In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Aqeeqah Lessons Pt#2
How Many Animals to Slaughter?
By Imām Na’eem Abdullah
All Praises are for Allah (alone), the Lord of the Worlds. Prayers and peace be upon His trustworthy Messenger, our master Muhammad. And on his family and companions be peace.
We mentioned in our last video on the subject of aqeeqah the intention to shed some light on the number of animals to slaughter for a boy child or a girl child.
There is a difference of opinion regarding the number of goats or sheep to sacrifice for a boy child.
Many of us here in the USA have heard or been taught that you must slaughter 2 goats for a newborn boy and 1 for a girl. This is actually the position of Imām ash-Shāfi’ī and some others.
This is based upon the following hadith narrated on the authority of Umm Kurz al-Ka’biyya who said:
سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَ سَلَّمَ يَقُولُ فِي الْعَقِيقَةِ ((عَنِ الْغُلَامِ شَاتَانِ مُكَافِئَتَانِ وَ عَنِ الْجَارِيَةِ شَاةٌ))
“I heard the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) saying about the ‘Aqeeqah: ‘For the boy are two similar sheep and for the girl one sheep.””
According to Imām Mālik (may Allah have Mercy upon him), the number of goats slaughtered for an ‘aqeeqah is 1 regardless if the newborn child is a boy or a girl. His position is based upon hadith such as this one:
عَن ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ ((أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَ سَلَّمَ عَقَّ عَنِ الْحَسَنِ وَ الْحُسَيْنِ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُمَا كَبْشًا كَبْشًا)) رَوَاه أَبُو داود
It has been narrated on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbās that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) slaughtered for ‘aqeeqah on behalf of al-Hasan and al-Husayn (may Allah be pleased with both of them) with a ram for each of them.
Both of these hadith have been related by Abu Dawud.
Ikhtilāf – Difference of Position
This is what you call “ikhtilāf” or a difference of opinion in Islam. I would like to mention 2 things about ikhtilāf:
 Don’t let the title mislead you! Even though most of us translate ikhtilāf as “difference of opinion” we shouldn’t consider the word “opinion” the same way we consider our own opinions. Many of us treat the “opinions” of the Imāms as mere “opinions” and even consider our opinions to be equal to or greater than their “opinions”. Maybe we should start using the phrase “difference of Position” instead?
Firstly, in order for a scholar’s position to be considered he would have to be a scholar of the highest rank – a mujtahid. And mujtahids have their own ranks and degrees. For a scholar to be considered a mujtahid he has to have reached a certain level in many branches and sub-branches of knowledge.
And secondly, the mujtahid is taking his position on an issue based upon consideration of the primary sources – the Qur’an and the Sunnah – directly. Even though we – as common people – may not know it, the scholar’s/mujtahid’s position is based upon some proof. So it is not an “opinion” like our opinion.
 2 Positions that contradict each other can both be correct at the same time!
Modern western theory disagrees with this but this is Islam and correct wherein incorrect are determined by Allah and His Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). So don’t be pressured by any modern-day, post-colonial so-called scholar who would tell you that only 1 position could be correct. Those who think like this not only invalidate a legitimate position but also the proofs which establish and support that position; which could be an ayah of Qur’an or a sound hadith. So we must be careful!
The proof of this from the Sunnah is an incident which took place after the Battle of the Ditch:
When the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them all) returned from the Battle of Al-Khandaq he learned that Bani Qurayzah (a Jewish tribe) had broken their treaty with the Muslims and conspired with the confederates.
عَنْ عَائِشَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهَا قَالَتْ لَمَّا رَجَعَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مِنْ الْخَنْدَقِ وَوَضَعَ السِّلَاحَ وَاغْتَسَلَ أَتَاهُ جِبْرِيلُ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام فَقَالَ قَدْ وَضَعْتَ السِّلَاحَ وَاللَّهِ مَا وَضَعْنَاهُ فَاخْرُجْ إِلَيْهِمْ قَالَ فَإِلَى أَيْنَ قَالَ هَا هُنَا وَأَشَارَ إِلَى بَنِي قُرَيْظَةَ فَخَرَجَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِلَيْهِمْ. رواه البخاري
It was narrated by ‘A’isha that “When the Prophet returned from Al-Khandaq and laid down his arms and took a bath, Jibreel came and said (to the Prophet), You have laid down your arms? By Allah, we angels have not laid them down yet. So set out for them.” The Prophet said, “Where to go?” Jibreel said, “Towards this side.” Pointing towards Banu Qurayzah. So the Prophet went out towards them. – This hadith has been related by al-Bukhari
Some of the companions even relate that they saw the dust being raised up in the street because of the army of angels that were accompanying angel Jibreel.
عَنْ ابْنِ عُمَرَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمَا قَالَ قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَوْمَ الْأَحْزَابِ ((لَا يُصَلِّيَنَّ أَحَدٌ الْعَصْرَ إِلَّا فِي بَنِي قُرَيْظَةَ)) فَأَدْرَكَ بَعْضُهُمْ الْعَصْرَ فِي الطَّرِيقِ فَقَالَ بَعْضُهُمْ لَا نُصَلِّي حَتَّى نَأْتِيَهَا وَقَالَ بَعْضُهُمْ بَلْ نُصَلِّي لَمْ يُرِدْ مِنَّا ذَلِكَ فَذُكِرَ ذَلِكَ لِلنَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَلَمْ يُعَنِّفْ وَاحِدًا مِنْهُمْ. رواه البخاري
It has been narrated by ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with both of them) who said: On the day of al-Ahzāb the Prophet said, “None of you should pray Salaatul-‘Asr until you are in the place of Banu Qurayzah.” The ‘Asr prayer became due for some of them on the way. Some of those said, “We will not offer it till we reach it, the place of Banu Qurayzah,” while some others said, “No, we will pray at this spot, for the Prophet did not mean that for us.” Later on it was mentioned to the Prophet and he did not admonish any of the two groups. . – This hadith has been related by al-Bukhari
This is a clear proof – one of many – used by our classical scholars to illustrate that there can be more than 1 correct position on a single issue. As you can see, this group of Sahābah all heard the same words from the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). Yet, they understood him differently. And each of their varying understandings were supported by the words of Allah and the Prophet himself. These Sahābah acted on their different understandings of his command, yet he affirmed the correctness of both positions.
Shehu ‘Uthman Dan Fodiyo (may Allah envelop him in His Mercy) explained this beautifully in his Ihya us-Sunnah when he said:
وَ قَدْ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَ سَلَّمَ ((لَا يُصَلِّيَنَّ أَحَدُكُمُ الْعَصْرَ إِلَّا فِي بَنِي قُرَيْظَةَ)). فَأَدْرَكُمُ الْعَصْرُ فِي الطَّرِيقِ، فَقَالَ بَعضُهُمْ: إِنَّمَا أُمِرْنَا بِالْعَجَلَةِ. فَصَلُّوا فِي الطَّرِيقِ. وَ قَالَ آخَرُونَ: إِنَّمَا أُمِرْنَا بِالصَّلَاةِ هُنَاكَ ، فَأَخَّرُوا وَ لَمْ يَعْتَبْ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَ سَلَّمَ عَلَى أَحَدٍ مِنْهُمْ. فَدَلَّ عَلَى صِحَّةِ الْعَمَلِ بِمَا فُهِمُ عَنِ الشَّارِعِ إِذَا لَمْ يَكُنْ هَوَى وَ بِاللهِ التَّوْفِيقُ.
The Messenger of Allah once said to his Companions, "None of you should pray al-`asr prayer until he reaches the Banu Qurayzah." Thus the asr prayer caught them while they were on the road. Some of them said, "He was only telling us to hurry." So they prayed while on the road. Others said, "He commanded us to pray only there." He, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did not censure either one of the groups. This is a proof of the soundness of actions done based upon what is understood from the Lawgiver (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) that is as long as it is not done following one's passions and whims. Success is with Allah.
With all of that being said, we slaughter 1 goat at the birth of any of our children regardless if it is a boy or a girl – based upon the Sunnah of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) as it has reached us through the route of Imām Mālik (may Allah have Mercy upon him).
These brief lessons on the subject of ‘Aqeeqah are dedicated to my daughter Fatimah who is pregnant with her first child - Alhamdulillahi rabbil-‘Alameen! May Allah bless her, her husband and their unborn child with the best in this life as well as the Next!