Is Aqiqah Sunnah?

Quran

Hadith

Islamic Text

Aqeeqah is not Sunnah according to the Hanafi Madhab. 

(عَنْ أَبِي رَافِعٍ قَالَ: لَمَّا وَلَدَتْ فَاطِمَةُ حَسَنًا قَالَتْ: أَلَا أَعُقُّ عَنْ ابْنِي بِدَمٍ؟ قَالَ: لَا، وَلَكِنْ احْلِقِي رَأْسَهُ ثُمَّ َتَصَدَّقِي بِوَزْنِ شَعْرِهِ مِنْ فِضَّةٍ عَلَى الْمَسَاكِينِ أَوِ الْأَوْفَاضِ (مسند أحمد

Abu Rafi narrated, when (Sayidah) Fatimah gave birth to (Sayidina) Hasan she said, ‘Should I not perform Aqeeqah for my son?’ He (The Prophet) said, ‘No, rather shave his head, then give silver to charity according to its weight. Give it to the poor or the Awfaad (the people of Sufah).’ (Musnad Ahmad 27183, Hasan).

The Hanafi scholars understood this Hadith and other narrations to prove that Aqeeqah is abrogated and not Sunnah. There is some difference of opinion amongst the Hanafi scholars regarding the legal status of Aqeeqah, some inclined towards Makruh (disliked) and others towards Mubaah (permitted) but not Sunnah.

وَذَكَرَ مُحَمَّدٌ – رَحِمَهُ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى – فِي الْعَقِيقَةِ فَمَنْ شَاءَ فَعَلَ وَمَنْ شَاءَ لَمْ يَفْعَلْ وَهَذَا يُشِيرُ إلَى الْإِبَاحَةِ فَيَمْنَعُ كَوْنَهَا سُنَّةً وَذَكَرَ فِي الْجَامِعِ الصَّغِيرِ وَلَا يَعُقُّ عَنْ الْغُلَامِ وَلَا عَنْ الْجَارِيَةِ وَأَنَّهُ إشَارَةٌ إلَى الْكَرَاهِيَةِ كَذَا فِي الْبَدَائِعِ فِي كِتَابِ الْأُضْحِيَّةِ. (الفتاوى الهندية)

(Imam) Muhammad (Shaybani), May Allah Most High’s Mercy be upon him, mentioned regarding Aqeeqah, ‘Whoever wants to do it may do it, and whoever does not want to may refrain.’ This indicates permissibility and negates it being Sunnah. He mentioned in al-Jami al-Sagheer, ‘He should not perform Aqeeqah for a boy or a girl.’ This indicates dislike (Makruh), as has been mentioned in Badai in the chapter of sacrifice. (al-Fatawaa al-Hindiyah). 

وَذَكَرَ مُحَمَّدٌ – رَحِمَهُ اللَّهُ – فِي الْعَقِيقَةِ فَمَنْ شَاءَ فَعَلَ وَمَنْ شَاءَ لَمْ يَفْعَلْ، وَهَذَا يُشِيرُ إلَى الْإِبَاحَةِ فَيَمْنَعُ كَوْنَهُ سُنَّةً وَذَكَرَ فِي الْجَامِعِ الصَّغِيرِ وَلَا يَعُقُّ عَنْ الْغُلَامِ وَلَا عَنْ الْجَارِيَةِ وَأَنَّهُ إشَارَةٌ إلَى الْكَرَاهَةِ؛ لِأَنَّ الْعَقِيقَةَ كَانَتْ فَضْلًا وَمَتَى نُسِخَ الْفَضْلُ لَا يَبْقَى إلَّا الْكَرَاهَةُ (بدائع الصنائع في ترتيب الشرائع)

(Imam) Muhammad (Shaybani), May Allah Most High’s Mercy be upon him, mentioned regarding Aqeeqah, ‘Whoever wants to do it may do it, and whoever does not want to may refrain.’ This indicates permissibility and negates it being Sunnah. He mentioned in al-Jami al-Sagheer, ‘He should not perform Aqeeqah for a boy or a girl.’ This indicates dislike (Makruh), because Aqeeqah used to be considered virtuous then the virtue was abrogated hence nothing but dislike (Karahah) remains. (Imam Abu Bakr al-Kaasani, Badai al-Sanai). 

This is the ruling in the Hanafi Madhab, if a person who follows the Hanafi Madhab decides to follow another Madhab and perform Aqeeqah as a Sunnah, it is permitted as long as the rules of taking a Rukhsah are observed.

And Allah Most High knows best.

– Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen (04.01.2021)

See also:

Taking a Rukhsah