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Childbirth ("Wilaadah")

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Childbirth ("Wilaadah")


The ushering of a new life into this world is indeed a miracle. Application of the prescribed Islamic observances at this precious occasion secures protection, blessings and inspiration for the newborn along the journey of life. The arrival of a newborn into this world is an occasion which brings great joy and delight to the parents, families and friends. The newborn breathes new life and inspiration into the hearts of the parents. Difficulties and tribulations are forgotten, and the parents' focus and concern is now directed to their new baby. However, it is also imperative to bear in mind that coupled with this joy and delight, the arrival of a newborn is a tremendous responsibility upon the shoulders of the parents.

The Shariah has prescribed certain practices on this occasion, which are very beneficial, and if carried out correctly, will have positive effects on the child. All meaningless traditions, rituals and customs, which bear negative repercussions for the child, should be abandoned. Only those practices directed to us by the Shariah should be observed.

After the Birth of the Child
If possible and health permitting the child should be given a Ghusl (bath). Thereafter, the Athaan should be called into the child's right ear and Iqaumah in the left ear. (Mirqaat, vol.8 pg.81) The Athaan may be called by the child's father or an adult Muslim. By calling out the Athaan and Iqaumah into the newborn's ears, the Oneness of Allah Ta'ala and the message of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) reach the depths of the child's heart. The seed of Iman and faith is embedded in the child. Athaan also repels Shaytan. (ibid)

It is preferable to recite the following Dua after the Athaan and Iqaumah. (Mirqaat, vol.8 pg.82)

For a boy recite: Allahumma inni Ueezuhu bika wa Zurriyyatahu Minash shaytaanir Rajeem. O Allah, I seek your protection for him and his progeny from the cursed Shaytan. (Surah Aal Imran)

For a girl recite: Allahumma inni Ueezuha bika wa Zurriyyataha Minash shaytaanir Rajeem. O Allah, I seek your protection for her and her progeny from the cursed Shaytan. (Surah Aal Imran)

Thereafter recite: Bismillah Rahmaan Nir Raheem. Qul Huwallahu Ahad Allahus Samad Lam Yalid walam Yulad wa lamyakullahu kufuwan Ahad. In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent the Most merciful. Say! He is Allah, the One. Allah is one on whom the entire creation depends and He depends on no one. He does not beget nor is He begotten. And there is no one like Him. (Surah Ikhlaas)

For a boy read: Allahumma Allimhul Kitaab wal Hikmata wa Faqqihhu Fiddeen. O Allah teach him the Quran and wisdom (the Sunnah) and bless him with the understanding of Deen. (Bukhari)

For a girl read: Allahumma Allimhal Kitaab wal Hikmat wa Faqqihha fiddeen. O Allah, teach her the Quran and wisdom (the Sunnah) and bless her with the understanding of Deen. (Bukhari)

One may also recite (for a boy: Allahummaj alhu Barran Taqiyyan wa ambithu Fil Islami Nabaatan Hasana. O Allah, make him pious and Allah conscious and let him excel in Islam in an excellent manner.

For a girl read: Allahummaj alha Barratan Taqiyyatan wa ambitha fil Islaami Nabaatan Hasana. O Allah, make her pious and Allah conscious and let her excel in Islam in an excellent manner.
The afterbirth (placenta) and navel cord:
The afterbirth and navel-cord should be treated with respect and buried with due care, since they are portions of the human body. Disposing it in an incinerator or waste centre is unacceptable. The dead body of a human being, limbs and organs should not be incinerated or abandoned.

Tahneek means, placing a tiny portion of a chewed substance into the mouth of the infant, preferably dates. Honey or anything sweet may be an ideal substitute for it. Tahneek is a Sunnah practice. (Sharhu Nawawi 'ala Sahih Muslim, vol. 7 pg.349) Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) himself performed the Tahneek of many Sahaabah (companions) (like), Abdullah bin Zubair and Abdullah bin Talha (radiyallahu anhuma). The purpose of Tahnik is to take a good omen in that the first thing to enter the belly of the child was the saliva of a pious servant of Allah. It is hoped that the child will be affected by his piety. (Sharh Nawawi, vol.7 pg.349). A pious family member or Aalim may perform the Tahneek. If Tahneek is omitted for some reason, there is no harm or sin.

