Friday, October 12, 2018


The 'aqiqa sacrifice:
Suffice to say it consists in shaving the head of the new-born child, killing a sheep or goat as sacrifice, no bone of which may be broken, and offering this prayer: "O God, here is the 'aqiqa for my son [giving the name], its blood for his blood, its flesh for his flesh, its hair for his hair and save my son from the fire, etc." (The full prayer is given by Herklots and Swestermarck).2 Doughty states that this sacrifice is the most common of Islamic religious ceremonies in the Arabian desert.
There are six words used in the Mohammedan religion to express the idea of sacrifice. Zabh, used in the Koran (5:4) for Abraham's sacrifice of his son. Qurban, this word occurs three times in the Koran. In places (3:179; 5:30) it obviously means an offering or sacrifice; in the third passage (46:27) the meaning is obscure. In Christian-Arabic the word signifies the Eucharist. The Lisan dictionary give two striking traditions: "The characteristics of the Moslem community lie in the fact that their qurban is their blood," i.e., those who died in jihad as martyrs. And the other: "The daily prayer is the qurban of every pious man." This same word, however, is used in Persia and India and China for the sacrifice at the great festival 'Id-i-Qurban.
Nahr, to cut the jugular vein is used in the Koran (108:1-2) in a command to the prophet to sacrifice a camel. Udhiya is the word used in Moslem tradition for the annual sacrifice at Mecca (Mishkat, Bk. IV, ch. 19). Hady occurs four times in the Koran for animal victims sent to Mecca when the pilgrim himself is not able to be in time for the sacrifice, (2:193 and 5:2, 96, 98). It signifies a vicarious present. Finally, there is the word mansakh (Koran 22:35). "We have appointed to every nation a rite." The commentator, Baidhawi, explains this as sacrifice (Tafsir, p. 91).
There are two main occasions when Islam enjoins a blood-sacrifice, namely, at the birth of a child (‘aqiqa), and at the annual feast in Mecca which is also celebrated in every Moslem community. The first is the sacrament of initiation, like Christian baptism. The second is commemorative, as the Eucharist also is in part. Yet both have features and prayers which seem both expiatory and vicarious.
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