Question # 146: Can you please explain the sunnah pertaining to new born child with reference to aqiqah?

bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: The following are the sunnah acts performed on child’s birth:

  • Tahneek (putting something sweet, such as dates or honey, in the child’s mouth on birth) for the baby and to pray for him is mustahabb (recommended).
  • With regard to reciting the adhan in the right ear of the newborn, there is no sahih hadith concerning that; however, some of the fuqaha’ said that it is mustahabb (recommended).
  • It is permissible to name the child on the first day or on the seventh.
  • Shaving the child’s head on the seventh day after birth. The fuqaha’ differed with regard to shaving the head of a female newborn.
  • Circumcision is obligatory in case of baby boys.
  • ‘Aqiqah is Sunnah mu’akkadah (confirmed Sunnah) – slaughtering two sheep for a newborn boy and one sheep for a girl. The best time for offering the ‘Aqiqah is seven days after birth; however, if there is a delay it may be slaughtered at any time, and there is no sin in delaying it, although it is preferable to do it as soon as possible.

Long Answer: The following are the sunnah acts performed on child’s birth:

  • It is mustahabb (recommended) to do tahneek for the baby and to pray for him. It was reported that Abu Moosa said: “I had a baby boy, and I brought him to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم). He named him Ibraaheem, did Tahneek with some dates and prayed for Allah to bless him, then he gave him back to me.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim). Tahneek means putting something sweet, such as dates or honey, in the child’s mouth when he is first born.
  • [With regard to reciting the adhan in the right ear of the newborn, there is no sahih hadith concerning that. Some of the fuqaha’ said that it is mustahabb and] …mention that the Adhan should be recited into the baby’s right ear so that the first thing he hears in this world will be the words of Tawheed, which will have a great and blessed effect on the child. [Also,] with regard to reciting the iqaamah in the child’s left ear, there is nothing to prove that this is required.

It is mentioned in the book “125 Weak and Fabricated Hadeeth” by Mohammed Omar Shah “The ruling on performing adhan in the right ear of newly born babies are preferred according to many scholars, based on the ijmaa and a hadith which was narrated by Abi rafie’ who said: “I saw the prophet (saws) performing the adhan in the ear of Al-Hussain at the time he was born by his Mother Fatima (ra)” (Sunan At-Tirmidhi: section of Adhyaa; and a similar hadith is recorded in Abu Dawood, Ahmad, al-Hakim and Sunnan Bayhaqi)

Imam Tirmidhi said about it “hasan sahih”, al Hakim said it to be sahih, Imam Al-Nawawi also said sahih in his Majmoo, Ibn Mulqeen said the hadith is hasan in Tahfatul Muhtaz; but Mubarakpoori said : dae’ef in Tuhfatul awadh and Al Suyooti mentioned that some more scholars classified this hadith as weak because of the weakness of A’sim Bin O’baid Allah. Even Shaikh Albani said the isnad is weak in the book Al-Kalim At-Tayyib published in 2001, and Also In Al-Albaanee’s Book ‘Sahih Al-Kalim At-tayyib ‘the translator said in the introduction: “hadith… about making the call to prayer in the right ear of a newly born – upon further examination ‘Al-‘Albani has found that it is weak, and that it is not permitted to act upon it.

Another hadith wherein it is said that the prophet (saws) gave iqamah in the ear…. has been classified by the Jumhoor to be da’eef. Albani who had said earlier that this iqamah is shaadh and is da’eef in Silsilatul Ahaadeeth Ad-Da’eefah and Al-‘Irwaa’, later on in his latest work as informed by one of his students, retracted his decision and changed da’eef to Mawdoo’ and Allah knows best.

Another chain which been quoted by Ibn Hajr al Asqalani in Matalib al Aliya, Chapter of Aqiqathen is also weak because of the narrator Yahya ibn al-‘Alaa who is Matrook Muttaham bil Kadhib.

And thus, even though some scholars have graded this hadith to be hasan, there is no sahih hadith to state that the Prophet (saws) gave either the adhan or iqamah in the ear of Hussain (ra) or Hassan (ra). Some say it was an act that was done by Umar bin Abdulaziz and Ibn Al-Munthir (ra) and by some of the salaf.

