I have really experienced Aqiqah and I can’t believe how I forget it. We only had Aqiqah in our family once. When a boy was born! Of course, you can make Aqiqah even for a Girl, if you’d like to. Gender is not a problem at all. But Aqiqah is quite more expensive then Soboa. So that`s the reason why the people save this occasion for a boy. The birth of a boy is still more appreciated in Egypt …..
So let’s explain what the Aqiqa really is? Simply said it is a baby shower! but in an Islamic way. So it really comes from the religion of Islam. Soboa, on the other hand, is also a baby shower but as a secular celebration. It has nothing to do with Islam, it is a pure celebration of Egyptians.
How is Aqiqah celebrated?
Aqiqah is celebrated 7 days after the birth of the baby. On the celebration day, you sacrifice an animal sheep on the occasion of the child’s birth.
Meat from sacrificed sheep is given to poor people and family. It’s actually a way of charity. But it’s very important to know it’s not mandatory. It is optional, when you do it is for your own good or for the good of the child, but if you do not want it so no one can force you to do it.
However, Muslims believe that if they sacrifice an animal for a child, then God will protect the child and will reward parents for this act, whether in this life or in the hereafter.
On this day, the baby’s head is shaved off the hair and you will name the baby.
However, if someone is unable to procure by his health or finance, the holiday may be celebrated even 14th or 21st day after the child’s birth. and if you still can’t afford it until the 21st day, you can make this celebration until the child’s puberty begins. But of course the sooner the better.
So Aqiqa in Islam should be celebrated this way. But Egyptians have their own personal style in everything they do and so my personal experience with Aqiqa is quite different, but of course, the principle remained the same.
My Story of Egyptian Aqiqah
Khadiga born a son. He is the first baby boy in our family. Congratulations and enthusiasm were huge. And since Khadiga and her husband are truly Muslim’s by hearts, it was clear that they would celebrate Aqiqa for their first and only son.
One day Khadiga wrote to me on Facebook an invitation to her home. “Come with your husband for lunch, I will do Kebab and rice. ” Surely we will come, I did not think about it deeply. I thought it is just a usual family lunch as we do it every week. However, about a day before the visit, I realized that it will be a little more than just a usual lunch with the family. and so I quickly ran to buy a gift. And I was right! Good that I bought the gift otherwise I would look really impossible.
When I came to her apartment there was a huge number of people. There wasn’t even a free place to sit down. I gave my gift directly to Khadiga and I was really happy when it took only a little while for the food being served. Poor Khadiga! She cooked the food for all the people by herself and because she invited even her neighbors and her husband’s family, so people were taking turns in her home since morning. But the evening was reserved only for us as her family.
So she finally started the expected dinner. the men settled in a beautifully decorated table with lots of food and drink..and classically we women with children sat down on the floor where we just put the undecorated food. it’s not about women have to sit under a male lol noo! but about the fact that I’m from such a large family that one table will never fit us. now you’re probably thinking men should be gentlemen and let women sit at the table, right? unfortunately, in Egypt, a man is something more and therefore he must have the best out of honor and respect. honestly, Egyptian women don’t mind it at all, maybe they are even happier this way because there is always enough space on the floor and it is more comfortable for children and definitely there is always more fun.
Okay, so we ate sheep kebab, rice, lots of juice and Egyptian drinks. After that, there was a common prayer with which we ended this celebration. Khadiga gave everybody a piece of meat as a gift to our homes. And we all left to our own homes. very calmly and with the wish of a successful and happy life for the newborn.
Do you see? It’s just a little different. In Egypt, it’s mostly about food.