AlHamdulillah, I became a grandpa a few days ago. As is the case when I deliver a lecture, I am hoping that my own children benefit, albeit indirectly, from the advice or admonition. So here I am writing (editing as I originally wrote this a few months ago when I found out the news) about welcoming a baby, making dua to Allah that it’s a source of benefit for my children, directly or indirectly. There is nothing more valuable to a person than his own life. But then he has children. Then there’s nothing more valuable than the life of his children. And then they have children. Offspring are from the biggest blessings of this temporary world. They are an extension of your existence in this world and a source of continuing reward. Everything else is material worldly matter. It is consumed and replaced. A baby, a new life, is special, and with a baby comes the gift of joy and blessings.
AlHamdulillah for Islam. We have guidance for every occasion, from the mundane to the magnificent. Having children is a magnificent occasion. So what is the Islamic guidance for welcoming a baby into the family? Here are five things to do, rituals with wisdom.
First, gratitude for a blessed baby being born alive and healthy, boy or girl. Or maybe boy and girl art once if you have twins. You do not get to pick which one you are – it is divinely selected for you so it is essential to be pleased with what you have and who you are. Allah is the best of deciders, so seek contentment in the wisdom of Allah. Welcoming the baby into the community is through the sunnah (emphasised) of doing an aqiqah1 – slaughtering a sheep or two, inviting others to join you in celebrating the blessings, feeding others, and distributing the meat. Not only does this benefit others, but it also announces the baby, allowing for others to make dua for the newborn baby for health, wealth, and happiness.
Second, choose a beautiful name with a good meaning on the seventh day2. The best names are Abdullah and Abdurrahman. Names of the Prophets3 and the righteous are also good names to choose, such as names of the male or female companions. In every case, the name should avoid any bad meanings. Choosing a suitable name, with a good meaning is emphasised. It becomes part of the baby’s identity and character. What word will the baby hear the most growing up? What is the first word children learn to spell? Their name!
The third is circumcision4 in the case of the boy. Better to do this when still a baby, and not to wait until they are moving about a lot, running around, and a climbing toddler. Of course, it must be done by a professional, it’s not like shaving the head of the newborn which the dad or another relative if he is old should be able to do!
This brings us to the one before last, shaving the hair of the head of the baby boy (some say a girl is not included in this, though others say she is). It is recommended to remove the hair (if there is any) that the baby is born with and to give its weight in silver to charity (even if it’s an estimate). This is based on the Prophet’s hadith and seeking the blessings of Allah, through acts of charity that benefit others.
Lastly, there is a fifth sunnah for welcoming a newborn baby into the world. After leaving the comfort and warmth of the womb and coming into the harsh and cold world, which you can imagine is a big deal after 9 months of protection, it is recommended to say the Adhan in the right ear of the baby. This practice is disputed amongst the scholars as to whether it is authentically affirmed or not, as it wasn’t widely known to have been practiced. However, if a person does hold the view that it can be done, there is no need to criticise them for it. The wisdom behind it, as the scholars mention, is that the baby hears the testimony of faith, and is reminded of the covenant. Is there a better way to be greeted into the world, than hearing the adhan and the praise of the Creator, the very words which make iblees turn and flee?
These are five actions connected with welcoming a newborn baby. As parents, you now have a duty and responsibility to nurture and cultivate the newborn on the love of Allah, the love of the Prophet Muhammad, and have the best character. Remember every baby is born on the fitra or natural inclination to worship Allah. Lastly, before we end there is one last thing for you and me to do, the community who love them and want the best of both lives for them. Make dua for the parents that their baby is blessed:
“May Allah instill blessings in him for you and make him righteous God-fearing.”
3. A beautiful name.
5. Shave the hair.
7. Parents’ Responsibility & Du’a
- It was reported that Samurah ibn Jundub (may Allah be pleased with him) said: the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “A boy is ransomed by his ‘aqeeqah. Sacrifice should be made for him on the seventh day, he should be given a name and his head should be shaved.” (Classed as saheeh by al-Albani).
- It was reported that ‘Aa’ishah said: the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did ‘aqeeqah for al-Hasan and al-Husayn on the seventh day, and gave them their names. (Classed as saheeh by al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar).
- It was reported that Anas ibn Malik said: the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “A boy was born to me tonight and I have named him with the name of my father Ibraaheem.” (Narrated by Muslim).
- It was reported from Abu Hurayrah: “Five things are related to the Fitrah: circumcision, removing the pubic hairs, plucking the armpit hairs, cutting the nails, and trimming the moustache.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari).