The birth of a child is a special occasion which creates a tumult of joy in the family. This exhilarating occasion calls for a grand celebration. However, besides the factor of happiness and merry- making associated with the birth of an infant, there also happens to be some aspects which need to be given a thought. Satan, who is the deadliest enemy of mankind, tries his level best to harm the newly born child, if he gets the opportunity. Therefore, besides enjoying the beautiful experience of having a new member in one’s family, a pious Muslim should also take adequate measures to protect the child from this enemy. There is evidence from the ahadith which proves that Satan tries to harm every child at the time of its birth.
According to a Sahih Bukhari hadith, Prophet Mohammad (saw) said,
‘When any human being is born, Satan pinches the body with his two fingers, except Isa, the son of Maryam, who Satan tried to pinch but failed, for he touched the placenta cover instead’. (Sahih Bukhari-4:506).
In order to protect a newly born, vulnerable infant from the assault of Satan, Islam has commanded the Muslims to perform certain rituals at the time of birth of the infant. Aqeeqa is one such ritual, which may not find its mention in the Holy Quran but is definitely mentioned in the ahadith.
I have mentioned a few ahadith which throw light on the significance of Aqeeqah in Islam:
Hazrat Ayesha (ra) is reported to have said, ‘The Prophet (pbuh) did the aqeeqah for Al-Hasan and Al-Hussain on the seventh day and gave them names’. Ibn Hibban 12/1227
Abdulah Ibn Abbas has reported, ‘The Prophet (pbuh) sacrificed two camels at the aqeeqah occasion of Hasan and Hussain (Nasai)
It was narrated from Salmaan ibn Amir al-Dabbai that the Prophet (pbuh) said, ‘Aqeeqah is to be offered for a (newly born) boy, so slaughter (an animal) for him and remove all dirt fro him. (Narrated by Al-Bukhari-5154)
Every child is held in pledge for his Aqeeqah, which is sacrificed for him on his seventh day, and he is named on it and his head is shaved’. (Reported by Ahmad, Abu Dawood and the remaining 3 Sunan)
So generally speaking, Aqeeqah is a tradition of our Beloved Prophet (pbuh) in which an animal is to be sacrificed on the seventh day after a child’s birth. The Aqeeqah ceremony of an infant can fulfill two purposes. Firstly, through this religious ceremony, the guardians of an infant can offer thanksgiving to Allah (swt) for having blessed them with a child. Allah (swt) says in the Holy Quran:
And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I shall surely increase you (in favor); but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe’ (TMQ-14:7)
Besides this, performing the Aqeeqah ceremony also assures that the newly-born child will get protection from Satan as he would be unable to protect himself. Therefore, performing an Aqeeqah ceremony, according to the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (pbuh), can prove to be the best gift for a newly born!
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