What is Aqiqah?
Aqiqah, in Islamic terminology, is defined as sacrifice of an animal on the occasion of a child’s birth.
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?
Traditionally, Aqiqah is performed on the seventh day after the birth of the baby, though this is not a requirement and it can be done anytime after the birth of the child.
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.
Narrated Umm Kurz: 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. (Sunan Abu Dawood Book 15, No. 2830)
The Condition of the Animal for Aqiqah
The condition of the animals in Aqiqah is the same as the conditions for the animals in Qurbani. 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.