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Chapter 5: Conception

Recommended Foods

The food one eats not only has a great impact on the physical aspect of a person, but on the soul and psyche as well. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that parents-to-be stay away from forbidden food, and even those that food which is doubtful.1 Additionally, some foods have also been specifically recommended by the Imāms for a beautiful and righteous child.

Before the conception of Haďrat Fāťima (sa), the Prophet (S) by the command of Allāh (SwT) stayed away from Haďrat Khadīja for 40 days. During these 40 days, he performed acts of worship and fasted, and his ifťār consisted of food that had been brought from the heaven.
It is recommended to eat the following foods before trying to conceive:

1. Chichory2

a. It has been recommended that the father should eat chicory.3

2. Pomegranate

a. It is narrated from the Prophet (S): “Eating pomegranate is a cause of increased sperm production for men and makes the child beautiful and healthy as well.”4
b. It is narrated from Imām al-Riďā : “Eating sweet pomegranate makes a man powerful in the sexual act and greatly affects the beauty of the child.”5

3. Qawoot

a. Qawoot is a powder made by grinding and sifting the following ingredients in relative quantities: Roasted wheat, Roasted Barley, Roasted Sun-flower seeds, Roasted Water melon seeds, Roasted Melon seeds, Roasted Roasted Deep Ribbed melon seeds, Roasted Purslane seeds, Roasted Coriandor, Roasted Hemp-seeds, Roasted Fennel seeds, Roasted poppy seeds, Roasted Peas, Sesame, Pistachio, Coffee, Cardamon, Cinamon, Almond, Sugar.

As this mixture is not readily available in most countries, it is suggested that the above contents are eaten on their own, e.g. pistachios and almonds.

b. It has been recommended that both the father and mother should eat qawoot:

It is narrated that a man told Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): “O son of the Messenger of Allāh (SwT), a son has just been born who is weak and simple-minded.” Imām replied: “Why didn’t you eat qawoot? Eat that and recommend your family to do so too. Surely, qawoot makes flesh grow and makes the bones firm, and a son will not be born from you except that he is strong.”6

c. It is narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): “Eating qawoot with olive oil and meat fattens a person, makes bones firm, makes the body bright and with Nūr (Noble light) and increases the sexual power.”7

4. Quince

a. It is narrated that Imām as-Ŝādiq (as) saw a beautiful child and said, “It is very likely that the father of this child ate the fruit quince on the night of conception.”8

b. It is also narrated from him that: “Eating (quince on the night of conception) makes the face (of the foetus) beautiful and good, and the heart strong and firm.”9

c. Another tradition from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as) narrates “Anyone who eats quince on an empty stomach, the source of his seed production (sperm) becomes pure and healthy, and his child will be beautiful and decent.”10

d. It is narrated that the Prophet (S)  cut his quince into pieces and gave one to Ja°far ibn Abī Ťālib and told him: “Eat! This quince gives colour lustre and makes the child good.”11

Recommended Acts

It is important to note that many of the acts mentioned in this section are similar to those outlined in the Sexual Etiquette section, with the addition of how it affects the conceived child.

State of mind

The state of mind and soul of the parents has an important effect on the child. The following incidents reflect the importance of the state of mind when conceiving, and its consequences.

a. While Prophet (S) Mūsā was working as a shepherd for Prophet (S) Shuaib, they made an agreement that any sheep from the flock that were parti-coloured (both black and white) would be paid to Prophet (S) Mūsā as his wage. After this agreement, Prophet (S) Mūsā covered parts of his stick with coloured skin and left some parts as they were, hung a similar parti-coloured cloth (Aba) on the stick and then put this stick up in the sheep’s pasturing ground. At the time of reproducing, the sheep would look at this.

