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Traditions Around The Birth In Islam

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Hello again. I have been reading up on birth tradition, apart from circumcision. Is it usual practice for the babies head to be shaved on the seventh day after birth? May I ask what is the meaning behind this.

 

Also is it also tradition for a sheep or goat to be slaughtered? If so what is the reason for this sacrifice.

 

The sheep thing would be hard for me to accept being a vegetarian. Would a charitable donation be a suitable substitute?

 

Thank you, hope you don't mind me asking.

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Shaving a baby's head is to be done in the seventh day from birth, yes. The exact reason is beyond me, but Muslims like to do as the prophet did, however its not an obligation. It was proved in many of the prophet's teachings that its always for the better and healthy to follow. For exampl google scientific proof of the fly hadith.

 

As for slaughtering a sheep or goat, which we call aqiqah, it is a sunnah of the prophet, intended for distribution on the poor and needy, in joy and gratitude for being blessed by Allah with your baby. The ratio is 1 third for the poor, 1 third for the neighbors / kin / friends, and 1 third for you and your family, but you can donate it all if you wish. Slaughter 1 animal for a baby girl, 2 for a baby boy  :D

 

That said, aqiqah is not an obligation in Islam, although it is a confirmed sunnah, provided that you can afford it.

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The sheep thing would be hard for me to accept being a vegetarian. Would a charitable donation be a suitable substitute?

 

Seeing as we are not allowed to slaughter a sheep in the backyard these days due to all sorts of health regulations I fail to see where you have a problem.

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Shaving a baby's head is to be done in the seventh day from birth, yes. The exact reason is beyond me, but Muslims like to do as the prophet did, however its not an obligation. It was proved in many of the prophet's teachings that its always for the better and healthy to follow. For exampl google scientific proof of the fly hadith.

 

As for slaughtering a sheep or goat, which we call aqiqah, it is a sunnah of the prophet, intended for distribution on the poor and needy, in joy and gratitude for being blessed by Allah with your baby. The ratio is 1 third for the poor, 1 third for the neighbors / kin / friends, and 1 third for you and your family, but you can donate it all if you wish. Slaughter 1 animal for a baby girl, 2 for a baby boy  :D

 

That said, aqiqah is not an obligation in Islam, although it is a confirmed sunnah, provided that you can afford it.

Thanks Dot, I just thought the head shaving was a bit strange and could not see the point or meaning. I also read that the weight of hair was matched by silver which was given as a charitable donation. This bit is good practice, but then couldn't one just make a charitable donation without shaving the babies head?

 

I know I'm going to hate myself for asking this but I think you know what's coming, - why two animals for a boy and one for a girl?

 

If it is not an obligation then I would prefer the charitable donation option. I will be offering prayers in gratitude if I am blessed with a child that goes without saying.

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Seeing as we are not allowed to slaughter a sheep in the backyard these days due to all sorts of health regulations I fail to see where you have a problem.

Have you been to Tunisia johnford? Because many families do slaughter their own sheep at Eid in their own backyard. Some do it themselves if they have the knowledge and some get a guy in to do it for them. Health regulations as well as other health and safety rules are not the same everywhere in the world. Compare cars on the road in the UK and Tunisia I doubt they have any roadworthy tests if they did have the cars in Tunisia would be off the road and it would be a safer place for pedestrians.

 

All that is beside the point, as a vegetarian, I find the idea of eating meat abhorrent and even more so the idea that a baby of mine coming into the world should mean a death sentence for some sheep or goat, or even two of them if my child was a boy.

 

I hope you can see where I have the problem now. For me far better option is to give a donation to the poor and maybe host a celebration for family and close friends as I would do in my Christian faith. They could eat meat if they had to, but my vegetarian options would be far more healthy and tastier.

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Tunisia,

 

Again as has been mentioned this is optional, it is a sunnah (from the teachings of the prophet) to offer the sacrifice. So in truth it is not really an issue. Also you could look at it from another way, that when you have a child (god willing) you can donate some money which goes to a poor country in which they distribute the meat of a sheep. In this way you fulfil both as you are feeding the poor and carrying out a sunnah.

 

The same applies with shaving the head it does not need to be done,

 

Your question why is it two for a boy and one for a girl.

 

Firstly the reason it is still carried out is because it was mentioned by the prophet (pbuh). To understand why he said this, you need to understand the time and the culture of the people. It was not too long before that the people in Arabia used to bury alive their daughters, the prophet forbade this, this showed the attitude people had when having girls. Some say that this is to do with how happy a person is and so they sacrfice accordingly. A boy in those times would become a breadwinner for the family and provide strength so parents would want to have many boys for this reason. For sure it is to do with the perception at the time and nothing to do with equality.

 

Imam Malik (one of the biggest Islamic teachers in history) in his books he wrote that for this there should be 1 for boy and 1 for a girl. just to give you another opinion on the matter.

 

I hope this answers your question

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Hi and thank you Ala'adin, yes this question has been answered for me. I am pleased that either the baby head shaving or killing the sheep is obligatory. Charitable donation is the way to go for me. Thank you once again.

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1400 years ago, sheep and other animals were wealth. For a boy someone to sacrifice two sheep means to give up two sheep, but as a blessing for a girl only one sheep is to be slaughtered. It has nothing to do with who is more valuable. 

 

People may wish to have girls, so that they don't sacrifice more than one sheep. All is voluntary, but righteous people view recommended acts as something big. Missing an opportunity to do good would bother them. Ancestry is usually traced back through the fathers and forefathers. 

 

God has been allowing us to consume the meat of animals. He created these animals for us, so that we benefit from them. We cannot make prohibited that what God has made permissable. 

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Yes God has allowed it, but God has also allowed us the free choice not to do so if we wished. No one is saying to prohibit eating meat for everyone that would be ridiculous. For one reason if the whole world was vegetarian then the whole world would not be able to sustain us, it would be impossible to grow crops enough to feed everyone.

 

I'm not advocating vegetarianism for all, just saying it's my life choice. Actually in many parts of the world sheep and livestock are still considered wealth today. What was a tradition 1400 years ago when the circumstances of life were very different held a different relevance. Today "tradition" are upheld because over eons importance has been attached to them. Weather they still hold the same relevance today is debatable. Do we ask ourselves before we attribute such to God, does God want this of me today?

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 Do we ask ourselves before we attribute such to God, does God want this of me today?

I am not sure if you meant this in reference to the sacrifice of an animal but if you did then in Islam it is very much permissible. Like we also do it at other moments during the year such as eid al adha. I understand that you being a vegetarian its difficult for you to envisage doing such a thing. I just want to say that the way the animal is killed in Islam is done in a way so that the animal does not feel pain unlike some other procedures carried out on animals. If it is done wrongly then it is the person that is wrong but the act of sacrificing an animal in itself is not a wrong thing when it is carried out properly. Unfortunately I couldn't find any information in relation to your question and so maybe you should contact somebody with a lot of knowledge in Islam about your particular situation.

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Yes God has allowed it, but God has also allowed us the free choice not to do so if we wished. No one is saying to prohibit eating meat for everyone that would be ridiculous. For one reason if the whole world was vegetarian then the whole world would not be able to sustain us, it would be impossible to grow crops enough to feed everyone.

 

I'm not advocating vegetarianism for all, just saying it's my life choice. Actually in many parts of the world sheep and livestock are still considered wealth today. What was a tradition 1400 years ago when the circumstances of life were very different held a different relevance. Today "tradition" are upheld because over eons importance has been attached to them. Weather they still hold the same relevance today is debatable. Do we ask ourselves before we attribute such to God, does God want this of me today?

 

You can choose for yourself to be vegetarian or even vegan. If it is your choice then there is nothing wrong with it. In your case, it is even an advantage with regard to your relationship with your future husband. He does not need to worry about controversial meat issues. No one can force you to eat meat, too. However, it is important to know for a Muslim not to make haram halal or halal haram. 

 

The important part of the sacrifice/slaughter is not what kind of meat it is, but to invite people and poor neighbors in order to give them a good time. In Islam, weddings and aqeeqas and other occasions are the opportunity for the poor neighbors to have a good time and enjoy what they usually cannot enjoy. If you have only vegetarian dishes and your neighbors benefit from that, then you fulfill the purpose. 

 

If you husband would say that meat is haram, it might cause him to exit Islam, because Allah's Sharee'ah tells us that meat is halal unless it is meat from a forbidden animal or meat from an animal that was tortured and mistreated.

 

You are fine. 

 

Are you vegetarian or vegan?

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vegetarian, although I also do not eat many dairy products. Don't have milk at all unless it is in the form of cheese.

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Have you been to Tunisia johnford? Because many families do slaughter their own sheep at Eid in their own backyard.

 

You are a Christian living in Tunisia ... right?

 

Your OP was about whether to donate to charity instead of slaughtering a sheep but as you are a vegetarian I understand this is not something you would wish to do ... so I still fail to see where you have a problem making a decision ... that was my point.

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Nope, I am a Christian and my muslim fiancée both live in the UK. As he is Tunisian we could live in Tunisia at some point in the future.

 

Don't get your comment, I've already decided thanks to all the helpful advice given in this thread that it's acceptable to make a charitable donation in lieu of sacrifice. So job done. Your failing to see my problem is no longer a problem.

 

Thank you

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By the way, aqeeqa is a confirmed recommended act that is performed by the father. The mother does not perform the aqeeqa. 

 

In the time of the Prophet, livestock was a significant part of wealth. They did not have the luxury to go to the butcher and sacrifice a sheep or two, but they needed to take sheep from their own livestock. This way you really call it a sacrifice. They sacrifice wealth to get blessing for the children. Sacrificing two sheep was a heavier burden than sacrificing only one sheep. A girl means less sacrifice and more blessing with regards to wealth. People usually wish to have boys, but if they know that a girl brings more blessing with regard to spending wealth, they started to wish and be happy to have a girl. It can be views as an incentive for us to love and accept daughters as much as sons. People would not feel that regret when a girl was born. They loved to have boys, because he continues the lineage, but they equally loved to have girls, because she means blessing for the family with regards of wealth. 

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It does not matter whose duty it would be to perform this, it is the need itself, that the birth of a child should spell the death knell for an animal. You are talking of a time 1400 years ago!! Things are different today and maybe livestock does not carry the same importance for many in today's world. Besides a donation could maybe feed more than one or two goats or sheep could do. I mean does it have to be food? Could a donation go to a community project? Maybe health or education which possibly would benefit more people.

 

My parents considered me their miracle baby, in fact it was said my survival was pretty much miraculous given I was born prematurely. Then medical science in the area of neonatal care was not as good as today, yet I survived and am blessedly healthy against the odds. My parents in thanks for my life made a donation to the hospital where I was born in the hope it would give other babies like myself a good fighting chance and other parents could know the same joy my parents had. This is not uncommon, many Christians give thanks in the way of a charitable donation in honour of God when they feel they have been blessed.

 

Why celebrate life with a death? Why not better to celebrate through the living?

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At that time, the birth of girls were view as a shame in the Arab world 1400 years ago. Some rules forced the Arabs to accept that the birth of a girl is actually a blessing. Today, people don't make such difference if the child is a girl or boy, but back then it mattered. Such rules taught the people to treat girls and boys equally. Nowadays, most of the rulings are just Sunnah in order to follow the example of the Prophet, but back then it taught the society a lesson.

 

I just said that today we don't depend much on livestock anymore. Therefore, if we slaughter sheep and give the meat away, it is not that difficult anymore. The person does some effort, but does not really a sacrifice. 

 

We are talking about the sunnah of aqeeqa and you asked about this tradition. Therefore, I should tell you that only the father performs the aqeeqa which is shaving the head of the child. It is a confirmed Sunnah, but not an obligation, but either the father performs it or nothing is done. You just forget about that part.

 

If you want to sacrifice sheep then it is also just a Sunnah which is a recommended act, but it is not an obligation on either you or the father of the child. Therefore, you don't need to even donate money, because the Sunnah is to slaughter the sheep and distribute the meat to neighbors and the needy and keep some parts for yourself or nothing. 

 

You can donate to whomever you want, but the point is to benefit the neighborhood. If you organize a aqeeqa dinner and you invite the neighborhood to join the dinner or you can feed the homeless. 

 

Aqeeqa is the shaving of the head and giving the name.

Uthiyah is the sacrifice that you or the father can offer voluntarily.

 

If you offer vegetarian dishes, it should be from the food that you love yourself. Don't give leftovers or something you don't like. A sign of generosity is to give from that someone loves most.

 

 

Don't worry about the aqeeqa and udthiya too much.

 

In sharee'ah we have wajib, mustahhab, mubah, makruh, and haram

 

 

Wajib: If you do it you get a reward, but if you don't do it you get a sin.

Mustahhab: If you do it you get extra reward, but if you refrain from it you are not sinning.

Mubah: If you do it, you don't get a reward, but if you refrain from it you are not sinning.

Makruh: If you do it, you don't get a reward nor are you sinning, but if you refrain from it you get a reward.

Haram: If you do it, you are sinning, but if you refrain from it, you get a reward.

 

Sunnah means that it was witnessed that the Prophet himself either did it, said it, or approved/disapproved it. 

Confirmed Sunnah means that the Prophet did it regularily and he was always seen doing it.

 

Yes, times change and the customs are different from country to country and even from neighborhood to neighborhood. That what you can do in Tunisia, you probably can't do in the UK. Sharee'ah recognizes local customs as a factor to determine what and how a rule can apply. 

 

If there is a society where it is the norm to have polygamous relationship, then it is ok to follow that custom, but if you live in a society where monogamous relationships are common and the norm then it is better to either follow that trend, or to move to a place where there are other norms. That just an example.

Edited by Kai Thaabit

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Kai Thaabit, thank you for your above post. It sums everything up for me very nicely. I was curious when I heard of the head shaving, I asked my fiancée if his parents did this to him, he asked and they said they did not, so I guess it is optional among many muslims. As my fiancée thinks at the moment I can't see him organising any sacrifice of a sheep any time soon. So I maybe should not be pondering too long on something that may never happen. I just wanted to know more about it all and on that point I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this thread with that aim.

 

I like the idea of a party for family, friends and neighbours to welcome a new baby as that is something I as a Christian would do anyway. I love cooking, your comment about leftovers made me smile, who would serve leftovers to guests? Or even food they would not eat themselves. Actually, lol, I would serve meat if my guests wished to eat it but would not eat it myself in fact in all honesty I would have to call on the help of a meat eating friend to prepare it. My fiancée has said if he wants meat he will cook it himself when we are married, cos that's the only way he's going to get it lol. I think vegetarian food is every bit nutritious and I believe healthier I hope any meat eaters who I cook for will try it and enjoy it and who knows, may even wish to be vegetarian.

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