Allah says in the Qur’an:
“And whoever honors the symbols of Allah, then it is from the piety
of the hearts.” (22: 32)
Aqiqa is the sheep sacrificed on the seventh day after the birth of
a child as an expression of joy and to welcome it and give thanks to
Allah for the blessing of children.
“With the child there is aqiqa, so spill blood for him and remove
the harm from him.” (Bukhari)
“Every child is in pledge (raheena) for its aqiqa which is
sacrificed for it on the seventh day, and it is named on it, and its
head is shaved.”
It is an encouraged act (Ar. mustahab) according to Malik, Shaf’I,
“Whoever has a child born to him and wishes to offer a sacrifice,
then let him sacrifice ” (Abu Daud)
What is to be Sacrificed?
“For the boy two equal sheep and for a girl, a single sheep.”
(Ahmad, Ibn Majah)
The Arabic word used in the hadith, “Shat,” can mean male or female
sheep or goat. It is best to sarifice a male sheep – a ram – as The
Prophet chose it for the aqiqa of his grandsons, Hasan and Husain.
Characteristics & Age of Sheep
Animals sacrificed for Eed al-‘Adha or on Hajj must be free of
certain defects like it should not be one-eyed, lame, ill, skinny,
or under nourished. Sheep must be six months old, goat one year, cow
two years, and camel five years. Do these conditions apply to the
(a) Many scholars like Imam Shaf’I, Ahmad, and Malik hold that it
must be free of defects like ‘adha as they make analogy (Ar. qiyaas)
between the two.
(b) Ibn al-Arabi al-Maliki, Ibn Hazm, Shawkani, and San’aani say
that it is not a condition because the Prophet said shat without
putting any restrictions on it. Ibn Hazm writes, ‘A defective animal
suffices for the aqiqa whether it is such as would be allowed for
the ‘adha sacrifice or not, and one free of defects is better.”
The same applies for the age: if the sheep has passed the age
requirement for the ‘adha (six months or older) than it is better,
less than that is also permissible.
Timing of Sacrifice
The Sunna is to do it on the seventh day after birth. If one misses
it, then “the aqiqa is to be sacrificed on the 7th, 14th, or the
21st day.” (Tabarani, Baihaqi)
Ibn al-Qayyim writes, ‘What is apparent is that its limitation to
the 7th day is recommended, however, if he sacrificed on the 4th,
8th, or the 10th day, then it will count, and what is counted is the
day of sacrifice, not the day of cooking it and eating the meat.”
Who Performs Aqiqa?
It is required from the father. It is also permissible if someone
else does it. The Prophet gave the aqiqa for Hasan and Husain, his
grandsons, even though their father was present.
What is to be Said at the Time of Sacrifice?
“Sacrifice with (the mention) of His name: In the name of Allah, O
Allah, it is Yours and to You, this is the aqiqa of so-and-so.”
“Bismilla, Allah-humma la-ka, wa-ilayka, hadhahi aqeeqa ”
Making Use of Skin
It is permissible to make use of its skin, stomach, and guts. It may
be sold and the price given in charity.
Distributing Its Meat
Mother of the Believers, Aisha said, “It should be eaten, fed to
people, and given in charity.” Ali is reported to have given the leg
of the aqiqa to the mid-wife.
Dislike for Breaking Its Bones
It is disliked (Ar. makruh) to break its bones according to
Aisha, ‘Ata, Shaf’i, and Ahmad after sacrifice or when preparing it
for food. The Prophet said to his daugther, Fatima, about Hasan and
(1) “Send a leg to the midwife, and eat and give it in food and do
not break its bones.” (Abu Daud)
(2) Aisha: a woman vowed to sacrifice camels if Abd al-Rahman ibn
Abi Bakr’s wife gave birth to a son. Aisha said, ‘No, rather the
Sunna is better. For the boy two equal sheep, and a single sheep for
the girl. It is to be cut up with the limbs only cut at the joints
and no bones broken. So one should eat, feed with it, and give it in
charity. Let that be on the 7th day, if not, the 14th, if not, then
the 21st.” (Hakim. Dhahabi, Ahmad Shakir: sahih)
(3) ‘Ata: “It should be cut up only at the joints and no bone should
be broken.” (Baihaqi)
(4) Ahmad: “Its bones are not to be broken, rather each bone is to
be severed at the joint so that the bone is not broken.”
Image Credit: Zuhair A. Al-Traifi