In this post, I shall discuss about the spiritual aspects of an Aqeeqah ceremony. The birth of a child family is celebrated with lots of joy and gaiety in every society. In Islam, sacrificing of an animal (a goat or a sheep) and shaving the hair of the newly born child on the seventh day is known as Aqeeqah. Silver, weighing as much as the infant’s shaved hair, is given as charity. The occasion calls for a celebration and it serves as a family get- together too. However, the real essence of this Islamic ritual is beyond this superficial merry-making. It is essential to understand the spiritual aspects of Aqeeqah in order to understand the underlying purpose behind it.
Sacrificing of an animal on the occasion of Aqeeqah is a way thanksgiving to Allah (swt) for the gift of a child. According to a hadith offering a sacrifice on behalf of a child also helps to remove the harmful effects and dirt from him. I have discussed in my previous posts that Satan tries to harm the unborn child in its mother’s womb and it also pinches the 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).
Since Satan in our biggest enemy of mankind so he starts his cunning ploys as soon a child is conceived. Offering a sacrifice of an animal relieves the child of all the harm that Satan might have tried to bring about.
Narrated Salman bin Amir Ad- Dabbi that he heard Allah’s Apostle say, ‘Aqeeqah is to be offered for a (newly born) boy, so slaughter (an animal) for him and relieve him of his suffering. (Sahih Bukhari 380, Book of Aqeeqah.
The hair of the child is weighed on the day of Aqeeqah and its equivalent weight in silver is given away in charity. The benefits of charity in Islam are well known. Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said, ‘Save yourself from hellfire by giving even half a date fruit in charity’. (Sahih Bukhari) volume 2, hadith 498).
So, we find that behind the feast and celebrations associated with an Aqeeqah ceremony there are some underlying, spiritual reasons due to which Aqeeqah is a much preferred Sunnah of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh). If we become aware about the spiritual aspects of Aqeeqah then we can understand the significance of this Islamic ritual in a better way.
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