The Fiqh of Aqeeqah [part 1 & 2] – 07/12/2010 & 14/12/1010
Al-Aqeeqa is to carryout a sacrifice for the sake of Allah, thanking Him for the new born .
‘Aqeeqah was known among the Arabs during the Jaahiliyyah. Al-Maawardi said: ‘Aqeeqah refers to a sheep that is slaughtered on the occasion of the birth; it was a custom practised by the Arabs before Islam.
The scholars differed concerning the ruling on ‘Aqeeqa; some of them said that it is obligatory, like alHasan alBasri and others said that it is Sunnah mu’akkadah, a confirmed Sunnah. The latter view is the opinion of the majority of scholars.
Muhammad ibn Hasan as-Shaybani is reported to have said that this Sunnah was abrogated by Ud’hiya i.e. the sacrifice of Eidul Ad’ha. However, this is an odd opinion.
Ibnul Qayyim quotes Imam ash-Shaafi’ee when is reported to have said: “Two men took extreme positions about the ‘Aqeeqa. One man saying that it is obligatory, and the other saying that is an innovation! Rather it is a confirmed rite and an emphasized Sunnah, therefore Imam Ahmad loved that a person should even borrow money in order to perform it, and said: “Because he is giving life to a Sunnah”. 
Purpose behind ruling
With regard to the purpose of the ‘Aqeeqa, it was mentioned in a hadeeth of the Prophet (sallalaahu alayhi wassalam):
“Every child is in pledge for his ‘Aqeeqa…” 
The scholars differed as to the meaning of this hadeeth. It was said that the meaning is that if the ‘Aqeeqa is not done for him and he dies in childhood, he will be prevented from interceding for his parents; or that the ‘Aqeeqa is a means of ridding the child of the Shaytaan and protecting him from him. The child may miss out on something good if his parents neglect to do the ‘Aqeeqa even though that is not his action, just as when the parents have intercourse, if the father says “Bismillaah” the Shaytaan will not harm his child, and if he fails to do so the child will not have this protection.
Are children a blessing or a burden?
The Islamic perspective on children and offspring that are Muslim, is that they are a blessing from Allah; as Nuh said to his people:
“Saying, ‘Ask forgiveness from your Lord; for He is Oft-Forgiving. He will send rain to you in abundance. Give you increase in wealth and sons; and bestow on you gardens and bestow on you rivers (of flowing water)'”. [61:10-12]
Generally speaking, a progeny is mark of honor for a person and a source of strength, especially during old age.
Children can become a great source of reward if one intends to have them in order to raise a wholesome Muslim family, that the children will worship Allah and make tasbeeh’, and that they will make istigfar for you. This is indicated in the hadith wherein the Prophet (sallalaahu alayhi wassalam) said, “Marry the one who is loving and fertile, for I will feel proud of your large numbers before the other Prophet (sallalaahu alayhi wassalam)s on the Day of Resurrection.”  It was as if the Prophet (sallalaahu alayhi wassalam) wanted the worshippers of Allah increase in number and not simply that muslims per se increase in number. With this sound intention one will automatically receive the rewards of their children’s good deeds.
Having children is a natural inclination that people generally aspire towards but having children due to general feelings of wanting to fulfill human instincts or a woman’s desire to become a mother may not necessarily result in the parents partaking in the rewards the children with earn during their lifetime.
It is important to note that contrary to popular opinion the Prophet (sallalaahu alayhi wassalam) encouraged us to have children; unrestrictedly, and the verses in the Quran negate poverty for those who procreate. Modern narratives would have us believe that procreation should be restricted and ‘sensible’ numbers of children should be planned for. This is a very materialistic world view.
Rulings pertaining to ‘Aqeeqa
The majority of scholars held the opinion that two sheep are to be sacrificed for a boy and one for a girl and this is based on the hadeeth of ‘Aishah and Umm Kurz-radiyallaahu ‘anhumaa – from the Prophet (sallalaahu alayhi wassalam), who said:
“For the boy two equal sheep and for the girl, a single sheep.”  
