Customs and Rituals

How do Muslims celebrate birth?

A recommended but optional ceremony called the ’Aqiqa (aKEEkah) occurs when a baby is seven days old. In the home or in a part of the mosque outside the prayer hall, parents name their child and clip a lock of hair. Tradition suggests that parents give at least the hair’s weight in silver as a charitable donation. In some places it remains customary to perform ritual animal sacrifice and distribute food to the needy. Parents can formally name their child at this time, often choosing from among the names of religiously important men and women. Sometimes the baby’s father will whisper the call to prayer (adhan, pronounced aTHAAN) in the infant’s right ear and the invitation to begin the prayer (iqama, pronounced iQAAmah) in the left. Some Muslims choose to practice a rite of circumcision on infant boys, though some prefer to postpone the practice until puberty. Depending on circumstances, some kind of reception may follow the rituals.


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