Birth advice

When a child is born, the parents and family should give thanks to Allah Most High for the gift He has bestowed on them, and that everything went better than it could have.  They should remember that this baby is a trust from Allah, not something that they own.

Allah will help the parents to take care of the child. The local authority is happy to help you welcoming the child too, the reason being is that having a child allows indeed the continuity of the human society. Hence a government will make sense.

Therefore, from that day begins the parents duty to ensure the best for the child.  They will be questioned regarding whether they fulfilled the child’s needs, not only physically and socially, but spiritually as well.

They should also be content with Allah Most High’s decree regarding the gender and condition of the child, and show their love equally in all cases.  They should also announce the birth with the same happiness and thanks to others, and others should congratulate them, also regardless of the gender or other features of the child.

It is also a good idea to bring a small gift to the medical staff who assisted the delivery either at home or in the hospital as you may remember our teacher saying who doesn’t thank peolpe, neither does thank Allah.

A mentality of gratitude and contentment, combined with a sense of sacred responsibility, should be the backdrop that provides context and meaning for the virtuous acts which follow.

Giving the Adhan After Birth

In the Maliki, Shafi’i and Hanbali schools, the adhan is recommended and a sunnah, and it should be given in the rightern ear of the child and the iqama should be given in the other one.  [al-Majmu’, al-Nawawi; Mawahib al-Jaleel, al-Hattab; Kashaaf al-Qinaa’, al-Bahuti]

This is based on hadiths found in the collection of al-Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Ahmad, al-Bayhaqi and others.  The wisdom behind it is that the first words the child hears is the magnification of Allah Most High, in hopes that the child would live their life responding to the call to worship the Lord on the path of Islam. [Tahfa al-Mawdud, Ibn al-Qayyim]

In the Hanafi school, it is virtuous to give the adhan in front of the baby when it is born [though not obligatory nor a sunnah].  One should turn one’s face to the rightern side when saying “Hayya ‘ala al-salah” and to the left at “Hayya ‘ala al-falah” like in a normal adhan.  [Radd al-Muhtar, Ibn ‘Abideen]

Tahneek

It is narrated about the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) that when a child was born and brought to him soon afterward, he would moisten a small piece of a date with his mouth and then place it on the palate of the newborn.  [Bukhari, Muslim and others]

This act is called the “taHneek”.  It is considered a recommended and sunnah act, though not obligatory or harmful if left.

This can be done with a date, but if dates are not available, then any similar sweet natural thing will suffice.

This can be performed by the parent, or upright person in the community, preferably from the people of knowledge and piety.  The wisdom is that by sharing the piece of date with a pious Muslim, it is a source of blessing and a hope that the child will also be pious and upright. [‘Umdat al-Qari, al-‘Aini]

Naming the Child

The naming of the child can be done right away, or one can wait till the seventh day, as some narrations do mention this, however, any time is permissible.  It is the child’s right that they are given a name that is good in meaning and reflective of the child’s Muslim faith. [‘Umdat al-Qari, al-Aini]

You are advised to choose names that show servitude to Allah (Abdullah, Abd al-Rahman, Sajida, Abida, etc), then the names that express gratitude and their variations ( Hameeda, Ahmed, Mohammed, Hameed etc),then the names of the prophets (Nouh, Idris, Isaac, Yacob..etc)., and finally names of rightous persons according to Islam ( Aysha, Khadija,Maryam, fatematu’zahraa….etc).

It is also fine to choose a decent and meaningful name free of perversion, negativity or arrogance.

With regard to some muslims avoiding islamic names who fear that their children will be limited / discriminated against in their abilities in life (specifically Job opportunities) due to stereotyping / racism, although they have a justification for that, let ‘s remind that Islam is the second largest religion with results from the United Kingdom Census 2011 giving the UK Muslim population in as ~2,706,066, ~4.5% of the total population. Thus,it is not a strong argument worth the loss of identity, and being deprived of the opportunity to show one’s Islam openly and call people to it. This is what a muslim should be keen to do and hope that children will be callers to their religion of peace, adhering to it and feeling proud of their values. We find that today’s society has achieved a noticeable progress in diversity and mutual respect, particularly the British society. Remember that children will still be able to change their names if they will want to do so but you will have done your share of responsibility and the parents are not accountable before Allah for their children’s deeds beyond the age of puberty.

boy Circumcision

In the Hanafi school, circumcision is an emphasized sunnah for boys, as it is amongst the signs of Islam and an act of natural disposition (fitra).  In the Shafi’i and Hanbali schools, it is considered obligatory.  This can be done on the first week, as it may be easier on the child to do so earlier, or at a later time in his childhood.

In the NHS, circumcision is not covered unless it is for medical indication. So there will be a small fee from £70 to £180 depending on the age of your baby. The safest and most esthetic method is called Plastibell or (Chhalla) and is practiced by many surgeries in the UK.

Shaving the Head

Shaving the head, for boys or girls, is neither sunnah nor obligatory according to the Hanafi school.  Rather, it is merely permissible if one wishes to do this, and there is no harm in leaving it.  [Radd al-Muhtar, Ibn ‘Abideen]

According to the other schools, shaving the head is either recommended, or a sunnah, for boys and girls both, on the seventh day.  The shaved hair is then weighed and its weight in silver or gold is given away in charity, while the hair is then buried.  These opinions also say that the naming and ‘aqeeqah should be done on the seventh day, optimally. [Sharh al-Kabir, al-Dardir; Majmu’, al-Nawawi]

Register the birth

You are required by the British law to register the birth of your baby within 42 days. You should do this at the register office in the district of the birth. Parents who have not registered within 6 weeks will be contacted by the registrar in the district of the birth, requesting them to attend the register office.