Therefore, the Sunnah is not accomplished unless two sheep are sacrificed for a boy for one who is able to do that. Another saying is that the number is also a recommendation and that the Sunnah would be achieved by sacrificing a single sheep.  However, the first saying is stronger and precedence since it agrees with what is clearly stated in the hadeeth; ash-Shawkaanee said: “The reality is that the ‘Aqeeqa is a Sunnah from the Sunnahs of Islam and is not properly fulfilled unless two sheep are sacrificed for a boy and one for a girl.”
The Type and Kind of Animal to be Sacrificed for ‘Aqeeqa
The Prophet (sallalaahu alayhi wassalam) gave a general order that sacrifice should be done for the newborn, and that blood should be spilt for it, saying:
“With the child there is to be ‘Aqeeqa, so spill blood for it”, then he explained this further by saying: “For the boy, two sheep, and for the girl a single sheep (shaatun), it will not harm you whether they are male or female.”  i.e. the sheep.
Moreover, all the ahadith mention that the ‘Aqeeqa should be from lamb or sheep, without mentioning cows or camels as being included. However, the Prophet (sallalaahu alayhi wassalam) slaughtered camels as Hadi in Hajj and also Anas ibn malik would slaughter camels for ‘Aqeeqa and so many of the scholars, using analogy  on the action of the Prophet (sallalaahu alayhi wassalam), accepted ‘Aqeeqa from camels or cows as well as lamb or sheep.
However, it is well-known that the Prophet (sallalaahu alayhi wassalam) slaughtered two rams for hasan and husain, so using rams or sheep is best in aqeeqa.
Sharing the ‘Aqeeqa slaughter
It is not correct to share in a single sacrifice for ‘Aqeeqa. This is because the allowance is based upon analogy, and analogy with the sacrificial animals of Adhaa and Hajj is not correct for ‘Aqeeqa as has preceded. Ibnul-Qayyim said: “A single head (of sheep) can only count for a single person and this is a matter where the ‘Aqeeqa differs with the sacrificial animals of Hajj and Ud’hiya…. And since the ‘Aqeeqa sacrifice is like a ransom for the child then it is prescribed that it should be entirely for him – so that one is a ransom for the other. Also if it were correct to share in it, then the goal of spilling blood for the child will not be attained. This is because spilling the blood will count for one of them, then all that will remain for the others will be the distribution of the meat, whereas the desired goal was to spill blood for the Child.” 
The slaughter should be carried out on the seventh day after the newborn based on Ijmaa; and then on the famous Hadith of al-Hasan al-Basri who said I heard Samura ibn Jundub say that the prophet said:
“Every child is in pledge (raheenah)  for its ‘Aqeeqah which is sacrificed for it on its seventh day, and it is named on it, and its head is shaved.” 
If a child was born on Monday night than the first day would be Tuesday and so next Monday would be the seventh day. Imam Malik was very strict regarding the rulings of ‘Aqeeqa as opposed to Ahmed who said that one can slaughter before or after the seventh, however the person would have missed the Sunnah. At-Timidhi added that if one missed the seventh than do it one the following seventh and so on, based on a similar statement reported from ‘Aisha.
Ahmed says if someones father didn’t carry out the aqeeqa than one should do it for themselves, as opposed to Malik who says that 21 days is the limit.
How to distribute the meat of Aqeeqa?
Al-Hasan: it should be divided into three a) for oneself and family b) gift to others c) given away as Sadaqa based on an analogy with the ‘Udhiyya of Eidul Adha.
Ahmed: it is better to cook the meat and feed others.
No authentic hadith about not breaking the bones of aqeeqa food VS malik that it is sunnah to break or not to avoid breaking it.
Distribution of ‘Aqeeqa meat
Some of the scholars said that the ‘Aqeeqa is like the udhiyah (qurbaani) and is subject to the same rulings.
