Aqiqah – Celebrating the birth of a child! (العقيقة)

Just got back from Jordan and Turkey where I spent the holiday with family and friends. I had just become a mother in August, and we wanted everyone to see the new grandchild حفيد. During our stay, my mother and father in law decided they wanted to perform “Aqiqah” عقيقة that is to sacrifice يضحي a sheep خروف on behalf of the newborn مولود. You may be familiar with the Islamic tradition of sacrificing a sheep for Eid al-Adha عيد الأضحى, but I thought to share with you another occasion مناسبة where a sheep is sacrificed.

Aqiqah, an Islamic terminology, is defined as the animal (most commonly a sheep) that is slaughtered on the occasion of a child’s birth as a means of expressing gratitude شُكر to God for the blessing نعمة of having that child. In Islam, it is not obligatory إلزامي but encouraged يُشجع if one is able to do so.

Photo of a sheep

Image by Daniela on

Aqiqah resembles يشبه the sacrifice made when God ransomed the Prophet Ismael and ordered the sacrificing of a sheep instead. Performing Aqiqah goes all the way back to the time of the prophet Muhammad. Both then and now, the birth of a child is a cause for great celebration and what better way to celebrate than over a big lamb dinner with family and friends! It is also a cause to distribute يوزع meat to the poor فقراء and needy المحتاجين, including orphans أيتام and the elderly مسنين.

Who knows, one day you could be invited to a lamb dinner and find out its on behalf of a newborn baby!

Are there any religious or cultural traditions for celebrating the arrival of a newborn where you come from?


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