If I want to do aqiqa for my son, is it sufficient to slaughter a single lamb?
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
‘Aqiqa is sunna for those who can afford it. It is based on a hadith narrated by Salman bin Amir al-Dhabbi r.a:
مَعَ الْغُلاَمِ عَقِيقَتُهُ فَأَهْرِيقُوا عَنْهُ دَمًا وَأَمِيطُوا عَنْهُ الأَذَى
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) is reported saying: Along with a boy there is an 'Aqiqah, so shed blood on his behalf, and remove injury from him.
Sunan Abi Dawud (2839)
‘Aqiqa is a sunna to be done on the seventh day of the birth of a child while at same time to name the child and shave the newborn’s hair. This is in accordance with the saying of the Prophet PBUH:
الْغُلاَمُ مُرْتَهَنٌ بِعَقِيقَتِهِ يُذْبَحُ عَنْهُ يَوْمَ السَّابِعِ وَيُسَمَّى وَيُحْلَقُ رَأْسُهُ
That the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "The boy is mortgaged by his 'Aqiqah; slaughtering should be done for him on the seventh day, he should be given a name, and his head should be shaved
Jami` at-Tirmidhi (1522)
Pertaining the number of lamb to be slaughtered in doing ‘aqiqa, it is two lambs for a boy. Meanwhile, it is one lamb for a girl. The Prophet PBUH said:
مَنْ وُلِدَ لَهُ وَلَدٌ فَأَحَبَّ أَنْ يَنْسُكَ عَنْهُ فَلْيَنْسُكْ عَنِ الْغُلاَمِ شَاتَانِ مُكَافِئَتَانِ وَعَنِ الْجَارِيَةِ شَاةٌ
If anyone has a child born to him and wishes to offer a sacrifice on its behalf, he may offer two resembling sheep for a boy and one for a girl.
Sunan Abi Dawud (2842)
Referring to the hadith, ‘aqiqa is two sheep for a boy and one for a girl. This is the perfect practice of ‘aqiqa.
Pertaining the question asked; whether it is sufficient to do ‘aqiqa for a boy by slaughtering just single lamb? The answer is it is indeed sufficient and permissible.
This is the opinion stated in mazhab al-Syafie which is recorded by al-Imam al-Syirazi in his book al-Muhazzab and al-Imam al-Nawawi in his book al-Majmu’
This is based on a hadith narrated by Ibn Abbas r.anhuma:
أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم عَقَّ عَنِ الْحَسَنِ وَالْحُسَيْنِ كَبْشًا كَبْشًا
“The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) sacrificed a ram for both al-Hasan and al-Husayn each (Allah be pleased with them).”
Sunan Abi Dawud (2841)
Based on what has been stated by the hadiths mentioned before, we would like to conclude here that doing ‘aqiqa for a boy with a single lamb is permissible. It is a form of practice to show our gratitude to Allah when we are blessed with a child. It is indeed something to be thankful and grateful, for it is a blessing from Allah SWT and the Prophet PBUH is proud of having a large number of ummah. Wallahua'lam.
End Notes: Refer al-Muhazzab by al-Syirazi (1/438) & al-Majmu’ oleh al-Nawawi (8/429).