Muslim Birth Rites #5 : Aqeeqah


(Isa is nearly one and half year old, but I am yet to finish writing about the birth rites! )

Another near-compulsory rite in celebrating the birth of a child is to perform ‘aqeeqah’, involving the slaughtering of a goat or lamb on behalf of the child.  The meat is then distributed to the poor, or the parents can hold a feast.  Typically, for a male child two sheep or goats are sacrificed, while only one for a female child.

It was narrated from the Prophet himself, that until slaughtering and sacrificing of the animal is done on behalf of the child, the child will not be able to intercede for his parents on the Day of Judgement.

My father, being the money-savvy dad he always is has earlier advised us to make sure that we saved our money separately for this purpose while we were still pregnant. I told you, goat or sheep costs a lot these days. And we are blessed with a son – which means approximately MYR1500 for two goats.

Isa’s aqiqah was rather a small event. It is a trend observed nowadays where parents make it a big deal – with special door gifts, decorations and all – but we tried as much as possible to be moderate. Aqiqah was supposed to be performed on the 7th day after birth, but Isa’s was done almost a month after – to be precise, on the day I ended my strict traditional post-natal confinement i.e. 45th day. The idea was soon after that I could return home with my husband after that.

Our plan was to hold the ceremony at my parents’ place, where supply of good goats is easier to find. Since my parents live close to my extended relatives, we imagined the ceremony to be feast for about 50-60 guests. It is the kind of ‘kenduri’ or feast that I love.

Everything went well all praise be to Allah. The food was delicious, many attended and prayed for Isa’s good health.

But many too, asked on my husband’s whereabout.

Which deserves another story itself.

 ***

My husband promised to be there for the ceremony (he stayed in Kuala Lumpur, while I spent my confinement days at my parents’, about 6-hour drive away). We invited his parents to came along, as well as his best friend, who offered to drive them all in his car. They began their journey around 8PM, so I expected them to arrive around 2AM. My mother-in-law was unwell, so it was three of them in the car – hubster, his best friend and my father in-law.

However, when I was feeding Isa that early morning he texted me saying that the car broke down at a place (not even half way). He confirmed that everything was okay, there was no need for me to worry.

Came morning only he texted me again saying that he won’t be able to make it, and wanted to talk to my father. I let him.

I was sure that I did feel a bit of disappointment and a slight anger at that moment. If the car break down I thought, go fix it and come here – what is so hard about that? It is our son’s aqeeqah, and it would be weird if he is not around after all!  I kept that to myself of course, and answered very briefly when the guests asked of him, trying to contain my sadness.

It was not until late afternoon that he sent me the photos of the car.

I cried.

The car didn’t look anything like a car. It was true that it broke down, but what he did not tell me is that as one of the tires punctured, the car slipped of the road hitting the road divider. It was fairly a massive accident, and they were lucky the road was empty with no other motorists, and that the car was Japanese-made. Should it be our national car (infamous for the low quality) the policeman who handled their case thought that all three of them might have been killed due to the impact.

Well, apparently he has explained the whole thing to my father that morning, asking my father to keep the real story from me. He feared that I would be too emotional about it with post-partum blues and all.

That is surely very thoughtful of him.

So yes, Isa’s father was not around during his aqeeqah ceremony, and I am pretty sure this would be a good story to tell to Isa once he is all grown up.

p.s. None of them was injured, but it seems that my FIL did suffer a bit temporary amnesia. My husband had a bit of chest pain. His best friend, well, he was fine, thanks to the air bag, but he lost his car. Irreparable that his car insurance’s company declared it as a total loss.

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