Birth of a child is one of the most joyous occasions for the family, friends and the loved ones as the little bundle of joy lifts up spirits and brings endless blessings and bliss to everyone concerned.
Birth of a child is one of the most joyous occasions for the family, friends and the loved ones as the little bundle of joy lifts up spirits and brings endless blessings and bliss to everyone concerned. However it is a also a time of great responsibility for the parents to ensure that the injunctions in the Qur'aan & Sunnah are followed to ensure the blessings of Allah (SWT) for the little bundle of joy and the whole family.
Choosing the right partner:
Preparation for welcoming a child actually begins before the birth. In Islam the man or the woman is encouraged to take a "pious and practising" partner to ensure that their attention remains focused on the life hereafter and on fostering and strengthening their relationship with Allah (SWT). A man blessed with a pious Muslimah as his life partner is told to be in possession of the best of this world:
Sayyidina Abdullah Ibn Amr (RA) reported Allah's Messenger (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) as saying: The whole world is a provision, and the best object of benefit of the world is the pious woman. [Muslim]
Furthermore a Muslim man is encouraged to marry Muslimahs who not only pious and practising but also loving and prolific.
Sayyidina Ma'qil ibn Yasar (RA) narrated that a man came to the Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) and said: I have found a woman of rank and beauty, but she does not give birth to children. Should I marry her? He (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said: No. He came again to him, but he (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) prohibited him. He came to him third time, and he (the Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) ) said: Marry women who are loving and very prolific, for I shall outnumber the peoples by you. [Abi Dawud]
Actions during Pregnancy and childbirth:
There are no specific duas or verses of the Qur'aan to be recited during pregnancy or childbirth but in general any Adhkaar, recitation of the Qur'aan can be adopted with abundant duas for the well being of the mother and the baby. The mother should make an intention that she will devote the baby for the Service of the Deen of Allah (SWT) as per the dua of wife of Imran:
[3:35] (Remember) when Imran's wife said: .O my Lord, I have vowed that what is in my womb will be devoted exclusively for You. So, accept (it) from me. You, certainly You, are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.
During the pangs of childbirth, certain Ulamah have recommended Surah Yaseen (Chapter 36) and other Adhkaar to ease childbirth (as incantations) and there is no prohibition in reciting them for the ease, comfort and consolation of the expectant mother.
First cry of the baby:
Generally, a baby will cry when its born and this is due to the pricking of the Shaytaan. It is encouraged to seek the protection of Allah (SWT) from Shaytaan (the Accursed) for the child:
Sayyidina Abu Huraira (RA) said, "The Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said, 'No child is born but that, Satan touches it when it is born where upon it starts crying loudly because of being touched by Satan, except Mary and her Son." Abu Huraira then said, "Recite, it you wish: "And I seek Refuge with You (Allah) for her and her offspring from Satan, the outcast." (3.36) [Bukhari]
Calling the Adhan in baby's right ear:
It is from the Sunnah to hold the baby and gently call the Adhan into the right ear.
Sayyidina Abu Raafi' (RA) said, "I saw the Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) give the adhaan for prayer in the ear of Hussain Ibn Ali (RA) after his mother Sayyida Fatima (RA) gave birth to him," [Tirmidhi]
Iqamah in baby's left ear:
It is Mustahab (preferable) call the Iqamah (for prayers) in the left ear of the baby. Although, the evidence of this action is weak it has substantiation from the practise of early Muslims and Al-Hafidh Ibn Qayyim (HA) also quotes this practise in Tuhfat al-Mawdud bi-Ahkam al-Mawlud and lists 3 Ahadeeth (of varying authenticity).
Tahneek for the baby:
It is from the Sunnah to then soften a tiny piece of date or something sweet and to rub the lightly place it in the mouth of the baby
Sayyia A'isha (RA), the wife of the Apostle (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said: Babies were brought to the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) and he blessed them, and after having chewed (something, e. g. dates or any other sweet thing) he rubbed there with their soft palates. A baby was brought to him and he passed water over him (over his garment), so he asked water to be brought and sprinkled it, but he did not wash it. [Muslim]
Giving the baby a good name:
The child will be called and identified by his or her name not only in this lifetime but also in the hereafter so it is of utmost importance that a good name is given:
Sayydina Abu-Darda (RA) narrated that the Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said: On the Day of Resurrection you will be called by your names and by your father's names, so give yourselves good names. [Abi Dawud]
Any name with a good meaning is permissible and it is not a requirement to give the child an Arabic name but for boys it is recommended to give the names of Allah (SWT) or names of the prophets.
Sayyidina Ibn Umar (RA) reported that Allah's Messenger (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said: The names dearest to Allah are 'Abdullah and 'Abd al-Rahman. (Muslim)
Sayyidina Abu Musa (RA) narrated :I got a son and I took him to the Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) who named him Ibrahim, and put in his mouth the juice of a date fruit (which be himself had chewed, and invoked for Allah's blessing upon him, and then gave him back to me. He was the eldest son of Abu Musa. [Muslim]
Giving a good name on the 7th day:
A child can be named on any day but it is reported that Sayyidina Rasul-ullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) named his grandchildren on the 7th day so Muslims are encouraged to follow this noble practise and also name their child on the seventh day.
It was reported that Sayyida 'Aa'ishah (RA) said: the Messenger of Allah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) did 'aqeeqah for Hasan and Hussain on the seventh day, and gave them their names. [Ibn Hiban, Hakim]
Aqeeqah on the 7th day:
Aqeeqah (sacrifice) is a noble Sunnah to remove harm from the baby.
