Akika – is a sacrifice that is committed by Muslims, at the birth of a child, after which they shave their heads. But shaving of head not necessarily must  coincide with Akika’s ritual, even so it is preferable.

In one hadeeth narrated from Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him), it is said that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) performed the sacrifice of Akik for Hassan and Hussein. On each of them he sacrificed one ram and said that the sacrifice and shaving of the hair of the newborn boy at the same time is Akika. For this reason, sacrifice the animal and shave the hair of the child. Samur ibn Jundab (may Allah be pleased with him) transmits the following words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “Every child (newborn), after seven days (of his birth), is a hostage to the sacrifice of Akik. After the execution (sacrifice of Akik), it is necessary to shave (the child’s head) and give him a name. ”

According to the three Imams of the leading Islamic madhhabs (Al-Shafi’i, Malik and Ahmad), Akika is an insistent Sunnah (Sunna Muakkada). Especially, by such sunnah that it is extremely desirable to sacrifice, if there is possibility on that.

Sacrifice can be performed immediately after the birth of the child. The most preferable time for Akika is the seventh day after birth. If it did not work out on the seventh day, then it is possible for 14 days, then for 21 days and so on every week,  until the child reaches the age of majority. If the sacrifice for the baby was not committed before reaching him the age of majority, then after the age of majority it is desirable for him to perform Akika – for himself. This is permitted and even desirable to do until the end of his life.

Akika is performed for a newborn also if the child dies during childbirth (or soon afterwards) – and even with such a sad outcome, Akika remains a desirable action. When a baby who has already died at birth (but he was alive in the womb), then for such a child it is also necessary to perform a sacrifice. If the baby was not alive (that is, he did not give any signs of life) – then Akika is not made for such a child and he is not called by the name. (God knows best)

For a boy it is advisable to sacrifice two rams. If there is a possibility, then it is more desirable to sacrifice rams of the same age. Sacrifice of one ram also will be enough to fulfill the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). For a girl it is desirable to sacrifice one ram. In the case of the birth of several babies at once (twins, triplets, etc.), then one animal is sacrificed per child.