Recommended Acts after Delivery
1. Acceptance of the child, whether boy or girl
Unfortunately, even today, many still have the stereotype that girls are undesirable and treat sons and daughters differently. Whereas, it is clear in the Qur’an that the child is a creation of Alla-h (swt) and He grants a boy to whomsoever He pleases and a girl to whomsoever He pleases. 184
It is narrated that when Ima-m Zain al-’Abidi-n (as) was given glad tidings of the birth of his child, he didn’t ask whether it was a boy or a girl, but rather first asked, is his creation ok? Then, if told that the child was healthy and there was no defect in the creation, he recited:
“Praise Be to Alla-h (swt) who did not create from me something disfigured.” 185
It is narrated from the Prophet (s): “It is prosperous for the woman that her first child be a daughter.” 186
It has been narrated that daughters are goodness and blessings and sons are favours. One will be questioned about the favours given to them, whereas goodness and blessings will be increased. 187
2. Recitation of Adha-n and Iqa-mah
The Prophet (s) stated that whomever a child is born to, should recite Adha-n in the right ear and Iqa-mah in the left ear, as this is a protection from the evil of Satan. 188
Additionally, in another tradition it is stated that the mid-wife or someone else should be told to recite the Iqa-mah in the right ear so that the Jinn will never trouble the child, nor will it become mad. 189
It is also narrated that the Prophet (s) ensured that Adha-n and Iqa-mah were recited in the ears of Ima-m Hasan (as) and Ima-m Husain (as), as well as Surat al-Fa-tiha, Ayat al-Kursi-, the end of Surat al-’ashr, Surat al-Ikhla-S, Surat al-Falaq and Surat al-Na-s. 190
3. Clothes of the child
From traditions at the time of the birth of Ima-m Hasan (as) and Ima-m Husain (as), it is apparent that it is Makru-h to tie the child in yellow cloth just after birth; rather it is recommended to tie him/her in white cloth. 191
It has been mentioned in Fiqh al-Rida- that one of the emphasized mustahab acts (some even call it obligatory) after the birth of a child is giving it a Ghusl. One should make a intention that I am giving this child a Ghusl for the pleasure of Alla-h (swt) , and then first wash the head, then the right side, and then the left side. 192
However, it should be noted that this should only be done if it is medically safe and not harmful to the baby.
5. Shaving the hair 193
This involves shaving of all the hair of the child (from in the womb) once after birth, and giving gold or silver according to the weight of the hair as Sadaqah. The hair should then be buried in the ground. It is recommended to do this on the 7th day after birth.
The hair should completely be shaved off, leaving no forelock or ringlet. It is narrated that a boy who had a forelock was brought near the Prophet (s); the Prophet (s) did not pray for him and said that his forelock should be shaved off.
It is recommended that after the shaving of the hair, saffron should be massaged into the head. Massaging the blood of the aqi-qah however, is strongly discouraged, and has been called an act of ignorance (Ja-hiliat).
6. ‘Aqiqah 194
This involves slaughtering an animal in the name of the child for his/her protection. ‘Aqi-qah is a highly recommended sunnah for anyone who has the capability (some even call it obligatory), and it is better if performed on the 7th day after birth. 196
NOTE: It is recommended that the shaving of the hair, giving of the gold/silver as Sadaqah and ‘Aqi-qah should be carried out in the same place and at one time, although it is sunnah that the shaving of the hair takes place first.
NOTE: It is narrated from Ima-m as-Sa-diq (as) that aqi-qah is not the same as sacrifice (qurba-ni-)
7. Circumcision of boys 197
Circumcision is obligatory on boys, and as with shaving and aqi-qah, it is recommended that it be done on the 7th day after the birth of the child, although if done earlier, there is no harm. 198
If not done then, it is sunnah that it be done until the bulugh of the child, after which it is obligatory on the child himself to do it. However, other ulema have stated that as the child nears puberty, it is obligatory on the guardian. Indeed, it is narrated from Ima-m ‘Ali- (as) that a person who becomes a Muslim should be circumcised, even if he is 80 years old.
