In Islamic terminology, Aqiqah is defined as the animal that is slaughtered for a newborn. The performance of Aqiqah is highly encouraged and it is to be performed by the parents or the guardians of the newborn.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Aqiqah is to be offered for a (newly born) boy, so slaughter (an animal) for him, and relieve him of his suffering.” (Sahih Al – Bukhari).
“For a boy is two sheep, and for a girl is one; it will not harm you if they (i.e. the sheep) are male or female.” (Jami’ At-Tirmidhi).
It is recommended to perform Aqiqah within the first week (and ideally on the seventh day) if not possible, then in the fourteenth, if not, in the twenty first, if not, then at any time. In addition, it is the recommended Sunnah for parents to give sadaqah of equal value to the weight in silver of their baby’s hair (when it is shaved on the seventh day after birth).
For Aqiqah, the condition of the animals in Aqiqah should be the same as for the animals in Qurbani. The animals that can be slaughtered are goats, cows or camels. They must be free from any illness such as blind, sick, limp and undernourished. There are many benefits in the fulfilment of Aqiqah. One of it is the announcing of the childbirth and being bestowed a child is a great blessing from the Creator.
Another benefit is to invite family members, neighbors and friends to celebrate the blessed occasion together. The poor should also be included in the celebration by offering them food and meat served on this occasion.