Aqeeqah means, to remove the baby's hair from the head, slaughter an animal(s) on behalf of the child, and select a suitable Islamic name for the child. These practices should be carried out preferably on the 7th day after birth. (Note: in determining the 7th day, the date of birth should be considered as the 1st). It is Mustahab (commendable) to sacrifice an animal on behalf of the child on the 7th day. For the purpose of Aqeeqah, 2 sheep or goats should be slaughtered for a boy and 1 sheep or goat for a girl. Alternately, 2 shares from a sacrificial animal of seven shares can be sacrificed for a boy and 1 share for a girl. (Sunan Tirmithi Hadith; 1516).

It is also Mustahab to remove the baby's hair on this day, and silver, equivalent to the weight of the hair should be given in charity. If the above practices are being carried out on the 7th day, then it will also be preferable to name the child on this day. Or else one may even name the child on the first day. (Fathul Baaari vol.9 pg.671 chapter.71; also see Al-Azkaar, pg.361) Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had named his son: Sayyiduna Ibrahim (alayhis salaam) on the day of birth. (Sahih Muslim).

It has been reported in one Hadith that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) performed the Aqeeqah of Hasan (RA) and instructed Fatima (RA) to remove his hair and give the equivalent of its weight of silver in charity. This equivalent was one dirham or less. (Mishkat)

Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: "The child is safeguarded through his Aqeeqah, which is slaughtering on his behalf on the 7th day, shaving his hair from the head and giving him an Islamic name." (Mishkat).

Note: The aforementioned practices are not compulsory. If one has the means and carries them out there will be immense benefit. These practices should be carried out according to one's financial capacity. Unnecessarily burdening oneself beyond one's means by taking loans to fulfil these practices should be avoided. In fact some Tabi'in have stated that in this case when such a person offers Qurbâni later in his life, it will also suffice for his 'Aqeeqah. (Fathul Baari, Hadith: 5472)

It is permissible for everyone to partake of the Aqeeqah meat. The child's parents, family, neighbours and friends may all partake, or it may be distributed. The meat of Aqeeqah cannot be sold.

The Dua to be read when doing the Aqeeqah is: Allahumma haaza Aqeeqatu (name of a child), damuha bi damihee wa lahmuha bi lahmihee wa azmuha bi azmihee wa jilduhaa bi jildihee wa sha'ruha bi sha'rihee. Allahumma jalha fida'a ibnee minan naar. O Allah, I sacrifice this animal in Your name for my child, in substitution, blood for blood, flesh for flesh, bones for bones, skin for skin and hair for hair. O Allah accept this sacrifice as a protection for my child from the fire of hell.

After shaving the head one may apply Saffron on the head of the child. (Sunan Abi Dawud, Hadith: 2836 - Beheshti Zewar, part.3 pg.42).

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Q. How should one give Azaan in the ears of a new born baby?
A. When a child is born, the Azaan and Iqaamah should be called out in the ears of a child. The Azaan should be called out in the right ear of the child and the Iqaamah should be called out in the left ear of the child. This should, preferably, be done after the child has been cleaned and given a bath.
At the time of calling out the Azaan and Iqaamah in the ears of a child, the child may be held in one's hands. It is Mustahab (preferable) to face the Qiblah in doing so. However, it is not necessary. It is also not necessary to keep the fingers in the ears, turn to the right and left or call out the Azaan loudly as is normally the case.
The Azaan should be called out at a slow pace and the Iqaamah should be called out at a moderate pace to differentiate between Azaan and Iqaamah. It may be given standing or sitting. If there is a delay for some reason, the Azaan and Iqaamah should not be left out and it should be done at a later stage. (Fataawa Darul Uloom Zakariyyah 6/503)
And Allah Ta’ala Knows Best
Mufti Ismaeel Bassa
Mufti Ebrahim Desai
(Islamic rulings on this Q&A newsletter are answered in accordance to the Hanafi Fiqh) 

Fatwa Department

Jamiatul Ulama (KZN) 

Council of Muslim Theologians

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