The importance of Aqeeqah

كل مولود مرهرون بعقيقة

الحديث رواه الإمام أحمد وأهل السنن

وقال الخطابي في معالم السنن: اختلف الناس في هذا، وأجود ما قيل فيه ما ذهب إليه أحمد بن حنبل قال: هذا في الشفاعة يريد أنه إذا لم يعق عنه فمات طفلا لم يشفع في أبويه.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said,

“Every child is mortgaged to his `aqeeqah.”

Imam Ahmed رحمة الله عليه understood this to mean your child will not intercede for you, if they die young, on the day of judgement.

Fiqh of ‘Aqeeqah 7 12 10 Zad class Sheikh Haitham

 

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

 

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 [1].

‘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.

Islamic ruling

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”. [2]

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…” [3]
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.” [4] 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.” [5] [6]
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. [7] 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.” [8] 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 [9] 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.” [10]

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) [11] for its ‘Aqeeqah which is sacrificed for it on its seventh day, and it is named on it, and its head is shaved.” [12]
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.

____________________

[1] The ruling for ‘Aqeeqa thus does not apply to the miscarried fetus as it is not considered a newborn

[2] See: ‘Tuhfatul-Mawdood (p.39)

[3] Narrated by Abu Dawood, 2838; classed as saheeh by Shaykh al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.

[4] Narrated by Ahmad (12202). Classed as saheeh by Ibn Hibbaan (3/338) and by al-Haythami in Majma’ al-Zawaa’id (4/474)

[5] 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)

[6] 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

[7] 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)

[8] Reported by Ahmad (6/381), Aboo Dawood [E.T. 2/797/No. 2830] and the remaining three Sunan. at Tirmidhee declared it saheeh

[9] It should be noted that the chapter of Aqeeqa contains countless matters of analogy backed up by statement, fatawa or narrations from the companions.

[10] ‘Tuhfatul-Mawdood’ p. 54

[11] 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)

[12] 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’

The Manners of Welcoming the New-Born Child in Islâm

Children are a source of delight and an adornment for the world granted by Allâh to their parents, they give vigor to the hearts, joy to the souls, pleasure to the eyes. They are the fruit from whom good is to be hoped for when they frequently supplicate:

 

“Our Lord! Bestow on them your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was small”

and they are the ones in every nation upon whom hope for the future lies, and they are the youth of tomorrow upon whose shoulders the call to Islâm is carried. Indeed Islâm has indeed elevated the status of children and has laid down manners for their treatment relating to all their affairs and each stage of their and from these are the manners for welcoming their arrival in this life.

Our Prophet (SAW) was a living example, educating, cultivating the Muslims upon the practices of Islâm, teaching them how to worship their Lord in the best of ways. But a number of Muslims have strayed from his pure teachings and have substituted that which is gold for that which worthless.

So here are the manners the Prophet (SAW) taught us with regards our new-born.

 

Encouragement to have Children

Allâh says, “So now have sexual relations with them,, and seek that which Allâh has ordained for you.” And the Prophet (SAW) said, “Marry the loving and fertile because through you, I will compete with the nations for superiority in numbers”(Abu Dawûd)

And it is important that the Parents bring up their children upon righteousness, so that the Parents will benefit from them during their lives and after their death. Allâh ‘s Messenger (SAW) said, “A servant will have his rank raised and will say, ‘O my Lord how has this come about for me?’ He says, ‘through your sons after you seeking forgiveness for you'”(ibn Maajah)

Know that what has preceded applies equally to both boys and girls, and indeed Islâm has encouraged the bringing up of girls, and Allâh condemns those that are distressed at the birth of a girl, and the Messenger (SAW) came elevating the status of this gift from Allâh ,

 

“whoever takes care of two girls until they reach adulthood – he and I will come together on the Day of Resurrection (like this) – and he interlaced his two fingers”(Muslim)

Meaning in Paradise. So can their be a greater honour given to daughters?!

Giving the good news of the Birth

The near of kin who are anxiously waiting should be informed so that they can stop worrying and congratulate the parents and supplicate for the baby. Allâh mentions this good news being conveyed to a number of His Prophets, from them Zakariyyah of his son Yahya,

 

“Then the angels called him, while he was standing in prayer in a private room (saying), ‘Allâh gives you glad tidings of Yahya'”

 

Giving the Adhân in the ear of the newborn

The first practice to do is to make the adhâh in the ear of the baby, so that the first words that the baby hears is the name of Allâh , and the kalima.

It is to be given straight after the birth, or very soon afterwards as he (SAW) did with his grandson al-Husayn, as is related by Abu Raafi’ who said,

 

“I saw the Prophet give the adhâh for prayer in the ear of al-Husayn ibn Alî when his mother Fâtimah gave birth to him,” (Tirmidhî)

It should be given with it’s usual wording in a voice which is audible to the baby, not so loudly that it risks harm to the baby or alarms it.

Only the adhân is to be given, not the iqâmah as well as there is no authentic evidence to support this. Giving the adhaan only is also the reported practice of the Khalî fah Umar bin Abdul Azîz. This is closer to the sunnah, and Allâh knows best.

The sunnah has not specified as to which ear it should be given, however the Messenger (SAW) used to love to do good actions starting from the right, so it would be more appropriate to give the adhân in the right ear.

