Praise be to Allah.
Offering the ‘aqeeqah is a confirmed Sunnah (Sunnah mu’akkadah) and is not obligatory, according to the more correct scholarly opinion. Two sheep are to be offered on behalf of a boy and one sheep on behalf of a girl.
Whoever does that has done well, and whoever does not do it has omitted to do a confirmed Sunnah, but there is no sin on him.
See the answer to question no. 20018.
If a child grows up and his father did not offer the ‘aqeeqah on his behalf, then he wants to offer it on his own behalf after he has grown up, there is nothing wrong with that, even though the preferred time for it has passed. Missing out on the preferred time does not mean that he has to miss out on it completely, especially when he has an excuse.
The scholars of the Standing Committee said:
If the seventh day has passed and he did not offer ‘aqeeqah on his child’s behalf, then some of the fuqaha’ are of the view that it is not Sunnah to offer ‘aqeeqah on the child’s behalf after that, because the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) defined its time as being the seventh day. However the Hanbalis and a number of the fuqaha’ are of the view that it is Sunnah to offer the ‘aqeeqah even a month or a year or more after the child’s birth, because of the general meaning of the proven hadith, and this is more prudent.
End quote from Fataawa al-Lajnah ad-Daa’imah (11/447).
Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan (may Allah preserve him) was asked:
If a man was blessed with children and he did not offer ‘aqeeqah on their behalf until they reached an age of more than four years, is it permissible for him to offer ‘aqeeqah on their behalf after that age?
There is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with offering the ‘aqeeqah on their behalf even if they have passed the age of four years, although it would have been better to hasten to do it. But if it is delayed, there is no reason not to do it. He may offer it whenever it is easy for him to do that.
End quote from Majmoo‘ Fataawa ash-Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan (2/572)
There is also nothing wrong with a man offering ‘aqeeqah on his own behalf, if his father did not do so, and this will benefit him, in sha Allah.
See the answer to question no. 96462.
If a man becomes Muslim, there is nothing wrong with him offering ‘aqeeqah on his own behalf, if he wants to, and on behalf of his children if he is able to do so, except on behalf of a son who is a disbeliever, because the wisdom behind it is to seek the well-being of the child and to ransom him and save him from the Shaytaan and protect him against him, and this is not applicable in the case of a disbeliever.
See the answer to question no. 12448.
But he does not have to do any of that, as explained above.
But according to the more correct view, which is the view that we favour, offering the ‘aqeeqah is not obligatory in the first place, and this is quite clear.
If we assume that offering the ‘aqeeqah is obligatory, people entered the religion of Allah at the time of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), and it is not known that they offered the ‘aqeeqah on behalf of themselves or their children. We are certain that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) did not instruct them to make up any of that at all. He did not instruct them to offer ‘aqeeqah on behalf of themselves or on behalf of the children. If any such thing had happened, it would have been narrated.
This indicates either that ‘aqeeqah is not obligatory in the first place, or that it is obligatory, but it is waived if the person in question was not a Muslim (who is accountable) at the time when it was obligatory, or it was waived because the time for it had passed, like many other acts of worship that are restricted to certain times, as was the view of more than one of the scholars.
And Allah knows best.