AQIQAH IS A MUSTAHAB (RECOMMENDED) SACRIFICE
The hair on the head of a newborn baby is called aqiqah. And the animal that is sacrificed after a baby is born to thank Allah Ta’ala is also called aqiqah.
According to the Hanafi mazhab, aqiqah sacrifice is mustahab (recommended) and Sunnah according to the other 3 mazhabs.
It can be done on the day the baby is born but doing it on the seventh day after birth is more virtuous.
An animal that is eligible for sacrifice on Eid-Ul-Adha is also eligible for aqiqah. To slaughter one animal for both a boy and girl is sufficient. Some ulama (scholars) are in the opinion that two animals should be sacrificed for a boy.
While the aqiqah animal is being slaughtered the mother or the father of the baby should pray to Allah Ta’ala saying: “O my Rabb! This aqiqah is for my child. Let it be his ransom for his safety from the fire of hell.”
If no aqiqah was sacrificed after birth, a person can slaughter an aqiqah animal for himself in his adulthood. Rasulullah (Sallalahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) slaughtered aqiqah animals for himself after announcing his prophet hood and for his grandsons, when they were born.
The owner of the aqiqah sacrifice can eat from its meat, offer others to eat, or give some or all of it as Sadaqah (charity).
Children are the blessings of Allah Ta’ala. So, the sacrifice of aqiqah is a way to give thanks to Allah Ta’ala for that blessing.
Rasulullah (Sallalahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said: “The aqiqah is prescribed for every child. Thus shed blood on his behalf, and remove the harm (hair) off him.” (Sunan Ibn Majah)