Sayyidina Salman bin 'Amir (RA) reported that Allaah's Messenger (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said: A 'qeeqah is prescribed for every child. Thus shed blood on his behalf; and remove the harmful thing from him. [Tirmidhi]
It is also from the noble Sunnah to sacrifice 2 animals for a boy and one animal for a girl on the 7th day with the intention of Aqeeqah.
Sayyidah 'Aa'ishah (RA )reported that Allah's Messenger (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said: (The 'aqeeqah is) two [equivalent ] sheep for the male child, and one for the female. [There is no harm whether they be male or female animals.] [Ahmed]
Feasting and distributing Aqeeqah meat:
It is recommended for a person to feast and also share the meat with family, friends and loved ones and also distribute some of it to others.
Sayyidah 'Aa'ishah (RA) said concerning the meat of the 'aqeeqah: "It should be cut into pieces, then eaten and given to others." [Ibn Abi Shaybah ]
It was narrated that Sayyidina Ibn Seereen (RA) and Sayyidina Hasan al-Basri (RA) said: "Among them the 'aqeeqah was dealt with like a sacrifice; some would be eaten and some given to others." [Ibn Abi Shaybah ]
Shaving the head on the 7th day:
Then it is from the Sunnah to shave the head of the child and it is preferred to start the shaving from the right hand side.
Sayyidina Samurah ibn Jundub narrated : The Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said: A boy is in pledge for his Aqiqah, Sacrifice is made for him on the seventh day, his head is shaved and he is given name. [Abi Dawud]
Sayyidina Anas ibn Malik (RA) reported that Allah's Messenger (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) came to Mina; he went to the Jamra and threw pebbles at it, after which he went to his lodging in Mina, and sacrificed the animal. He then called for a barber and, turning his right side to him, let him shave him; after which he tiimed his left side. He then gave (these hair) to the people. [Muslim]
Giving the weight of the hair (in Silver) in Charity:
Charity equivalent to the weight of the baby' hair (in silver) should be distributed.
Sayyidina Abu Raafi' (RA) reported: "When Faatimah (R) gave birth to Hasan (RA), she asked Allaah's Messenger (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam), 'Shouldn't I sacrifice blood (as 'aqeeqah) for my son?' He replied: No! Just shave the hair of his head, and give sadaqah (charity) equivalent to its weight in silver. She did that; and when al-Husayn was born, she did the same." [Ahmed]
It is from the noble Sunnah to circumcise the boy but there is no set day or age for the procedure. Whenever it is felt that the child is healthy enough, he should be circumcised.
Sayyidina Abu Huraira (RA) narrated: The Messenger of Allaah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said: "The fitrah is five things, or five things are part of the fitrah: circumcision, shaving the pubic hairs, plucking the armpit hairs, clipping the nails and trimming the moustache." [Bukhari]
Islamic upbringing & looking after children
Bringing a child into this world is a serious responsibility and Islam attributes great importance and value to this noble cause. Parents are reminded of ensuring that the upbringing of the child conforms of the tenants of Islamic Shariah and warned of the consequences should they to slacken up in meeting their obligations and fulfilling their responsibilities.
[66:6] O you who believe, save yourselves and your families from a fire, the fuel of which is human beings and stones, appointed on which are angels, stern and severe, who do not disobey Allah in what He orders them, and do whatever they are ordered to do.
It was narrated from 'Sayydina Abd-Allaah (RA) that the Messenger of Allaah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said: "Each of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. The ruler who is in charge of people is a shepherd and is responsible for them. The man is the shepherd of his household and is responsible for them. The woman is the shepherd of her husband's house and child and is responsible for them. The slave is the shepherd of his master's wealth and is responsible for it. Each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for his flock." [Bukhari]
Giving good council and advice
Part of good parenting is to give good advice and to steer the child in the right direction. This practise is specially noted in the Qur'aan from Luqman (the wise) to his son:
[31:16] (Luqman went on saying to his son,) .My dear son, in fact, if there be anything to the measure of a grain of rye, and it be (hidden) in a rock or in the heavens or in the earth, Allah will bring it forth. Surely, Allah is All-Fine, All-Aware.
Investment for the future
Rewards of good parenting are not limited to the pride and joy felt knowing that parents have brought up a find young man or woman and contributing member of the society, but these rewards will continue to roll in even after the death of the parents.
Sayyidina Abu Huraira (RA) reported Allah's Messenger (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) as saying: When a man dies, his acts come to an end, but three, recurring charity, or knowledge (by which people) benefit, or a pious son, who prays for him (for the deceased). [Muslim]
Spending on Children (family) is charity!
Parents are encouraged to spend on their families and reminded of the immense reward of this expenditure in the hereafter. The noble Sunnah teaches us to be kind to our children and families to be spend on them to console them and make them feel happy.
Narrated Sayyidina Abu Masud Al-Badri (RA): The Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said, "A man's spending on his family is a deed of charity." [Bukhari]
Fair and equal treatment of children:
Young children are sensitive and Islam teaches that the parents should be fair, equitable and just in treating their children. Human feelings are sometimes beyond ones' control but tangible actions should be well thought out and fair treatment of all children should be ensured.
Sayyidina 'Amir (RA) narrated: I heard An-Nu'man bin Bashir on the pulpit saying, "My father gave me a gift but 'Amra bint Rawaha (my mother) said that she would not agree to it unless he made Allah's Apostle as a witness to it. So, my father went to Allah's Apostle and said, 'I have given a gift to my son from 'Amra bint Rawaha, but she ordered me to make you as a witness to it, O Allah's Apostle!' Allah's Apostle asked, 'Have you given (the like of it) to everyone of your sons?' He replied in the negative. Allah's Apostle said, 'Be afraid of Allah, and be just to your children.' My father then returned and took back his gift." [Bukhari]