What is Aqiqah?
`Aqīqah, “Aqeeqa”, “Aqeeqah” or Akika (Arabic: عقيقة) is the Islamic tradition of the sacrifice of an animal on the occasion of a child’s birth. It is widely performed by Muslims and it is considered sunnah to slaughter one sheep for the baby girl and two sheep for the baby boy. Aqiqah is a Sunnat al Mu’akkadah (confirmed sunnah). If the guardian of the child is capable of slaughtering two sheep for a baby boy and one sheep for a female child, he should do it. Muhammad SAW said : “A baby is being pledged for his Aqiqah, sacrifice is made for him on the seventh day, his head is shaved, and a name is given him”. If one cannot slaughter on the seventh day, one may slaughter on the fourteenth day or on the twenty-first day. If one is not capable of doing so, then one may slaughter any time before the puberty of the child
The performance of Aqiqah is highly encouraged. It is to be performed by the parents or the guardians of the child. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions used to perform Aqiqah when they were bestowed with a newborn.
When Should Aqiqah be Performed?
The best time to perform Aqiqah is on the seventh day after the birth of the baby.
What is the Purpose of Aqiqah?
There are many benefits in the performance of Aqiqah. One is the announcing the birth of the baby. Being bestowed a child is a great blessing from the Creator. Another purpose is inviting family members, neighbors, and friends to celebrate the blessed occasion. The poor should be included in the celebration by offering them food and meat served on this occasion.
Types of animals to be sacrificed
The following is a hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) where he advised Aqiqah of a goat/sheep.
The Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) said: Two sheep which resemble each other are to be sacrificed for a boy and one for a girl.
The condition of the animal for aqiqah
The condition of the animals in Aqiqah is the same as the conditions for the animals in Qurban. The animals to be slaughtered must be a goats, cows or camels. For camels, it must be older than 6 years, for cows the age must be older than 3 years and for goats, it must be older than 2 years. They must be free from any form of handicap such as being blind, sick, limp or undernourished. The animals must be slaughtered in the appropriate humane ways.