Sacrifice for Newborn
Sacrifice in Makkah

Aqeeqah is an Arabic word originally derived from the key word ‘aq’ which means to cut and shred. The occasion is associated with ‘cutting’ because the child’s head is shaved on the 7th day after birth.

It is evident from numerous ahaadeeth that aqeeqah should be performed 7 days after a child is born.

Evidence from the Sunnah:
Aishah (ra) narrates, “The Holy Prophet (saw) instructed us to sacrifice two goats in favour of a boy and one goat in favour of a girl.” (Tirmidhi)

Umme Kurz (ra.) narrates, “The Holy Prophet (saw) has said, ‘Two aq’eeqah should be offered on behalf of a boy and one for a girl. (Nasai) (Abu Dawood)

Sarnurah Ibn Jundub (ra.) narrates from the Holy Prophet (saw), “A child is endowed upon you as a trust in return for an aqeeqah. Therefore a sacrifice should be offered on the seventh day, but take care not to spread blood over his head.” (Nasai, Abu Dawood)

Yazeed Al-Muzani (ra.) narrates from the Holy Prophet(saw), “An aqeeqah should be offered on behalf of a child but do not apply blood over it’s head.” (Ibn Majah)

Bareera (ra.) relates, “In the era of ignorance, when anyone of us gave birth, an animal would be slaughtered and its blood rubbed over the child’s head. After Allah bestowed us with Islam, we performed aqeeqah, shaved the child’s hair and alternatively applied saffron to the child’s head.” (Abu Dawood)

Abdullah Ibn Abbas has reported, “The Holy Prophet (saw) sacrificed two camels at the aqeeqah occasion of Hasan (ra.) and Hussain (ra.).” ( Nasai)

IS THE AQEEQAH WAJIB?

There is a difference of scholarly opinion concerning the ruling on ‘aqeeqah, with there being three different views. Some say that it is obligatory, some said that it is mustahabb (recommended) and some say that it is Sunnah mu’akkadah (a confirmed Sunnah). The latter is the most correct view.

The Scholars of the Standing Committee in K.S.A. said:
‘Aqeeqah is Sunnah mu’akkadah. For a boy two sheep which meet the conditions for sacrifice should be slaughtered, and for a girl one sheep. The sheep should be slaughtered on the seventh day, but if it is delayed it is permissible to slaughter them at any time, and there is no sin in delaying it, but it is better to do it as soon as possible.
Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 11/439

But there is no difference of opinion that it is not obligatory for one who is poor, let alone one who is in debt. Something that is more important than ‘aqeeqah – such as Hajj for example – does not even take precedence over paying off debts.

The scholars of the Standing Committee in K.S.A. were asked:
If I am blessed with a number of children, and I cannot do ‘aqeeqah for one of them because I am not well off, as I am an employee and my salary is limited and is only sufficient to cover my monthly expenses, what is the ruling on the ‘aqeeqahs of my children in Islam?

They replied:

If the situation is as you described and you are not well off, and your income is only sufficient to cover your spending on yourself and those under your care, then there is nothing wrong with you not doing the ‘aqeeqah for your children, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Allaah burdens not a person beyond his scope”
[al-Baqarah 2:286]

“and [Allaah] has not laid upon you in religion any hardship”
[al-Hajj 22:78]

“So keep your duty to Allaah and fear Him as much as you can”
[al-Taghaabun 64:16]

And it was narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “If you are commanded to do a thing, do as much of it as you can; and if you are forbidden to do something then avoid it.” So whenever you can afford it then it is prescribed for you to do it.
Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 11/436, 437

The scholars of the Standing Committee were also asked:
A man had a number of sons and he did not do ‘aqeeqah for them, because he was poor. A few years later, Allaah made him independent of means by His Bounty. Does he have to do ‘aqeeqah?

They replied:
If the situation is as described, then it is prescribed for him to do ‘aqeeqah for them, two sheep for each boy.
Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 11/441, 442

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen was asked:
A man has a number of sons and daughters, and he did not do ‘aqeeqah for any of them, either because of ignorance or carelessness. Some of them are grown up now. What should he do now?

He replied:
If he does ‘aqeeqah for them now, that will be good, if he was ignorant of the ruling or if he kept saying, “I will do ‘aqeeqah tomorrow” until too much time had gone by. But if he was poor at the time when ‘aqeeqah was prescribed, then he does not have to do anything.
Liqa’ al-Baab al-Maftooh, 2/17-18

His family do not have to do the slaughtering on his behalf, even though that is permissible, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did the ‘aqeeqah for his grandsons al-Hasan and al-Husayn, as narrated by Abu Dawood (2841) and al-Nasaa’i (4219), and classed as saheeh by Shaykh al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, 2466.

The scholars of the Standing Committee said:
‘Aqeeqah refers to the animal sacrificed on the seventh day after birth as an act of thanksgiving to Allaah for the blessing of a child, whether male or female. It is Sunnah, because of the ahaadeeth that have been narrated concerning that. The person who does ‘aqeeqah for his child has to invite people to come and eat it, in his house or wherever, or he can distribute the meat raw or cooked to the poor and to his relatives, neighbours, friends, etc.
Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 11/442
And Allaah knows best.

