Can an animal be sacrificed as aqiqah for a deceased person?

The Details of the Question

- A poor man died but he could not afford to sacrifice an aqiqah for himself; nor could his parents. Can his son or son-in-law sacrifice an aqiqah for him?
- Or is it unnecessary since he passed away and aqiqah is regarded as charity during one’s lifetime?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Sacrificing an animal for the sake of Allah is a deed of worship; therefore, it can be sacrificed for a deceased person; both the person who sacrifices it and the person for whom it is sacrificed will benefit from its thawab.

The animal that is sacrificed for the purpose of thanking for the newborn child is called “aqiqah”. It is sunnah to sacrifice an animal as aqiqah.

According to what is narrated from Ibn Abbas (ra), the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) sacrificed an aqiqah for Hasan and Husayn each. (Abu Dawud, Adahi, 21; Nasai, Aqiqah, 1)

The Prophet (pbuh) states the following in one of his hadiths:

“Every child is like a hostage in exchange for the aqiqah sacrificed for him on the seventh day (after his birth). After the aqiqah is sacrificed, the hair of head of the child is cut and he is given a name.” (Abu Dawud, Adahi, 21)

In this respect, although aqiqah can be sacrificed between the day of birth and the age of puberty, it is more virtuous to be sacrificed on the seventh day after the birth. It is mustahab to give a name to the child on the same day, and to give charity as much as the weight of the child’s hair in gold or its equivalent. (Ibn Rushd, Bidayah al-Mujtahid, Egypt, 1975, I, 462-463)

Anyone, including the parents, can eat the meat of the aqiqah sacrifice.

To sum up, it is not necessary to sacrifice an aqiqah for the deceased but it is permissible to sacrifice; it will benefit both the deceased and the person who has it sacrificed.

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