New Born Child
The recommended acts related to the newborn baby are as follows: First, one proclaims the Azan (prayer call) in the baby's ear as narrated by Al-Termizi and Abu Dawud that Prophet Muhammad (Blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) proclaimed the Azan in the ear of Al Hassan right after Fatima (May Allah be pleased with her) gave birth to him. Al-Termizi said that this Hadith is a good and sound one and that this is applied among the Muslims. On the other hand, there is nothing in the Hadith that specifies the right ear from the left one. But it is a Sunnah to opt for the right side from everything as narrated by Al-Bukhari from the Hadith of Aisha that the Prophet Muhammad (Blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) performed to start the right when putting on his shoes, cleaning himself and walking. So, the Azan in the right ear is more likable and some scholars believe so. Ibn Al Qayem in his book "The Masterpiece of the beloved person about the rules related to the new born baby" said that the Azan is proclaimed in the baby's right ear while the Iqama is proclaimed in his left one. Ibn Al Qayem stated two Hadith about this matter but neither of them reaches the degree of a sound Hadith.
Second, as a Sunnah, one can also chew little date and then put it in the baby's mouth for Abu Musa's Hadith, which narrated in Al-Bukhari and Muslim's books of Hadith. Several scholars believe that this is likable and it is not peculiar to the Prophet (Blessings and peace of Allah be upon him). It is narrated that Al-Imam Ahmad did so to some of his children.
The baby should be given a nice name.
It is a Sunnah to slaughter one sheep for the baby girl and two sheep for the baby boy (Aqiqa). Aqiqah is a Sunnah Muakkadah (confirmed sunnah). If the guardian of the child is capable of slaughtering two sheep for a baby boy and one sheep for a female child, he should do it. The Prophet (Blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said : “A baby is being pledged for his AQIQAH, sacrifice is made for him on the seventh day, his head is shaved, and a name is given him". One may slaughter three sheep for his son and daughter . If one cannot slaughter on the seventh day, one may slaughter on the fourteenth day or on the twenty-first day. If one is not capable of doing so, then one may slaughter any time before the puberty of the child. After puberty, the person should slaughter for himself/herself.
The baby's head should be clean shaved on his/her seventh day and the weight of the hair in silver should be given out as alms to poor people. The baby boy should be circumcised. We advise you to read Ibn Al Qayem's book mentioned earlier as it is a good source in this matter. Allah knows best.
What to do or be prepared with in receiving new born baby
We ask Allaah to bless your new baby for you and to make him among the righteous and pious so that he will weigh in the balance of your good deeds, because it was reported that the Messenger of Allaah SWT (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When the son of Adam dies, all his good deeds come to an end, apart from three: sadaqah jaariyah (ongoing charity, such as a waqf or endowment), beneficial knowledge, and a righteous son who will pray for him.” (Narrated by Muslim, 1631).
There is no action prescribed in sharee’ah for preparing to welcome a new baby a day or two before he is born, as far as we know. But one can recite general du’aa’s, such as praying for the newborn to be safe and sound, to be guided, and so on. Allaah mentioned in His Book the prayer of the righteous woman, the wife of ‘Imraan, who said (interpretation of the meaning):
“(Remember) when the wife of ‘Imraan said: ‘O my Lord! I have vowed to You what (the child that) is in my womb to be dedicated for Your services (free from all worldly work; to serve Your place of worship), so accept this from me. Verily, You are the All-Hearer, the All-Knowing.’
Then when she gave birth to her [child Maryam (Mary)], she said: ‘O my Lord! I have given birth to a female child,’ — and Allaah knew better what she brought forth, — ‘And the male is not like the female, and I have named her Maryam (Mary), and I seek refuge with You (Allaah) for her and for her offspring from Shaytaan (Satan), the outcast.’” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:35-36]
There follows an outline of what should be done on the day of the child’s birth, and after that:
1. It is mustahabb to do tahneek for the baby and to pray for him.
It was reported that Abu Moosa said: “I had a baby boy, and I brought him to the Prophet SAW (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). He named him Ibraaheem, did Tahneek with some dates and prayed for Allaah to bless him, then he gave him back to me.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5150; Muslim, 2145). Tahneek means putting something sweet, such as dates or honey, in the child’s mouth when he is first born.
2. It is permissible to name the child on the first day or on the seventh.
It was reported that Anas ibn Maalik said: the Messenger of Allaah SWT (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “A boy was born to me this night and I have named him with the name of my father Ibraaheem.” (Narrated by Muslim, 3126).
It was reported that ‘Aa’ishah said: the Messenger of Allaah SWT (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did ‘aqeeqah for al-Hasan and al-Husayn on the seventh day, and gave them their names. (Narrated by Ibn Hibbaan, 12/127; al-Haakim, 4/264. Classed as saheeh by al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Baari, 9/589).
3. ‘Aqeeqah and circumcision
It was reported from Salmaan ibn ‘Aamir (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet SAW (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “For the boy there should be an ‘aqeeqah. Slaughter (an animal) for him and remove the harmful thing [i.e., the foreskin] from him.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 1515; al-Nasaa’i, 4214; Abu Dawood, 2839; Ibn Maajah, 3164. The hadeeth was classed as saheeh by al-Albaani, may Allaah have mercy on him, in al-Irwaa’, 4/396).
It was reported that Samurah ibn Jundub (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: the Messenger of Allaah SWT (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “A boy is ransomed by his ‘aqeeqah. Sacrifice should be made for him on the seventh day, he should be given a name and his head should be shaved.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 1522; al-Nasaa’i, 4220 and Abu Dawood, 2838. The hadeeth was classed as saheeh by al-Albaani, may Allaah have mercy on him, in al-Irwaa’ 4/385).
Imaam ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
Among the benefits of ‘aqeeqah are:
It is a sacrifice by means of which the child is brought close to Allaah soon after he comes into this world.
It is a ransom for the newborn; his ‘aqeeqah ransoms him so that he can intercede for his parents.
It is a sacrifice by which the newborn is ransomed just as Allaah ransomed Ismaa’eel with the ram. (Tuhfat al-Mawdood, p. 69).
Perhaps another benefit of the ‘aqeeqah is the gathering of relatives and friends for the waleemah (feast).
4. Circumcision is part of the Sunan al-Fitrah (practices related to the pure and natural inclinations of man). It is obligatory in the case of boys because it is connected to matters of purity which are essential conditions of prayer.
It was reported from Abu Hurayrah: “Five things are related to the Fitrah: circumcision, removing the pubic hairs, plucking the armpit hairs, cutting the nails, and trimming the moustache.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5550; Muslim, 257).
Among the Sunnahs for welcoming the newborn, the scholars mentioned that the Adhaan should be recited into the baby’s right ear so that the first thing he hears in this world will be the words of Tawheed, which will have a great and blessed effect on the child. With regard to reciting the iqaamah in the child’s left ear, there is nothing to prove that this is required. (See al-Silsilat al-Da’eefah, 1/491).
Shaving the child’s head then anointing the child’s head with saffron is very beneficial. Then it is prescribed to give in charity gold or silver equal in weight to the hair. This does not have to be done by actually weighing the hair; if it is too difficult to do that, it is sufficient to estimate the weight and give paper currency equivalent to the price of that amount of gold or silver. We ask Allaah to protect us and our children from all evil and to keep them safe and sound in this world and in the Hereafter. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad.
What is the purpose of shaving a newborn baby's head
The Benefit of Shaving the Newborn's Head Newborn head shaving is Sunna on the seventh day from his birth and the Proof for that what was said by Al-Emam Ahmad, Al Niessai, Abou Dawood, Al-Termethi, and Ibn Maja about Samra that Prophet Mohammed SAW (Peace and Blessings of Allah Upon Him): "Boy is contingented upon his Akika so Sacrifice for him on the seventh day and Shave his head by God's name ". Sunan ul-Termathi number 1522. Al-Termethi said: This hadith is Good and Authentic.
Al-Emam Ahmad narrated in his Musnad about Salman Bin Aamer about Prophet Mohammad SAW (Peace and Blessings of Allah Upon him) said: "With a person is his Akika so free him of the sacrifice and of from harm." He said that Ibn Sereen used to say if removing harm from him did not mean shaving the head, then I don't know what it is.
Ibn Al-Qayem (Allah's mercy upon him) said about the benefit of shaving the newborn's hair: Shaving his head removes the harm from him, removes the weak hair so that stronger and firmer hair replaces it and it is beneficial for the head. In addition, it comforts the newborn and opens the head's skin openings... And along with this is a strengthening of his eye sight, his sense of smell and hearing. Refer to Ahkamul Tifl: Ahmad Al-Eesawee 192.
Sheikh Ibn Uthaimeen said: It appears that shaving the head on that day has a positive effect on the hair roots. Refer to Al-Sharh Al-Mumtiaa' 7/540
Shaving the hair of a baby girl at birth or after that
It is not Sunnah to shave a girl’s head on the seventh day as is the case for boys. With regard to shaving it for a reason, as referred to in the question, if that is true, the scholars say that it is makrooh to shave the head of a girl, but it may be said that if it is proven that this is something that will make the hair grow and become thick, then there is nothing wrong with it, because it is well known that what is makrooh is no longer regarded as makrooh if there is a reason for it.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, Majmoo’at As’ilat tahumm al-Usrat al-Muslimah, p. 147
Circumcision is one of the characteristics of the fitrah (the natural state of man), and it is one of the symbols of the Muslims, because it is narrated in al-Saheehayn that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘The (characteristics of) the fitrah are five: circumcision, shaving the pubic hair, trimming the moustache, cutting the fingernails and plucking the armpit hairs.’” So he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) started with circumcision and said that it is one of the characteristics of the fitrah.
The Muslim obeys the command of Allaah. This is the meaning of Islam, which is submission to Allaah and obedience to His command, whether the wisdom behind it is clear to him or not, because the One Who is issuing the command – Allaah, may He be exalted – is the Creator, the All-Knowing, the All-Aware, who created mankind and knows what is good for them and what is not good for them. Circumcision is one of the rulings of sharee’ah which the Muslim carries out willingly, in submission to and out of love for Allaah, and seeking reward with Him. He is certain that Allaah does not command anything unless there is a wisdom behind it and it is good for His slaves, whether people know that or not. Since your question referred to the health benefits of circumcision, we will, after looking at the shar’i (religious) benefits, will answer your question about the health benefits, in order to increase the believers in faith in the ruling, and so that non-Muslims may see one aspect of the greatness of this sharee’ah (Islamic law) which came to bring benefits and ward off harm.
1 – The shar’i (religious) benefits:
Circumcision is one of the commands concerning beautification enjoined by Allaah, which Allaah has prescribed for His slaves to make them beautiful both outwardly and inwardly (physically and spiritually). It is the perfection of the fitrah (natural state of man) with which He created them, and hence it is the perfection of the haneefiyyah (pure monotheism) of the religion of Ibraaheem (Abraham). The origin of the institution of circumcision as the perfection of haneefiyyah was when Allaah made a covenant with Ibraaheem and promised to make him an imaam (leader) of mankind, and promised him that he would be the father of many people, that prophets and kings would come from his loins and that his descendants would be many. And He told him that between him and his descendants there would be the sign of the covenant, which would be that every newborn male among them would be circumcised, and so the covenant would have this sign on their bodies. Circumcision is a sign of having entered into the religion of Ibraaheem, and this is in accordance with the interpretation of the verse (interpretation of the meaning) –
“[Our Sibghah (religion) is] the Sibghah (religion) of Allaah (Islam) and which Sibghah (religion) can be better than Allaah’s? And we are His worshippers” [al-Baqarah 2:138] – as referring to circumcision.
