What is an Aqiqah?
When we talk about an “Aqiqah” in Islam, we are usually referring to that which is sacrificed for the newborn child on the seventh day of it’s life. This is done as a way of thanking Allah for His great blessings and generosity.
The Ruling of the Aqiqah in Islam;
The majority of the scholars of Islam say that the Aqiqah is Sunnah This is because it is something that was done by the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) as well as by his companions (رضي الله عنهم).
Both At-Tirmidhi, as well as Abu Dawood narrated on the authority of Ibn Abaas (رضي الله عنهما) that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) sacrificed for both Hassan and Hussein (رضي الله عنهما). This goes to show that He (صلى الله عليه و سلم) performed this sacrifice after His (صلى الله عليه و سلم) daughter Fatimah (رضي الله عنها) had al-Hassan and al-Hussein (رضي الله عنهما).We know that He (صلى الله عليه و سلم) made this sacrifice one week after they were born and each one had a sacrifice performed for them individually.
As well there is a hadeeth narrated by Imam al Bukhari on the authority of Sulaiman bin A’amr (رضي الله عنه) where the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said, “For the child there is an Aqiqah, so sacrifice for them and remove from them the harm.”
What is sacrificed?
It is most befitting that there are two sheep sacrificed for the male child and one for the female child. We find many different proof for this. One example is that which is found in the books of Sunnan that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said, “For the male child is one animal and for the female child one animal is sacrificed.”
It is important to understand, that when we mentioned above that it is ‘more befitting’ , that this does not imply that the aforementioned way is the only way that is permissible to do it. It is also permissible to slaughter one animal for a male child as well. We see from the previously mentioned hadeeth that this is what was reported that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) did for al-Hassan and al-Hussein (رضي الله عنهما).
When is the Sacrifice made?
It is most correct that the sacrifice be made on the seventh day of the child’s life. If it is not able to be done then, it should be performed on the fourteenth day of the child’s life. If it is still not able to be done then, it should be performed on the twenty first day of the child’s life. Then, we understand, if it still is not a possibly then it should be done anytime that it become feasible.
The proof for this can be found in Sunnan al Bayhaqee that the animal is sacrificed on the seventh day, or on the fourteenth day or on the twenty first day.
What else is performed
It is also recommended that the child is given a name on the seventh day of his/her life. You should also, when choosing a name for the child, choose a name with a good meaning. Another thing that you should try to do on this day is to shave his head.
We see this in that which is found in Sunnan at-Tirmidhi on the authority of Ibn Abaas (رضي الله عنهما) that when the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) sacrificed for al-Hussein that He (صلى الله عليه و سلم) told Fatimah (رضي الله عنها), “Shave his head and give charity (the weight of his hair) in silver.” So she did so and it came to about a dirham or part of a dirham.
May Allah guide us, so that we be of those that have the desire and ability to follow the way of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) in this affair and all of His (صلى الله عليه و سلم) other affairs. Allahuma ameen.