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What Is the Sunnah in Regards to Receiving a Newborn Baby?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

I am expecting my first child with my wife. Is there anything in the sunnah we need to do leading up to the birth of the baby next month? What do we do when the baby arrives and the days coming after the birth of the baby?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.

Sunnah

Congratulations! May Allah ease your wife’s discomfort in this last stage of her pregnancy and bless her with an easy birth and postpartum recovery.

I recommend that you look up this excellent resource by Ustadh Abdullah Anik Misra: What Acts Are Recommended After Giving Birth To A Child

Birth

Preparing for birth is similar to preparing to a marathon: there are a spiritual, mental, emotional and physical components. First-time parents like yourself may benefit from the support of a doula, who is trained birth companion and an advocate for your baby’s gentle birth.

I have found these resources tremendously helpful in the birth of my own babies, and I pray that these may benefit you and your wife:

101 Tips For Having A Natural Childbirth

Spinning Babies

Breastfeeding

Have you and your wife attended any breastfeeding or birth support classes? Breastfeeding is from the sunnah, and does not necessarily come naturally to many women. It takes practice, support, and much patience, especially when a baby is born early, or in other challenging circumstances.

Postnatal Care

Abdullah bin ‘Amr (Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) said: “The merciful are shown mercy by Ar-Rahman. Be merciful on the earth, and you will be shown mercy from Who is above the heavens. The womb is named after Ar-Rahman, so whoever connects it, Allah connects him, and whoever severs it, Allah severs him.” [Tirmidhi]

Do you have sufficient postnatal care support for your wife? This is an oft-neglected tradition in the modern world. Alhamdulilah, where I live in Malaysia, it is very much the norm for a woman to rest for 40 days at home, with live-in support (mother, mother-in-law or a live-in helper). This may seem excessive at first glance, but it makes such a difference.

I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to support your wife in her post-partum state. If it is not possible for you to take at least two weeks off from work, then ensure that your mother or her mother is close by to provide support.

Ensure that your wife’s main role is to bond with her baby and rest. Either you cook her nourishing meals, or provide the means for someone else to do so. Her body has just gone through something incredible and exhausting, and she needs as much support as you can provide. Please relax your expectations (clean home, freshly ironed clothes etc) and take the initiative to do the chores she would normally do, or pay someone else to do it. Know that being there for your wife when she is at her weakest is also very much from the sunnah.

I recommend that you and your wife read this book together: After the Baby’s Birth: A Complete Guide for Postpartum Women.

Visiting

Culturally, it is common for excited relatives to visit as soon as they hear the good news. Please help to ensure that your wife is well-rested and sufficiently covered before that happens. She is in a vulnerable state, and so is your baby. It is not rude to gently remind them to wash their hands before they hold your baby. If your baby is asleep or nursing, then it is fair to let them know that.

Again, congratulations on the upcoming birth of your first child. The newborn stage is exhausting and exhilarating. Get some rest too, in between caring for your wife and newborn.

Please see:

Habib ‘Umar bin Hafiz’s advice on duas to read during pregnancy and labour
Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long

[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.

Is It Permissible for a Man to Watch His Wife Give Birth?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: Assalam aleykum

Is it permissible for a man to watch his wife give birth?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

It is permitted for a husband to watch his wife give birth. Doing so with the intention of supporting one’s wife through the process and witnessing the blessing of birth would make the act rewarding.

As for cases where husbands are discouraged from attending childbirth, these seem to largely return to customary norms and preferences. Religiously, there is nothing wrong with it as I have mentioned above.

[Ustadh] Salman Younas

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Salman Younas graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman. There he studies Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir.

You Don’t Have To Be In Madinah For The Prophet To Hear You, by Shaykh Faid Said

Whether you are in Madinah or in a far corner of China, there is no inherent barrier between you and Allah’s beloved messenger, Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. As Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said explains, this is a promise from Allah Himself.

Bismillah-ir Rahman-ir Raheem

Allah, the Most High, said in Surah Al-Ahzab (56): “Indeed, Allah and His angels send their salawat upon the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him. Oh you who have believed, send your salawat and salam upon the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him.”

Allahumma salli wa salim wa barik ala Syedina Mawlana Muhammadin wa alaa Ahli Syedina Muhammad!

Allah Sends His Salawat

Most of the learned ones have said, with regards to this verse, that in order to show the station (maqam) of the Messenger of Allah to all of His creation, Allah Most High said that “Indeed, Allah sends his salawat upon the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him” and this salawat is a constant praise for the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, and Allah Most High is followed in this praise by the angels and the people of the heavens.

The angels, in following the praise of Allah Most High, and in seeing and hearing the praise of His Beloved, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, send their salawat upon the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, which is, in essence, making dua for the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, by means of which they are getting closer to Allah (The Most High)!  

It’s The Way The Angels Worship

This means that the angels are worshipping Allah, the Most High, by making dua for the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him! And Allah, the Most High, commanded the believers to send salawat upon the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him.

In a hadith, narrated by Abu Dawud, Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with Him, said that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, said that

“Whoever sends salawat upon me, Allah, The Most High, returns my soul back to me in order that I may reply to that person!”

This is a great gift and blessing from Allah, the Most High, to give us this connection with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, and that too a continuous connection!

By sending your salawat upon the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, he responds to your salawat directly, as he said:

“Allah returns my ruh back to me in order that I may reply to that person.”  

What a great gift to renew this relationship and continuous blessing that Allah, the Most High, has granted you by giving you the this very blessed chance!

May Allah, the Most High, make us from the people of salawat, wherever we are.

It was narrated by Sa’id ibn Mansur, may Allah be pleased with him, that Suhail ibn Abi Saleh, may Allah be pleased with him, said that:

Syedina Hasan, may Allah be pleased with him, the son of Syedina Hasan, may Allah be pleased with him, the son of Syedina Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, the grandson of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him once saw me while I was giving my salam [at the Hijr of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him], and He called me. He was in his grandmother’s house [house of Syeda Fatima (may Allah be pleased with her)] eating dinner, so he invited me to eat. I said, ‘no, I do not want to eat.’ Then he asked me, ‘What were you doing?’ I said, I was giving my salam to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him.  He said to me, when you come into the masjid, you can send your salawat, as the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him said:  “Whoever sends salawat upon me, Allah Most High returns my soul back to me in order that I may reply to that person!”  Then he said: Those that are in Madinah are not closer to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him than those who are in Andalus, [giving their salaam from there]!”

It is not about distance!

In the words of Syedina Hasan, may Allah be pleased with him, the son of Syedina Hasan, may Allah be pleased with him, the son of Syedina Ali, may Allah be pleased with him,

“Those who are living in Madinah and have access to give salam to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him are not closer than the ones who are in Andalus.”

There is immense hope for us: wherever you are, when you send your salawat upon the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, He responds to your salawat!  

It is not about distance! It is not about where you are, it is about what you are doing, especially if what you are doing is sending your salawat upon the Beloved, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him.

May Allah grant us the tawfiq and strengthen our connection and relationship with the Beloved, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him.

Allahumma salli alaa Syedina Muhammad wa alaa Ahli Syedina Muhammad, fi kulli lamhatin wa nafasin ‘adada maa wa see-a-hu ‘il-muLLAH

[cwa id=’cta’]

Resources on sending blessings on Prophet Muhammad for seekers:

The Blessing of a Muslim Doula

“Doula” is an ancient Greek word meaning “a woman who serves”.

Three days of conversing with women of different faiths and nationalities, left me, a mom of seven, inspired and ready to help women in their pregnancy and birthing experience as a Muslim doula. And it all started with one blessed experience.
Over the summer, I enjoyed a three day intensive training with Birth Arts International. Originally I went to the classes to help the instructor, with no intention of becoming a student, but Allah had other plans! After beginning my doula training, I started my own doula services called Higher Purpose Doula Services, based in Georgia. I called it “Higher Purpose” because I believe that everything we do should have the higher purpose in mind—to get closer to the Creator.

doula

Credits: Bridget Colia

 

Serve Allah by serving His creation

As a Muslim woman, training to become a doula meant something very special to me.
More than just giving women information and showing them different breathing techniques, it was one of the ways that I could serve others. Service (khidma) is part of our beautiful religion. Imam Tahir Anwar once said, “Serve Allah by serving His creation.”
In the Quran, Allah reminds us of our purpose in life: “I have only created Jinns and men, that they may serve Me.” (Quran 51:56)
I am not the only doula-in-training, who has found a connection between my work and my faith.  Sister Alexandria, a Maryland-based doula from Heaven Beneath Your Feet Doula Services speaks about her experience.
“It’s deeply spiritually rooted for me,” she says. “I wanted to do something that would be a beautiful and humbling reminder and that I would enjoy. As I researched what a doula is and what we do, I felt in my heart a little light go on that felt just right. I want to be able to help women utilize their pregnancy, birth and overall family life to get them closer to Allah.”
“For me Islam is an empowerment to women,” says Umm Suhaib, a doula-in-training based in Canada, “and that is exactly what a doula tries to do. Allah  Most High has made the journey into motherhood a sacred and powerful one and a doula is there to hold space for a woman on this journey.”
Sister Aishia Muhammad of Al Muslima and Motherhood Birth Services, who serves in Philadelphia and abroad, said, “Becoming a doula wasn’t a decision I made. Rather, it was a position I found myself fulfilling 17 years ago. I saw a large number of my sisters craving for assistance with love, care and spirituality while giving birth, particularly in hospital settings.
“(For example), while some laboring sisters remember their Lord (dhikr), chanting His name and making supplications (dua) other need to be reminded to do so, and some maybe too winded to speak. Your Muslim Doula will understand your dhikr and duas, can help you recite them and even encourage it further. This is the huge difference between a Muslim and a non-Muslim doula. Birth is a spiritual event—a Muslim woman cannot give birth without the acknowledgement of that fact. ”

What would a Muslim doula do for me?

A doula is a blessing. Not only does she provide emotional support, but she also can provide physical and educational support to an expectant mother.
According to Birth Arts, a doula provides:

  • up-to-date, evidence-based information to the parents
  • information on birth options
  • uninterrupted labor support during delivery
  • emotional, physical and personal support
  • help to the mother to attain and maintain proper nutrition
  • a presence in the environment that helps the mother feel secure and confident

During the birth, a doula’s presence helps in many ways.

doula

Credits: Sarah Hopkins

Numerous clinical studies have found that a doula’s presence at birth

  • tends to result in shorter labors with fewer complications
  • reduces negative feelings about one’s childbirth experience
  • reduces the need for pitocin (a labor-inducing drug), forceps or vacuum extraction and cesareans
  • reduces the mother’s request for pain medication and/or epidurals

In addition, research shows parents who receive support can:

  • Feel more secure and cared for
  • Are more successful in adapting to new family dynamics
  • Have greater success with breastfeeding
  • Have greater self-confidence
  • Have less postpartum depression
  • Have lower incidence of abuse

(Source: www.dona.org)

For a mother in her most powerful and vulnerable state

“A doula is a professional who holds space for a mother in her most powerful and vulnerable state,” says Umm Suhaib.  “She teaches the mother about informed consent, and works towards building a birth plan that puts the mother in charge of her body as much as possible. She helps the husband to build a toolbox for supporting his wife physically and emotionally, to keep the family feeling safe and loved before, during, and after the process of childbirth. She provides prenatal education, natural coping and pain relief, breastfeeding and bottle feeding support.”
“The top benefit of having a doula is having constant and consistent support for you during this sacred, beautiful and sometimes stressful time,” adds Sister Alexandria. “Through all the ups and downs that might come up with your family, your doctor trips, and life in general, the doula remains a consistent and constant source of support for you.”
The doula’s role is to help women have a safe, memorable, and empowering birthing experience, and that is truly invaluable.

“We need more Muslim doulas…”

doula

Credits: Nic Taylor

Sister Alexandria feels that it’s very important to have more Muslim doulas in the community.
“As a Muslim, it’s absolutely wonderful to have a Muslim to accompany you and your family during this sacred time. It goes back to the various sunnah that go with the whole process that might not be established or properly understood in someone who isn’t Muslim. Regarding getting the dad involved, as Muslims, we understand and are used to the boundaries and thus are perhaps more capable of facilitating dad being hands-on while respecting his space, etc.”
Sister Aishia shares similar sentiments. “Indeed we need more Muslim doulas. Many Muslim woman face ridicule, criticism and harassment birthing in non-Muslim environments. But as sisters in deen (faith) we share a common duty to help and protect one another in those situations.”

My Doula Diary

Doula training has taught me more on how to be supportive and helpful. I’m thankful I can be of service to help women have the experience they desire. Shaykh Hamza Yusuf puts it beautifully when he says, “Real pleasure is in the service of others, and that’s why the happiest of all people, in our belief, is the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ .”
He also says, “No one served people more than the Prophet ﷺ. His life from the beginning to the end was a life of service.” SubhanAllah, how befitting is it to take part in a service that literally means “a woman who serves” or also said to mean a “woman’s servant!”

A calling I did not hear, until He made it known to me

Training to become a doula, became another way for me to perform service (khidma). It is a calling I did not hear, until He made it known to me. As I continue my training, I take clients, and I pray that not only am I helping them, but also giving them a better representation of Islam than what the media is showing.
It is a pleasure to help women in their pregnancy journey. As a mom, I also feel that Allah has blessed me to be able to share my experience with other women, share some of the tips and tools I have used and learned along the way. One of the reasons we go through things in life is so that we can be able to help others. Entering the world of birth work gave life to something inside me that I had not previously recognized.
There have been many mothers in the Muslim community who could have used that support when they were pregnant. They may have needed more information or that gentle voice that tells them “You can do this,” or just be in that room so that mom doesn’t feel alone.
That’s what a doula is here for.
Ameera Rahim

Resources for seekers

Salawat – If You Love It, This Is For You

“Intensely Beautiful” Salawat

SalawatThis brief montage of video clips on sending salawat on the Prophet, peace be upon him, has been described as “intensely beautiful” by Youtube users. Shaykh Ahmad Saad on reciting Surah Yusuf, verse 88 before starting salawat; Shaykh Yahya Rhodus on how to use your imagination while reciting salutations upon the Prophet; Shaykh Gibril Haddad on composing your own salawat and Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Efa on salawat on the Day of Judgement. Our special thanks to Brother Dawud Israel for his efforts.

Resources for seekers:

Rabi-al-Awwal – Love and Praise The Beloved!

The blessed month of Rabi-al-Awwal is upon us once again. Celebrate and be joyous with SeekersHub: