Is It Necessary to Shave Newborn’s Hair?

24 March, 2020
Q As-salamu `alaykum. My wife and I were blessed with a son. The question I have concerns shaving the hair of our newborn son at the aqeeqah. I understand we are to make sadaqah based on the weight of our son's hair in relation to the current price of silver. But since I do not have a viable means of weighing his hair and will have to guesstimate, is there a religious purpose in shaving his head? Is the blessing in the paying of the sadaqah (charity) only, or is it in the shaving of the hair and the paying of the sadaqah?

Answer

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:

Shaving the head of the baby is among the rites of aqeeqah. So a Muslim should never hesitate to do the shaving as well as all other Sunnah acts of aqeeqah, for they entail obedience of the Prophet (peace be upon him).


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

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I congratulate both of you for this wonderful gift of Allah. You have every right to cherish it and give thanks to Him. I also pray that Allah grants your son sound faith and upbringing, and may he become a valuable asset to the community. Amen.

Aqeeqah is an important Islamic rite of initiation. It is a great sunnah of the Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him). This custom existed among the pre-Islamic Arabs, albeit in a twisted and distorted form, as they had mingled it with pagan customs.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was sent by Allah to restore the pristine faith of the Prophet Ibrahim (peace and blessings be upon him). He thus restored `aqeeqah to its original status as a rite symbolizing the true tawheed (Oneness of Allah), purging it of all pagan associations and accretions.

The aqeeqah process consists of the following rites: shaving the head of the child and donating its equivalent in weight in charity; sacrificing a goat or a lamb and offering the meat in charity as thanksgiving; and giving the child a good name.

Thus, you should never hesitate to shave the head. If you are afraid of doing it yourself, you should get a barber or some experienced elder who can do it for you. Just as it is important from a religious point of view, it is also good for better hair growth. So don’t skip it.

As for weighing the hair, it should also be done. An ordinary, sensitive kitchen scale is all that is necessary for this purpose. If you cannot find one, you may go by an educated guesswork. In this case, it is better that you err in terms of giving more, rather than giving less.

As for the meat, if you are giving a feast, you should make sure that you invite some poor people to partake of it. For the original purpose of aqeeqah is not to feed those who are rich and well-fed.

Rather it is intended to offer an avenue for feeding the poor and indigent. An alternate way is to pick out some poor families and offer part of the meat to them, in case you are unable to invite them for the feast.

Finally, the aqeeqah ritual is the first step towards initiating the child into the Islamic faith and practices.  Following this, you and your wife bear the added responsibility of nurturing sound faith, values, ethics, and morals in the child in your everyday living.

May Allah grant you the strength and knowledge to shoulder this heavy responsibility, amen.

Allah Almighty knows best.