The Tahnîk

This means to softening a date and then rubbing the palate of the new-born with it just after the birth or soon after. This is done by putting a piece of the softened date on the finger and rubbing it from left to right in the mouth of the baby.

 

Ibn Hajr said, “if one is not able to find a dry date, then a fresh date should be used, and if that is not available then anything sweet.” (Fath 9/588)

It is not essential to chew the date rather it may be softened in any way. The action of chewing as reported in the sunnah was something specific to the Messenger (SAW) due to the blessings that Allâh had placed in his saliva.

It is done by the father or the mother or anyone from the People of Knowledge whose supplication is hoped would be accepted. So he should perform tahnî k and supplicate for the child as was the practice of the Companions.

Imaam Nawawî says,” scholars are agreed upon the recommendation of performing tahnî k upon the baby after it’s birth.” (Sharh Sahî h Muslim 4/122)

Aaishah (ra) reports, ” new-born children used to be brought to the Messenger of Allâh and he would supplicate for blessings for them, and rub a chewed date upon their palate.” (Muslim)

Naming the child

The baby may be named on the day of it’s birth or later on the seventh day or past the seventh day, as this is what is clear after study of all the evidences from the sunnah.

It is the father or the mother who chose the name for the baby. If they differ amongst themselves then it is the father who has the choice, he may name it himself or give his wife the right to choose. The fact that this is the right of the father is shown by the principle that the child is ascribed and attributed to the father, as Allâh says,

 

“Call them (adopted sons) by (the names of) their fathers, that is more just in the Sight of Allâh “

It is also allowed for the parents to allow others to name the child, since our Prophet (SAW) used to name some of the children of his Companions.

The name should carry a good and praiseworthy meaning as the Messenger (SAW) said,

 

“On the Day of Resurrection, you will be called by your names and your fathers names, so make your names good.” (Abu Dawûd)

It is recommended to call oneself a servant of Allâh (Abdullâh) or the servant of any of the names of Allâh . Then it is recommended to name a child after a prophet, due to the hadî th,

 

“call yourselves by the names of the Prophets” (Abu Dawûd)

and the hadîth,

 

“a son was born to me this night and I called him after my forefather Ibraahîm” (Muslim)

Then it is recommended to name the child after any pious person in the hope that it will become like him/her. Then it is recommended to name by any name which has good meaning.

It is forbidden to name a child with a name that denote servitude to other than Allâh , for example Abd an-Nabi, Abd ar-Rasûl etc, just as it is forbidden to name them with names that are particular to the Unbelievers like George, Michael, Susan etc.

The names of tyrants and evil personalities should be avoided such as Fir’awn, Qarûn, Abu Lahab etc.. Likewise it is disliked to name with the names of the Surahs of the Qur’aan like ‘Taa Haa’ or ‘Yaa Sîn’ as is reported from Imaam Maalik and others. There is no authentic hadî th which ascribes the above two as being names of the Prophet (SAW).

The Aqîqah

After the seventh day of the arrival of the new-born, as a form of welcome for it and to give thanks to the One who gave the blessings, it is prescribed to slaughter a sheep. The Messenger (SAW) said,

 

“Every child is in pledge for it’s Aqî qah which is sacrificed for it on its seventh day, and it is named on it, and its head is shaved” (Abu Dawûd)

If the new-born is a boy then two sheep are to be sacrificed, and if it is a girl then one sheep. This is the position of the majority of the scholars and Companions. The Prophet (SAW) said,

 

“for the boy two equal sheep, and for the girl, a single sheep.” (Ibn Mâjah)

So it is permissible to sacrifice the male or female sheep or goat, and this is best. As for sacrificing other animals then the scholars have differed over this.

The sacrifice should be done by the father or a close relative, for our Prophet (SAW) performed the Aqî qah for his two grandsons. It is also obligatory to mention the name of Allâh over it while sacrificing, and if a close relative is performing the Aqî qah then he should add, ‘this aqî qah is the Aqî qah of so and so’ mentioning the name of the person on whose behalf he is performing the aqî qah, as is reported in the hadî th related by al-Bayhaqî.

The meat of the sacrifice may be distributed cooked or uncooked,, but it is preferred that it should be cooked as this leads to greater blessing as mentioned by a group of the scholars.

Shaving the baby’s head

On the seventh day after the birth the head of the baby should be shaved. So when al-Hasan was born the Prophet (SAW) told his daughter, Faatima (RA),

 

“shave his head and give the weight of his hair in silver to the poor” (Ahmad)

The right side of the head should be shaved first, then the left as mentioned in the hadî th,

 

“shave, and he indicated to the right side of his head, and then the left” (Muslim)

It is not permissible to shave a part of the head and leave a part, as this was prohibited by the Messenger (SAW) as reported by al-Bukhârî. The strongest view seems to be that the head of the boy or the girl should be shaved, as is reported that Faatimah weighed the hair of her daughter (Muwatta) but the scholars differ on this, and Allâh knows best.

The shaving should be done after the sacrifice, and our pious predecessors liked to rub some perfume over the baby’s head after the shaving.

Then it is prescribed to give the value of the baby’s weight of hair in silver in charity, and it is recommended to give this charity on the seventh day also, but it is not necessary to do so, and may be delayed.

Circumcision

It is prescribed that the boy be circumcised, it is recommended that the circumcision take place on the seventh day, but it is obligatory to circumcise before the boy reaches puberty.

by Abû Rumaysah