Importance of Aqiqah in Islam: –
Birth of a child is a very auspicious occasion in Islam. A mother goes through nine months of pain and hardships and delivers the child with great difficulty. You must thank Allah that he blessed the mother as well as the baby with good health and life. Allah alone is the Sustainer of life. He is the one who gives life and no one else has this authority. Hence, the occasion of the birth of a Muslim child ought to be celebrated with gratitude and thankfulness to Allah the Almighty.
Aqiqah is that celebration. It is sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to perform Aqiqah. When a child is born, male or female, someone must recite Adhan in his right ear and Iqamah in the left ear. It is sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to make the baby taste something sweet such as a very tiny piece of date or honey. This act is called Tahnik.
By marking the birth of your child by showing gratitude to Allah, you also pray to Him to bless your child with a virtuous soul. One of the greatest blessings of the world is to have a righteous and obedient child. Moreover, through Aqiqah you also seek Allah’s protection from evil influence on your child. By remembering Allah and being thankful to Him on your child’s birth you bring auspiciousness to the event
Procedure for Performing Aqiqah: –
The Aqiqah is ideally performed on the seventh day of the child’s birth. If for any reason you have not been able to do it on the seventh, you can do it on the 14th or 21st day and so forth. However, there is no strictness in this regard. Aqiqah can be performed any day before the child reaches puberty. Islam is a very tolerant religion that does not burden its believers in any way.
The process for Aqiqah is very simple. You give the child a beautiful and meaningful name. The best of the names in case of male child are compounds names having one of the most beautiful names of Allah, the names of prophets, especially those of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and those of his companions. You get the newborn baby’s head shaved. The hair of the baby is weighed in silver. An equivalent amount of charity is given to poor people. The idea of shaving head is to show the humility and submission of the newborn baby to Allah’s will. You also imply that you are prepared to sacrifice anything even the most valuable thing to attain the pleasure and goodwill of Allah.
Also, you slaughter an animal in order to show gratefulness to Allah. The meat of the sacrificial animal is distributed amongst the poor, relatives, friends and neighbors. The idea is to announce the birth of the child and share your happiness with your family and friends.
With respect to animals, one animal should be slaughtered in case of the birth of a female child, while in case of the birth of a male child, slaughter two animals. However, if a person cannot afford two animals, in the case of a male child, he can sacrifice one animal. The rules for sacrificial animals are the same for Aqiqah as for Eid-ul-Adha. They must not be injured or malnourished. They must be slaughtered in the Islamic way. You can slaughter goat, cow or camel to do Aqiqah.
Another very important ritual that accompanies the birth of a Muslim male child is circumcision. Circumcision is normally done in hospitals. Ideally, it is done within a month of the child’s birth. It is very important for a child to be circumcised to be called a Muslim.