At the end of the year, when it was time to collect wages, Prophet (S) Shuaib noticed that most of the children of the sheep were parti-coloured! Prophet (S) Mūsā explained that this was the direct effect of looking at the stick and cloth at the time of reproduction.12

b. In an African family, where both husband and wife were black-skinned, they had a tan-skinned child (like that of an American Indian). When researching this, scientists found that the husband had an American Indian friend and had stuck a picture of that friend on the wall. At the time of conception, his gaze fell on the picture and he thought of his friend; this very thought had an effect on the sperm and a tan-skinned child, similar to his friend, was born.13

Therefore, when trying to conceive, it is strongly recommended in Islam that the recommended acts below are adhered to in order to conceive a pure and good child:

1. Try and be relaxed, as this results in increased blood circulation and thus, a normal child. It is narrated from Imām Hasan: “(If) at every time of conception, the heart is relaxed, blood circulation is normal and the body is without agitation and anxiety, the child will resemble his father and mother.”14

2. Likewise, a healthy relationship between husband and wife and a strong physical attraction is beneficial for the child, whereas fear and worry will have a negative effect on the child.15

3. Be in Wuďū and in the remembrance of Allāh (SwT) as this results in relaxation and calming of the heart and has positive effects on the sperm and thus the child.16 Allāh (SwT) states this in the

Noble Qur`an, in Surat al-Ra°d, Verse 28:

 أَلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَتَطْمَئِنُّ قُلُوبُهُمْ بِذِكْرِ اللٌّهِ أَلاَ بِذِكْرِ اللٌّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُــلُوبُ 

“Those who have faith and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allāh (SwT); Look! The hearts find rest in Allāh (SwT)’s remembrance!”

4. Start with the following Du°ā:

It is narrated from the Imām al-Bāqir (as) that before the act, recite the following:

أَللٌّهُمَّ ارْزُقْنِي وَلَداً وَ اجْعَلْهُ تَقِيّاً لَيْسَ فِي خَلْقِهِ زِيَادَةٌ وَ لاَ نُقْصَانٌ وَ اجْعَلْ عَاقِـبَتَهُ إِلَى خَيْرٍ.

“O Allāh (SwT)! Bless me with a child, and make him pious. Let there not be in his creation any excess or any defect, and give him a good destiny.”17

State of body

The state of the body of the parents too, has a perceptible effect on the child, and can lead to weaknesses and illnesses in the child if one is not careful.

1. Do not make love the night that you return from a journey, or the night that you intend to leave for a journey, as one is usually stressed and tired on these nights. It has also been narrated that this results in the child being a wanderer and a pedlar,18 and the child will use up his wealth in the wrong ways.19

2. Do not make love in the first hours of the night, with a tired body and a full stomach, as this results in the child being a sorcerer and choosing the world over the hereafter.20 Rather, make love in the late hours of the night, when your tiredness is almost gone, and your stomach is empty. It has also been found that a child conceived in the late hours of the night is more intelligent.21

Protection from Satan

22

In order to prevent the effects of Satan on this important night, the following acts are also recommended:

1. Make intention that you are trying for a child, for the sake of the pleasure and nearness of Allāh (SwT)

2. Before engaging in the act, recite Qur`an and thank Allāh (SwT) for the blessings He has given.

3. Before engaging in the act, start with:

أَعُوذُ بِاللٌّهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ

“A’udhu billahi min ash-Satan ir-rajeem”

because this ensures that the child conceived will not have qualities of Satan.

4. Recite:

بِسْمِ اللٌّهِ الرَّحْمٌنِ الرَّحِِيمِ

“Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim”

5. Remember Allāh (SwT) often, especially during the act. It is narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): “Whenever a person makes love to his wife, Satan is present. Then, if the name of Allāh (SwT) is remembered, Satan goes far from there, but if the act occurs and the name of Allāh (SwT) is not taken, Satan takes part in that he is one with the sperm.”23

It is also narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): “Anytime you want to make love to your wife, remember Allāh (SwT). Because anyone who does not do so and a child is born from him in that state, he/she is from the polytheism of Satan. And the purity or lack of purity of the child is determined by the love and enmity of us, the Ahlul Bayt.”24

6. Recite the following Du°ās:

بِسْمِ اللٌّهِ الرَّحْمٌنِ الرَّحِيمِ الَّذِي لاَ إِلٌهَ إِلاَ هُوَ بَدِيعُ السَّمٌوَاتِ وَ الأََرْضِ. أَللٌّهُمَّ إِنْ قَضَيْتَ مِنِّي فِي هٌذِهِ اللَّيْلَةِ خَلِيفَةً فَلاَ تَجْعَلْ لِلشَّيْطَانِ فِيهِ شِرْكاً وَ لاَ نَصِيباً وَ لاَ حَــظًّا وَ اجْعَلْهُ مُؤْمِناً مُخْلِصاً مُصَفًّى مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ وَ رِجْزِهِ جَلَّ ثَنَاؤُكَ.

“In the name of Allāh (SwT), the Beneficient, the Merciful. The one whom there is no God but He, the creator of the heavens and the earth. O Allāh (SwT)! If you have decreed for me in this night a successor, then don’t let Satan have any part, share or portion in him, and make him a sincere believer, pure from Satan and his evil deeds (great is Your praise).”25

بِسْمِ اللٌّهِ وَ بِاللٌّهِ. أَللٌّهُمَّ جَنِّبْنِي الشَّيْطَانَ وَ جَنِّبِ الشَّيْطَانَ مَا رَزَقْتَنِي.

“In the name of Allāh (SwT), and with Allāh (SwT). O Allāh (SwT)! Keep Satan away from me, and keep Satan away from that which you bless me with.”26

7. Inculcate the love of the Ahlul Bayt (as) in yourselves. It is narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): “Sometimes Satan comes near to the wives like their husbands.” When asked how to determine whether Satan has a part in the conception of our children or not, Imām replied: “By the way of love or grudge to us. So anyone who loves us, Satan has no part in the conception, and anyone who is our enemy, his seed (sperm) is from Satan.”27

It is narrated in a tradition that Satan has said: “Anybody who is an enemy of Imām °Alī, without a doubt I took part in the act between his father and his mother.”28

It is narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): “Inspire (teach) your girls and women friendship of the family of °Alī (as) and (thus) leave them with the state (of pure heart and far from crooked Akhlāq).”29

NOTE: Love of the Ahlul Bayt (as) does not simply mean professing a liking for them, but rather taking them as a role-model for every aspect of our daily lives and striving to work towards their example.

8. Ensure your relationship is permitted and legitimate. The Prophet (S) said to Imām °Alī (as): “Oh °Alī! Anyone who likes me and you and the Imāms from your offspring (should) then thank Allāh (SwT) for his legitimacy, because nobody but those who are legitimate (born) likes us and nobody but those who are illegitimate (born) are our enemies.”30

Indeed, during the time of Imām °Alī (as), the method of distinguishing whether children were legitimate or not was by bringing them near the Imām and seeing whether they liked him or not.31

Acts not Recommended

It is important to note that many of the acts mentioned in this section are similar to those outlined in the Sexual Etiquette section, with the addition of how it affects the conceived child.

Makrūh acts

As some actions have a negative effect on the child such as spite against the Ahlul Bayt 32, it is recommended that the acts mentioned below are refrained from:

1. Looking at the private parts of the woman during the actual act, as this leads to blindness in the child.33

2. Speaking during the actual act (with the exception of dhikr of Allāh (SwT)), as this leads to dumbness in the child.34

3. Having henna on (the man), as this leads to effeminacy of the child (i.e. a girl has characteristics of a boy and vice versa).35

4. Thinking of or desiring another woman during the act, as this leads to insanity of the child.36

5. Making love in the presence of a child, who can either see, or hear the sounds of the act, as this results in that child never being delivered (from the fire of hell) and becoming an adulterer.37

6. Making love when someone is awake in the house that can see, or hear the sounds of the act, as this results in the child never being delivered (from the fire of hell), and becoming an adulterer.38

7. Making love standing, as this results in the child having a bed-wetting problem.39

8. Making love on the rooftop, as this results in the child being hypocritical, and a heretic (innovator).40

9. Making love under a fruit tree, as this results in the child being an executioner and a leader of oppression.41

10. Making love directly under sunlight, as this results in the child being poor, even until his death.42

11. Making love when the man is muhtalim (i.e. become in the state of janabat during his sleep) and before doing Wuďū or Ghusl, as this results in the child becoming insane.43

It is important to also keep in mind the other Makrūh acts during normal sexual etiquette (as mentioned in Chapter 2: Sexual Etiquette). These are:

1. Having Qur`an or the dhikr of Allāh (SwT) on you.

2. Making love bare (without a covering).

3. Making love on the road or in a boat.

4. Facing, or having one’s back to, the Qibla.

5. Refusing to have sexual intercourse (for various reasons).

NOTE: Once the woman has conceived, it is recommended to refrain from making love without Wuďū, as this results in the child being miserly and inwardly blind.44

Recommended Times

It is important to note that many of the times mentioned in this section are similar to those outlined in the Sexual Etiquette section, with the addition of how it affects the conceived child.
Mustaĥab times

