Salam Brothers and Sisters,
I recently had a baby boy and as usual (as always around here) everybody is asking when I will hold the Aqeekah ceremony. For those of you who don't know, Aqeekah is the ritual for newborns (boys and girls), where a sheep/goat/cow is slaughtered and distributed to the poor and needy. Since I've been reading free-minds for quite some time now, I can't help but ask : Is this ritual or any aspect of it permissible according to the Quran? There's chanting,hair cutting, gold/silver, feasting and slaughtering and I need to know whether all this is some old arab/semetic tradition or is there some basis in the Quran.
I would really appreciate some help here.
Aqeeqah (Part 2)
It is related by Aa'ishah radhiyallahu anhaa: "During the age of perversion, the custom was that when people performed the Aqeeqah of a newly born child, they dipped a piece of cotton-wool in the blood of the sacrificed animal, and when the head of the child was shaved, it was placed on its head. (Since it was an uncivilised custom), the Apostle of Allah sallallahu alayhi wasallam remarked: 'Do not apply blood on the child's head. Apply Khalooq on its place.'"
Saheeh Ibne Hibbaan
In olden days, a preparation was used for scenting which included saffron, and it was called Khalooq. From the aforementioned narratives of Buraydah radhiyallahu anhu and Aa'ishah radhiyallahu anhaa, it appears that
Aqeeqah was common among the Arabs during the age of ignorance too. Since, it served a useful purpose in many ways, and intrinsically was also in keeping with the spirit of Islaam, and perhaps, like the rituals of the Hajj , it was among the remaining practices of Millat-e-Ibraaheemee (the community of Prophet Ibraaheem alayhis salaam ), the holy Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam preserved the reality of Aqeeqah, but corrected the perverse practices that had got associated with it.
We moreover learn from Bayhaqi that the Aqeeqah ceremony was also observed among the Jews, but they sacrificed an animal only in case of a male child, which probably was indicative of the lesser value that was generally placed on the girls in the pre-Islaamic times. The holy Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam corrected this too, and enjoined that the Aqeeqah of the girls
should also be performed like that of the boys. However, keeping in mind the
natural difference between the two sexes which has been given a due regard in
inheritance and law of evidence, etc., as well, the holy Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam laid down that while one goat was to be sacrificed in the Aqeeqah of a female child, two should be sacrificed in the Aqeeqah of a male child, provided that one's financial condition allowed it.
Umme Kurz radhiyallahu anhaa narrates that she heard the Apostle of Allah sallallahu alayhi wasallam saying about Aqeeqah: "Two goats should be sacrificed on behalf of a male child, and one on behalf of a female child, and it does not matter whether the animal was male or female."
It is related by Abdullah Ibne Amr Ibne Aas radhiyallahu anhumaa that the Apostle of Allah sallallahu alayhi wasallam said: "To whom soever a child is born, and he wants to perform the sacrifice of Aqeeqah on behalf of it, he should sacrifice two goats for a boy and one goat for a girl."
Aboo Daawood, Nasa'ee
This Tradition shows that Aqeeqah is not obligatory, but it belongs to the category of Istihbaab, i.e., acts that are commendable in Islaam, but not binding or compulsory. In the same way, it is not necessary to sacrifice two goats for a male child. It, of course, is better to sacrifice two goats provided that one can afford it, otherwise one is enough.
In the next Tradition, it is explicitly stated that the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam sacrificed only one goat in the Aqeeqah ceremonies of Hasan and Husayn radhiyallahu anhumaa.