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Narrated Salman bin 'Amir Ad-Dabbi: I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "'Aqiqa is to be offered for a (newly born) boy, so slaughter (an animal) for him, and relieve him of his suffering."

Sahih al-Bukhari Book 66, Hadith 380

What is the suffering this Hadith is talking about?

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According to the majority of the scholars, the suffering refers to the hair of the newly born child. They got this from a Hadith of the prophet when he ordered Fatima to weigh the hair of Hassan, then told her to donate silver equal to the weight of Hassan's hair. This hadith was narrated by Malik and Behaqi (البيهقي). Source of hadith: here in Arabic.

This view is the view of Ibn Hajjar, Tabarani, Tahawi, Ibn Serieen, Asma'ay and Ibn al-Qaym.

*For detailed information of their sayings visit here - Arabic.

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I think you got two mixed up here. Aqeeqa or slaughtering of sheep was a practice even from pre-Islamic days among Arabs whenever a child was born in a house. It's a form of celebration. Aqeeqa means celebration. This was continued even after Islam came.

The hair is removed because that is the only sure and short way of cleaning pregnancy (pre-birth) impurities in the child. The weighing of hair and giving in charity silver equal to the weight of it is a form of Sadaqa.

Please note that none of the above are Wajib or Fard (obligatory), but removing hair is highly recommended as soon as possible, to clean the child because Najasat can invite Shaitan. All the above need not be done at the same time.

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