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The birth of a child is a great blessing and gift from Allah SWT that Muslim’s around the world celebrate with family, friends and loved ones. One of the many ways this is celebrated is through Aqiqah.
When a child is born, an Aqiqah must be given by the parents/guardian as a gesture of thanks to Allah (SWT), protection from Shaytaan, expiation of sins and preventing any calamities, inshaAllah.
Aqiqah is the act of sacrificing an animal to mark the occasion of a child’s birth. Ideally, this should be performed seven days after the birth of the child - or failing that, every subsequent seven days before the child is mature – based on the Islamic lunar calendar.
Performing Aqiqah following the birth of a child is highly recommended for the parent or guardian. This is beneficial for many reasons; along with the aim of announcing the birth of your child and thanking Allah SWT for such a blessing, it helps to unite family members and loved ones on this special occasion.
It also gives us an opportunity to share our celebrations with those less fortunate than ourselves - such as orphans and those in need - by offering the meat from the sacrifice with them.
The Aqiqah for a boy child and a girl child varies; the sacrifice for a baby boy is the equivalent of two sacrifices and the sacrifice for a baby girl is one.
The act of shaving the head is also carried out at this time and the hair is then weighed. A monetary donation is then given to the needy and orphans based on the weight of the hair. The value of this is gauged by the current rate of silver at that time (this usually works out to approximately £10) if the Aqiqah is performed within a few days of birth.
The animals used for sacrifice during Aqiqah is similar to that of Qurbani. Traditionally, a goat or sheep may be sacrificed for Aqiqah but this can also be a cow or camel. Just like the conditions of sacrifice for Qurbani, that animal must be in good health and be slaughtered in a humane way.
Animals sacrificed for Aqiqah must be of a certain age before slaughter:
Sheep – 6 months +
Goat – 12 months +
Cow – 3 years +
Camel – 6 years +