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What Are the Rules and Significance of Aqeeqah?

12 March, 2018
Q As-salamu `alaykum. What is the Islamic ruling on `aqeeqah? Is it a Sunnah (recommended by the Prophet) or wajib (obligatory)? What is its significance?


Wa `alaykum as-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

In this fatwa:

Aaqeeqah is a Prophetic Sunnah. Muslims who have the means to do it should not ignore it.

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The significance of aqeeqah is that it is part of the Abrahamic legacy.

In his response to the question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:

Aqeeqah is a great Sunnah. It is part of the legacy inherited from Prophet Ibrahim (peace and blessings be upon him) and a great Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).

The Prophet said, “Every boy is mortgaged by his aqeeqah, so slaughter for him on the seventh day, and shave his head, and name him.” (Ibn Majah) 

Aqeeqah involves sacrificing a goat or lamb on behalf of the child. It is giving thanks to Allah for the gift of a child. Its meat is distributed to the poor or can be used to arrange a feast to which the poor as well as relatives and friends are invited.

It is reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) sacrificed a goat each for his grandsons Al-Hasan and Al-Husayn. It is recommended that, on the day of aqeeqah, the child is given a good name, his/her head is shaved, and his/her hair is weighed and the equivalent in money of its weight in gold is given in charity.

If, for any reason, aqeeqah cannot be done on the seventh day, it can be done on the fourteenth, twenty-first or whenever possible. However, it should not be unnecessarily delayed.

Furthermore, according to the vast majority of scholars in Islam, aqeeqah is a highly recommended practice (Sunnah). There is, however, a small minority of scholars who consider it obligatory. This is the position of Imam Hasan Al-Basri.

Lastly, the significance of aqeeqah is that it is part of the Abrahamic legacy. Prophet Ibrahim (peace and blessings be upon him) was a man of tawhid (belief in the Oneness of Allah), and his entire life typified that of a perfect muwahhid or monotheist. He abolished sacrifices or rituals to deities other than Allah and allowed sacrifices and prayers to be directed solely to Allah. The rituals associated with aqeeqah, therefore, can be considered as a child’s initiation into the lessons of tawhid.

In short, aqeeqah is a great Sunnah, which all Muslims should practice, especially if they have the means to do so.

Allah Almighty knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.

Source: Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: www.islam.ca