The information in this manual is based on the authentic and original sources of the teachings of the Prophet (s) and his Ahlul Bayt (as), on the topics of sexual etiquette between a man and a woman, and the creation of a ‘heavenly’ child
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ
Only when we ponder and reflect on the guidance and traditions narrated to us by the Prophet (S) and his Ahlul Bayt (as), do we realise the treasures they have left behind for us. These pearls of wisdom light the path to Heaven by providing us with advice and knowledge at every step in our lives.
Unfortunately, the majority of these treasures are only available in Arabic and Farsi, leaving English-only readers with just a fraction of what is available, thus forcing them to rely on solely secular information to fill this gap.
Two of these treasures are the Islamic teachings of sexual etiquette between a man and a woman, and the creation of a ‘heavenly’ child. This information has therefore been translated from various Farsi texts and compiled into this manual. It is our hope that this will provide the English reader with an Islamic manual to be incorporated and utilised side by side with all the other information available, allowing one to not only receive its benefits in this world, but to bring one closer to Allāh (SwT) and heaven.
The information in this manual is based on the authentic and original sources of the teachings of the Prophet (S) and his Ahlul Bayt (as). Wherever possible, traditions from these Noble persons have been included to highlight the strong Islamic basis behind the recommendations made, as well as to encourage the reader to become familiar with the words of our leaders in Islam. In addition the inclusion of these traditions highlights the importance Islam places on every single aspect of our lives, never leaving us without guidance at any stage.
At this stage it is necessary to mention that it is possible that the Ahlul Bayt (as) have narrated these traditions at a specific time, place or situation, which information unfortunately has not reached us. We have tried our best to bring the tradition to you as narrated in the sources, in order that they may be useful and beneficial.
This manual begins with a discussion about the wedding night, including the A°māl that have been recommended for this night, allowing the bride and groom to start this stage of their life in the best possible way. This is then followed by sexual etiquettes and its importance in Islam, as well as recommendations for the acts and times in which a sexual union is particularly advisable or not.
A section on important fiqh rules laying out essential information in a simple manner follows. All the fiqh rules are in accordance with Ayatullāh al-°Uzmā Sayyid °Alī al-°Husainī as-Sīstānī. Muqallidīn of other mujtahids are recommended to refer to their own Risālah for these sections.
With respect to sexual etiquette, family planning and the conception period, Islamic recommendations have been highlighted with regards to foods, acts and times, preparing the ground for the making of a righteous and beautiful child, insha-Allāh.
Once pregnant, both the mother and father need to be aware of their roles and responsibilities, allowing them to fulfil these in the best manner possible. Once again, recommendations for foods, acts and supplications have been outlined, to begin the nourishing and fostering of the child from these early stages in the womb.
Recommended acts for a safe and easy delivery and for the period immediately after delivery are then discussed, continuing on to breastfeeding, which is known as one of the rights of a child. This is then followed by some additional important fiqh rules for the mother, dealing mainly with the issue of Nifās (the blood seen by the mother after childbirth).
Last but definitely not least, this work closes with a chapter on raising children, including 40 Akhlāqī points on interacting with your child, instilling the love of the Ahlul Bayt (as) in them and tips on memorisation of the Qur`an for both parent and child. This section is filled with important and interesting information that if adhered to, can only serve to have a positive and beneficial impact on the child.
It is necessary to mention certain points that may crop up in the reader’s mind when going through the vast amount of information available. Firstly, certain recommendations may seem very specific and narrow, such as that of the times when one should and should not conceive; however, it is essential to remember that Islam is not a difficult religion, and these recommendations are not there to impose unnecessary restrictions on us.
Rather, these recommendations are placed there for our benefit, by a Creator who knows us better than we know ourselves. A little effort on our part will have long term consequences that we may not even be aware of. Indeed, it is important to note that the majority of the recommendations are just that, recommendations. All we have to do is to approach this with the right niyyat, ensure that the obligatory acts are performed and try our best with the rest, and insh-Allāh, He will guide us the rest of the way.
Secondly, Muslim women in particular have an added responsibility during pregnancy and beyond, as not only do the medical factors and advice have to be adhered to, but the spiritual factors too. This is especially hard if the pregnancy is a difficult one. Once again, one must keep in mind that the benefits outweigh the costs.
Additionally, it is not necessary that every single recommended act be carried out; rather a mother must see what is most suitable to her timetable and carry out what she can to the best of her abilities, and leave the rest to Allāh (SwT), who is All-Knowing. This is especially pertinent considering that the recommendations will only have the desired effect if carried out with a calm and peaceful soul, rather than one with worry and stress.
