Life is a wonderful thing. Parenting is hard, but the rewards far, far outweigh the work. Bearing children--especially sons--was the greatest thing a woman could hope for, and represented her greatest fulfilment. These days, many women have found other ways to fulfil themselves, and although we still value our children highly, the negative sides of motherhood get much more press than they used to. Further, there is a distinct sense in today's society that if a woman is "just a mother," she has somehow fallen short of her potential as a human being.
Still, bearing children remains a desirable and even crucial goal for many millions of women in our society. Women, who want children but are unable to have them, for whatever reason, continue to feel the age-old pain of the childless woman. And women who have gone through the pain of labor continue to feel the joy-the joy that a child is born into the world. Both the pain and the joy are real.
In the Islamic tradition the Muslims introduce the new arrival to the family, friends and the community by performing the aqeeqa .
DEFINITION OF AQEEQAH
Aqeeqah is an Arabic word originally derived from the key word 'aq' which means to cut and shred. To cut or shave the hair of the child.
The occasion is associated with 'cutting' because the child's head is shaven on the 7th day after birth. One scholar's opinion is that 'aqeeqah' designates the child's hair itself at the time of birth. A child is a gift of God. Child is adored and cherished. We give thanks to Allah (SWT). Aqeeqah is an expression of Thanks and gratitude to Allah for the gift. This pleasure is shared with the family, friends and community.
Hadeeth: Whoever has a child born to him and wishes to offer a sacrifice, then let him sacrifice...... The aqeeqah is a sunnah (the traditions or way or practices of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)). When a child is born to a family, the father is strongly recommended by the Prophet to slaughter one or two sheep and to invite relatives and neighbors to a meal, in order to allow the community to share in the happy event.
If the Aqeeqah is made a general invitation - then it should not be restricted to the well-off to the exclusion of the poor, since this was forbidden by our Prophet Muhammad The aqeeqah is recommended to be carried out shortly after the birth of a baby, preferably on the seventh day of his/her birth. It may be delayed for a week or two or perhaps a little longer. However, when it is delayed for a long time, the very purpose of it is lost.
Aqeeqah: Is it obligatory?
The aqeeqah refers to a sacrifice given by a family on the occasion of the birth of a son or a daughter. One sheep is adequate for the aqeeqah for either a girl or a boy. The meat is distributed as follows: One third to charity and the remaining two thirds to be distributed amongst friends and relatives. It should be eaten, fed to people and given in charity"
It is optional as to whether the meat is distributed raw or cooked.
Relatives and neighbors are invited, because this is a joyous occasion to be shared with the immediate community. As cited earlier, the aqeeqah is a Sunnah, which means that it is strongly recommended. When we say it is strongly recommended, this means that it is not obligatory.
If a family cannot afford to sacrifice a sheep, then no blame is attached to it for failing to do so. "God does not charge a soul with more than it can reasonably undertake." This is the translation of a Qur'anic statement. A poor family that finds it difficult to make both ends meet is not expected to observe the aqeeqah. The child will not be affected in any way for his/her parents' failure to observe a Sunnah, even when they can afford it. THE ACT OF AQEEQAH
It is clearly evident from numerous ahaadeeth that aqeeqah should be performed 7