Muslim family traditions dictate how to welcome a newborn baby through a set of certain symbolic acts and rituals. These are as follows:-
The recitation of adhan and the iqama into the newborns ear. The adhan is the Islamic call to prayer, and here it is relevant due to its affirmation of the unity of Allah, and the instruction to choose good actions in life. The adhan is recited into the right ear followed by the iqama (the second call to prayer) the left ear.
The tahniq, in which a person of reputable piety is asked to chew a date, then rub a tiny fingertip of this date inside the baby’s mouth.
Shaving the hair of the newborn is another recommended Muslim tradition. The hair is then weighed and an equal amount of weight in silver is given in charity. This is recommended as it allows the pores of the head to open, and the act of charity begins the first good deed in this baby’s life.
The aqiqa, which is the ceremony involved in naming the newborn baby is usually involves a sacrifice of an animal if the parents can afford it. A sheep or cow is usually slaughtered and the meat is mainly distributed amongst the poor and a portion is cooked for friends who come to congratulate the parents.This not only spreads the good news of the baby’s arrival but brings prayers for the health of the newborn from friends and strangers. As a guidance it is recommended to slaughter two goats for a boy and one goat for a girl.The child is given a name during this occasion, which is usually recommended to be completed within the first seven days of birth. However it can be done after this time period as well.
Parents must name the child with care and thought so as to choose a name with a good meaning avoiding a name that can become a source of joke or teasing later on and to consider the attributes that the name may carry. It is also recommended to give a nick name for the baby such as Abu Naim ( the father of sleep) as a expression of tenderness.
The circumcision is another ritual the newborn boy must endure. Although it can be carried through any time before puberty it is is also recommended within the first seven days. The newborns skin is quick to heal and easier to manage and this minor surgery is carried out by a certified circumcision professional.
All these Muslim traditions and customs of welcoming a new baby, help to inform the community at large of the baby’s arrival into the world and begin the links with charity and faith.