslim (1638) narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas
(may Allah be pleased with him) that Sa‘d ibn ‘Ubaadah (may Allah be pleased
with him) asked the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon
him): My mother died, and had made a vow (that she did not fulfil). He said:
“Fulfil it on her behalf.
An-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said in Sharh
Muslim: The words of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon
him), “Fulfil it on her behalf” indicate that obligations that were required
of the deceased should be fulfilled. With regard to financial obligations,
there is scholarly consensus (that the must be fulfilled). As for
obligations to do other acts of worship, there is a difference of scholarly
opinions concerning them.
Moreover, the view of ash-Shaafa‘i and others is that
financial obligations that were required of the deceased, such as zakaah,
expiation and vows, must be fulfilled, whether he left instructions to that
effect or not, as is the case with debts owed to people.
It should be noted that our view and that of the majority is
that the heir is not obliged to fulfil the vow that was obligatory upon the
deceased if it was not financial, or if it was financial but he did not
leave behind any estate, but it is mustahabb for him to do that. End quote.
If a person vows to sacrifice a sheep or the like, it is
obligatory for him to fulfil the vow, and it is not acceptable to pay the
cash value instead. The Standing Committee for Issuing Fatwas were asked
about a woman who vowed to sacrifice a lamb every month, but she found it
difficult to buy lambs, slaughter them and distribute the meat. Is it
permissible for her to give the cash value of the lambs?
There is no hardship in sacrificing lambs; rather she has to
continue sacrificing them and distributing the meat to the poor, and it is
not acceptable for her to give the cash value, because the Prophet
(blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever makes a vow to do
an act of obedience to Allah, let him do it, and whoever makes a vow to do
an act of disobedience to Allah, let him not do it.” End quote.
Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz, Shaykh ‘Abdullah ibn
Ghadyaan, Shaykh ‘Abdullah ibn Qa‘ood.
Fataawa al-Lajnah ad-Daa’imah,
Based on that, it is not permissible to give the cash value
instead of slaughtering the sheep; the fact that the questioner lives in
Europe does not mean that she cannot delegate someone to sacrifice a sheep
and distribute the meat to neighbours and friends, either in the country
where she is living or elsewhere.
And Allah knows best.