Arabic Language Blog

Aqiqah – Celebrating the birth of a child! (العقيقة) Posted by on Jan 9, 2019 in Arabic Language, Culture, Vocabulary

Just got back from Jordan and Turkey where I spent the holiday with family and friends. I had just become a mother in August, and we wanted everyone to see the new grandchild حفيد. During our stay, my mother and father in law decided they wanted to perform “Aqiqahعقيقة that is to sacrifice يضحي a sheep خروف on behalf of the newborn مولود. You may be familiar with the Islamic tradition of sacrificing a sheep for Eid al-Adha عيد الأضحى, but I thought to share with you another occasion مناسبة where a sheep is sacrificed.

Aqiqah, an Islamic terminology, is defined as the animal (most commonly a sheep) that is slaughtered on the occasion of a child’s birth as a means of expressing gratitude شُكر to God for the blessing نعمة of having that child. In Islam, it is not obligatory إلزامي but encouraged يُشجع if one is able to do so.

Photo of a sheep

Image by Daniela on

Aqiqah resembles يشبه the sacrifice made when God ransomed the Prophet Ismael and ordered the sacrificing of a sheep instead. Performing Aqiqah goes all the way back to the time of the prophet Muhammad. Both then and now, the birth of a child is a cause for great celebration and what better way to celebrate than over a big lamb dinner with family and friends! It is also a cause to distribute يوزع meat to the poor فقراء and needy المحتاجين, including orphans أيتام and the elderly مسنين.

Who knows, one day you could be invited to a lamb dinner and find out its on behalf of a newborn baby!

Are there any religious or cultural traditions for celebrating the arrival of a newborn where you come from?

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About the Author: yasmine

MarHaba! I am half Jordanian of Circassian descent and half American. I have a Master's in Second Language Teaching and I teach Arabic as a foreign language here in the US, both MSA and Levantine Arabic. I hope to help you become more familiar and interested in the Arabic language and culture.


  1. Larhubarbe Denis:

    Hi Yasmine, congratulations for your new born child. This is a great article as always. Here in Mauritius there are many religious and cultural traditions due to the multiracial culture that we have here. The hindus welcome the newborn child by pouring honey on its mouth and ear, then when the baby comes at the family home they put a `tikka` on its forehead. The muslims here do aqiqah. The christians baptised it with holy water. The chinese hold a dinner party. Every nations have their way to celebrate it. 🙂

    • yasmine:

      @Larhubarbe Denis !مرحبا دنس
      First thing I did after reading your awesome comment was look up Mauritius and WOW what a beautiful and fascinating country!!! It must be very nice to live in such a culturally rich place.
      !شكراً جزيلاً

  2. Muhammed salih:

    I am new here to read your blog.i would like to say that..this is a very helpfull method to learn language. I wanted to tell you one more thing that the traditions in islam is build upon the belief. If you has the belief you should express in your lifestyle. Otherwise the traditions you are celebrating is become the reflection of acting spiritual. Being spiritual is the only way to express your belief in frond of good.