#448: Going into Debt to Perform Aqiqah

Question:

Assalamualaikum ustaz. I and my wife is planning to perform an aqiqah for our newborn baby soon. However, when calculating the cost for the aqiqah, we are thinking that maybe we can ask for a loan to cover half of the expenses. What is your opinion on this matter? Is the aqiqah valid if it is performed through a loan? Hope for an explanation.

Answer:

Waalaikumussalam wrt. wbt.,

Alhamdulillah, praise and gratitude to Allah SWT for His countless blessings for us all. Praise and salutations to our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions, and all those who follow his footsteps until the Final day.

Definition of aqiqah and its ruling

Aqiqah lexically means the name for the hair of a newborn. The hair is named as such because it will be shaved or cut. According to syarak it means an animal slaughtered in conjunction with the shaving of the newborn hair. [1]

In other words, it means the slaughtering of an animal for slaughter as a sign of gratitude due to the birth of a child accompanied by an intention and certain conditions. [2]

The ruling of performing aqiqah is sunnah muakkad for those who are capable. [3] Its original sanctioning is according to a hadith from Salman bin Amir al-Dhabbi RA where he heard Rasullullah PBUH say:

مَعَ الْغُلاَمِ عَقِيقَتُهُ فَأَهْرِيقُوا عَنْهُ دَمًا وَأَمِيطُوا عَنْهُ الأَذَى

“Along with a boy there is an ‘Aqiqah, so shed blood on his behalf, and remove injury from him.” [4]

It is sunnah to be performed on the seventh day of the birth of the child and one should also give the child a good name as well as shave the child’s head. This is based on the words of the Prophet PBUH from Samurah RA:

الْغُلاَمُ مُرْتَهَنٌ بِعَقِيقَتِهِ يُذْبَحُ عَنْهُ يَوْمَ السَّابِعِ وَيُسَمَّى وَيُحْلَقُ رَأْسُهُ

“The boy is mortgaged by his ‘Aqiqah; slaughtering should be done for him on the seventh day, he should be given a name, and his head should be shaved.” [5]

According to the above hadith, the time for it to be performed on the seventh day of birth is just sunnah. If there is anyone who’d want to perform it before the seventh day or after it, they will still receive the rewards of aqiqah according to madhhab Syafie. [6]

Syeikh Zakariyya al-Ansari stated in his book, that the time to perform aqiqah begins at the birth of the child until the child reached puberty. [7]

According to another hadith narrated by Buraidah bin Husoib al-Aslami RA:

الْعَقِيقَةُ تُذْبَحُ لِسَبْعٍ ، أَوْ أَرْبَعَ عَشرَةَ ، أَوْ أَحَدَ وَعِشْرِينَ

“Aqiqah is on the seventh, fourteenth and twenty-first day of birth.” [8]

Originally, it is sunnah to be performed on the seventh day of birth. However, if one isn’t capable to do so, then perform it on the 14th. If he is still isn’t capable, then perform it on the 21st. If he is still isn’t capable, then perform it on any day when he’s able to do so. This is also the opinion issued by Dar al-Ifta’ Mesir. [9]

Some contemporary scholars of madhhab Syafie stated that for anyone who isn’t capable, then perform the aqiqah but then he is able after the seventh day, then it is no longer sunnah to perform aqiqah. While some Syafi’iyyah scholars said it is before the nifas (vaginal bleeding due to childbirth) is over. However, the rajih opinion in madhhab al-Syafie stated that the sunnah ruling remains until the child reaches puberty. After the child reaches puberty, it is sunnah for the child himself to perform aqiqah for himself. [10]

Getting into Debt to Perform Aqiqah

First, we’d like to congratulate you on the birth of your child. May the child be the coolness of your and your family’s eyes. Amin.