Indeed, in all aspects of life, Islam has given importance to the ‘middle path’ and forbidden extremes. Likewise, it is wise to remember that the recommendations in this manual each have their time and place, and should not be overly indulged in, nor completely ignored. For example, one of the recommendations for a beautiful child is that the father should eat pomegranate; however, this does not mean that the father should make pomegranate his only fruit, and even substitute it for his main meals as this is harmful and dangerous.
It is only when the middle path is treaded upon that the inner, spiritual benefits of these recommendation come into play and affect our lives.
In closing, for a comprehensive approach to these areas, we would like to recommend that this manual be read and incorporated side by side with the supplications in A Mother’s Prayer1 by Saleem Bhimji and Arifa Hudda.
We would like to thank all those who contributed to this manual in one way or the other, and supported it throughout. May Allāh (SwT) reward you for everything.
Lastly, we ask for your forgiveness if there are any shortcomings or errors in this manual; please let us know and insha-Allāh, we shall try to improve it for future readers. Any other comments or suggestions would also be welcome.
When using this manual, please remember our families in your Du°ās, and all Marhumeen with a Surat al-Fātiĥah.
We humbly pray to Allāh (SwT) to accept this effort, and if accepted, we present it to Haďrat Ma°ŝūmah (sa), in whose Noble neighbourhood we completed this work, and our Noble Imām of the time, Imām Mahdī (aj).
“All Praise belongs to Allāh, Lord of all the Worlds.”
Abbas and Shaheen Merali
1st July, 2005
The Noble City of Qom
It is narrated from the Prophet (S): “The doors of Heaven to mercy will be opened in four situations: when it rains; when a child looks kindly at his parent’s face; when the door of the Ka°bah is opened; and when marriage (occurs).”1
As indicated by the above tradition, the concept of marriage in Islam is so sacred and valued, that the doors of Allāh (SwT)’s mercy are open on this occasion.
Indeed, this is not surprising when one considers that marriage secures a large portion of one’s faith and protects it from the evil of Satan, as narrated from the Prophet (S): “There is not a single young person that gets married during his youth, except that his Satan cries out that ‘Woe onto him, woe onto him, he has protected two thirds of his faith from me’; therefore, mankind must have taqwā (God-Conciousness) in Allāh (SwT) to protect the remaining one third of his faith.”2
It is therefore essential that a couple, when embarking on this step, take utmost care to protect the sanctity of this sacred union and do not taint it from the start by allowing the occasion of marriage to become a source of sin and extravagance.
In particular, the wedding night is the first night that a man and woman come together as husband and wife, and it is highly recommended that they form this union with the intention of obtaining the nearness and pleasure of Allāh (SwT) and perform the recommended amaal for this night.
At this point it is necessary to take a look at what state the ‘mistress of the women of the worlds’, Haďrat Fāťima (sa) had on the night of her wedding, and how she started her life with her husband, Imām °Alī (as) the wedding night, Imām °Alī (as) Haďrat Fāťima (sa) upset and in tears, and asked her why she was in this state.
She replied: “I thought about my state and actions and remembered the end of life and my grave; that today I have gone from my father’s house to your house, and another day I will go from here to the grave and the Day of Judgement (Qiyāmat). Therefore, I swear by you to Allāh (SwT); come let us stand for Ŝalāt so that we can worship Allāh (SwT) together in this night.”3
The following A°māl are recommended for this night4:
1. Try to be in Wuďū for as much of the night as possible, and especially during the amaals below.
2. Begin by praising Allāh (SwT), then say Allāhu Akbar (أللهُ أكَبر), followed by a Ŝalawāt (أللهم صلى على محمّد و آل محمّد).
3. Recite a two Rak°at Ŝalāt, with the intention of ‘Mustaĥab Qurbatan IlAllāh (SwT)’ [a recommended prayer, seeking the pleasure of Allāh (SwT)], followed by a Ŝalawāt.
4. Recite the following Du°ā, followed by a Ŝalawāt. First the groom should recite it, after which the bride should say: Ilāhī Amīn [May Allāh (SwT) accept this].
أَللٌّهُمَّ ارْزُقْنِي إِلْفَهَا وَ وُدَّهَا وَ رِضَاهَا وَ رَضِّـنِي بِهَا ثُمَّ اجْمَعْ بَيْنَـنَا بِأَحْسَنِ اجْتِمَاعٍ وَ أَسَرِّ ائْتِلاَفٍ فَإِنَّكَ تُحِبُّ
الْحَلاَلَ وَ تَكْرَهُ الْحَرَام.
