Jun 2, 2010

Newborn Baby and its Islamic Rites

In all communities around the world, the birth of a child is considered a blessing and ceremonies are held to celebrate this event.

Besides being a natural expression of joy, it also serves a special purpose, that is, making it known in a suitable and dignified manner, that the father has accepted the child as his own and that there is no doubt or suspicion concerning this matter. It shuts the door to any mischief that could arise in the future.

As soon your child is born, they are under attack from Satan. The Prophet (saws) said, “ When any human being is born, Satan pinches the body with his two fingers, except ‘Isa, the son of Maryam, whom Satan tried to pinch but failed, for he touched the placenta cover instead”. Sahih Bukhari 4:506

This is why the child cries at birth, Satan never leaves his enemy without harming it. To protect the faith and Islam of the newborn baby, who is now under attack by mankind’s greatest enemy, the Messenger (saws) of Allah (swt) taught us about various things that we can do. Some well known others not so well known. The following brief points are intended to remind the readers of what the Prophet (saws) did when a child was born.

Saying the Adhan
Abu Raf’i relates that, “I saw the Prophet (saws) saying the adhan of salah in the ear of his grandson, Hasan, when the child was born to his daughter Fatimah.” This Hadeeth is found in Musnad Ahmad, and authenticated by Shaikh Abdul Qadir ‘Arnoot.

When a child was born to one of the families of the Sahaba (the Companions of the Prophet (saws)), they would take it to the Prophet (saws) so that he would bless it, and apply the pulp of a date, chewed by him, to its palate. This ‘tahneek’ as it is known in ‘Arabic’, was to keep the child safe from evil. Therefore, similarly when a child is born into a Muslim family, it should be taken to a virtuous, pious person, so that this person may supplicate for the child and perform the tahneek. Tahneek is among those Sunan whose practice has become rare.

Aisha (RA) narrates that,
“the people used to bring their newborn children to the Prophet (saws) and he would bless them and perform the tahneek.” Sahih Muslim: 1:560

Aqeeqah & Shaving the head
The Aqeeqah ceremony essentially consists of two acts: the shaving of the hair from the head of the newborn baby and the sacrifice of an animal (these were also characteristic features of Millat-e-Ibrahim - the religion of Prophet Ibrahim (as).

The hair on the child’s head is shaven and its weight in silver is given as charity. An animal is then sacrificed as a mark of celebration and distributed amongst friends, family, the poor and a portion is kept for ones own consumption.

Ali (RA) reported that the Messenger (saws) of Allah (swt) slaughtered a goat on the occasion of Hasan’s birth, the son of Fatimah (RA) and Ali (RA) and said, “Oh Fatimah! Shave the head of Hasan and pay silver equal to the weight of the hair as charity.” Sahih Sunan at-Tirmithee 2:1226

It is reported by Abdullah bin Amr bin al-As that the Prophet (saws) said, “To whomsoever a child is born, and he wants to perform a sacrifice of Aqeeqah on behalf of it, he should sacrifice two goats for a boy and one for a girl.” Sunan Abu Dawood 2:2836

It is reported by Buraydah (RA), “During the Age of ignorance, when a child was born to anyone of us, we used to slaughter a goat and smear the head of the child with its blood. Later, after the dawn of Islam, our practice became (on the advice of the Prophet (saws)) that we sacrifice a goat of Aqeeqah on the seventh day after the birth of a child, shave the head of the infant, and apply saffron on it.” Sunan Abu Dawood 2:2137

Tasmiyah (naming the child)

It is from the teachings of the Messenger (saws) of Allah (swt), that each member of the family be given a good name. Those who ask Allah (swt) to give them children, should also ask Allah (swt) to make these children among the followers of the Prophet Muhammad (saws) and adherents to his Sunnah. It is an obligation upon parents that their child be given a good name. Some Ahadeeth indicate that the child is to be named on the seventh day, along with the Aqeeqah. However, the Prophet (saws) also named children on the day of their birth, as proven by other narrations. There is no harm if the child is named before the seventh day, but if the naming has not been done, then the child should be named on the seventh day.

Naming a child with a beautiful and honourable name is very important. The Prophet (saws) always chose names with good and beautiful meanings, even telling people to change their names if they had unpleasant meanings.

Narrated Abu Musa (RA), “a son was born to me and I took him to the Prophet (saws) who named him Ibrahim, did tahneek for him with a date, invoked Allah’s (swt) blessing upon him and returned him to me.” Sahih Bukhari 7:376

Ibn Umar (RA) reported that Allah’s (swt) Messenger (saws) said, “the names dearest to Allah are Abdullah and Abdur-Rahman.” Sahih Muslim 3:5315

Abu Wahb al-Jushamee (RA) who was the Companion of the Prophet (saws) reported him as saying, “call yourselves by the names of the Prophets. The name dearest to Allah (swt) are Abdullah and Abdur Rahman, the truest are Harith (ploughman) and Hammam (energetic) and the worst are Harb (war) and Murrah (bitter).” Sunan Abu Dawood 3:4140

Narrated Abu Hurayrah (RA), “Allah’s (swt) Apostle (saws) said, “the most awful name in Allah’s (swt) sight on the Day of Resurrection will be that of a man calling himself Malik Al-Amlaak. (king of king’s).” Sahih Bukhari 8:224

Ibn Umar (RA) reported that Allah’s (swt) Messenger (saws) changed the name of Aasiyah* (disobedient) and said: “You are Jameelah (good and beautiful).” Sahih Muslim 3:5332 & 4747

*[Not to be confused with Asiya. (The name of the Muslim wife of Pharaoh.]

Usamah Ibn Akhdari (RA) said, a man called Asram (harsh, severe, cut off) was among those who came to the Apostle (saws) of Allah (swt). The Apostle (saws) of Allah (swt) said, “What is your name?” He replied, “Asram.” He (saws) said, “no, you are Zur’ah”. (which has been taken or derived from crop, or to sow seed). Sunan Abu Dawood 3:4144

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