It is narrated from Ima-m as-Sa-diq (as) that children should be circumcised as it makes the body cleaner, makes the meat of the body grow faster, and the earth has an aversion to the urine of an uncircumcised person.
It is narrated from the Prophet (s) that the earth becomes najis for 40 days from the urine of an uncircumcised person, and in another tradition, it is narrated that the earth groans to Alla-h (swt) because of his urine.
It is also narrated that if you circumcise a boy, and the sheath grows again and covers the penis, circumcise him again, because the earth groans to Alla-h (swt) for 40 days because of the covering of his circumcision.
It is narrated from Ima-m as-Sa-diq (as): “Somebody who has not been circumcised should not lead prayers, and his witness is not accepted, and if he dies, do not pray for him as he has left the biggest sunnah of the Prophet (s), unless he has left it for fear of death (resulting from circumcision).”
It is recommended to recite the following Du‘a- at the time of circumcision 199:
“O Alla-h (swt)! Surely (what we are performing) is in line with Your tradition and the tradition (Sunnah) of Your Prophet (s) (may Your blessings be upon him and his family) - to obey You and Your religion and to fulfill Your will, intention and to carry out the rules which You have decided to make to be followed unconditionally. You have thus given him the taste of the heat of the iron through his circumcision and cupping for a matter which You definitely know better than I do. O Alla-h (swt)! Then cleanse him of sins; increase his age; and release from his body, epidemics and pains; and increase his wealth; and save him from poverty; since surely You know better and we do not know.”
This involves feeding the believers upon the birth of the child and for the circumcision of the child (these can be combined). It is highly recommended to invite family and friends on the 7th day after the birth of the child (or near that day) to share in the auspicious occasion of the birth of the newborn.
It is narrated from the Prophet (s): “A wali-mah on the first day is a duty, on the second day good, and on the third day, riya- (i.e. for the sake of other people and not for the sake of Alla-h (swt)).” 200
It is Makru-h that all the invitees be rich, but a mix of rich and poor is not a problem. It is also mustahab that the invitees should accept the invitation to a wali-mah.
9. Piercing the ears
Piercing the ears of the child is recommended. 201
10. Contact of child and mother and breastfeeding 202
One of the best acts after birth is cleaning the child and returning him/her next to the mother’s skin and covering them with one blanket. Half an hour after birth, the child is completely aware and alert and it is the best time for him/her to become familiar with breastfeeding and the mother’s touch.
The first few day a lot of milk is not produced; however, the amount produced is enough, useful and necessary for the new-born child. It is important that as much as possible, tiredness of the mother and lack of milk are not used as reasons to bottle-feed the child as this results in delayed milk production from the mother and the child not being able to suck properly. It also increases the possibilities of infections in the child.
184 Su-rat al-Shura (42), Verse 49: “He gives females to whomeve He wishes, and gives males to whomever He wishes.”
185 al-Ka-fi-, vol. 6, pg. 21
186 Biha-r al-Anwa-r, vol. 104, pg. 98, no. 64
187 al-Ka-fi-, vol. 6, pg. 6, no. 8
188 Ibid., vol. 6, pg. 24, no. 6
189 Halliyatul Muttaqi-n, pg. 126
190 Biha-r al-Anwa-r, vol. 104, pg. 126, no. 86
191 Halliyatul Muttaqi-n, pg. 146
192 Ibid., pg. 130
193 Ibid., pg. 132
194 Ibid., pg. 130-133
195 ‘Aqi-qah will be covered in more detail under ‘Aqi-qah: A Closer Look in this chapter.
196 Mustadrak al-Wasa-il, vol. 15, pg. 145, no. 17807
197 Halliyatul Muttaqi-n, pg. 1343-135
198 Ibid., pg. 134
199 A Mother’s Prayer
200 Wasa-il ash-Shi-‘a, vol. 16, pg. 455
201 Ibid., pg. 134
202 Rayha-ney-e Beheshti-, pg. 167
Adapted from the book: "From Marriage to Parenthood; The Heavenly Path" by: "Abbas and Shahin Merali"
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