In almost all the communities of the world, the birth of a child is considered a blessing and some ceremony is held to celebrate the event. Beside being natural, it also serves a special purpose, and makes it known, in a most suitable and dignified manner, that the father has accepted the child as his own and there is no doubt or suspicion in his mind concerning it. It shuts the door to many mischiefs that can arise in future. The custom of Aqeeqah was observed among the Arabs, even during the age of perversion, for that very reason.
The hair on the child's head, with which it was born, was cut a few days after the birth, and an animal was sacrificed as a mark of rejoicing which is a characteristic feature of Millat-e-Ibraaheemee (the community of Prophet Ibraaheem alayhis salaam ). While preserving the practice in principle or rather exhorting his followers to observe it, the holy Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam gave appropriate instructions, and himself set an example of how it was to be done.
It is related, on the authority of Buraydah radhiyallahu anhu that, "When, during the age of perversion, a child was born to the wife of anyone of us, we used to slaughter a goat and smear the head of the child with its blood. Later after the dawn of Islaam, our practice became, (on the advice of the Apostle of Allah sallallahu alayhi wasallam ), that we sacrifice a goat of Aqeeqah on the seventh day of the birth of a child, and shave the head of the infant, and apply saffron on it."
Note: In Razeen's version of the same Tradition,
it is mentioned further that, "We also give name to the child
on the seventh day, along with Aqeeqah."
Aqeeqah ( Part II )