They said that it should be shared out in the same manner as the udhiyah, and that the conditions for the sheep to be sacrificed for the ‘Aqeeqa are the same as those in the case of udhiyah. They said that it should not be blemished, lame, obviously sick or extremely weak.
Ibn Qudaamah said:
The way it is to be eaten (by the owner), given as gifts and given in charity is the same, i.e., the way in which the ‘Aqeeqa is to be (shared out) is the same as the way in which the udhiyah is (shared out). This is the view of al-Shaafi’ee.
Others have said that the matter is flexible and not based on analogy with Udhiyya.
N.B! Only the sacrifice is subject to the seven day ruling, whereas the feeding and distribution of the meat is dependent upon the person convenience and choice.
Cooking the meat
From those who like that it should be cooked is Ibnul-Qayyim – who gave as his reason that it is an increase in goodness, thankfulness and a greater blessing – since it will mean that the poor and the neighbors do not have the burden of cooking it and they will be able to make use of it readily. He then mentioned that all food given out of thanks is given cooked – like the wedding ‘waleemah’, invitations to meals, and food given at the occasion of circumcision.
This, however, will depend upon circumstances and it may be that sometimes it will be better if it is distributed uncooked.
 The ruling for ‘Aqeeqa thus does not apply to the miscarried fetus as it is not considered a newborn
 See: ‘Tuhfatul-Mawdood (p.39)
 Narrated by Abu Dawood, 2838; classed as saheeh by Shaykh al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.
 Narrated by Ahmad (12202). Classed as saheeh by Ibn Hibbaan (3/338) and by al-Haythami in Majma’ al-Zawaa’id (4/474)
 Reported from ‘Aa.ishah by Ahmad (6/31) and from Umm Kurz by Ahmad (6/422) and Ibn Maajah (No. 3162) and it is ‘saheeh’ – see ‘al-lrwaa’ (4/389)
 Allaah, may He be glorified and exalted, has favoured the male over the female, as He says (interpretation of the meaning): “And the male is not like the female” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:36]. This differentiation is reflected in Islamic rulings, whereby the male is regarded as equivalent to two females in terms of testimony, inheritance and blood money (diyah), and ‘aqeeqah also comes under these rulings. End quote. Zaad al-Ma’aad, 2/331
 The evidence used by those who say that a single sheep is sufficient is that the Messenger slaughtered a single ram for al-Hasan and al-Husayn which is an authentic report, however, there occurs in another narration that it was two rams – and this is an addition quoted by a reliable narrator and is thus acceptable (al-lrwaa: 4/384)
 Reported by Ahmad (6/381), Aboo Dawood [E.T. 2/797/No. 2830] and the remaining three Sunan. at Tirmidhee declared it saheeh
 It should be noted that the chapter of Aqeeqa contains countless matters of analogy backed up by statement, fatawa or narrations from the companions.
 ‘Tuhfatul-Mawdood’ p. 54
 There are a number of views about its meaning: (a) That the ‘Aqeeqa is binding just like the pledge. (b) That the child’s correct growth and upbringing and his being a source of benefit is tied to the ‘Aqeeqa just as an article held in pledge for a debt cannot be utilized until the debt is paid. (c) That the child is prevented from interceding for its parents when it dies if ‘Aqeeqa was not performed for it. This saying is attributed to Ahmad who declared a weak saying by Ibnul Qayyim. (d) that naming and shaving the head are dependent upon the ‘Aqeeqa (e) It is a means of rescuing the child from being caught and ensnared by shaytan – and this was the view preferred by Ibnul-Qayyim in ‘at-Tuhfah’ (p. 49)
 Reported by al-Bukhaaree [E.T. 7/275/No.380] in discontinuous (mu’allaq) form – but stating its ascription with certainty. And it is reported in connected from by Ahmad (4/17) and Aboo Dawood [E.T. 3/798/No. 2833] and at-Tirmidhee (No. 1551) who declared it ‘hasan saheeh’