Will you give detailed information about aqiqa sacrifice? Why are two animals sacrificed for a boy and one animal for a girl?

Details of the Question

The following is stated in some narrations: "The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) ordered us to sacrifice two sheep as aqiqa for boys and one sheep for girls." What is the wisdom behind it?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The first hair of the newborn baby is called “aqiqa”; seven days after the birth, all or some of the hair on the head of the baby is cut and a name is given to the baby; the animal that is sacrificed after that to thank Allah is called “sacrifice of aqiqa”.

The following is reported from Hz. Aisha:

"The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) ordered us to sacrifice two animals for male babies and one animal for female babies." (Ibn Majah hadith no: 3163, Dhabaih, no: 1515)

According to the narration of Hz. Aisha, the Prophet (pbuh) sacrificed animals for Hasan and Husayn, his grandsons, on the seventh day of their birth and named them. (Tajrid Sarih Translation, XI / 401)

This sacrifice can be performed from the day a child is born to the age of puberty. However, it gains one more thawabs if it is slaughtered on the seventh day. The bones of the sacrificed animal are not broken with the intention that the child will be healthy; they are separated from the joints and cooked like that. Then, the bones are buried.

The meat of the animal sacrificed as aqiqa can be eaten by the person who has it sacrificed and his household can also eat from it. Some of it is given to the needy people.

Before Islam, an animal was sacrificed only for a boy in the Era of Jahiliyya among Arabs. Nothing like that was in question for girls. Islam enabled people to give importance to girls by making this change.

Umm Kurz narrates:

"I heard the Messenger of Allah say,

"It is necessary to slaughter two similar aqiqas for a boy and one aqiqa for a girl. It does not matter whether the animal is male or female." [Abu Dawud, Adahi 21, (2834, 2835, 2836); Tirmidhi, Adahi 17, (1516); Nasai, Aqiqa 3, (7, 165)]

1. The hadiths above show that the aqiqa to be slaughtered for the boy and the girl should be different: Two aqiqas for a boy and one aqiqa for a girl. Besides, it is stated that both of the animals to be slaughtered for the boy must have the necessary conditions for the sacrifice; that is, both of them must be proper animals for sacrifice.

2. Acting upon this hadith, some scholars have concluded that two animals are to be slaughtered for a boy; they also strengthen their views with other evidence. They say, “Our Shari’ah decides the half for women in inheritance, witnessing and religion.

3. Although it seems like it is wajib to slaughter an aqiqa sacrifice when one reads the hadith, Islamic scholars did not conclude that it is wajib by taking other narrations about the issue into consideration. Only those who follow the madhhab of Zahiriyya say it is wajib. Shafii, Hanbali and Maliki madhhabs have concluded that aqiqa is sunnah but Hanafis have concluded that it is mubah and mandub (recommended). Accordingly, it is not a sin if aqiqa is not slaughtered.

According to the judgment of the most of the scholars, one aqiqa is enough for a girl and a boy. As a matter of fact, the following narrations show it clearly. Many religious people including Abdullah Ibn Umar, who is known to follow the sunnah word for word, slaughtered one sheep for a boy and a girl.

Abdullah Ibn Umar gave one aqiqa to the person from his family who asked him. He slaughtered a sheep for every child of his, whether a boy or a girl. Urwa Ibn az-Zubayr did the same thing, too. Imam Malik says,

"According to what has been reported to me, Ali Ibn Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) did the same thing, too." [Muwatta, Aqiqa 4, (2, 501)]

That narration proves that aqiqa for a girl and a boy is one sheep because it informs us that distinguished people like Ibn Umar, Urwa and Hazrat Ali did so.

Abdullah Ibnu Abbas narrates:

"The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) slaughtered one aqiqa each for his grandsons, Hz. Hasan and Husayn." [Abu Dawud, Adahi 21, (2841)]

Those who hold the view that one aqiqa is slaughtered for a girl and a boy base their views on this narration.

The conditions necessary for an animal to be sacrificed as aqiqa

The animal to be sacrificed must not be blind in one eye or both eyes; most of its teeth must exist; its ears must not be cut off; one or two horns of it must not be broken from the bottom; more than half of the ear or tail must not be cut off; the tips of the udders must not be cut off; it must not be an animal born without ears or a tail. According to Hanafi madhhab, aqiqa sacrifice is mubah and hence mandub. According to the other three imams, it is sunnah; according to Zahiri madhhab it is fard.

The Prophet (pbuh) prohibited the custom of wiping some blood of it on the head when the animal was sacrificed (Abu Dawud, Adahi, 20); he ordered to cut the infant’s hair and give sadaqah in the form of gold or silver as much as the weight of the hair. Since the word aqiqa meant disobedience to parents, the Messenger of Allah changed the name of this sacrifice to "nasika" which means "obedience and worship". (Ibn Hanbal, II/182)

According to Imam Shafii and Ahmad Bin Hanbal, the bones of the aqiqa are not broken; they are separated from their joints and cooked like that as an omen for the health and safety of the infant. It is mustahab. However, according to the other madhhab imams, it is recommended to break the bones as an omen for the infant to be modest and to have his human ambitions broken. Then, it depends on the intention. It is better to behave in accordance with the omen intended.

The meat of the animal sacrificed as aqiqa can be eaten by the person who has it sacrificed and his household can also eat from it. Some of it is given to the needy people.

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