No Substitute for Aqiqah
You cannot give the equivalent amount of money to charity as a substitute for Aqiqah. Aqiqah is its own Ibadah like you cannot fast to make up for missed Salah.
Offer the best animal you can afford.
This is an offering on behalf of the newborn for Allah swt. Do you want to offer any old animal or an animal selected for the purpose that you can be proud of?
Taking examples from Qurbani the Prophet sas said:
In this regard lamb is more expensive than mutton although some may prefer mutton to lamb. Price is a good indicator of quality.
Offer the largest animal you can afford.
The hadith in Ibn Majah mentions there is reward for every fibre of wool on the animal. The bigger the animal the more the reward insha’Allah. The more meat you receive from your Aqiqah the larger the animal would have been.
The Prophet’s Aqiqah
Al-Baihaqi transmits from Anas (ra) that the Noble Prophet (sas) performed his own Aqiqa in the period after the proclamation of Prophethood, even though his grandfather, Abdul Muttalib (ra), had already performed the Aqiqa on the seventh day after his birth.
Animals must be of a certain age and eligibility. For lambs this is minimum 6 months and for goats 12 months.
Similar to Qurbani, animals for Aqiqah must be balig (post-puberty) – they should be mature. Lambs mature early (some breeds are slaughtered from 3 months onwards) so Prophet sas has provided a concession for lamb to be a jaz’ah (interpreted as a meaty plump 6 month old that looks like an adult in size) rather than a musinnah (adult, generally agreed as more than 12 months old) (Muslim). Jaz’ah means one that is of age (e.g. post puberty) and musinnah means ‘possessor of teeth’. A lamb has 8 baby teeth and roughly every year erupts 2 adult teeth so after 4 years they have a full mouth of 8 adult teeth. Once 2 adult teeth have erupted the lamb is a musinnah. This can occur at any time between 9-15 months.
Aqiqah service providers must engage with farmers and livestock traders to ensure the animals meet the right criteria. We at EQL have been engaging with farmers at livestock events to educate them on this critiera for Qurbani and Aqiqah. See full-page advert taken out at the NSA Welsh Sheep event.
Animal must be in a good state. Healthy (not sick) & fat (not thin). No defects, lameness, broken horns, broken teeth, blindness.
Aqiqah service providers should check each animal and pull out any animals which are not of the suitable standard.
Intention of Aqiqah
The slaughterman should make an intention for Aqiqah on behalf of the baby and parents. It is permissible to recite a dua similar to the dua recited during Qurbani time (see here).
Slaughtering your Aqiqah
It is preferable to slaughter your own Aqiqah. However legislation requires slaughtermen to hold a Certificate of Competence before they can legally slaughter and it is better that Aqiqah is performed swiftly by an experienced slaughterman rather than someone with little or no experience. It is desirable to be present when your Aqiqah is being slaughtered.
Mentioning the name of the baby and parents
It is preferable that the name of the baby and parents is mentioned at the time of slaughter. This is when the Aqiqah animal is allotted to the baby & baby’s parents.
Acceptance of Aqiqah
Aqiqah is accepted by Allah swt even before the blood hits the ground.
Skin & By-Products of the Aqiqah Animal
Any proceeds from the skin or other part of the animal should be given to charity. No part of the Aqiqah must be given to the slaughterer or butcher or another as payment for their service.
The Aqiqah service provider should tell you the value of the skin & by-products of the Aqiqah animal (e.g. offal, casing, tripe) to enable you to make a choice of whether to give this money to the slaughterer or butcher to give to charity on your behalf or whether to give the money to charity directly.
Eating from your Aqiqah
The rulings are similar to Qurbani where it is sunnah to eat from the animal you offer. Imam Ahmad narrated that Buraydah (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not go out on the day of (Eid) al-Fitr until he had eaten, and he did not eat on the day of (Eid) al-Ad’ha until he came back, then he would eat from his sacrifice.”
Aqiqah service providers should ensure that animals on whom names are mentioned are correlated with their resulting carcasses and a identifying name or number be placed on the carcass to ensure traceability.
Distributing your Aqiqah meat
It is preferable to make three portions of your Aqiqah – one for yourself, one for friends & family and one for charity.