Every married couple desires to have a child of their own. As it is a natural instinct of all living organisms including human being to have progeny. So birth of a child is one of the memorable moment of life of an individual. And along with birth of a baby, come a lot of responsibilities. An important one of which is to thank ALLAH almighty , Who is the reason behind this blessing in your life. Aqiqah is an act of showing gratitude to the Creator for His blessings of children. This gratitude is normally shown by sacrificing animals ( goat or lamb etc).
Word Aqiqah means “ to cut” which points towards cutting of hair of a new born baby. According to Islamic practice, Aqiqah is to sacrifice an animal on birth of a child and this is performed normally on the same day. The hairs of baby are cut. It is a way of celebration of birth of new born with other relatives and needy people.
Sunnah Of Celebration:
According to the vast majority of Islamic scholars , `aqeeqah is a highly recommended practice (Sunnah). There is, however, a small minority of scholars who consider it obligatory. It is actually a part of the legacy inherited from Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and a great Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)). The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said,
“Every child is mortgaged to his `aqeeqah.”
Aqeeqah involves the sacrifice of two animals for a boy and one for a girl. A portion of the meat should be distributed to the poor and needy. It is preferably done on the 7th day of the birth of child. However if due to any reason, aqeeqah cannot be done on the seventh day, it can be done on the fourteenth, twenty-first or whenever possible. But delay in this beautiful sunnah is not appreciated.
It is narrated in tirmidhi that,
Rasullullah SAW strongly encouraged that on the seventh day of birth of a child, he/she should be named, the hair should be shaved and the aqiqah performed.
At another place, beloved prophet said.
“For the child there should be aqiqah, on behalf of the child make sacrifice and remove the hair.”(Hadith)
It is a form of ibadah, blended with a sense of gratitude towards the Creator ALLAH.
Difference Between Aqiqah And Qurbani:
Aqiqah and Qurban are somewhat similar rituals in terms of sacrifice but there are some differences. Aqiqah is only once a life of an individual , whereas Qurbani is encouraged to be performed every year ( depending upon eligibility of individual). Moreover, meat of qurbani is preferably distributed among others as raw. Whereas meat of aqiqah is encouraged to be cooked at home ( not all meat 😛 , just of your part ) and be served cooked. Normally , a little gathering is held at home on occasion of aqiqah, and the meat of aqiqah is served as feast.