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Aqiqah and sharing the joy of a new-born

9 th July, 2019

As well as Qurbani, there are other occasions when we sacrifice an animal/s in the name of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. The most notable of these is probably Aqiqah, the ceremony marking the birth of a child.

The arrival of a new-born is not only a time of joy and happiness for the parents and relatives but should be regarded as a great blessing from our Creator, and something that we should be thankful for.

Aqiqah is one of the ways of showing those thanks. It acknowledges the gift we have received from Allah and expresses our gratitude to Him; it purifies the child and brings them closer to God at the start of their lives, and it gives us cause for celebration not only with family and friends but the poor and needy.

It is generally accepted as an established Sunnah (Sunnah Mu’akkadah), i.e. a practice that the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah Be Upon Him) and his Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) used to carry out.

However, some scholars have said that it is obligatory while others have classified it as mustahabb (recommended). For the avoidance of any doubt, please consult your local imam or a qualified scholar or shaykh if you have any concerns.

For a boy, two small animals must be sacrificed and for a girl one animal.

Umm Kurz narrated: The Prophet of Allah (Peace and Blessings of Allah Be Upon Him) said: “Two sheep which resemble each other are to be sacrificed for a boy and one for a girl.” (Hadith)

Islam is a religion of compassion and does not impose unnecessary hardship. It is generally agreed that if a family cannot afford to do Aqiqah due to poverty or debt, then they do not have to do so.

Etiquette of Aqiqah

  • Ideally, Aqiqah should be performed seven days after the birth of the child, or failing that every subsequent seven days before the child reaches puberty
  • The days are based on the Islamic calendar, that is the lunar month
  • As well as the sacrifice of an animal, the child’s head is shaved and the hair is weighed
  • A monetary donation is then given to the needy and orphans based on the weight of the hair
  • The value of this is gauged by the current rate of silver at that time (this usually works out to approximately £10) if the Aqiqah is performed within a few days of birth
  • The animals used for sacrifice at Aqiqah are similar to those at Qurbani. Traditionally, a goat or sheep may be sacrificed for Aqiqah but this can also be a cow or camel.

Just like the conditions of sacrifice for Qurbani, that animal must be in good health, be slaughtered in a humane way and of a certain age.

The latter condition means sheep must be 6 months or older; goats 12 months+; a cow 3 years+; a camel 6 years or older.

Sharing

As well as sharing the joy and blessings of a new child with relatives and friends, the poor should be included in the celebrations by being offered food and meat served as part of the occasion.

It is why many in the UK and the West opt to have Aqiqah done in a country where the meat can be provided to the poor and those most in need, many of whom might never have the opportunity to enjoy a meat dish.

The current value of an Aqiqah donation with Islamic Help is £60 for Tanzania, Cameroon or Bangladesh.

Celebrate the birth of your child and donate your Aqiqah online with Islamic Help today.