WHEN SHOULD AQEEQAH BE PERFORMED?

It is clear from the hadith of the Holy Prophet (saw) that the correct timing for aqeeqah is on the seventh day. It is sunnah to perform it on this day, however, if this is not possible then it should be carried out as soon as possible and it should not be delayed unnecessarily. The sooner it is performed the better. If one wishes to perform aqeeqah on the 7th, a simple method is to perform it a day before the day the child was born in the following week, i.e., if a child is born on Friday, perform the aqeeqah on the Thursday of the following week. If he was born on Thursday the Aqeeqah would fall on the following Wednesday. By following this simple formula one can ensure that the aqeeqah is carried out on the seventh day.

AMOUNT OF SACRIFICES FOR AQEEQAH

It can be concluded from previous narrations that two offerings are to be sacrificed in favour of a boy and one in favour of a girl. It has not been specified whether the offering should be male or female. Therefore the animal, which is easiest to obtain, subject to availability should be sacrificed.

THE AQEEQAH OFFERING

Aqeeqah can only be an offering of an appropriate animal. An animal that does not fall under the conditions below can not be sacrificed.
1. The sacrificial animal should have reached the required age, which is one year for a goat or sheep.
2. It should be free of any faults, because the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “There are four that will not be suitable for sacrifice: a one-eyed animal whose defect is obvious, a sick animal whose sickness is noticeable, a lame animal whose limp is evident and an emaciated animal that has no marrow in its bones.” (Saheeh al-Jaami) There are milder defects that do not disqualify an animal, but it is disliked to sacrifice such animals, such as one with a horn or ear missing or one with slits in its ears etc. Sacrificing Aqeeqah is an act of worship to Allaah – and Allaah is Good and accepts only that which is good; “…And whoever honors the symbols (i.e., rites) of Allaah – indeed, it is from the piety of hearts.” (Al-Hajj: 32)

SUPPLICATION AT THE TIME OF SACRIFICE

The following supplication should be offered at the time of sacrifice..
‘Oh Allah! This is (mention child’s name)’s aqeeqah, it’s blood instead of his/her’s and it’s bone instead of his/hers and it’s skin instead of his/her skin, it’s hair instead of his/her hair, 0 Allah! I make this an offering on my son/daughter’s behalf I turn my attention exclusively towards He who created the skies and the earth and lam not amongst the polytheists. Oh Allah! From thee and toward thee. In the name of Allah. Allah is great’

Note: If someone other than the parents is sacrificing on behalf of the child, mention the child’s name and adjoin his father’s name with it rather than ‘Binti ‘and’ Ibni’.

WHOSE RESPONSIBLITY IS AQEEQAH?

The person responsible for the child’s maintenance is also responsible for the child’s aqeeqah. If the father is not capable then the responsibility will be on the mother, and if neither is capable then it no longer remains incumbent.

CLARIFICATION OF MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT AQEEQAH

1. Some believe that parents, maternal and paternal grandparents cannot consume the aqeeqah meat. This is not true as Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said concerning the ‘aqeeqah: “It should be divided into portions (judool), some of which should be eaten and some given to others.” Narrated by Ibn Abi Shaybah in al-Musannaf,

The author of al-Qaamoos said: “Jadl (pl. judool) means every bone that is separated at the joints and not broken, and not mixed with anything else.” Al-Qaamoos al-Muheet, p. 975, al-Risaalah edition.

Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “Judoolan means complete bones, so the bones should not be broken, rather they should be separated at the joints.” See al-Sharh al-Mumti’, 7/545.

It also says in Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah (11/443): “The person who has an ‘aqeeqah may distribute it raw or cooked to the poor, neighbours, relatives and friends, and he and his family may eat some of it. He may invite rich and poor people and feed them in his house, and so on. The matter is broad in scope.”

2. Many people insist it is compulsory to perform aqeeqah and the shaving of the child’s hair simultaneously. The Sunnah is to shave the child’s head on the seventh day, and to slaughter the ‘aqeeqah on the same day, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Every child is in pledge for his ‘aqeeqah, which should be slaughtered on his behalf on the seventh day, when he should be named and his head shaved.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 1522; Abu Dawood, 3838; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Irwa’ al-Ghaleel, 1165.

3. If the child is named or the ‘aqeeqah slaughtered on a day other than the seventh, there is nothing wrong with that, or with slaughtering the ‘aqeeqah on one day and shaving the child’s head on a different day.
Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr said: “With regard to shaving the child’s head at the time of the ‘aqeeqah, the scholars regarded that as mustahabb.”
From Tuhfat al-Mawdood by Ibn al-Qayyim, 67.

4. In some countries it has become a tradition to present the sacrificed animal’s head, feet and hair to the barber and midwife, which is an act that is not from the Sunnah.

5. It has also incorrectly become a tradition in some parts of the world to customarily bury the above mentioned parts of the animal. They also incorrectly believe that to consume the bones is a bad omen.

6. Many have fallen under the false impression that to donate one third to charity is compulsory, (it is sunnah).

7. It is not compulsory to distribute the meat raw as is incorrectly believed by some.

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