The verse is quite clear in that a prevented person may slaughter any animal he is able to afford. Ibn ‘Abbas reported that when the Prophet (peace be upon him) was prevented from performing ‘Umrah (by the Quraish) he shaved his head, consorted with his wives, and slaughtered his animal. The next year he performed an ‘Umrah to make up for the year that he had missed. This was reported by Bukhari. The majority of scholars in light of this hadith hold the view that a prevented person must slaughter a sheep, a cow or a camel. Malik, however, differs with this opinion and says slaughtering an animal is not essential.
The author of Fath ul ‘Alam remarks, “Malik is right in his opinion, because all the Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) who were prevented with him (at Hudaibiyah) did not have animals with them to slaughter after they were unable to perform ‘Umrah. The Prophet (peace be upon him) slaughtered his animal which he had brought along with him from Madinah.” There is no implication of any obligation in the verse. Rather, it is the Prophet (peace be upon him) who is referred to in the Qur’anic verse (48.25): “They are the ones who denied revelation and hindered you from the Sacred Mosque and sacrificial animals.”