What is the Islamic ruling on aqiqah? Is it a sunnah or wajib? What is its significance?
  • "Aqiqah is a great sunnah. It is part of the legacy inherited from Prophet Ibrahim, peace be on him, and a great sunnah of the Prophet, peace be upon him. The Prophet, peace be on him, said, "" Every child is mortgaged to his aqiqah.""

    Aqiqah involves sacrificing a goat or lamb on behalf of the child. It is giving thanks to Allah for the gift of a child. The meat is distributed to the poor, or it can be used to arrange a feast to which the poor as well as relatives and friends are invited.

    It is reported that the Prophet, peace be on him, sacrificed a goat each for his grandsons Hasan and Husain. It is recommended that, on the day of aqiqah, the child is given a good name, his head is shaved, and his/her hair weighed as gold and its equivalent in money is given in charity. If, for any reason, aqiqah cannot be done on the seventh day, it can be done on the fourteenth, twenty-first or whenever possible. However, it should not be unnecessarily delayed.

    Furthermore, according to the vast majority of scholars in Islam, aqiqah is a highly recommended practice (Sunnah). There is, however, a small minority of scholars, who consider it obligatory. This is the position of Imam Hasan al-Basari.

    Lastly, the significance of aqiqah is that it is part of the Abrahamic legacy. Prophet Ibrahim, peace be on him, was a man of tawhid, and his entire life typified that of a perfect muwahhid or monotheist. He abolished sacrifices or rituals to deities other than Allah, and allowed sacrifices and prayers to be directed solely to Allah. The rituals associated with aqiqah, therefore, can be considered as a child's initiation into the lessons of tawhid.

    In short, aqiqah is a great Sunnah, which all Muslims should practice, especially if they have the means to do so."