By K. A. Musa
The first days
One of the beauties of Islam is that every aspect of a Muslim’s life is linked to Guidance either from Allah (glorified & exalted) or from the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace & blessing of Allah be upon him).
A child is a blessing. Muhammad (peace & blessing of Allah be upon him) advised married couples to recite the following supplication when having marital relationship ‘In the name of Allah. O Allah, protect us both from (he mischief of Satan and keep Satan away from the children You grant us’ (Sahih al-Bukhari).
In Surat Al-Imran1 and Surat Luqman2 Allah (glorified & exalted) mentions that it is He who created us. On the narration of Ibn Mas’ud (May Allah be pleased with him) he stated that Muhammad (peace & blessing of Allah be upon him) said ‘… then the Angel will be sent to blow in the spirit; and will ordain four words; provisions, lifespan, deeds, and happy or sad (al-Bukhari and Muslim)3. Sometimes and especially in the West spouses delay having children because of the expenses and no one is denying the cost of bringing up a child but this hadith is evidence that every child will be born with his or her own provisions.
Alhamdulillah Allah (glorified & exalted) has blessed you with a child. The sleepless nights, the food cravings, the packed hospital bag, the labour pains and finally you have arrived at hospital to give birth. To help reduce labour pains it is recommended to recite the ayahs that Maryam (mother of Eesa (peace & blessing of Allah be upon him)) recited whilst in labour4. It is beneficial to read verses from the Qur’an or even have a recording of Surahs of the Qur’an playing in the background. Muhammad (peace & blessing of Allah be upon him) asked his wives Umm Salamah and Zaynab (May Allah be pleased with her) to recite ayat al-kursi5, Surat Al-A’raf6 and Surat Yunus7 when Fatimah (May Allah be pleased with her), his daughter was giving birth (Ibn Taymiyyah, al-Kalim al-Tayyib).
Dates, Meat & Milk
Alhamdulillah that ‘unbearable’ labour pain is now a thing of the past and you have been blessed with a beautiful baby, the coolness of your eyes. What next? You supplicate and give thanks to Allah (glorified & exalted)8,9. Make supplication for the new arrival to be a blessed child and for a child that will obey the guidance and commands of Allah (glorified & exalted)10. Some sunnah practices to follow includes making adhan in the right ear as was performed by Muhammad (peace & blessing of Allah be upon him) in the ear of his grandchild Hasan (al-Tirmidhi). Give the child tahnik (pureed dates ie. chewed by the mouth) as performed by Mohammad (peace & blessing of Allah be upon him) (Al-Bukhari and Muslim). This can be performed by the father.
Seven days after the birth, the child is named and it is highly recommended to give your child a good strong name. The three criteria to look for in naming a child includes (i) linked to a righteous or beautiful type of a name, (ii) letters not too long and easy to pronounce and (iii) has a beautiful connotation. The most beloved names to Allah (glorified & exalted) are ‘Abd Allah and ‘Abd al-Rahman (Muslim)11. The child’s hair is shaved, weighed and paid in silver in charity. (Imam Malik). Celebrate the blessings that you have been given by Allah (glorified & exalted) by having an ‘Aqiqah. Slaughter two sheep for a boy and one for a girl (Imam Ahmad).
Invite your friends and family to come and help you celebrate the blessings with some foods. Today many youngsters living in the West do not know what an ‘aqiqah is as it tends not to be ‘visiblely’ celebrated as slaughtering and distribution of meat tends to take place ‘back home’. Islam is a way of life and we should try and implement the sunnahs of Muhammad (SAW) in the countries that we live in. It is preferable not to give the ‘aqiqah abroad as this is considered to be sadaqah. If it is a baby boy then also perform circumcision on the baby (al-Bukhari and Muslim).
It is recommended to breastfeed the child for a period of two years12. If this is difficult then six months will suffice due to the high benefits of breast milk. It has a high nutrient content, at the right temperature for the baby, boost the baby’s immune system and there is the emotional connection between mother and baby.
In summary, the early phases of a child’s life will have a significant effect to how the child turns out. For a blessed child, one needs to start asking for guidance and protect from Allah (glorified & exalted) prior to conception. When blessed with a child then it is advisable to spread the joy by having an ‘aqiqah and celebrating the coolness of your eyes with families and friends.
Additional resources – Breast Feeding Information
- La Leche League. Breastfeeding Helpline: 0845 120 2918. laleche.org.uk
- Breastfeeding Line No.: 0300 330 0771. www.nct.org.uk
- UNICEF website: unicef.org.uk for information on infant feeding
- Most local Children’s Centres will have trained Breast Feeding Supporters & very useful if a Health Visitor is unavailable
- nationalbreastfeedinghelpline.org.uk. Helpline No.: 0300 100 0212 & an online chat service
1Qur’an: 3:6 (Surat Al-Imran / The Family of Imran)
2Qur’an: 31:34 (Surat Luqman / Luqman)
3Ibn Mas’ud (RA) narrated that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: ‘you will be gathered in your mother’s womb at the beginning of your creation at 40 days; then you will be substance that hangs for a similar duration; then you will be a chewed substance for a similar duration, then the Angel will be sent to blow in the spirit; and will ordain four words; provisions, lifespan, deeds and happy or sad’ (al-Bukhari and Muslim)
4Qur’an: 19:22-23 (Surat Maryam / Mary)
5Qur’an: 2:255 (Ayat Al-Kursi, Surat Al-Baqarah / The Cow)
6Qur’an: 7:54 (Surat Al-A’raf / The Heights or The Wall with Elevations)
7Qur’an: 10:3 (Surat Yunus / Jonah)
8Qur’an: 3:39 (Surat Al-Imran / The Family of Imran)
9Qur’an: 19:7 (Surat Maryam / Mary)
10Qur’an: 3:35-36 (Surat Al-Imran / The Family of Imran)
11’Umar (RA) narrated, ‘The most beloved names to Allah are ‘Abd Allah and ‘Abd al-Rahman. Do not call your child Yasaar, Rabah, Najeeh; and Aflah.’ (Muslim)
12Qur’an: 2:233 (Surat Al-Baqarah / The Cow)