Aqeeqah: Is it an obligation?

Q40 :Is the aqiqah obligatory? What if a person cannot afford to buy the sheep to slaughter? How does it affect the child?

A40 : The aqiqah refers to a sacrifice given by a family on the occasion of the birth of a son or a daughter. One sheep is adequate for the aqiqah for either a girl or a boy. Relatives and neighbors are invited, because this is a joyous occasion to be shared with the immediate community. The aqiqah is a Sunnah, which means that it is strongly recommended. Its time is in the early days of the birth of the child. When we say it is strongly recommended, this means that it is not obligatory. If a family cannot afford to sacrifice a sheep, then no blame is attached to it for failing to do so. "God does not charge a soul with more than it can reasonably undertake." This is the translation of a Qur'anic statement. A poor family that finds it difficult to make both ends meet is not expected to observe the aqiqah. The child will not be affected in any way for his parents' failure to observe a Sunnah, even when they can afford it.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )