On a Saturday morning she was delivered of a bouncing baby girl, and indelible indeed was the nine-month rigour of pregnancy and the one-day labour ordeal. A few days later, the husband announced Sunday (the 7th day) as the day to wine and dine in celebration of the newborn. This decision was however greeted with criticisms and name-calling from relations and flibbertigibbets.

The parents – from both sides – held sternly that the ‘aqīqah (childbirth ceremony) would rather take place the 8th day as bequeathed their forefathers. All efforts to have them educated with prophetic traditions fell on deaf ears. They claimed their imām whom they believed knew much better than their own son and daughter said it was the 8th, not the 7th day: that those who clung to the former were extremists, fanatics, fundamentalists etc.

This is what happens in many Muslim homes today: parents and children being at loggerheads over the day ‘aqīqah should hold, whereas the matter is so simple that it’s worth no parent-child conflict. And most worrying is that couples too have the issue lingeringly dragged with each other and their marital tranquility damagingly threatened. This unfortunately does rare its ugly head where the man knows and the woman doesn’t, and vice versa.

عَنْ سَمُرَةَ ‏- رضى الله عنه ‏- أَنَّ رَسُولَ اَللَّهِ ‏- صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏-قَالَ: { “كُلُّ غُلَامٍ مُرْتَهَنٌ بِعَقِيقَتِهِ, تُذْبَحُ عَنْهُ يَوْمَ سَابِعِهِ, وَيُحْلَقُ, وَيُسَمَّى” } رَوَاهُ اَلْخَمْسَةُ, وَصَحَّحَهُ اَلتِّرْمِذِيّ ُ (1783)‏
Samurah (RAA) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: “Every child is pawned against his ‘Aqīqah, to be slaughtered on his behalf on the seventh day of his birth, his head is to be shaved, and he be given a name.” Related by the five imāms. At-Tirmidhi graded it as Sahih.

What is done to celebrate the birth of a newborn as contained in the Hadīth aforementioned is ‘aqīqah (slaughtering of a sheep – two for a boy {if the parent(s) has the ability}, and one for a girl) the 7th day. This has incontrovertibly been as such from time immemorial – since the days of the prophet, the era of the sahābah, and the reign of the tābi’ūn. And I make bold to say (stand challenged though) that all ahādīth narrated with respect to this matter never indicated otherwise: it is the 7th, not the 8th day. As a matter of fact, none of our past local fathers (Sheikhs Kamālud-dīn al-Adabī, Ādam ‘Abdullāh al-Ilōrī etc.) ever quoted the prophetic traditions to the contrary. Their rendition of the childbirth khutbah wherein the Hadīth was usually quoted had nothing to the contrary too: they would say, يوم سابعه (the 7th day), not يوم ثامنه (the 8th day).

This fact is traceable and verifiable. The imāms or alfas referenced by our parents may be asked to bring forth the proof(s) wherein the 8th day is specifically mentioned.

The 8th-day mantra was a mere human error, and to Allāh alone belongs perfection, after all. Our fathers were no flawless Angels, neither were they infallible prophets. They were humans that were prone to blunders. The method of arriving at the 7th day was the cause, and this may be analyzed in three different ways.

First, where a child was born on a Saturday – morning, afternoon or evening for instance – rather than begin the counting from the birth day, they would skip it and count from the next day. By so doing, the 7th day would be the next Saturday. Since this was in line with the Yoruba cultural practice of naming a child the 8th day, the 7th day contained in the Sunnah became unintendedly overridden.

Second, where a child was born on a Saturday, the 7th day would be counted from the birth day. By so doing, the next Friday would be the 7th day but our fathers in their compromise to align with the Yoruba culture would approximate it to 8, and in their language would say, “òǹkà ṣìkẹjọ̀ọ”, which was apparently, indisputably alien to the prophetic tradition.

Third was the use of hours for the counting. Where a child was born on a Saturday, the 24-hour count of the 7th day would be the next Saturday. By so doing, our fathers aligning with the Yorùbá culture would regard it as the 8th day, whereas there was no such thing in the prophet’s tradition.

From the foregoing, it is crystal clear that there is nothing like the 8th day in Islām. Where however lies the problem is the method of counting and arriving at the 7th day. If that be, will it not be a sin to trumpet that which was never blown by the prophet? Will it not mean adding or modifying the prophet’s statement? May Allāh overlook this shortcoming for our forebears and make Jannah their eternal abode.

The clerics of today are the problem. Rather than right the wrong done by our forebears, they are hell bent on having it continued without recourse to its contravention of the prophet’s tradition. Who is the model to be mirrored by the Muslims? The prophet or our fathers? Whereas while the former was infallible, the later were imperfect.

Of the three methods of arriving at the 7th day, the second one was the closest to the truth. The only disputable flaw therein was the addition of “òǹkà ṣìkẹjọ̀ọ” (counting makes it 8).

A child born on a Saturday before sunset will have his ‘aqīqah held the next Friday. How? The 7th-day counting starts from Saturday and ends Friday. But if the baby lands after sunset the same day, the counting starts from Sunday (the next day). This is because the child is born in the night, not in the day. By this, the 7th day will be the next Saturday, which would have coincided with the 8th-day culture of the Yorùbás.

It is usually said furthermore that where the ‘aqīqah isn’t done the 7th day, there is the opportunity of holding it the 14th or 21st day. This by analysis is 7 multiplied by 2 or 3. If it were the 8th day, as modified, then the alternative days would have been the 16th and the 24th i.e. 8 multiplied by 2 or 3, which was never practised by even our forefathers.

This matter is as clear as the fourteenth-day moon. Our parents should know that holding ‘aqīqah the 7th day is never synonymous with fanaticism, neither is it an act of extremity. It is pure, undiluted, uncompromised adherence to the Sunnah of the holy prophet as explicitly stated above. Any sheikh, imām or alfa, who claims otherwise is only doing so whimsically, and such a disobedient person regardless of his place in the society, is not worth our followership.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here