The Prophet (pbuh) has said: “The root of prosperity and adversity of a people should first be sought in the wombs of their mothers.” After conception anything a mother does has a lasting effect on the child. Therefore, she must have good thoughts, listen, read and look at ‘good’ things. The role of the father-to-be is just as important. He has to ensure that the mother of his child is assured a stress-free pregnancy. It is highly recommended to name the child as soon a woman knows she is pregnant rather than refer to him/her as it. Ideally name the child Muhammad or Fatima. The name may be changed after birth.
The Prophet (pbuh) had chosen the name Muhsin for the child Sayyida Fatima Zahra (pbuh) was carrying whilst he was still in his mother’s womb. The Prophet (pbuh) has said: “The first duty of a parent towards his/her child is to give him/her a good name; you should therefore name your child with a good name.” The Prophet (pbuh) used to emphasise this aspect so much that Imam Ja’fer As-Sadiq (pbuh) has said: “The messenger of Allah used to change the bad names of people and places.”
There are duas to be recited just before, during and just after childbirth.
STRAIGHT AFTER BIRTH
The Prophet (pbuh) has said: “When a child arrives in the world, recite Adhan in his right ear and Iqama in his left ear. It aims at the declaration of the oneness of Allah, the invitation of Islam, and the advice of performing good deeds to be recited in the child’s ear.”
It re-inforces the purpose of existence: “Say: “Indeed my salaa, my sacrifice, my life and my death are all for Allah, the Lord of the worlds.” Suratul An’aam – 6:163
Imam Ali (pbuh) has said: “The best milk for a child is the milk from its own mother.” A number of Ulema consider it obligatory for a mother to nurse her child from her own breast if possible. immediately after the birth of a child. The first 3 days are very important for the proper functioning of the baby’s digestive system. It is highly recommended to do wudhoo before feeding a child, and to have good thoughts. As in pregnancy, the mother’s diet and thoughts have a significant effect on the child. Thus, the hadith from Imam Ali (pbuh): “Allow only a woman whose outward and inward manners are proper to nurse your child, because the child will take on those qualities from her.”
It is recommended that the baby’s head be shaved when he/she is seven days old. Traditionally the shaved hair is weighed and the equivalent weight in gold or silver is given to the poor and needy. This is to thank God for the gift of a new life. Today, a donation is given in lieu. A sacrifice of a sheep or a goat is done and distributed between the midwife, the poor and family and friends. This ceremony is known as aqeeqa. Imam Ja’fer As-Sadiq (pbuh) has said: “Every child that is born is under the pledge in respect of his aqeeqa.” It is reported that a man came to Imam Ja’fer As-Sadiq (pbuh) saying that he was not sure whether his father had performed his aqeeqa. Imam asked him to perform his own aqeeqa, which the man did in his old age.
It is highly recommended that a male child be circumcised soon after birth. The Prophet (pbuh) has said: “Circumcise your sons on the seventh day (after birth) because the tissues build up quickly and the wound heals easily.” One of the prerequisite conditions of tawaf of the Ka’ba for a man is that he must be circumcised. Tawaf by an uncircumcised man is batil. As per Ihtiyat Wajib, tawaf by children who have not been circumcised is batil too. Imam Ali (pbuh) has said that if a man is a Muslim he should be circumcised even if he has reached old age. The New Encyclopedia Britannica states (Vol. 3 pg.328) Studies have indicated that uncircumcised men have a higher incidence of AIDS, syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases than circumcised men…..