Aqeeqah (Part 3)

It is related by Hasan Basree radhiyallahu anhu, on the authority of Samurah Ibne jundub radhiyallahu anhu, that the Apostle of Allah sallallahu alayhi wasallam  said: "Every child is pledged in exchange for the animal of its Aqeeqah. The animal should be sacrificed on the seventh day and the child's head should be shaved, and a name given to it."

Aboo Daawood, Tirmizi, Nasa'ee

Commentators have explained the pledging of the child in exchange for the animal of Aqeeqah in various ways. In our humble view, the most convincing explanation is that the birth of a child is great boon and blessing of the Lord and the sacrifice of Aqeeqah by the parents who can afford it is an act of
thanks-giving, or, as one would say, a ransom. Until the gratitude is expressed to
Allah  and the ransom is paid, the obligation will be left as yet to be fulfilled and the child will remain pledged in exchange for the animal.

The command to perform the Aqeeqah on the day of birth has not been given, perhaps for the reason that, at that time, the family is occupied with the needs and comforts of the mother, and the shaving of the head so early can, also, be harmful to the child.

In a weeks time, a lying-in woman, generally, gets well and does not need special care or attention, and the baby too, becomes strong enough to go through the
shaving of the head.

Apart from this, in this and a few other Traditions, it is told that the child should
also be named on the seventh day of its birth along with Aqeeqah, but from some Traditions it appears that the Apostle of Allah sallallahu alayhi wasallam  had named children even on the day they were born. There is, as such, no harm in giving a name to the child before the seventh day of its birth, but if it has not been done, the child should be named on the seventh day, together with Aqeeqah.

Salmaan Ibne Aamir Zahabee radhiyallahu anhu relates that he heard the Apostle of Allah sallallahu alayhi wasallam  say: "With the child is Aqeeqah. (Whoever is blessed with a child should have its Aqeeqah performed). So, sacrifice an animal on behalf of the child and have its
head shaved."


The Aqeeqah ceremony, as these narratives show, consists of two acts:
the shaving of the head, and the sacrifice of the animal. There is a peculiar identity between the two acts, and these acts are among the religious practices of Millat-e-Ibraaheemee
(the community of Prophet Ibraaheem alayhis salaam ). In the Hajj , too, they go together and the pilgrims have their heads shaved after the sacrifice. Thus, Aqeeqah, also, is a practical demonstration of our association with Ibraaheem alayhis salaam  as well as of the fact that the child, too, is a member of the Ibraaheemi community.
Abdullah Ibne Abbaas radhiyallahu anhumaa narrates that th
e Apostle of Allah sallallahu alayhi wasallam  did the Aqeeqah of (his maternal grandsons), Hasan and Husayn radhiyallahu anhumaa, and slaughtered a ram for each of them.

Aboo Daawood

The holy Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam  offered only one ram as a sacrifice in the Aqeeqah ceremonies of Hasan and Husayn radhiyallahu anhumaa probably because, at that time, he could afford only that much, and thus, a precedent, also, was set for those who were of limited means.

In some other accounts, two rams were mentioned instead of one, but according to the authorities, the above report, as quoted in Aboo Daawood, is more reliable.

It is related, on the authority of Ali Ibne Abee Taalib radhiyallahu anhu that the Apostle of Allah sallallahu alayhi wasallam  sacrificed a goat in the Aqeeqah of Hasan radhiyallahu anhu, and told (his daughter), Faatimah radhiyallahu anhaa to shave his head and give away silver in charity of an equal weight to the hair. When we weighed the hair, it was found to be equal in weight to a Dirham or even less.



In it, the giving away in charity of silver equal in weight to the hair is also mentioned, in addition to the sacrifice of the animal. It, too, is a commendable observance, though not compulsory.
Some commentators think that the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam  had told Faatimah radhiyallahu anhaa to give away the silver in charity because, at the time of Hasan's radhiyallahu anhu birth, the financial condition of his parents, Ali and Faatimah radhiyallahu anhumaa, did not permit the sacrifice of an animal and, therefore, the sacred Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam  carried out the sacrifice himself and told Faatimah radhiyallahu anhaa to give away silver in charity equal to the weight of the child's hair so that an expression of gratitude to Allah  was made from her side as well in that form.

Tasmiyah (The Giving of Name)