What kind of responsibilities do parents have against their newborn baby?
The responsibilities of parents against their children essentially begin after the delivery, but it goes back to time of womb and even to choice of father for the mother candidate.
We will try to tell the responsibilities of parents on the first days of birth:
1. Prayer: the first thing to do for a newborn baby is to pray. It is of great importance for the bliss of both worlds to pray for that he live on the consent of God and to be protected against devil and that he be a good son or daughter. According to the account from the mother Aisha, when newborn babies were brought, Prophet Muhammad would pray goodness and abundance for them. Later the Comrades continued the same tradition.
2. To give it a name by calling the azan to its ear: this tradition comes from the Prophet himself. As it is recounted from Sunan Tirmidhi when Hadrath Hasan (grandson of the Prophet) was born, the prophet called the azan to his right ear. (1)
According to the account from Hadrath Hussein, the Prophet told about the wisdoms of these traditions:
When you have a baby call the azan to its right ear and call kamat to right ear, it will not have sickness caused by wicked jinni.(2)
The azan and kamat is the first inspiration done to the kid. Because, the azan includes the essentials of the religion like divine unity, prophesy and the prayer.
When we name them, we should be careful to give Islamic names. The prophet has many advices, warnings, and applications about the issue. One of the Hadiths is that You will be called by your names and your fathers, so have good names. (3)
It is advised to name the baby at the night of the birth; but it can be postponed till the seventh day.
3. Circumcision: it is a distinguishing difference between a believer and a non-believer. A group of scholars accepted as vajib and as obligation (farz) by others. It is allowed to be done until adolescence but it is better to do it on the seventh day of the birth.
4. Sacrifice a sacrificial animal and shaving the head: sacrificing an animal after the birth of the child is called akika. The Prophet advised for parents having babies to have an akika sacrificing.
Hadrath Fatima sacrificed a ram after the births of her children Hasan, Hussein, Zaynab, and Ummu Gulsum. It is told that it is advised to do that on the seventh day of the birth.
Some scholars especially Hanafi ones saw akika (sacrificing animal for newborn baby) as a good deed. When a person who can afford do it, he or she indicates his gratitude to God in his/her act.
As it is took part in Sunnah (Muslim practices and rules), on the days of akika sacrificing, it is advised to shave the baby and give some gold weighing as the hair shaved, to needy people.
It is known that Hadrath Fatima shaved her babies after birth and gave some silver weighing the shaved hair.
The first food given the baby:
It is Sunnah to give the baby mouth a sweet thing chewed before and apply it to babys lips. It is favorable to be done by a devout pious person. It can be done with sweets like dried grapes and sugar but it is better to do it with dried date.
Hadrath Aisha (PBUH) says that:
New-born babies used to be brought to the Prophet. He used to pray for them and put the water of the date which was softened in his mouth. (Muslim: 2147)
As it is seen, The Prophet was very careful about the food taken by the baby and wanted it to be anything else other than the mothers milk. Various rumors say that he didnt show that care only to his grandchildren and applied it to all Muslim children as a principle.
These are the responsibilities of parents to their children that should come to mind first. To get more information, please see the book of Prof. Dr. İbrahim Canan Hz. Peygamberin Sünnetinde Terbiye [education under the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH)>
(1) Tirmidhi, Edaha:15.
(3) Bukhari, Edeb:108.
Source: Mehmed Paksu Çağın Getirdiği Sorular (problems brought about by the age)
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