The Legal Status of ‘Aqīqah

Question:

Assalamu Alaikum

Can you please clarify what is the status of slaughtering an animal (aqeeqah) when a child is born? And is it necessary to slaughter two animals if a boy is born?

(Question published as received)

الجواب باسم ملهم الصواب

‘Aqīqah refers to the action of slaughtering an animal upon the birth of a child. It could also refer to the meal that is cooked and people are invited towards to partake of it out of happiness for a child’s birth. In the pre-islāmic era, ‘aqīqah was wājib (necessary), however, its necessity was abrogated in Islām.[1] It is commonly believed by some that ‘aqīqah is a compulsory element of Islām and the one who leaves it out is blameworthy. The fuqahā’ (jurists) have clearly specified that ‘aqīqah is neither farḍ, nor wājib or sunnah, rather it is optional. Though some have regarded it mustaḥab (desirable).

Imām Muḥammad reports from Imām Abū Ḥanīfah in al-Jāmi‘ al-Ṣaghīr: “ ‘Aqīqah does not [necessarily] have to be carried out on behalf of a boy or a girl.” Al-Bazdawī comments: “He [Abū Ḥanīfah] by that intends; that it is not wājib or sunnah, rather it is mubāḥ (permissible).” [2]

Imām Abū Ja‘far at-Ṭaḥāwī writes: “ ‘Aqīqah is optional, whosoever wishes to do it may do so and whosoever wishes to leave it out, may leave it.” The commentator, Abū Bakr al-Jaṣṣāṣ ar-Rāzī then presents a ḥadīth in support of this view. The ḥadīth along with the chain of narration has been added in the footnotes. Abū Ja‘far at-Ṭaḥāwī has cited the same view in his Mushkil al-Āthār. [3] Imām Abū Bakr al-Kāsānī also alludes to the same opinion in Badā’i‘ aṣ-Ṣanā’i‘.

It is stated in al-Fatāwā al-Hindiyyah: “ ‘Aqīqah is carried out on behalf of a boy and a girl – that is to slaughter a goat on the 7th day of birth, hosting guests and shaving the [child’s] hair – as a permissible practice, it is neither sunnah nor wājib. This is how it has been narrated in al-Wajīz by Imām al-Kardarī. [4] The same ruling has been reiterated by ‘Allāmah ibn ‘Ābidīn ash-Shāmī in Tanqīḥ al-Fatāwā al-Ḥāmidiyyah.[5]

As for your second question, it is not necessary to slaughter two animals for a boy, one will suffice, however, it is better to slaughter two for a boy and one for a girl. Ibn ‘Ābidīn writes: “If one slaughters a goat on behalf of a boy and one on behalf of a girl, it will be permissible, because Rasūlullāh (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) slaughtered one ram each on behalf of Ḥasan and Ḥusayn (raḍiyallāhu ‘anhumā). (ibid)

In conclusion, we understand that ‘Aqīqah is an optional act and at most mustaḥab. If one has the means to do it, one should do so as one will be rewarded. However, if one is financially incapable of doing so, it is permissible to leave it out. In this case, the person should not be made to feel guilty. Lastly, ‘aqīqah can be done before or after the 7th day, though it is better to do it on the 7th day of the child’s birth.

And Allāh Ta‘ālā Knows Best

(Mufti) Bilal al-Mahmudi

20 Ramaḍān 1441 / 14 May 2020


Other Notable Fatāwā:

‘Allāmah Ẓafar Aḥmad ‘Uthmānī: “To specify the 7th day for ‘aqīqah is afḍal (virtuous), however, ‘aqīqah will be valid [on any day]. (Imdād al-Aḥkām 4/190)

Muftī Maḥmūd Ḥasan Gangohi writes in regard to how many parts of a large animal (one part of a large animal = one small animal) should be stipulated upon the birth of a boy: “One narration mentions that one part suffices for a boy, though it is better to keep two parts for a boy and one for a girl.” (Fatāwā Maḥmudiyyah 24/149. Fārūqiyyah)

Mufī Rashīd Aḥmad Ludhyānwī : “Whether it is a boy or a girl, one [small] animal shall suffice [as ‘aqīqah], however, it is better to slaughter two [small] animals on behalf of a boy.” He also held the view that ‘aqīqah is abrogated and he proves that this was the view of Imām Abū Ḥanīfah (Aḥsan al-Fatāwā 7/535-537)

