ʾAqīqah (Arabic: عقيقة), aqeeqa, or aqeeqah is the Islamic tradition of the sacrifice of an animal on the occasion of a child's birth. Aqiqah is a type of sadaqah and it is also sunnah, though not obligatory.
If one cannot slaughter on the seventh day, someone may slaughter on the fourteenth day or on the twenty-first day. If one is not capable of doing so, then a person may slaughter any time before the puberty of the child. The aqiqah is sunnah and mustahabb; it is not obligatory at all, so there is no sin on the one who does not do it.
Ja'far al-Sadiq, a great grandchild of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and a prominent scholar in his era, claimed that the shaving, slaughtering for aqiqah, and naming of the child should, ideally, be done within one hour.
Additionally, Ja'far al-Sadiq replied in response to a question: "'Would almsgiving (equal to the price of aqeeqah) be sufficient instead of aqeeqah?'" with the answer that: 'No, it wouldn't be sufficient; Allah likes giving food and submission to his will.'"
According to another hadith from Ja'far al-Sadiq, every born is in pawn of aqeeqah; namely it would be exposed to death/kinds of calamities if they don't do aqeeqah for the child. It is Sunnah for the parents to eat from the meat of aqiqah.
Abu Talib ibn Abd al-Muttalib performed aqiqah for Muhammad on the seventh day of his birth and invited members of his family for the occasion, who asked "what is this?" to which he replied "Aqiqah for Ahmad". He claimed to have named him Ahmad "because of the praises of the inhabitants of the skies and the Earth for him".
Muhammad is said to have performed aqiqah for both Hasan ibn Ali and Husayn ibn Ali, his grandsons, on the seventh day of their births respectively by sacrificing one sheep each; the leg of which was given to the nurse that helped with the delivery. Anointing the baby with the blood of the sacrificed animal for aqiqah was a common practice among Arab pagans and was therefore prohibited in Islam.
Islamic historical usage
An aqiqah performed by Ghazi Burhanuddin led to interreligious strife in the Gour Kingdom, eventually triggering the Conquest of Sylhet in 1303, an event instrumental to the spread of Islam in eastern Bengal.
- Sunan al-Tirmidhi, hadith #1522–1524
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