`Aqeeqah is a great Sunnah. It is part of the legacy inherited from Prophet Ibrahim (peace and blessings be upon him) and a great Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). It was narrated that Samrah ibn Jundub (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Every child is in pledge for his `aqeeqah, so slaughter (the sheep) for him on the seventh day, and give him his name, and shave his head.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi)
As for the time of the `Aqeeqah, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have urged Muslims to make `Aqeeqah for their children on the seventh day of their birth. If for some reason it was not possible to do it on the 7th day then it can be done at a later date. In addition, all animals that are fit for the Udhiyah are fit for the `Aqeeqah. For a child the `Aqeeqah is either a lamb or a goat. For a cattle or a camel, it can be for more than one child, up to seven according to the opinion of the Shafi`ies. Other scholars like the Malikis and the Hanbalis state otherwise saying that only one camel or cow can be slaughtered as a `Aqeeqah for one person. Some other scholars, according to the Kuwaiti Encyclopedia of Fiqh, state that only sheep are to be slaughtered in `Aqeeqah because of the apparent meaning of the hadith.
Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, President of the Fiqh Council of North America, states the following: “The method of `Aqeeqah is to shave the baby’s head or to trim the hair. One may give silver or gold out of charity according to the weight of the baby’s hair. One or two goats or sheep should be slaughtered as sacrifice and the meat should be distributed among the poor, the friends, and the family members can use part of it. Some Prophetic hadiths mention two goats to be sacrificed for a boy and one for a girl. But, according to Muslim jurists, one can sacrifice only one for the boy and one can also sacrifice two for the girl.”