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‘Aqiqah: Why the Difference Between Boys and Girls?

Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani

Q: Why is there a rule to offer two animals for sacrifice on the birth of a male child and only one in case of a female when otherwise daughters are considered potentially more blissful? Shouldn’t then thankgiving for the daughter be more than that for the son or at least equal to it? (Aisha, NJ, USA)

A: Firstly, all the ‘ibadat (acts of worship) prescribed or emphasized by Shariah are based solely on following the commands of Allah, whether or not one understands the wisdom behind it, such as the Holy Prophet Ibrahim (‘alaihe-ssalam) was ordered to sacrifice his own son.  He never asked what was the reason behind it.  He just followed what was ordered, because it is not necessary that a human being understands the rationale of each and every command.  The sacrifice of an animal in ‘aqiqah is also an act of worship, and one must follow it whether or not he understands the reason.

However, there are some acts of worship the wisdom of which may be mentioned as a possible reason, while the full reason is known only to Allah Almighty,  on the birth of a child, the sacrifice of an animal has been held as a sunnah (a preferable practice) and not as an obligatory act.  In a mandatory sacrifice, like in Eidul-Azha, one goat is enough for both males and females.  It shows that normally a single goat is enough for both of them.  Hence what is suggested on the birth of a girl is according to the normal practice i.e. a single goat.  But in case of a male child, an additional goat is suggested, perhaps, because one of the objectives of ‘aqiqah is to seek refuge from satanic influence and calamities[1], and male is more vulnerable to such influences than a female because his activities are more diversified, therefore, an additional sacrifice is suggested.  Therefore, it should not be taken to indicate that the birth of a girl is less blissful, because the Holy Quran has condemned this belief in several verses.[2]

Usmani, Muhammad Taqi, “Answers to Your Questions”, Monthly AlBalagh International, Karachi, Vol.24 No.01 December 2012, pp. 33-35

References and Notes:

[1] This is supported by the hadith;

عن سمرة، عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: كل غلام مرتهن بعقيقته

Narrated Samurah that the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Every child is mortgaged by his ‘Aqiqah,”
(Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadith 3165; classified as sahih by al-Albani)
Paraphrasing Ibn al-Qayyim’s (d. 751 AH) explanation of this hadith  al-Manawi (d. 1031 AH) writes:

أن العقيقة تخليص له من الشيطان ومنعه من سعيه في مصالح آخرته

“‘Aqiqah is the child’s rescue from the satan and protection for his efforts for the good of his life Hereafter.”
(Faid al-Qadir, (Cairo: Maktaba al-Tijariyya, 1356 AH) Vol.4, 416)
[2] See Qur’an 16: 57-59, 43:17, 81:8-9

Published : November 12, 2014                 Last modified : December 1st, 2014

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  1. The Girls Should Take this wisdom as One Degree above in comparison of Male rather then looking into quantity of goats ,since Satan have less influence towards female to divert them to Sin ,

  2. Beautiful explanation…never knew about Aqiqah from this perspective.

  3. SubhanAllah. Never thought explanation to this act can be soo thoughtful

  4. Ma Shaa Allah what a logical answer from an unique perspective. Allahu Akbar! may Allah Azza Wa Jal reward you, Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani.

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