In fact, `aqeeqah involves sacrificing a goat or lamb on behalf of the child. It is giving thanks to Allah for the gift of a child. It is a part of the legacy inherited from Prophet Ibrahim and of course it is a sunnah of our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). In `aqeeqah slaughtering is better than paying the price in charity because slaughtering involves following the exact footsteps of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).
Sheikh Muhammad Saleh Al-Munajjid, a prominent Saudi Muslim scholar and lecturer states that: “Slaughtering an animal as `aqeeqah is better than giving its price in charity. Indeed, giving the money in charity instead of doing the `aqeeqah does not serve the intended purpose, because the purpose of `aqeeqah is to draw closer to Allah by means of offering this sacrifice.
In his book, Tuhfatul-Mawdud bi Ahkamil-Mawlud, Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim wrote: ‘Slaughtering an animal as `aqeeqah when it is prescribed is better than giving its price in charity even if one gives more than the price, because the aim is to carry out the actual act of slaughtering and shedding the blood, because this is an act of worship that is mentioned alongside prayer, as Allah says: “Therefore turn in prayer to your Lord and sacrifice (to Him only)” (Al-Kawthar: 2). Almighty Allah also says: “Say (O Muhammad): Verily, my prayer, my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the worlds.” (Al-An`am: 162)’
In every religion, nothing can take the place of prayer and sacrifice, hence if more than the value of the sacrificial animal offered in Hajj were to be given in charity that would not take the place of the sacrifice itself. The same applies to all kinds of sacrifice.”
Also, the fatwa of the Standing Committee for Fatwa and Research in Saudi Arabia reads: “Two sheep should be slaughtered for a boy and one for a girl; it is not acceptable to pay money instead.”