Muftī ‘Abdur-Raḥīm Lājpūrī: “‘Aqīqah is masnūn and mustaḥab.” (Fatāwā Raḥīmiyyah (10/59)

Muftī Taqī ‘Uthmānī: “‘Aqīqah is not farḍ or wājib, it is a desirable practice, there is no sin if it is not carried out. The masnūn method is to slaughter two goats [small animals] on behalf of a boy and one on behalf of a girl. (Fatāwā ‘Uthmānī 4/132. Karachi)

Muftī Aḥmad Khānpūrī: “Aqīqah is mustaḥab.” (Maḥmūd al-Fatāwā 7/505)

Note: Large animal refers to cattle which includes 7 parts. A small animal would be goat, lamb, sheep etc.


[1]

ومنها العقيقة كانت في الجاهلية ثم فعلها المسلمون في أول الإسلام فنسخها ذبح الأضحية فمن شاء فعل ومن شاء لم يفعل. (بدائع الصنائع. ج ٦ ص ٢٩٥. دار الكتب العلمية)

[2]

في الجامع الصغير: محمد عن يعقوب عن أبي حنيفة قال: لا يعق عن الغلام ولا عن الجارية. قال البزدوي الشارح: يريد به: أنه ليس بواجب ولا سنة ولكنه مباح … وقوله: فأحب أن ينسك، دليل على أنه مباح (شرح الجامع الصغير)

[3]

العقيقة تطوع، من شاء فعلها ومن شاء تركها. قال أحمد: روي عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أنه قال: ((كل غلام رهينة بعقيقته، تذبح عنه يوم السابع، ويحلق رأسه، ويدمى)). رواه الحسن عن سمرة عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم. وليس في هذا الحديث دلالة على وجوبها، لأن قوله: ((كل غلام رهينة بعقيقته)): لا يجوز أن يكون مراده وجوبها، لأنه لا يخلو حينئذ من أن تكون واجبة على الغلام أو على غيره. (شرح مختصر الطحاوي، ج٧ ص. ٢٩٢. دار البشائر الإسلامية)

قال أبو جعفرالطحاوي: فكان ما في هذين الحديثين قد دل أن أمر [العقيقة] قد رد إلى الاختيار [أي: الإباحة]، لقوله صلى الله عليه وسلم: من ولد له مولود فأراد أن ينسك عنه فليفعل … فعقلنا بذلك أن ما روي عن النبي ص مما قد خالف ذلك كان طارئا عليه وناسخا له (شرح مشكل الآثار، ج٣ ص٨٠. مؤسسة الرسالة)

[4]

العقيقة عن الغلام وعن الجارية وهي ذبح شاة في سابع الولادة وضيافة الناس وحلق شعره مباحة لا سنة ولا واجبة كذا في الوجيز للكردري وذكر محمد رحمه الله تعالى في العقيقة فمن شاء فعل ومن شاء لم يفعل وهذا يشير إلى الإباحة فيمنع كونها سنة وذكر في الجامع الصغير ولا يعق عن الغلام ولا عن الجارية وأنه إشارة إلى الكراهية كذا في البدائع في كتاب الأضحية والله أعلم. (الفتاوى الهندىة. ج ٥ ص ٣٦٢. رشيديه)

[5]

(سُئِلَ) في الْعقيقة كيف حكمها وكيف تفعل؟ (الْجَوَابُ): قال في السّراج الْوهّاج في كتاب الْأضْحيّة ما نصّه – مسْألةٌ: العقيقةُ تطوّعٌ إن شاء فعلها، وإن شاء لم يفعل وهي أن يذبح شاة إذا أتى على الولد سبعة أيَّام … ولو ذبح عن الْغلام شاةً وعن الْجارية شاةً جاز. لأنّ ((النّبيّ صَلّى اللَّهُ عليه وسلّم عقّ عن الْحسن والْحسين كبشا كبشا)) … ولو قدّم يوم الذّبح قبل يوم السّابع أو أخّره عنه جاز إلّا أنّ يوم السّابع أفضل. (تنقيح الفتاوى الحامدية. ج ٢ ص ٢٣٢. المكتبة الحقانية)