1. Sunday night (next day Monday). A child conceived on this night will be content with whatever Allāh (SwT) gives him, will have an excellent memory and will be °āfidh (memorizer) of the Qur`an.45

2. Monday night (next day Tuesday). A child conceived on this night will have the prosperity of Islam, the opportunity of shahadat and he will not be punished with the polytheists. He will have a good smelling mouth and a merciful heart. He will be someone who gives in charity and his tongue will be clean from lies, back-biting or making false accusations.46

3. Wednesday night (next day Thursday). A child conceived on this night will be a ruler from the rulers of Sharī°ah or a scholar from the scholars of religion.47

4. The day of Thursday, at the time of decline of the day. This is the best time and is highly recommended for conception. Satan will not go near the child conceived on this night until he/she becomes old and the security of religion and the world will be his/hers.48

5. Thursday night (next day Friday). A child conceived on this night will be a preacher, orator and reciter.49

6. The day of Friday, after the time of °Aŝr. A child conceived will be well known amongst the wise and learned people.50

7. The day of Friday, after the time of Isha. A child conceived will be from the good and suitable people.51
8. 1st night of Ramaďān.52

Times not Recommended

It is important to note that many of the times mentioned in this section are similar to those outlined in the Sexual Etiquette section, with the addition of how it affects the conceived child.

Harām times

1. During the woman’s menstruation, even on the last day, until the last drop of blood. Pregnancy is still possible, and a child conceived will be troubled with phagedenic ulcers and leprosy.53 It is also narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): “There is no enemy to us, Ahlul Bayt, except one who is illegitimate and one who was conceived during ĥaydh.”54

It is important to also keep in mind the other ĥarām acts during normal sexual etiquette (as mentioned in Chapter 2: Sexual Etiquette). These are:
1. During Nifās.
2. During fasting in the month of Ramaďān.
3. During the state of iĥrām.
4. When it may cause serious harm to either husband or wife.
Makrūh times
1. Between Subĥ as-Ŝādiq (as) (Adhān of Ŝalāt al-Fajr) and sunrise.55
2. Between sunset until the redness of the sky has gone.56
3. The night of a lunar eclipse.57
4. The day of a solar eclipse.58
5. At the time of an earthquake (or other events necessitating Ŝalāt al-Ayāt).59
If a child is conceived in the above times the parents will not see any qualities that they like in their child, because they did not consider these signs of Allāh (SwT) as important.60

6. On the first of the month (with the exception of the 1st of Ramaďān, where it is Mustaĥab), the middle of the month (full moon) and the end of the month (when there is no moon), as it will become a cause of insanity, black leprosy and paralysis of the mother and child.61 Another tradition relates that conception at the beginning and middle of the month results in insanity and the child being possessed by Jinn62, and conception at the end of the month increases the likelihood of miscarriage.63

7. After ²uhr (until around the time of °Aŝr), as this results in the child being squint-eyed.64

8. Between Adhān and Iqāmah, as this results in the child being greedy to kill.65

9. The night of °Eid al-Fiťr, as this results in the child being the source of evil.66

10. The night of °Eid al-Aďhā, as this results in the child having 6 or 4 fingers.67

11. The night of 15th Sha°bān, as this results in the inauspiciousness of the child, and a black mark on his/her face.68

12. The last day of the month of Sha°bān, as this results in the child’s being a helper and tax-collector for oppressors.69

13. °Ashūrā night.

Planning Pregnancies

We can conclude from all of the above that the aim of sexual relations is two-fold: satisfying one’s natural desires and procreation.

Guidelines from the Prophet (S) and his Ahlul Bayt (as) clearly indicate the lengths one has to go to to have desirable offspring. Sexual relations for purposes of conception have to be treated differently, both mentally and physically.

Sometimes, it may so happen that due to lack of information or other reasons, the circumstances of the conception of a child are not planned. The above information may then be a source of worry for the parents as to the possible consequences of conception at times and with acts not recommended.
It is necessary to keep in mind that there are many factors that contribute to the physical and psychological make-up of the child, such as genetics, nutrition, social status, etc. The information mentioned above are just some of these factors that may affect the conceived child.

In addition, it is possible to avert possible negative consequences by actions such as taking out ŝadaqah, reciting the Noble Qur`an, and seeking tawassul (Divine Intercession) from the Ahlul Bayt (as).70

  • 1. Sūrat al-Baqarah, Verse 168: “O mankind! Eat of what is lawful and pure in the earth.”
  • 2. Also called succory, this is a perennial herb of which its dried, ground and roasted roots are used as an adulterant of or substitute for coffee.
  • 3. Biĥār al-Anwār, vol. 62, pg. 215
  • 4. Wasāil ash-Shī~a, vol. 25, pg. 104, no. 31499
  • 5. al-Kāfī, vol. 5, pg. 355
  • 6. Biĥār al-Anwār, vol. 66, pg. 278
  • 7. Ibid., vol. 104, pg. 80
  • 8. Makārim al-Akhlāq, pg. 88
  • 9. Bargā’ī, pg. 549
  • 10. Biĥār al-Anwār, vol. 81, pg. 101
  • 11. Wasāil ash-Shī~a, vol. 25, pg. 165, no. 31538
  • 12. Behdāsht Izdawāj az Nazr Islam, pg. 89
  • 13. Izdawāj Asān, pg. 245
  • 14. Biĥār al-Anwār, vol. 14, pg. 379
  • 15. Rayĥān-e Beheshtī, pg. 33
  • 16. Ibid., pg. 39
  • 17. Wasāil ash-Shī~a, vol. 20, pg. 117, no. 25180
  • 18. Ibid., vol. 20, pg. 253, no. 25560
  • 19. °alliyatul Muttaqīn, pg. 112-114
  • 20. Ibid.
  • 21. Rayĥān-e Beheshtī, pg. 40
  • 22. Niyāzhā wa Rawābith Mādarān wa Janīn, pg. 72
  • 23. al-Kāfī, vol. 5, pg. 502
  • 24. Sharh Man Lā Yahdhural Faqī, vol. 8, pg. 202
  • 25. al-Kāfī, vol. 5, pg. 503
  • 26. Ibid.
  • 27. Tafsir Nur al-Thaqalayn, vol. 3, pg. 183
  • 28. Niyāzhā wa Rawābith Mādarān wa Janīn, pg. 76
  • 29. Sharh Man Laa Yahdhural Faqī, vol. 3, pg. 493
  • 30. Al-Amāli of Shaykh ®adūq, vol. 7, pg. 383
  • 31. Mānaqibe Ibn Shahr Ashūb, vol. 3, pg. 207
  • 32. Biĥār al-Anwār, vol. 39, pg. 278, no. 87
  • 33. Wasāil ash-Shī~a, vol. 20, pg. 122, no. 25197
  • 34. Ibid., vol. 20, pg. 121, no. 25195
  • 35. Ibid., vol. 20, pg. 125, no. 25205
  • 36. °alliyatul Muttaqīn, pg. 112-114
  • 37. Wasāil ash-Shī~a, vol. 20, pg. 133, no. 25223
  • 38. Niyāzhā wa Rawābith Jinsī was Zanāshuī, pg. 64
  • 39. °alliyatul Muttaqīn, pg. 112-114
  • 40. Ibid.
  • 41. Ibid.
  • 42. Ibid.
  • 43. Wasāil ash-Shī~a, vol. 20, pg. 148, no. 25271
  • 44. Ibid.
  • 45. °alliyatul Muttaqīn, pg. 112-114
  • 46. Ibid.
  • 47. Ibid.
  • 48. Ibid.
  • 49. Ibid.
  • 50. Ibid.
  • 51. Ibid.
  • 52. Ibid.
  • 53. Ibid., pg. 110
  • 54. Niyāzhā wa Rawābith Jinsī was Zanāshuī, pg. 69
  • 55. Wasāil ash-Shī~a, vol. 20, pg. 126-127, no. 25207
  • 56. Ibid.
  • 57. Ibid.
  • 58. Ibid.
  • 59. Ibid.
  • 60. Niyāzhā wa Rawābith Jinsī was Zanāshuī, pg. 59
  • 61. Wasāil ash-Shī~a, vol. 20, pg. 129, no. 25214
  • 62. Ibid., vol. 20, pg. 129, no. 25212
  • 63. Ibid., vol. 20, pg. 127, no. 25208
  • 64. °alliyatul Muttaqīn, pg. 112-114
  • 65. Ibid.
  • 66. Ibid.
  • 67. Ibid.
  • 68. Ibid.
  • 69. Ibid.
  • 70. Confirmed with the office of Ayatullāh Sīstānī, Qom

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