What are the rulings regarding the ‘Aqiqa’. Shaykh Abdullah bin Hamid Ali provides some description in accordance with the school of Imam Malik (ra)
Question: What is the fiqh of the newborn and young children in the Maliki School, especially with reference to the following issues:
3. circumcision (and female?)
4. shaving the head
Answer: The ‘aqiqa’ is the name given to the animal sacrifice done for a new born child on the seventh day after being born. It is recommended for the one who can afford it to sacrifice an animal permitted to eat like a sheep or goat on the seventh day after the child is born. If the child is born during daylight hours, the calculation of days begins from the following day after fajr, just as the ‘aqiqa’ is not valid if it is slaughtered during the hours of the night between maghrib and fajr. And when one waits until maghrib enters after the seventh day to make the sacrifice, the reward of the ‘aqiqa is also missed.
An ‘aqiqa can be done for every child born regardless of its gender. And even if a woman gives birth to twins, triplets, quadruplets, or more, an ‘aqiqa should be done for each individual child.
It is recommended to perform the ‘aqiqa after sunrise, to shave the baby’s head, to give in charity the equivalent in the value of gold or silver an amount equal to the weight of the child’s hair that was removed, and to name the child on that day. But if parents do not have plans to perform an ‘aqiqa, they may name the child onany day they wish.
Amongst those things considered undesirable to do with regard to the ‘aqiqa are that one circumcise the child on the seventh day after it is born, and it is also disliked to have a reception similar to the reception held for a wedding. Rather, one should merely give the meat of the animal in charity, invite one’s neighbors over to one’s home to eat and present to them some of the meat of the sacrifice.