“O Allāh (SwT)! Bless me with her affection, love and her acceptance of me; and make me pleased with her, and bring us together in the best form of a union and in absolute harmony; surely You like lawful things and dislike unlawful things.”5
5. Even if a couple are not intending to conceive on the wedding night, it is recommended that the following Du°ās are recited for righteous children (whenever they are conceived):
a. The groom should then place his right palm on the bride’s forehead facing Qibla and recite:
أَللٌّهُمَّ بِأَمَانَتِكَ أَخَذْتُهَا وَ بِكَلِمَاتِكَ اسْتَحْلَلْـتُهَا فَإِنْ قَضَيْتَ لِي مِنْهَا وَلَداً فَاجْعَلْهُ مُبَارَكاً تَقِيًّا مِنْ شِيعَةِ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ وَ لاَ تَجْعَلْ لِلشَّيْطَانِ فِيهِ شِرْكاً وَ لاَ نَصِيباً.
“O Allāh! I have taken her as Your trust and have made her lawful for myself by Your words. Therefore, if you have decreed for me a child from hver, then make him/her blessed and pious from among the followers of the family of Muĥammad; and do not let the Satan have any part in him/her.”6
b. The following Du°ā should also be recited:
أَللٌّهُمَّ بِكَلِمَاتِكَ اسْتَحْلَلْتُهَا وَ بِأَمَانَتِكَ أَخَذْتُهَا. أَللٌّهُمَّ اجْعَلْهَا وَلُوداً وَدُوداً لاَ تَفْرَكُ تَأْكُلُ مِمَّا رَاحَ وَ لاَ تَسْأَلُ عَمَّا سَرَحَ.
“O Allāh! I have made her lawful for myself with Your words, and I have taken her in Your trust. O Allāh! Make her fertile and devoted.”7
6. The groom should wash the bride’s feet and sprinkle that water in all the four corners of the room and house. Allāh (SwT) will remove 70,000 types of poverty, 70,000 types of blessings will enter the house and 70,000 blessings will come upon the bride and groom. The bride will be safe from insanity, ulcers and leprosy.8
1. One should refrain from having the °Aqd or wedding during Qamar Dar Akrab – when the moon is passing through the phase of Scorpio.
2. One should refrain from having the °Aqd or wedding outdoors, under the sunlight.
3. It is recommended that the °Aqd and wedding take place at night.
NOTE: It is important to note that the main objective of the wedding is the joining of a man and a woman. More often than not, weddings that take place today are long and extremely tiring for the bride and groom; they reach their room late at night and not fit for the recommended A°māl of this sacred night, nor much else. Therefore, it is recommended that the procedures of this night are kept simple and to a bare minimum. If other ceremonies are desired, they should be held on the preceding or proceeding nights.
1. It is not necessary that consummation of the marriage take place on the wedding night; rather it may take a few days or even a few weeks.
2. Fatigue, nervousness and tension may make it harder; therefore it is important that husband and wife take time to get comfortable with each other and move at their own pace.
3. Artificial lubrication may be needed for the first few days or weeks in order to make consummation easier and more enjoyable.10
4. Early or premature ejaculation may be a problem for the first few times; however, this should eventually be resolved after time and experience.
5. The hymen may or may not bleed. Foreplay, gentleness and intercourse again soon after can help reduce the pain of the tearing of the hymen.
6. After consummation (whenever it may be), the bride should not have milk, vinegar, coriander, sour apple or melon for a week, as they cause the womb to dry up and become cold and barren. Eating vinegar at this time also results in the woman not becoming clean (ritually clean) from the blood of menstruation, coriander (and watermelon) results in a difficult labour and sour apple results in the stopping (of regularity) of menstruation, and these all result in illnesses.11
7. People may make certain comments over the next few days. It is important not to let this affect you, and not to get drawn in to their conversations.
8. Don’t talk about your intimate details to outsiders; maintain respect of your spouse and your relationship.
The Prophet (S) desired to have the °Aqd recited in the mosque and in the presence of the people. Imām °Alī (as) joyfully went to the mosque and the Prophet (S) also entered the mosque. The Muhājirīn and Anŝār gathered around them. The Prophet (S) went on the minbar and after praising and thanking Allāh (SwT), said: “Oh people! Know that Jibrā`il descended on me and brought a message from Allāh (SwT) that the ceremony of the °Aqd of °Alī (as) has taken place in the presence of the Angels in ‘Bait al-Ma`mur.’ Allāh (SwT) has commanded that I perform this ceremony on earth and make you all witnesses.” At the point, the Prophet (S) recited the °Aqd.
Then the Prophet (S) said to Imām °Alī (as): “Get up and give a speech.” Imām °Alī (as) got to his feet and after remembering and thanking Allāh (SwT) began his speech and expressed his satisfaction and contentment at his marriage to Haďrat Fāťima (sa).
The people prayed for him and said: “May Allāh (SwT) bless this marriage, and place love and friendship in your hearts.”12
Between the °Aqd and the wedding ceremony, Imām °Alī (as) was shy to speak about his wife to the Prophet (S). One day, his brother °Aqīl asked him: “Why don’t you bring your wife to the house so that we can congratulate you for the occasion of your wedding?” This topic reached the Prophet (S), who called Imām °Alī (as) and asked him: “Are you ready to get married?”
