Islamic Rites (Part 1) - Aqiqah

It was the wee hours of rainy Wednesday; August 16, 1989. A day that has always brought joy to my mother. A day she witnessed a bundle of joy, brought home happiness and comfort. I can only imagine the emotions that ran through her when she heard from first cry to herald the beginning of a new generation and my journey through this dunya. The birth of a child is a phenomenon that has universal reverence and the following ayahs come to mind.

"We have enjoined on man kindness to his parents for in pain did his mother bear him and in pain did she give him birth" - Q46V15

" peace on him the day he was born, the day that he dies and the day that he will raise up again to life!" -Q19V15

A child is born in purity, hence the rites and ceremonies that welcome him must be pure and divine. This process is know as AQIQAH and the very first step began even before my birth.

The Prophet (SAW) said: "On the day of Resurrection, you will be called by your names and by your father's names, so give yourselves good names" - Abu Dawood

The Adhan was recited into my right ear and the Iqamah into my left; my names were mentioned into both ears. It is also sunnah for the father or someone of piety to chew a date fruit and place a litle in the child's mouth - this is known as Tahnik. Im pretty sure honey was used in my case. On the seventh day, two sheeps for a male child and one for a female should be slaughtered. Quran 2 Verse 286 should be remembered in instances such as this for "On no soul does Allah place a burden greater than it can bear..". Whatever is available should be used when difficultly is encountered in the slaughtering of an animal.

My hair was shaved and the equivalent in silver was given out as Sadaqah. People are thereafter invited to a halal feast to celebrate. Delaying Aqiqah until enough money for a celebration is reprehensible. And it is that simple. Islam is a religion of simplicity and ease but as with alot of other practices, some acts have been added into Aqiqah which are haram.

1. Eighth Day: Naming a child on the eighth day in Islam is unlawful as the seventh day is recomended.

"A boy is in pledge for his Aqiqah, sacrifice is made for him on the seventh day, his head is shaved and he is given a name."

- Abu Daud

2. Commercial Khutbah: The common practice amongst scholars of reading the Khutbah only after they are sufficently settled is haram and uncalled for in Islam.Th efather of the child has more right than any other person in the naming of his child. He could however delegate an alfa if he so wishes. Putting money in a bowl for an alfa to name a chold as well as inviting those present to name the child as well as pay money for Allah's barakah upon the child are forbidden in Islam and should not be part of the Aqiqah.

3. Traditional practices such as invoking blessings on the child with the use of kolanut. palm oil, salt etc are haram. Considering the nature of ceremonies in Nigeria, this is a well dafaulted situation that happens and sadly does not look like stopping any time soon.

And Allah knows best.

May Allah forgive me if I am wrong and guide us to the right path. Ameen.