Answering the above question, the ruling of performing aqiqah by taking a loan is valid according to syarak. However, the concept of going into debt in performing certain worship is something that will burden a person in the future. Thus, this act isn’t encouraged, for the purpose of worship in Islam isn’t to burden people. Allah SWT states:

مَا يُرِيدُ اللَّـهُ لِيَجْعَلَ عَلَيْكُم مِّنْ حَرَجٍ وَلَـٰكِن يُرِيدُ لِيُطَهِّرَكُمْ وَلِيُتِمَّ نِعْمَتَهُ عَلَيْكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ

“Allah does not intend to make difficulty for you, but He intends to purify you and complete His favor upon you that you may be grateful.” [11]

Syeikh al-Maraghi stated: “In determining the sanction of Allah SWT for humans, Allah SWT didn’t mean in the slightest to burden mankind for Allah SWT doesn’t need them. Furthermore, Allah SWT only sanctions to men what is good and beneficial to them.[12]

Moreover, there is a warning for those who don’t settle their debt before they die, where they’ll be suspended from the place they belong as stated in a hadith by Abu Hurairah RA, where the Prophet PBUH said:

نَفْسُ الْمُؤْمِنِ مُعَلَّقَةٌ بِدَيْنِهِ حَتَّى يُقْضَى عَنْهُ

“A believer‘s soul remains suspended according to his debt until it is settled or paid off on his behalf.” [13]

Syeikh al-Mubarakfuri cited the words of Imam al-Sayuti in explaining the meaning of suspended in this hadith is that it is held back from going to his rightful place. [14]

Advice and suggestion

Among the advice that we suggest are:

  • The Muslim ummah is encouraged to always strive and race in any form of worship and welfare. This is based on the Quranic evidence:

فَاسْتَبِقُوا الْخَيْرَاتِ

“So, race to [all that is] good.” [15]

Syeikh al-Maraghi said: “Hasten towards any good deed and each individual should have the feeling of wanting to compete and race to follow the commandments of a guide and not the order of a person who is racing to throw the truth, for he is racing towards the evil and deviance.” [16]

  • The worship of aqiqah is commanded for those who are capable to perform it. The capability is considered in the aspect of the family’s economy. Avoid going into debt to perform the worship of aqiqah.

Conclusion

TO conclude, we state that performing aqiqah by getting a loan is valid if it fulfils and follows the requisites of aqiqah. However, it is makruh. The reason is getting into debt so that one can perform worship is discouraged.

As rational people, we should know and evaluate future risks of going into debt. It has been proven that getting into debt will negatively affect our lives, especially the Muslim ummah.

Hopefully, this explanation will provide understanding for us all in performing worship following the true Islamic shariah. Amin.

Wallahu a’lam.

[1] See al-Fiqh al-Manhaji, 3/55 and al-Minhaj al-Qawim, Ibn Hajar al-Haitami, pg. 482

[2] See al-Mausuah al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kuwaitiyyah, 30/276

[3] See al-Majmu’ Syarh al-Muhazzab, 8/426

[4] Narrated by al-Bukhari (2839)

[5] Narrated by Abu Daud (1522)

[6] See al-Majmu’, 8/431

[7] See al-Ghurur al-Bahiyyah, 5/171

[8] Narrated by al-Baihaqi (19771) and al-Tabarani in al-Mu’jam al-Ausat (4882) and al-Mu’jam al-Saghir (723)

[9] See https://www.dar-alifta.org/ar/ViewFatwa.aspx?ID=12452&LangID=1&MuftiType=0&%D8%A7%D9%84%D8

[10] See Mughni al-Muhtaj, 6/139

[11] Surah al-Maidah: 6

[12] See Tafsir al-Maraghi, 3/1500

[13] Narrated by al-Tarmizi (1078) and Ibn Majah (2413). Imam al-Tirmizi ruled the sanad for this hadith sahih in his Sunan.

[14] See Tuhfaz al-Ahwazi, 4/164

[15] Surah al-Baqarah: 148

[16] See Tafsir al-Maraghi, 1/288

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