Rulings on Aqiqah for Baby Boys and Girls

rulings on aqiqah for baby boys and girls
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Publié le 16 février 2023, par Samir | 8 h 11 min
Temps de lecture : 5 minutes

Aqiqah is an Islamic tradition of sacrificing an animal, typically a sheep or a goat, in gratitude and celebration of a newborn baby. It is considered a Sunnah [tradition of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)] and is considered a form of worship and charity in Islam. The meat from the sacrifice is usually divided into three parts: one-third is given away to the poor, one-third is shared with friends and neighbors, and the final third is kept for the family’s consumption. Aqiqah is seen as a way of thanking Allah for the gift of a new life and is usually performed on the seventh day after the child’s birth.

Rulings on Aqiqah for Baby Boys and Girls

The followings are the rulings and details on Aqiqah in Islam: 

  • Timing: Aqiqah is usually performed on the seventh day after the child’s birth but can also be performed before adulthood. 
  • Number of Animals: The number of animals to be sacrificed for Aqiqah is two for a boy and one for a girl. However, some scholars recommend that Aqiqah be performed for both boys and girls with the sacrifice of one animal each. 
  • Species: The preferred species for Aqiqah are sheep or goats, and the animal should be healthy and of an appropriate age. The animal should not have any physical defects and should be disease-free.
  • Method of Sacrifice: The animal should be slaughtered according to Islamic rituals, with the name of Allah enunciated at the time of sacrifice. 
  • Distribution of Meat: The meat from the sacrifice should be divided into three parts, with one-third given away to the poor, one-third shared with friends and neighbors, and the final third kept for the family’s consumption. 
  • Naming Ceremony: Aqiqah is usually followed by a naming ceremony, where the child is given a name. The father or a close relative usually does this, and the naming of the child is a separate act from the Aqiqah. 
  • Hair Shaving: After the Aqiqah has been performed, it is recommended that the head of the newborn be shaved and the hair weight given in silver or its equivalent as charity. 

It is important to note that these rulings and details on Aqiqah may vary slightly depending on different schools of thought within Islam. Nevertheless, the basic principles of Aqiqah as a form of worship and charity remain consistent across all schools of thought. 

Aqiqah is a recommended act in Islam; it is not mandatory. If a person cannot perform Aqiqah, they can make up for it by giving money to the poor instead. 

Here are some relevant hadiths regarding Aqiqah:

  • Abdullah ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, « Two similar (sheep) are sacrificed for a boy and one for a girl. » (Bukhari and Muslim) 
  • « The Prophet (peace be upon him) ordered the Aqiqah to be performed on the seventh day, and to name the child, and to shave the head, and to give the weight of the hair in silver as a charity. » (Sahih Muslim) 
  • Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, « When a son is born to one of you, the Aqiqah should be offered on his behalf on the seventh day, and it should be given in charity. » (Bukhari and Muslim) 

These hadiths show that Aqiqah is considered a recommended act of worship in Islam and should be performed in a specific manner, with the meat divided and distributed as specified.

Is a difference between the rulings of Aqiqah for a boy and a girl?

Yes, there is a difference between the rulings of Aqiqah for a boy and a girl.

For a boy baby, it is recommended to sacrifice two animals, while for a girl baby, it is recommended to sacrifice one animal. The rest of the rulings for Aqiqah, such as the timing, age of the animal, sharing the meat, and method of slaughtering, are the same for both boys and girls.

It is important to note that these recommendations are based on the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and are followed by many Muslims. However, they may vary in different communities and countries. Ultimately, the essential aspect of Aqiqah is its intention and the act of helping those in need by sharing the meat with the poor.

Why is there a difference between the rulings of Aqiqah for a boy and a girl?

First of all, whether or not one understands the reasoning behind it, all of the ‘ibadat (acts of worship) that are stressed or commanded by Shariah are purely based on obeying Allah’s commandments, such as when the Holy Prophet Ibrahim (AS) was told to sacrifice his own son. He never asked what the reason behind it was. He did as he was told because it is not required for a human to comprehend the purpose behind each command. Whether or not a person understands its rationale, offering an animal in aqiqah is still an act of worship and must be performed.

However, there are some acts of worship, the wisdom of which may be mentioned as a conceivable justification, while Allah Almighty alone knows the ultimate reason, on a child’s birth, the sacrifice of an animal is a Sunnah (a preferable practice) and not Fardh (an obligatory act). In a mandatory sacrifice, like in Eidul-Azha, one goat is enough for both genders. It demonstrates that a single goat is usually enough for both. Therefore, what is commanded for the birth of a girl is according to the standard practice, i.e., a single goat. But for a male child, an additional goat is suggested, conceivably, because one of the purposes of aqiqah is to seek refuge from satan’s influence and misfortunes, and a man is more vulnerable to them as compared to a woman because his activities are more diversified; thus, two goats are suggested for sacrifice. So, it should not be taken to imply that the birth of a girl is less blissful because the Holy Quran and the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) have condemned this belief. 

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