6 Muslim baby traditions you should know about
Welcoming a newborn baby into the world is one of the most exciting times for any family. As Muslims, we can observe special rituals to welcome the new arrival and give thanks to Allah (SWT).
Every culture has its traditions related to childbirth but here we look at some practices performed in accordance with the Quran and Sunnah.
Adhan and iqamah
When a child is born, the adhan and iqamah are often the first things a newborn hears.
The father usually undertakes the duties, whispering the adhan in the right ear and the iqamah in the left ear, with the child preferably facing the Qiblah.
Did you know? Although it’s based on weak narrations, the practice is something scholars still encourage.
Giving something sweet/Tahneek
The baby should taste something sweet when it arrives in the world.
It's Sunnah to chew a date - or something else sweet - and rub the juice in the baby's lips and mouth. Out of respect, this is often carried out by an elderly family member, like the grandfather.
Note: Be careful not to give actual food to the baby, just the juice. If you’re unsure how to do it safely, don’t do it.
Did you know? A study by The Lancet in 2013 found that a dose of sugar given as a gel protects premature babies against brain damage.
Seventh day & Aqeeqah
The Aqeeqah is traditionally carried out on the seventh day and is symbolised by several activities.
Usually, an animal is sacrificed on the seventh day and a feast follows. The meat is also distributed amongst relatives, friends, neighbours, and the poor.
The shaving of the baby's head is also among the rituals undertaken on the seventh day. The shaven hair is weighed and its equivalent weight in silver or gold is given to charity.
Did you know? An old wives' tale suggests that shaving a newborn's hair will help it grow back thicker. Not true, according to scientists!
The naming of the newborn
One of the most significant things you can do as a parent is to give your child a meaningful name.
The name greatly impacts the child's personal growth, relationship with others, and connection with the deen.
Such is the significance of the name, the Prophet (SAW) actually changed the names of some of his companions. One such Sahabi had the name Saab (hard) and it was changed to Sahal (easy-going), while a woman called Asiya (sinful) had her name changed to Jamila (beautiful).
Did you know? In some cultures, the official naming of the baby happens on the day of its Aqeeqah.
Male circumcision is one of those important rites in Islam, believed to encourage cleanliness and good health. Past prophets and cultures have followed the ritual too.
It's recommended to have the circumcision performed by a specialist. Most parents choose to circumcise their boys at an early age. Though it’s not recommended, it can be left as late as puberty.
Did you know? Studies have shown the various health benefits of circumcision, such as reducing the risk of infections.
Nifas refers to "post-natal bleeding." Women are excused from performing regular tasks like praying and fasting during this time until the bleeding stops or when 40 days have passed.
During this period of recovery for the mother, friends and relatives will often provide the family with meals and help with chores around the house so the mother can rest as much as possible.
Did you know? Some cultures expect women to stay indoors for forty days after birth, but this tradition has no religious basis.
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