Rites and rituals - continued

Animal sacrifice

Traditionally, two sheep or goats are sacrificed for a boy, and one of each for a girl. This is done by a halal butcher to keep in line with the Islamic tradition. One third of the meat is eaten, one third is given to friends and the last third is donated to the poor.

Circumcision

At the time of Aqiqah (the shaving of the baby's head seven days after birth), boy babies are circumcised. Some Muslims regard this as the equivalent of a sacrifice to Allah. Muslims cleanse themselves before prayer and circumcision is said to make this total cleanliness easier to ensure.

Circumcision also connects Muslims today with the beginning of the religion of Islam. It follows the example of the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham). Muslims believe that circumcision shows that they are continuing the traditional religion.