Here in Nigeria, whenever a person give birth on the seventh day the person will organize a walimah inviting people to come and eat. Clerics will also be invited to come and pronounce the name of the child and bless the child and the parent. There are usually free mixing of both sexes and in some cases music. Money will be contributed by those present to the clerics for blessing the child and it’s parents. Due to this people are divided into three groups.
The First: are those that claimed the activity is from the sunnah.
The Second: are those that claimed it is only gathering of people (both males and females) to eat on the seventh day is the sunnah but all those activities involved besides it is dislike. But they will not term it as an innovation.
The Third: are those that claimed all the above mentioned activities are innovation as the Prophet and the sahabah never organized a walimah for the birth of any of their children on the seventh day. They claimed the family of the newborn can eat the slaughtered meat all alone or give as gift or charity to whom they want. And they call those that do the above mentioned activities, innovators after evidence have been explained.
So we would like to get answers to these matters as it is really causing misunderstandings here. The first and the second group are claiming the third group of people are extremist. While the third group are claiming both the second and the first group of people are innovators.
In relations with the aqeeqah (the slaughtering of an animal for the birth of a child), then it is known from the customs of the Arabs, as it occurs on the seventh day, and it is termed as one of the formal ceremonies, the Aqeeqah. And this is done on the seventh day. However the matter of this celebration and the free mixing (of the sexes) as well as the presence of music and the likes of these affairs they are prohibited. So say, for an example, a person on the seventh day of the birth of his child, he slaughtered two animals and invited his father and mother, his siblings and even the neighbors, like this, for the purpose of eating and the likes of this or to announce to them the name of the child, there is nothing wrong with this.
However in these celebrations (sometimes) what occurs from the women beating on the drums and playing music and free mixing of men and women, now the likes of these things are not legislated in Islam. If it so happens that they do a normal banquet and they invited their family, then from the angle of permissibility, then it’s permissible. And as far as the aqeeqah, then it is a Sunnah. So if one wants to have a walimah (banquet) (he can) do that. If he wants to, he can eat the food from the slaughtered animals. If he wants he can give it out as sadaqah (charity). If he wants he can make it a gift and give it as a gift. If he wants he can make some of it for him to eat and some of it as sadaqah to give away, so for him is that (which ever he chooses). And there is nothing wrong with any of that. If he does (decide to) have a walimah then let it be free from these (aforementioned) impermissible acts. For example, from the stand point of these celebrations and also in them the likes of having music and beating on the drums and also free mixing between the men and women. And the likes of inviting scholars to bless the child and seek his blessings. All of these are variations of innovations in the religion and these activities are not permissibile and Allah knows best.
Answered by: Shaikh Abu Abdillah Muhammad Ba Jamaal (May Allah preserve him)
Translated by: Abu Yusuf Bilal ibn Howard Robinson