Imām °Alī (as) gave a positive response. The Prophet (S) said: “Insha-Allāh, tonight or tomorrow night, I will make arrangements for the wedding.” At that time, he told his wives to dress Haďrat Fāťima (sa) and to perfume her and to carpet her room so as to prepare for the wedding ceremony.15
The Prophet (S) told Imām °Alī (as): “There cannot be a wedding without guests.” One of the leaders of the Anŝār named Sa°ad said: “I gift you a sheep,” and a group of the Anŝār also brought some16 corn17, and some dried whey, oil and dates were also bought from the bazār.
The meat was cooked and the Prophet (S) with his purity took the responsibility of cooking for the wedding, and with his blessed hands, mixed them (the ingredients) and began preparing a type of °Arabic dish called Habīs or Hais.18
However, although the food was prepared, the invitation was public. A large number took part and with the blessings of the Prophet’s (S) hands, everyone ate and became full from the food, and there was even some left over for the poor and needy; a dish was also placed for the bride and groom.19
The Prophet (S) told his wives to prepare a celebration for Haďrat Fāťima (sa) After food, the ladies gathered around Haďrat Fāťima (sa) and the Prophet (S) helped her get on his horse. Salmān al-Fārsī took hold of the horse’s reins and with the special ceremony, brave men such as Hamza and a number of the family and maĥārim of Haďrat Fāťima (sa) gathered around the horse with drawn swords. Many women waited behing the bride and recited Takbir.
The horse began moving, and the ladies began reciting Takbir and praises of Allāh (SwT). At that time, one by one, they read beautiful hymns that had been composed, and with splendour and joy, took the bride to the house of the groom. The Prophet (S) also reached the group and entered the bridal chamber.
He requested a dish of water, and when that was brought, he sprinked some on Haďrat Fāťima’s (sa) chest and told her to do Wuďū and wash her mouth with the rest of the water. He sprinkled some water on Imām °Alī (as) as well and told him to do Wuďū and wash his mouth.
The Prophet (S) then took Haďrat Fāťima’s (sa) hand and placed it in the hand of Imām (as) and said: “Oh °Alī! May you be blessed; Allāh (SwT) bestowed on you the daughter of the Prophet (S) of Allāh (SwT), who is the best of women (of the world).” He then addressed Haďrat Fāťima (sa) and said: “Oh Fāťima, °Alī is from the best of husbands.”20
He then recited a Du°ā for them: “Oh Allāh, make them familiar (close) to each other! Oh Allāh, bless them! And place for them blessings in their life.”
As he was about to leave, he said: “Allāh has made you and your offspring pure (ritually clean). I am a friend of your friends, and an enemy of your enemies. I now bid you farewell and deposit you with Allāh.”21
The next morning, the Prophet (S) went to see his daughter. After that visit, he did not go to their house for three days, but went on the fourth day.22
On the wedding night of Haďrat Fāťima (sa), Asma bint Omaīs (or Umme Salama) who was among the women, asked permission from the Prophet (S) if she could stay near Fāťima so as to carry out any needs she may have.
She said to the Prophet (S): “When the time of the death of Khadīja came in Makkah, I was next to her and saw that Khadīja was crying. I said to her: “You are the ‘mistress of the women of the worlds’ and the wife of the Prophet (S) and despite this you are crying whereas Allāh (SwT) has given you the good tidings of heaven?” Khadīja (sa) replied: “I am not crying because of death; rather I am crying for Fāťima who is a small girl and women on their wedding night need a woman from their relatives and close ones (maĥram) who will tell them their hidden secrets, and I am afraid that that night, my dear Fāťima will not have anyone.”
Then I told Khadīja (sa) that, “I swear to my God that if I stay alive until that day, on that night I will stay in that house in your place.” Now I would like permission from you that you excuse me so that I can keep my promise.” Upon hearing this, the Prophet (S) started crying and gave me permission to stay and prayed for me.23
On the wedding night of Imām °Alī (as) and Haďrat Fāťima (sa), the Prophet (S) gave her a (wedding) suit to wear on that night. When Haďrat Fāťima (sa) had gone to the wedding house and was sitting on the prayer mat praying to Allāh (SwT), suddenly a needy person came to the door of the house of Haďrat Fāťima (sa) and with a loud voice said: “From the door of the house of Prophethood, I want an old suit.”
At that time, Haďrat Fāťima (sa) had two suits, one old and the other new. She wanted to give the old suit as per the request of the needy man, when suddenly she remembered a verse which states: “You will never attain piety until you spend out of what you hold dear.”24 Haďrat Fāťima (sa), who knew she liked the new suit more, acted on this verse and gave the new suit to the needy man.
The next day, when the Prophet (S) saw the old suit on Haďrat Fāťima (sa), he asked: “Why didn’t you wear the new suit?” Haďrat Fāťima (sa) replied: “I gave it to a needy man.” The Prophet (S) said: “If you had worn the new shirt for your husband, it would have been better and more suitable.” Haďrat Fāťima (sa) replied: “I learnt this manner from you. When my mother Khadija became your wife, she gave all her wealth to the empty-handed in your path, until it reached a point when a needy person came to the door of your house and requested clothes. There were no clothes in the house so you took off your shirt and gave it to him, and this verse was revealed: “Do not keep your hand chained to your neck, nor open it all together, or you will sit blameworthy, regretful.”25
Overwhelmed by the love and sincerity of his daughter Zahrā (sa), tears fell from the Prophet (S)’s (S) eyes, and as a sign of love, he hugged Haďrat Fāťima (sa) to his chest.26
Sexual intercourse and the sexual relationship with a legal spouse are governed by nature, and at the same time is a sunnah of the Prophets and the Ahlul Bayt (as). It has even been referred to as the most pleasurable thing in life. A group of companions and Shī°as of Imām as-Ŝādiq (as) narrate that the Imām asked us: “What is the most pleasurable thing?” We said: “There are many pleasurable things.” Imām said: “The most pleasurable thing is making love with (your) spouses.”1
It is also narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): “Whether in this world or in the hereafter, one has not, and will not, perceived a pleasure more pleasurable than sexual relations with women, and certainly this is the commentary of the words of Allāh (SwT) in the Qur`an, in Surat Āli-’ Imrān, verse 14 where He states: “To mankind has been made to seem decorous the love of (worldly) desires, including women and children.” He then said: “Indeed, the people of heaven do not take delight in the pleasures of heaven more than Nikah2; neither food nor drink has that much pleasure for them.”3
As with every other aspect of our lives, Islam provides us with all the necessary information for the sexual lives of man and woman. The reason for this is simple; Islam recognizes the innate nature of man, and has ordained sexual relations for pleasure, and not just procreation. Sexual desires cannot, and should not be repressed, but rather regulated for one’s well-being in this world and the hereafter. If these rules are paid attention to and carried out with the intention of the pleasure and closeness of Allāh (SwT) and staying away from the evil of Satan, it is counted among the greatest of virtues.
There are many traditions relaying the importance of sexual relations. It has the station of worship and ŝadaqah, and has been called the sunnah of the Prophet (S).
Imām as-Ŝādiq (as) narrates that the Prophet (S) addressed one of his companions on the day of Friday and asked: “Are you fasting today?” (The companion) replied, “No.” The Prophet (S) asked: “Have you given anything as ŝadaqah today?” (The companion) replied, “No.” The Prophet (S) told him: “Go to your wife and that is your very ŝadaqah to her.”4
In another tradition, Imām as-Ŝādiq (as) narrates that the Prophet (S) said to someone: “Are you fasting today?” He said, “No.” The Prophet (S) asked: “Have you gone to visit a sick person?” He replied, “No.” The Prophet (S) asked: “Have you been to escort a deceased person?” He replied, “No.” The Prophet (S) asked: “Have you given food to a poor person?” Again he gave a negative response. The Prophet (S) told him: “Go to your wife and going to your wife is ŝadaqah (Go to you to her so that you get all the reward for all these acts).”5
Muĥammad bin Khalad narrates from Imām al-Riďā (as): “Three things are from the sunnah of the noble Prophets and the messengers of Allāh, and these are application of perfume, cutting of the hair and engaging in a lot of conjugal relations.”6
Staying away from sexual relations with one’s wife is a result of Satan’s whisperings, and has many negative consequences such as arguments and rancour between husband and wife.
It is narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): Three ladies went to the Prophet (S) to complain. One of them said: “My husband does not eat meat.” The other said: “My husband does not smell perfurme and does not use perfume,” and the third lady said: “My husband does not come near the ladies (i.e. does not engage in sexual relations).” The Prophet (S) with unhappiness, in the manner that his blessed Aba (cloak) was dragging on the floor, left and went to the mosque and on to the minbar.
He praised Allāh (SwT) and then said: “What has happened, that a group from my followers don’t eat meat, or don’t apply perfume, or don’t go to their wives? Whilst I eat meat, I apply perfume and also go to my wife. This is my sunnah, and any person that turns away from this sunnah is not from me.”7
Imām as-Ŝādiq (as) has also narrated: The wife of °Uthmān bin Ma°dhūn came to the Prophet (S) and said: “Oh messenger of Allāh (SwT), every day °Uthmān fasts and in the evenings engages in Ŝalāt.” The Prophet (S) picked his sandals and angrily went to °Uthmān (such that he did not wait to put his sandals on) and saw him in the state of Ŝalāt. Because °Uthmān saw the Prophet (S) he abandoned his prayer. The Prophet (S) addressed him and said: “Allāh (SwT) has not sent me to be a recluse, I swear by Allāh (SwT) that has instigated me to this pure, orthodox and easy religion, I fast, I pray and I go to my wife, and any one that likes my custom, must be bound by my sunnah and custom, and Nikah8 is from my sunnah.”9
Satisfying one’s wife is an important issue in Islam, as demonstrated by the traditions below; indeed, lack of satisfaction over a long period of time can lead to frigidity and dislike towards the husband.
It is narrated from Imām °Alī (as): “When any of you wants to sleep with his wife, he must not rush her for indeed women have needs (too).”10
It is important for the husband to be aware that a woman’s sexual desire takes longer to express itself, but once it is elicited, is very strong, whereas a man is quickly aroused and also can quickly be satisfied.
Lastly, it is interesting to note that the importance placed by Islam on the satisfaction of both man and woman, is a clear indicator of the justice and fairness of Allāh (SwT). Indeed, it is repeatedly stated in the Noble Qur`an that man and woman were created from a single soul11, and this is just one example of this.
There are no specific rules for sexual intercourse; whatever is mutually pleasing is right, and likewise, whatever is mutually displeasing should be avoided; the only exception to this rule is what the Sharī°ah clearly forbids. However, there are several recommended acts that, if followed, will inevitably lead to a more pleasurable experience.
1. Brush your teeth and chew pleasant-smelling things in order to remove any smells in the mouth. Likewise, try not to eat unpleasant smelling foods prior to intercourse either, such as onions and garlic.
2. Ensure you smell pleasant – the freshest smell is the one after a shower or a quick wash, and the worst smell is that of sweat! Women in particular are sensitive to smell.
Use of perfumes, oils and the like are recommended, although it is important to note that it is better to use natural substances that have been recommended in Islam as they lack chemical ingredients that may cause damage to the body.
In particular, kohl has been recommended for women. It is narrated from Imām al-Bāqir (as): “To put collyrium (kohl) round the eyes gives the mouth a good smell, and makes the eye lashes strong and increases the power of sexual intercourse.”12
It is also narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): “To put collyrium (kohl) in the evenings is beneficial to the eyes and during the day it is Sunnah.”13
NOTE: Althought the traditions recommend the usage of kohl, they do not condone its usage in places where it can be seen by men and can be a source of attraction.
As highlighted earlier, satisfying one’s wife is very important and engaging in sexual intercourse quickly and hastily is not the correct way. There is an average difference of eight minutes between the time a man and a woman reach climax; a man usually takes two minutes to reach climax and a woman takes ten minutes to reach climax. Therefore, in order to fully satisfy his wife, a man should caress her and engage in foreplay so that both partners reach climax at the same time.
Islam greatly stresses the importance of foreplay, as indicated by the traditions below.
It is narrated from the Prophet (S): “Do not engage in sexual intercourse with your wife like hens; rather, firstly engage in foreplay with your wife and flirt with her and then make love to her.”14
It is also narrated from the Prophet (S): “All play and games are futile except for three: Horse riding, archery and foreplay with your wife, and these three are correct.”15
It is narrated from Imām °Alī (as): “Whoever wants to get close to his wife must not be hasty, because women before engaging in the act of love making must be engaged in foreplay so that they are ready for making love to.”16
It is narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): “The Angels of Allāh and those who are witnesses over all the actions of man are watching them in every state except at the time of horse riding competitions and the time that a man engages in foreplay with his wife before engaging in sexual intercourse.”17
There are very few restrictions to the methods used in foreplay; kissing, cuddling, etc. are all allowed. Below are some tradition pertaining to specific methods:
a. Caressing the breasts
It is narrated from Imām al-Riďā (as): “Do not engage in sexual intercourse unless you engage in foreplay, and play with her a lot and caress her breasts, and if you do this she will be overcome by passion (and excited to the full pitch) and her water will collect. This is so that the emission of the watery juices shoots off from the breasts and passion becomes evident from her face and her eyes and that she desires you in the same way you desire her.”18
b. Oral sex
Imām al-Kādhim (as) was asked: “Is there a problem if a person kisses the private part of his wife?” The Imām responded: “There is no problem.” 19
NOTE: Though masturbation (i.e., self-stimulation of one’s own sexual organ until emission of semen or orgasm) is not allowed, in the case of married persons there is no problem if the wife stimulates her husband’s penis until the emission of semen, or the husband stimulates his wife’s vagina until orgasm. This is allowed because it does not come under “self-stimulation”; it is stimulation by a lawful partner.
It was asked of Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): “If someone undresses his wife (and makes her naked) and looks at her, is there a problem?” He replied: “There is no problem, is there any better pleasure than this that exists?” Again a question was asked: “Is there any problem if a husband plays with the private part of his wife?” The Imām replied: “There is no problem, provided that he doesn’t use anything other than his own body parts (i.e. nothing external).” Again it was asked: “Is there a problem performing sexual intercourse in water?” Imām replied: “There is no problem.”20
NOTE: The above tradition highlights the restriction of use of foreign objects
1. It is mustaĥab that Ghusl al-Janābat should be performed soon after sexual intercourse, and the sooner it is performed the better. Also, if one would like to have sexual intercourse more than once in one night, it is better that after every time, they perform Ghusl. However, if this is not feasible, it is recommended that one should do Wuďū before every act.21
2. Immediately after completing the act of intercourse, the husband should perform the Ghusl and at that very moment consume a portion of bee wax (reputed to heal all sorts of wounds especially fractures) mixed with honey and water or mixed with pure honey, as this will replace and compensate for the lost fluids.22
3. If a man’s virility strength quickly ceases after intercourse, he should keep himself warm and sleep.23
4. The husband and wife should both use separate towels to clean themselves. It is narrated from the Prophet (S) that if only one towel is used, this leads to enmity and separation between the two.24
1. Anal intercourse25
Anal intercourse is permissible with the consent of the wife; however, it is a strongly disliked act.
Zaid ibne Shabith narrates that a person asked Imām °Alī (as): “Can you get close to a woman from her behind?” Imām °Alī (as) replied: “Be down with you! Allāh lowers you by this means (of entering a lady). Have you not heard the words of your Lord that is narrated from Lut who said to his community: “What! Do you commit an outrage none in the world ever committed before you?’”26 and 27
There are some who justify this act with the following verse of the Qur`an:
“Your women are a tillage for you, so come to your tillage whenever you like.”28
However, Imām as-Ŝādiq (as), in his tafsir of the above verse of the Noble Qur`an narrates that: “The intention of this verse is that sexual intercourse should be performed from the front, for the reason that the wife in this verse has been compared to tillage (a cultivated land) that gives produce (from the top of the land), which is (just like) the front of the wife because this is from where (children) come into existence and into this world.”29
Abū Baŝīr narrates that he asked Imām (as) what the ruling is of someone who gets close to his wife from the back. The Imām considered this act unacceptable and said: “Stay away from the back of the wife and the meaning of the Noble verse of Surat al-Baqarah (above) is not that you can enter the wife from wherever you want, but rather (it is that you should) perform sexual intercourse, and therefore the meaning of the verse is that get close to your wife at whatever time that you want to.”30
2. Having Qur`an or the Dhikr of Allāh (SwT) on you
It is narrated from °Alī, the son of Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): I asked my brother Imām Kādhim (as): “Can a man have sexual intercourse and go to the bathroom when he has with him a ring on his hand with the dhikr of Allāh (SwT) or a verse of the Qur`an written on it?” Imām replied: “No (it is Makrūh).”31
3. Making love standing
It is narrated from the Prophet (S): “The husband and wife must not engage in intercourse like two donkeys clinging together, because if it is like this then the Angels of mercy will go far from them and the mercy of Allāh will be taken away from them.”32
4. Making love bare (without a covering)
It is narrated that Muĥammad bin al-Ais asked Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): “Is it permissible to go near my wife naked (i.e. make love naked)?” Imām replied: “No, don’t do such a thing…”33
5. Engaging in sexual intercourse under the sky
It is narrated from the Prophet (S): “Allāh dislikes 24 qualities for you, Oh men, and has prohibited you from them; one of these qualities is sexual intercourse under the sky.”34
6. Engaging in sexual intercourse when others are present (and can hear and/or see) in the house
It is narrated from Imām al-Bāqir (as): “It is Makrūh that a man engages in sexual intercourse with his wife if, as well as them, there is someone else in the house.”35
It is narrated from the Prophet (S): “Obtain three qualities from crows: sexual intercourse secretly, going after sustenance at the beginning of the morning and intelligence and alertness against probable dangers.”36
7. Engaging in sexual intercourse in the presence of a child
It is narrated from Imām °Alī (as): “The Prophet (S) has prohibited that a man goes near his wife (for intercourse) and a child in the crib can see them.”37
It is narrated from Imām al-Bāqir (as): “Stay away from sexual intercourse in a place where there may be a child who is able to see.”38
It is narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): “Stay away from going to bed (for sexual intercourse) with your wife when a child can see you, as the Prophet strongly knew this act as Makrūh and very indecent.”39
8. Engaging in sexual intercourse on a boat, on the beach40 or on the road
It is narrated in traditions that sexual intercourse on a boat or on the road results in the curses of Allāh (SwT) and the angels being upon you.41
It is narrated in another tradition from Sakūnī that Imām °Alī (as) passed two animals who were engaged in intercourse at a place of traffic (passage). Imām turned away from them. It was asked: “Oh Amir al-Mu’minin, why did you turn away?” The Imām (as) replied: “It is not right that you come close to each other in the path of people like these animal; such an act is prohibited and it must take place where neither man nor woman can see.”42
9. Facing, or having one’s back to, the Qiblah
The Prophet (S) has prohibited sexual intercourse while facing Qiblah, or having one’s back to Qiblah, and has said that if such an act is done, it results in the curses of Allāh (SwT), the angels and all of humanity being on you.43
NOTE: If when you sit up from a lying position, your face is towards Qiblah, this is known as facing the Qiblah, and vice versa.
