It’s made me think of the fact that irrespective of place and time, of whether its the first baby or the third son, a new baby always brings such hope and joy! And this blessed arrival is celebrated in so many different ways according to culture and tradition. According to Islamic law, some of the traditions mentioned below are considered sunnah by some scholars, whilst others say they are merely recommended. Nevertheless, the list below is what the majority of muslims do on the arrival of a new blessing:
•Giving the Adhan After Birth
This is based on hadiths found in the collection of al-Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Ahmad, al-Bayhaqi and others. The wisdom behind it is that the first words the child hears is the magnification of Allah Most High, in hopes that the child would live their life responding to the call to worship the Lord on the path of Islam. [Tahfa al-Mawdud, Ibn al-Qayyim]
When my first child was born I was too out of it to know what was happening around me, but when my second child entered the world, Subhanallah, it was much easier. I so clearly remember my father tenderly holding her, whispering the words of the adhan in her ears. I remember him saying the words ‘Haya alal falaah’ -Come to success – and I thought it was such a beautiful welcome to this faith!
In a narration of hadith:
This act is called the “tahnik”. It is considered a recommended and sunnah act, though not obligatory or harmful if left.This can be done with a date, but if dates are not available, then any similar sweet natural thing will suffice.
In recent studies at UK medical universities, it has been scientifically how beneficial it is to do this! The article can be found here.
•Naming the Child
The naming of the child can be done right away, or one can wait till the seventh day, as some narrations do mention this, however, any time is permissible. It is the child’s right that they be given a name that is good in meaning and reflective of the child’s Muslim faith. [‘Umdat al-Qari, al-Aini]
The best of names are those that show servitude to Allah (Abdullah, Abd al-Rahman, etc) then the names of the prophets (peace be upon them) then the names of other pious Muslims. [Radd al-Muhtar, Ibn ‘Abideen]
Also something to consider especially for those living in non-muslim majority communities, is how easy it is for a non-arabic speaking person to pronounce the name. I’m not saying we should shun arabic names, but consider the variations and how it may be mispronounced.
In the Hanafi school, circumcision is an emphasized sunnah for boys. In the Shafi’i and Hanbali schools, it is considered obligatory. In the South African muslim community this sunnah is usually done in the first week of baby’s life. It is believed that its a faster healing process, and less painful for the child.
•Shaving the Head
According to the majority of scholars, shaving the head is either recommended, or a sunnah, for boys and girls both, on the seventh day. The shaved hair is then weighed and its weight in silver or gold is given away in charity, while the hair is then buried. These opinions also say that the naming and ‘aqeeqah should be done on the seventh day, optimally. [Sharh al-Kabir, al-Dardir; Majmu’, al-Nawawi]
The aqeeqah is when an animal is ritually sacrificed out of gratitude for the newborn, and often, people are fed. This can combined with the shaving of the head and naming, or not. It takes the same ruling as shaving the head.
Also it is highly recommended to congratulate the parents of a new born, and to make dua for them and their baby. To ask that Allah bless the child, that the child grows up to be righteous and a means of coolness for the parents’ eyes, that Allah grant the child good health and well-being, and that Allah guide the parents to be thankful.
Hazrat Hasan al-Basri (Allah be pleased with him) advised a man to supplicate with the following words when congratulating new parents:
“May Allah bless you in His gift to you, may you give thanks to the giver of this gift, may the child reach the maturity of years, and may you be granted its righteousness.”
And with every new blessing comes new responsibility. We ask Allah to guide and bless my new little nephew, and his parents, and all the children of this Ummah and all their parents! آمــــــــــين يا رب العالمين