The Ruling on the ‘Aqeeqah (Slaughtering for a Newborn)

In the Name of Allaah…

‘Aqeeqah: Slaughtering sheep after the birth of a newborn, two for a boy, one for a girl, preferably on the seventh day after the birth.

Ibn Qudaamah (d.620), may Allaah have Mercy on him, said:

“The ‘aqeeqah is a Sunnah (recommended deed) according to the vast majority of the scholars, like Ibn ‘Abbaas, Ibn ‘Umar, ‘Aa’ishah, the jurists of the taabi’oon (those who came after the companions), and the scholars of the various lands, with the exception of Ahlur-Ra’y (the Hanafees), who held that it was from the customs of Jaahliyyah (the pre-Islamic period of ignorance)… And Al-Hasan (al-Basree) and Daawood (ath-Thaahiree) held it to be an obligation…” [1]

He went on to cite ijmaa’ (scholarly concensus) that it is recommended and not obligatory, however his quotes from the scholars who opposed this disproves any claim of concensus. [2]

The Order for the ‘Aqeeqah

Some narrations from the Prophet (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace) include or indicate directives to perform the‘aqeeqah

Salmaan ibn ‘Aamir adh-Dhabbee (may Allaah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allaah (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace) said:

مع الغلام عقيقة فأهريقوا عنه دمًا وأميطوا عنه الأذى
“Along with a newborn son is an ‘aqeeqah, so spill blood for him (i.e. slaughter sheep), and remove the harm from him (i.e. shave his hair).” [3]

And ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said, “The Messenger of Allaah (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace) ordered us to slaughter a sheep for a newborn girl, and two sheep for a boy.” [4] 

How the Vast Majority of Scholars Understood the Order

However, the vast majority of the scholars understood these directives to be orders of recommended guidance, when comparing them to the remaining texts on the subject.

‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas (may Allaah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allaah (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace) said:

من ولد له ولد فأحب أن ينسك عنه فلينسك، عن الغلام شاتان مكافئتان وعن الجارية شاة
“Whoever has a newborn child and wants to slaughter for him, let him do so: Two sheep is sufficient for a boy, and one sheep for a girl.” [5]

The majority of the scholars consider this text to be a clear indication that the directives from the Messenger (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace) regarding the ‘aqeeqah were not absolute orders, but recommendations of guidance. [6]

And Allaah knows best.

Written by: Moosaa Richardson

FOOTNOTES:

[1] Al-Mughnee (13/393-394).  Note: Al-Mughnee by Ibn Qudaamah is recognized by the scholars as one of the best and most comprehensive Fiqh books ever written.

[2] This is an example of Ibn Qudaamah’s leniency in citing scholarly concensus. 

[3] Collected by al-Bukhaaree (5472) and others.

[4] An authentic hadeeth collected by at-Tirmithee (1513), Ibn Maajah (3163), and others.  This is the wording of Ibn Maajah.  Al-Albaanee discussed its chains and authenticated it in Irwaa’ al-Ghaleel (1166).

Note: It is also worth noting that ‘Aa’ishah is the narrator of this order, and she held that the ‘aqeeqah is not obligatory, as mentioned in the quote from Ibn Qudaamah.  As a general rule, the narrator’s understanding of a hadeeth is given precedence in issues of differing.  This gives further strength to the position of the majority.

[5] A hasan (authentic) hadeeth collected by Aboo Daawood (2842) and others.  Al-Albaanee called it hasan.

[6] As is established in the science of Usool al-Fiqh according to the majority of the scholars: Orders are for obligations, unless there exists a qareenah saarifah (قرينة صارفة), something to bring the status of the order down to a recommendation.

29 thoughts on “The Ruling on the ‘Aqeeqah (Slaughtering for a Newborn)

  1. Aslamulikum wa rahamathuallahi wabarakthuhu….

    Could you tell the full name of Shaikh Ibn Qudamah rahimahuallah?

    and Is it allowed to give the aqeeqah of a person/boy after many years he was born due to the ignorance of the person responsible for doing the aqeeqah of his children ? orany time limit to which the aqeeqah is to be given?

    Very benefical articles you put here in your website…..May Allah make all our affairs easy for us… Jaazakallahu khyr wa baarakallahu feek…

    • wa ‘alaykumus-salaamu wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh. Ibn Qudaamah: Muwaffaq ad-Deen, Aboo Muhammad, Abdullaah ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Qudaamah al-Maqdisee, ad-Dimashqee, al-Hanbalee. Regarding your question, the Permanent Committee of Scholars in Saudi Arabia, headed by ‘Abdul-‘Azeez ibn Baaz, said, “It is to be done on the seventh day, while it can be done after the seventh day at any time. There is no sin in delaying it, however it is best to be done as soon as one is capable.”

  2. barakallahu feekum,

    there is also this hadeeth, which is used by the scholars who say it is waajib:
    الغلام مرتهن بعقيقته

    i found this translation for it, i dont know if its too accurate though: Every child is held in pledge for his ‘aqeeqah

    and Allah knows best,
    jazakallahu khayra

    [Comment appreciated – may Allaah bless you! -Admin]

  3. You mentioned the hadeeth “Along with a newborn son is an ‘aqeeqah, so spill blood for him (i.e. slaughter sheep), and remove the harm from him (i.e. shave his hair).” A brother used this hadeeth as a proof for shaving the hair of the newborn and giving its weight in silver. I was under the impression that this was bid3ah… could you elaborate on this a little?

    jazakallahu khair

  4. as salaamu alaikum Moosa…please tell me about the shaving of the newborn’s head when the baby is a female child . Shukran.

