Aqiqah/Korban in Islam



Korban Rites happens on the day of Eid Al Adha / Aidil Adha (also known as Eid el-Kbir in some languages). It is three days long and starts on 10th Zulhijjah (ذو الحجة), the 12th month of the Islamic Hijri Calendar. Eid Al Adha marks the end of the hajj pilgrimage period, thus it is also called Hari Raya Haji (festival of the pilgrimage) in Malay language.

The history of Korban ritual returns back to the time of prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him – pbuh). It is to commemorate the willingness of prophet Ibrahim (pbuh) to sacrifice his son, prophet Ismail (pbuh) in obedience to Almighty Allah. The practice of Korban was made an injunction in the 2nd year after the Muslims' migration to Medina. Hence Eid Al Adha is also called the Festival of Sacrifice.


The animals to be slaughtered are goats, cows and camels. A Muslim can offer either a goat or sheep, or one seventh of a cow, buffalo or camel as korban animal, where seven people can agree to offer a cow, buffalo or camel at a time. Impaired animals cannot be slaughtered for korban religious rite, including animals that are blind or crippled.


There 3 types of intent to slaughter the animal:

1. Korban/Qurban

Korban is widely the main intent for slaughtering animal on the Eid Al-Adha day. If a person has intention to do korban, it is wajib (obligatory) to distribute a portion of the uncooked meat to the poor and needy. It is sunnah (recommended) for the person doing the korban to partake a little of the korban meat.

2. Nazar

Nazar (also written as nadhr) is making a vow in the name of Allah. As an illustration, a person may make a vow of this type “O Allah, if you alleviate such and such a person from their sickness, I promise to sacrifice one sheep/goat etc”, then the person who make a vow is obliged to fulfil the sacrifice if the person is healed. In this case it is wajib to give away all the uncooked meat.

3. Aqiqah

Aqiqah is defined as the animal that is slaughtered on the occasion when the hair of a new born is shaved. It is sunnah to give away all the meat after it has been cooked.



In Islamic terminology it is defined as sacrifice of an animal on the occasion of a child's birth.

The performance of Aqiqah is highly encouraged (sunnah). It is to be performed by the parents or the guardians of the child. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions used to perform Aqiqah when they were bestowed with a newborn.

It is recommended to perform Aqiqah within the first week (and ideally on the seventh day) if not possible, then in the fourteenth, if not, in the twenty first, if not, then at anytime. In addition, it is the recommended Sunnah for parents to give sadaqah of equal value to the weight in silver of their baby's hair (when it is shaved on the seventh day after birth). It is not advisable to delay the aqiqah when the means are available.

There are many benefits in the performance of Aqiqah. One is the announcing the birth of the baby.  Being bestowed a child is a great blessing from the Creator. Another purpose is inviting family members, neighbors, and friends to celebrate the blessed occasion. The poor should be included in the celebration by offering them food and meat served on this occasion.

Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy on him, states: "Among the benefits of `Aqeeqah are:

  1. It is a sacrifice by means of which the child is brought close to Allah soon after he comes into this world.
  2. It is a ransom for the newborn so that he or she can intercede for his parents.
  3. It is a sacrifice by which the newborn is ransomed just as Allah ransomed Isma`eel with the ram.
    (Tuhfat al-Mawdood, p. 69)."

The following is a hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) where he advised Aqiqah of a goat/sheep.

Narrated Umm Kurz: The Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) said: Two sheep which resemble each other are to be sacrificed for a boy and one for a girl. (Sunan Abu Dawood Book 15, No.  2830)

The condition of the animals in Aqiqah is the same as the conditions for the animals in Qurbani. The animals to be slaughtered must be a goats, cows or camels. For camels, it must be older than 6 years, for cows the age must be older than 3 years and for goats, it must be older than 2 years. They must be free from any form of handicap such as being blind, sick, limp or undernourished. The animals must be slaughtered in the appropriate humane ways.

Hadith references regarding Aqiqah:

Sahih Bukhari Book 66. Sacrifice on the Occasion of a Birth (Aqiqah)

Narrated By Salman bin 'Amir Ad-Dabbi : I heard Allah's Apostle saying, “Aqiqah is to be offered for a (newly born) boy, so slaughter (an animal) for him, and relieve him of his suffering." (Note: It has been quoted in Fateh-aL-Bari that the majority of the Religious Scholars agrees to the Hadith narrated in Sahih At-Tirmidhi that the Prophet (Peace be upon Him) was asked about Aqiqah and he ordered 2 sheep for a boy and one sheep for a girl and that is his tradition "Sunnah").


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