If you can’t register the birth in the district where the baby was born, you can go to any register office in England or Wales and they will send your details to the correct office.

Registration services in Bracknell Forest

For births that occur in the Bracknell Forest district.

Book an appointment

An appointment is required to register a birth. Please contact Customer Services to make an appointment.

Fees

Copies of birth certificates on the day of registration – £4 each

Copies of birth certificates from current registers after the day of registration – £7 each

Copies of birth certificates from completed registers – £10 each.

Who can register a birth ? Either parent can register.

You will need to provide the following information:

date and place of baby’s birth (bring your discharge papers with you)
full name and surname of baby
sex of the baby
parents’ names, surnames and address (including any former names)
places and dates of the parents’ birth
date of parents’ marriage
parents’ occupations
mother’s maiden surname
The following information is required by law, but does not appear in the register:

the date of birth for the parents
any other children born to the mother within marriage
the month and year of their marriage

What to bring to the registration of your child’s birth

You should both bring a suitable form of ID, for example your passport, driving licence or birth certificate.

Please bring your ‘Red Book’ or any birth paperwork provided by the hospital or midwife.

It would also be useful to bring:

your passport or birth certificate
proof of your current address
proof of any former name or names (for example, a change of name deed or marriage certificate)
Please note that you are not legally required to produce these documents but if you do they can help to ensure your child’s birth is correctly registered.

You are not required to bring your baby to the appointment.

Opening times

The register office is open Monday to Friday 9.30am to 4.30pm (excluding Bank Holidays).

Appointments are held at Time Square, unless otherwise stated upon booking.

Market Street, Bracknell, Berkshire RG12 1JD.
Open 8.30am – 5pm, Monday to Friday.
Contact: 01344 352000.
www.bracknell-forest.gov.uk/contactus

Claim tax credits if you are on low income

You can:

  • apply for tax credits – if you’ve not applied for tax credits before
  • update your claim – if you’ve already applied for Child or Working Tax Credit

To update a claim, just contact the Tax Credit Office – you don’t need to fill out a claim form.

Tell the Tax Credit Office within 1 month of the birth so your claim can be backdated to the date of birth. If you don’t, your tax credits will only be backdated by 1 month from the date of your claim.   Exemple :

Your baby is born 1 Ramadhan.
You tell the Tax Credit Office on 1 Muharram so your tax credits get backdated to 1 Dulhijja.

If you’d told them by 1 shawwal you’d be getting tax credits from 1 Ramadhan.

How much you get depends on your circumstances – you can use the tax credit calculator to work this out.

Claim child benefit

Fill in a Child Benefit claim form CH2 and send it to the Child Benefit Office with your child’s original birth certificate.

Child Benefit Office (GB)
Washington
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE88 1ZD

It can take up to 12 weeks to process a new Child Benefit claim (or longer if you’re new to the UK).

Claim Child Benefit as soon as your child is born

Child Benefit can be backdated for up to 3 months – make your claim as soon as possible.

You may have to pay a tax charge if you or your partner’s individual income is over £50,000. This is known as the ‘High Income Child Benefit Charge’.

Use the Child Benefit tax calculator to estimate how much tax you may have to pay.

Aqiqa

The aqiqa is when an oudhya is ritually sacrificed out of gratitude to the creator for the newborn, and often, people are fed.  This can combined with the shaving of the head and naming, or not.  It takes the same ruling as shaving the head.

In the Hanafi school, the aqiqa is considered a ritual that began in the pre-Islamic Age of Ignorance and continued into Islam until the ‘Eid al-Adha sacrifice abrogated all previous types of blood sacrifices.

Hence, the aqiqa is not a sunnah, or even recommended per say, let alone obligatory or harmful if left.  It is merely permissible- it can be done, or left without any harm.  However, all three of the other schools of law deemed it to be an emphasized sunnah, so there is a genuine difference of opinion on the matter.  [Fatawa Hindiyya]

Some later Hanafi scholars from certain regions have ruled that the aqiqa, though originally merely permissible, is recommended in light of the other schools’ emphasis on it [see Fayd al-Bari, Anwar Shah Kashmiri].  However, this ruling is neither from the Hanafi school per say, nor binding.

It would be worthy of reward however, if it was done with a good intention to give thanks and feed others, since even a permissible act becomes an act of devotion depending on a good intention.

The Role of Culture and Family Customs

That being said, in some cultures, it has become wrongly seen as almost obligatory, even if the parents cannot afford it, and it can also reflect elements of trying to impress society, or ward off superstitions.  This reasoning can make even a permissible or praiseworthy act into a blameworthy innovation, which is better to tactfully oppose and correct, if the situation allows.

However, if cultural beliefs and family demands are so strong that it will cause more harm to refrain, then on the basis that it is emphasised in other schools, one would probably be wiser to step back and simply let the family “do their thing”, while intending the good.

The point behind all of these rituals, as we said, is that they should come from a grateful heart, one that is aware of the immense blessing of parenthood, and the sacred duty of a parent to its child.  May Allah Most High bless your child and make them amongst the pious and righteous.

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