A baby’s birth is a moment of happiness and celebration that mark a new beginning. The parents hearts’ cannot help but be filled with love for this little creature. It’s natural to love infants — the very sight of them softens the heart, and almost anyone who walks by one in the supermarket, the malls or at the park “oohs” and “coos.” Smiles pure from the heart are elicited simply from seeing a newborn.
People feel instantly touched with tenderness and joy at the sight because it is an innocent, uncorrupted blessing to the world. Perhaps the baby will bring forth knowledge that benefits the world, like curing cancer, or finding a way to battle pollution. In a word, a newborn is hope. As humans, we have an inclination for hope and a desire to see humanity at its greatest capacity.
Allah, glory be to Him, gives each baby blessings that will provide for both the baby and its parents. We provide for them and for you (17:31). Allah tells us this as an indisputable fact. He tells us to relieve our anxieties about our monetary welfare. We know people who do not want to have more children because they budget them into their lives before their existence, and yet all the while, these little bundles of joy come paid for in full.
It is important that Allah protects that tiny little racing heart, oblivious to world around it, almost before its life begins. We must first offer our abject gratitude to Allah for blessing us with someone we love and need. We show our gratitude by doing what pleases Allah: sacrificing an animal.
Aqeeqah, or sacrificing an animal on the occasion of a child’s birth, is a confirmed sunnah. Sacrificing an animal for the sake of Allah to gain closeness to Him is a long-held Abrahamic tradition, upon him be peace. He was, and is, the epitome of believing in the oneness of Allah. As he smashed the idols and false deities in his youth and then the magnificent sacrifice when he was commanded by Allah, he established sacrifice as a practice only for the sake of seeking nearness to Allah.
It was narrated from Samurah ibn Jundub that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Every child is in pledge for his aqeeqah, which should be slaughtered for him on the seventh day. His head should be shaved, and he should be named” (Abu Dawood, 2838).
Giving aqeeqah is a founded practice in which a third of the meat goes to the poor. There is a familiar pattern in the sunnah of the Prophet, peace be upon him. In the Udhiyah and Qurbani, of Eid al-Adha, he, peace be upon him, made a determination to save a portion of the meat for a poor tribe. It seems natural that on the joyous celebration and thanksgiving upon the arrival of a new baby, a portion is designated for the poor.
This little human being is a miracle. Its value is so high that Allah gives the infant His blessing and protection before it takes its first breath. We should shrink before His will, display our soul-felt gratitude, giving to the needy as His prophets did before us.