“To ALLAH SWT belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth; HE SWT creates what HE SWT wills. HE SWT bestows to whom HE SWT wills female [children], and HE SWT bestows to whom He SWT wills male or HE SWT creates them [both] males and females, and HE SWT renders whom HE SWT wills barren. Indeed, HE SWT is all Knowing and Competent.” [Ash-Shura 42:50]. Surely, children are gifts from ALLAH SWT. Prophet Zechariah had no son until he wept and cried to ALLAH SWT for one. ALLAH SWT says, “And [mention] Zechariah, when he called to his Lord, “My Lord, do not leave me alone [with no heir], while you are the best of inheritors.” So WE responded to him, and WE gave to him Yahyaa and amended for him his wife. “[Al-Anbiya 21:89,90]. ALLAH SWT the Glorious granted him a son from a barren wife.
ALLAH SWT says while mentioning the traits of HIS noble slaves, “And those who say, “Our Lord, grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes” [Al-Furqan: 25:74]. It therefore becomes imperative to fulfill some duties which ALLAH SWT has levied upon an individual whom HE SWT has granted an offspring.
1. Aqeeqah (slaughtering): Aqeeqah is a term used for an animal, to be slaughtered for the sake of a new-born baby whether male or female. It is a Sunnah Moakkadah (a Sunnah that has been emphasized upon) according to the majority of scholars. Prophet PBUH said, “Aqeeqah is to be offered for a (newly born) boy, so slaughter (an animal) for him, and relieve him of his suffering.” (Bukhari). Prophet PBUH offered Aqeeqah of his grandsons Hassan and Hussain (may ALLAH SWT be pleased with them). It is important to note that Aqeeqah should be offered on the seventh day as he PBUH said, “Every child is dependent on his Aqeeqah. It should be slaughtered for him on the seventh day, his hair shaved and he should be given a name” (Saheeh Abu Dawud, Tirmizi, Nasai). In case of delay, it should be offered as soon as possible for him. The Aqeeqah of a boy is with two sheep and a girl with one. Prophet PBUH said, “It is two sheep for a boy and one for a girl.” (Saheeh Abu Dawud, Ahmed, Nasai)
Note: If a person’s parents have not offered his Aqeeqah, he can himself offer his own Aqeeqah
2. Naming the newborn: The newborn should be conferred an appropriate name on his/her seventh day of birth according to Sunnah. The prophet PBUH renamed inept and unislamic names. The best of names are Abdullah and AbdurRahman. Ibn Umar RA said that the Prophet PBUH said, “The best of your names in the sight of ALLAH SWT are Abdullah and AbdurRahman” (Muslim). Names other than these are also permitted under the condition that they should not be attributing shirk or mean ill. One such example is the name, Abdul Munaf or Munaf. During the times of Prophet PBUH, Munaf was the name of an idol hence Abdul Munaf would mean the slave of the Idol Munaf.
Note: Prefix of “Abd” should only be labelled to the 99 known names or Sifaat of ALLAH SWT, rest all would be termed as Shirk.
3. Shaving the head of the newborn: The head of the newborn male or female should be shaved on the seventh day of birth after the Aqeeqah. This shorn hair should be weighed and an equal amount of silver (equal to the weight of the shorn hair) should be given away as charity. Ali RA said to Fatimah RA, “O Fatimah, shave his (her son Hassan’s) head and give silver equal to the weight of his hair as charity” (Hasan Tirmizi)
4. Tahneek: It is a practice to chew a date (a portion of it) and make the newborn to taste it until a bit of it enters his stomach. Narrated Abu Musa RA: “A son was born to me and I took him to the Prophet who named him Ibrahim, did Tahneek for him with a date, invoked ALLAH SWT to bless him and returned him to me.” (Bukhari)
5. Pronouncing Azan (Call to prayer): An Azan should be said in the right ear of the child. According to Abu Raavi’s hadith, he says, “I saw the Prophet PBUH giving azan, as that of prayer, in the ear of Hasan bin Ali when Fatimah RA delivered him” (Hasan Tirmizi)
Kindly be aware that the Sunnah regarding Aqeeqah, confering a name and shaving the head are to be observed on the seventh day of the child’s birth, whereas tahneek and azan are to be discharged soon after the birth. It is therefore the prime responsibility of parents to bring up the child in an Islamic environment so that the offsprings are better Muslims inshALLAH.