However, despite the absence of a sahih hadith, there is an ijmaa of the ummah that adhan in the ear of a new born baby can be given.”

  • It is permissible to name the child on the first day or on the seventh. It was reported that Anas ibn Maalik said: the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “A boy was born to me this night and I have named him with the name of my father Ibraaheem.” (Narrated by Muslim)

It was reported that ‘Aa’ishah said: the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) did ‘aqiqah for al-Hasan and al-Husayn on the seventh day, and gave them their names. (Narrated by Ibn Hibbaan; al-Hakim. Classed as sahih by al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari)

  • Shaving the child’s head on the seventh day after birth. The evidence for that is the hadith narrated by al-Tirmidhi from ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib (رضي الله عنه) who said: “The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) offered a sheep as ‘aqiqah for al-Hasan, and said: ‘O Faatimah, shave his head and give the weight of his hair in silver in charity.’” (Classed as hasan by al-Albani in Sahih al-Tirmidhi, 1226. See also Tuhfat al-Mawlood by Ibn al-Qayyim)

The fuqaha’ differed with regard to shaving the head of a female newborn. The Malikis and Shafi’is are of the view that it should be shaved as the male’s head is shaved. The Hanbalis are of the view that it should not be shaved…  Whatever the case, the hadith refers to boys only (ghulaam) and this supports the view of the Hanbalis.

  • Circumcision is part of the Sunan al-Fitrah (practices related to the pure and natural inclinations of man). It is obligatory in the case of boys because it is connected to matters of purity which are essential conditions of prayer. It was reported from Abu Hurayrah (رضي الله عنه): “Five things are related to the Fitrah: circumcision, removing the pubic hairs, plucking the armpit hairs, cutting the nails, and trimming the moustache.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
  • [‘Aqiqah is one of the duties of a father toward his newborn child. It is the slaughtering of a sacrificial animal as a sign of gratefulness to Allah for granting one a child.] It is prescribed to slaughter two sheep for a newborn boy and one sheep for a girl, as is indicated by the sahih evidence, such as the following:

It was narrated from Umm Karaz that she asked the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) about ‘‘Aqiqah, and he said: “For a boy, two sheep, and for a female one sheep, and it does not matter if it is male or female.”  (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, who said this is a sahih hasan hadith; and by al-Nasa’i; classed as sahih by Shaykh al-Albani in Irwa’ al-Ghaleel)

It was narrated from ‘Aa’ishah (رضي الله عنها) that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) commanded them (to slaughter) two sheep of similar type for a boy and one sheep for a girl. (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, who said it is hasan sahih; classed as sahih by al-Albani in Sahih al-Tirmidhi)

The best time for offering the ‘‘Aqiqah is seven days after birth, because the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Every child is held in pledge for his ‘‘Aqiqah, which should be slaughtered on his behalf on the seventh day, and he should be shaved and given his name.” (Narrated by Abu Dawood; classed as sahih by Shaykh al-Albani in Sahih Abi Dawood)

Imam ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said: Among the benefits of ‘aqiqah are:

  • It is a sacrifice by means of which the child is brought close to Allah soon after he comes into this world.
  • It is a ransom for the newborn; his ‘aqiqah ransoms him so that he can intercede for his parents.
  • It is a sacrifice by which the newborn is ransomed just as Allah ransomed Isma’il with the ram. (Tuhfat al-Mawdood)

Perhaps another benefit of the ‘aqiqah is the gathering of relatives and friends for the walimah (feast).

The scholars of the Standing Committee said: “‘‘Aqiqah is Sunnah mu’akkadah (confirmed Sunnah). For a boy two sheep should be sacrificed, each of which should meet the same conditions as a sheep for udhiya (sacrifice), and for a girl one sheep should be sacrificed. The sheep should be slaughtered on the seventh day, but if there is a delay it may be slaughtered at any time, and there is no sin in delaying it, although it is preferable to do it as soon as possible…”

(Most part of the above reply is based on various answers provided by Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid on the topic)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam