Q 5: The Maliki Madh-hab (School of Jurisprudence) is for
the invitation of Muslims to an `Aqiqah (sacrifice for a newborn)
whatever their number might be. This is because the benefit of it is for Muslims to be close together, during which they collect donations and pray for the newborn baby while raising their hands. The Hanbali Madhhab is of the view that coming together for the `Aqiqah is a Bid`ah (innovation in religion) and there is no evidence to support it. Only the witnesses are to be invited and no donation should be collected for the baby.
`Aqiqah is an act of stressed Sunnah; for a baby boy two sheep should be sacrificed and for a baby girl one sheep to be slaughtered on the seventh day of giving birth to the new baby, the hair of the new baby is to be cut and the baby boy or baby girl are to be named. It is Mashru` (Islamically permissible) in the sight of some scholars to divide the `Aqiqah into thirds: One third for the family members and their guests, one third for neighbors and relatives and one third to be given to the poor as Sadaqah (voluntary charity), as is the case with an Ud-hiyah (sacrificial animal offered by non-pilgrims). Some scholars stated that the matter of `Aqiqah is broad: If its people will give it as Sadaqah, eat it, or distribute some of it and eat some of it. Also if they want to invite relatives, neighbors and others they would like to invite.From this, it is known that there is no problem in cooking it at home and inviting people to it without a commitment to donate or pray for the new baby on the part of the attendees. However, whoever wills, can donate or pray and whoever does not do so will not be committed to do it. No one has the right to specify a certain act of `Ibadah (worship) which Allah and His Messenger did not prescribe. This is the correct opinion. (Part No. 10; Page No. 451) May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.