For the haneefs (pure monotheists, i.e., Muslims), circumcision has the same status as baptism does for the worshippers of the cross (i.e., Christians). They purify their children – as they say – when they baptize them in the baptismal water, and they say, now he has become a Christian. Allaah has prescribed for the haneefs their own rite, the symbol of which is circumcision. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“[Our Sibghah (religion) is] the Sibghah (religion) of Allaah (Islam) and which Sibghah (religion) can be better than Allaah’s? And we are His worshippers” [al-Baqarah 2:138] – … So Allaah has made circumcision a symbol of those who belong to Him and to His religion, and who attribute themselves to Him as being utterly enslaved to Him alone…
The point here is that the religion of Allaah is haneefiyyah (pure monotheism) which fills the heart with knowledge and love of Him and sincerity towards Him, and worship of Him alone with no partner or associate, and which marks the body with the characteristics of the fitrah, namely circumcision, removal of the pubic hair, trimming the moustache, cutting the nails, plucking the hair from the armpits, rinsing the mouth, rinsing the nose, using the siwaak (toothbrush made from twigs from a certain tree) and cleaning oneself after elimination of urine or faeces.
So the fitrah of Allaah is manifested in the hearts of the haneefs and on their bodies.
(Tuhfat al-Mawdood bi Ahkaam al-Mawlood by Ibn al-Qayyim, p. 351)
Circumcision also has health benefits and brings a lot of benefits to the boy in his life.
It is not essential for the child to remain as he is when he comes forth from his mother’s womb, if there is something that may be done for him that serves a purpose and is enjoined by the pure religion. Such things include shaving his head after he is born, because that is in his best interests. The Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Remove the harm from him.”
The same applies to washing the blood from him and cutting the cord by which he was attached to his mother, and other things which are done to benefit him.
2 – The health benefits:
Dr. Muhammad ‘Ali al-Baar (a member of the Royal College of Surgeons in the UK and a consultant to the Islamic Medicine department of the King Fahd Centre for Medical Research in the King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah) says in his book al-Khitaan (Circumcision):
“Circumcision of newborn boys (i.e., within the first month of life) brings numerous health benefits, including:
1 – Protection against local infection in the penis, which may result from the presence of the foreskin, causing tightening of the foreskin, which may lead to retention of urine or infections of the glans (tip) of the penis – which require circumcision in order to treat these problems. In chronic cases, the child may be exposed to numerous diseases in the future, the most serious of which is cancer of the penis.
2 – Infections of the urethra. Many studies have proven that uncircumcised boys are more exposed to infection of the urethra. In some studies the rate was 39 times more among uncircumcised boys. In other studies the rate was ten times more. Other studies showed that 95% of children who suffered from infections of the urethra were uncircumcised, whereas the rate among circumcised children did not exceed 5%.
In children, infection of the urethra is serious in some cases. In the study by Wisewell on 88 children who suffered infections of the urethra, in 36 % of them, the same bacteria was found in the blood also. Three of them contracted meningitis, and two suffered renal failure. Two others died as a result of the spread of the micro-organisms throughout the body.
3 – Protection against cancer of the penis: the studies agree that cancer of the penis is almost non-existent among circumcised men, whereas the rate among uncircumcised men is not insignificant. In the US the rate of penile cancer among circumcised men is zero, whilst among uncircumcised men it is 2.2 in every 100,000 of the uncircumcised population. As most of the inhabitants of the US are circumcised, the cases of this cancer there are between 750 and 1000 per year. If the population were not circumcised, the number of cases would reach 3000. In countries where boys are not circumcised, such as China, Uganda and Puerto Rico, penile cancer represents between 12-22 % of all cancers found in men; this is a very high percentage.
4 – Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Researchers found that the STDs which are transmitted via sexual contact (usually because of fornication/adultery and homosexuality) spread more among those who are not circumcised, especially herpes, soft chancres, syphilis, candida, gonorrhea and genital warts.
There are numerous modern studies which confirm that circumcision reduces the possibility of contracting AIDS when compared to their uncircumcised counterparts. But that does not rule out the possibility of a circumcised man contracting AIDS as the result of sexual contact with a person who has AIDS. Circumcision is not a protection against it, and there is no real way of protecting oneself against the many sexually transmitted diseases apart from avoiding fornication/adultery, promiscuity, homosexuality and other repugnant practices. (From this we can see the wisdom of Islamic sharee’ah in forbidding fornication/adultery and homosexuality).
5 – Protection of wives against cervical cancer. Researchers have noted that the wives of circumcised men have less risk of getting cervical cancer than the wives of uncircumcised men.
From al-Khitaan, p. 76, by Dr. Muhammad al-Baar.