    Ummu Saalih as-Salafiyyah
    Pittsburgh PA USA

    • Assalaamu ‘alaikum

      I would like to know the answer to this question please, baarak Allaahu feek: “do aqeeqah has to be slaughter and distribute meat to the same land/place/country which the baby born” ?

      Also regarding shaving of the newborns hair and weighing it in silver – Is it permissible to give away (to charities/poor people) in the equivalent form of money? I don’t know how or who to distribute the silver to, especially in countries such as UK. Please could you elaborate, baarrak Allaahu feek.

  5. ASALAAMU ALYKUM, is it permissable to do aqiqah after the child is over 1 year old due to not having the ability to do it at the stated times such as 7,14 or 21st day. due to financial issues? baarakAllahufeekum

  6. As-salaamu ‘alaykum

    Did you infer the Ahlur-Ray to be the Hanafees or is that what Shaykh ibn Qudaamah alluded to? I only ask because the ‘aqeeqah is also a Sunnah (maybe termed as Mustahab in their terminology) according to the Hanafiyyah and definitely not considered to be a Jaahiliyyah custom!

    • wa ‘alaykas-salaamu wa rahmatullaah. Ahlur-Ra’y is a term used for the Hanafees dear brother. Referring back to Hanafee fiqh sources will provide you with the discussion on the topic. It is important to note that when Ibn Qudaamah, or any other scholar, summarizes the position of another math-hab, it is not understood that every scholar of that math-hab is in total agreement with that position. In this case, there are Hanafee scholars who said that the ‘Aqeeqah is tatawwu’ (recommended, Sunnah), however many of them said mubaahah, and some seemed to hold it was abrogated by the Udh-hiyah. And Allaah knows best.

      • JazakAllahu khayran for the response, brother Moosaa. You’re right about the mutaqaddimoon of the Hanafi scholars having this opinion but some of the latter scholars termed it as a Sunnah, which appears to be the raajih (or, at least, practised) opinion now, in agreement with the other schools / majority.

  7. Dear brother Abu Musa, As salaamu alaikum.

    I request information from you in this topic. A brother I know (he lives in another city) who has been among the Ahlul Hadeeth of India has taken an unexpected decision when a son was born to him recently. He said that acts such as reciting Adhaan in the ear of the new born, tehneek and the aqeeqah are acts of Jaahiliya. He says that he has taken this decision after consulting a Aalim. He doesn’t name the Aalim. Even when I investigated in my city and his, I couldn’t identify anybody who holds this view.

    Do you have knowledge of any sect or of an opinion among the Ahlus Sunnah who hold the opinion I mentioned above? I at least couldn’t find any, hence I request your help.

    BaarakAllahufeek.

    • wa ‘alaykas-salaamu wa rahmatullaah. “Abu Musa” is dead, sorry. I’m his son, Moosaa. Reciting the athaan is the newborn’s ear is an issue of differing. Some scholars consider the hadeeth to be authentic, others do not. Tahneek (rubbing the juices of a chewed date on the newborn’s palate) is authentically established in al-Bukhaaree and Muslim, and I do not know of any discussion against it, like it was just a custom, or something specific to the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam). I suspect you may find some scholars who said that latter, but I am unsure. Thirdly, it has already been mentioned that Hanafees held the ‘aqeeqah to be a custom from Jaahiliyyah. I would share the hadeeths about tahneek with him, and not go beyond that, and Allaah knows best.

  8. Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wabarakatuhu Brother Moosaa!

    In our country (which is Philippines), ‘rice’ is given instead of silver equivalent to the weight of the childs hair. My question will be : Is it allowed to give rice instead of silver? And if not, are there any other things that could replace silver for I must admit that our country did not have much of this mineral. And since giving silver belongs to Sunnah, does it mean that the parents who are not able to fulfill this Sunnah will not be held accountable?

    Barakallahu feek!

  9. Brother Moosa, may Allah reward you for your advise and answers.
    Is there a dua or supplication or something that has to be recited or intended when slaughtering for the Aqeeqah? Anything that is authentically reported. Jazakallah Khairan

    • PS.
      Saw a fatwa of sh uthaymeen where he said the sahaba didn’t begin with the Salams when asking a question. Hence the lack of salams at the beginning.
      Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

  10. Assalamu alaikum
    Shaik bin baaz rahimahullah said
    Shaving head is only for boys not girls.
    Is it correct?what say majority of Salafi ulama?

    Ple give answer. Because my friend have a girl Monday will aqueeqah

  11. Assalamu alikum….Is it obligatory that aqeeqa meat should be cooked and distributed as food like waleemah of marriage…?pls reply as soon a lsnpossible

  12. السلام عليكم وحمةالله وبركاته

    Brother moosa

    My wife and i is expecting a baby girl and she will give birth any time soon. In sha allah. I have a few question regarding the rights of a newborn base on the gender of the child. As soon as the child is born, we have to perform tahneek for her and also aqeeqah n giving of name on the seventh day. What about shaving and also circumcision, do we have to also perform for her and what are the best days base on hadeeth and proof? I know about the adhan in the ear of newborn is weak. Please reply soon.

    Jazakallaah khair

  13. Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullaahi brother Moosaa,

    Can a Muslim Grandfather, perform aqeeqah for his newly-born grandson? Please take note that the parents [his daughter and the husband] are not Muslims.

  14. Assalamulaykum brother Moosa,

    In some places in India there is a practise that 7 peoples are Aqeeqah is done in one cow just like Eid-Ul- Adha.
    Is it permissible?

    Jazakallahu Khair.
    barakallahu feek

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