10. Refusing to have sexual intercourse (for various reasons)
It is narrated from Imām al-Bāqir (as): The Prophet (S) said to women: “Do not prolong your Ŝalāt such that it becomes an excusefor not going to bed (for sexual intercourse) with your husbands.”44
1. When there is fear of ĥarām [forbidden]
If one has a fear that he might succumb to his sexual desires and the whisperings of Satan and indulge in ĥarām acts, it is obligatory that they protect themselves from this.45 If one is single, they must get married and thus stay away from any potentially forbidden acts.
It is narrated from Ayatullāh Khomeini (ra): “It is obligatory that one who, because of not having a wife will fall into ĥarām, get married.”46
2. Once every four months47
One must have sexual intercourse with his youthful wife at least once in 4 months. This is one of the conjugal rights of the wife and the obligation stays in force unless it either is harmful to him, involves unusually more effort, the wife waives her right or such a prior stipulation was made at the time of nikah by the husband. It makes no difference whether the husband is away on a journey or present.
Safwān bin Yahyā asked Imām al-Riďā (as): “A man has a young wife and hasn’t come close to her for months, even a year. It is not because he wants to trouble her (by staying away), but rather a calamity has befallen them. Is this counted as a sin?” Imām replied: “If he leaves her for four months, it is counted as a sin.”48
Sexual intercourse, if engaged in a permissible manner, is always mustaĥab. However, there are certain times when it is more recommended:
1. When a women desires it from her husband.49
2. When one is attracted to another woman.
It is narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): “Any person that sees a woman and is attracted to her must go to his wife and engage in sexual intercourse with her, because that which the other woman has, the wife also has, and one must not give Satan a way into one’s heart. And if one does not have a wife, he must pray a two Rak°at Ŝalāt, praise Allāh a lot, recite Ŝalawāt on the Prophet and his Ahlul Bayt, and request Allāh to grant him a believing and religious wife and that He makes him needless from the forbidden.”50
Harām (Forbidden) times
1. During menstruation (ĥaydh)51:
Allāh (SwT) states in Surat Baqarah, Verse 222:
وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْمَحِيضِ قُلْ هُوَ أَذىً فَاعْتَزِلُوا النِّسَآءَ فِي الْمَحِيضِ وَلاَ تَقْرَبُوهُنَّ حَتَّى يَطْهُرْنَ
“They ask you concerning (intercourse during) menses. Say, “It is hurtful.” So keep away from wives during the menses, and do not approach them till they are clean.”
If a person who is engaged in sexual intercourse with his wife discovers that her period has begun, then he should immediately withdraw from her.
During the period of ĥaydh, other acts besides sexual intercourse can be performed, as indicated by tradition below:
Mu°āwiyah bin °Umar narrates that he asked Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): “What is permissible for a man when a woman is in the state of ĥaydh?” The Imām replied: “Other than the private parts (i.e. the rest of the body except for her private parts).”52
Imrān bin Qanzalī narrates that he asked Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): “How can a man benefit from a lady that is in the state of ĥaydh?” The Imām replied:”The two thighs (of the lady).”53
However, although the rest of the body of the woman (apart from the private parts) are permitted for the husband, the area from the navel to the knees is Makrūh (not recommended)54; therefore, it is more advisable that the husband avoid these parts as well.
It is important to note that it is not recommended to engage in sexual intercourse after the end of ĥaydh and before the Ghusl of ĥaydh. However, if it is necessary, a woman should wash herself first.55 Allāh (SwT) mentions this in the continuation of the above verse:
فَإِذَا تَطَهَّرْنَ فَأْتُوهُنَّ مِنْ حَيْثُ أَمَرَكُمُ اللٌّهُ
“And when they become clean, go into them as Allāh has commanded you.”
2. During Nifās.56
3. During fasting in the month of Ramaďān.57
4. During the state of Iĥrām and before reciting Ŝalāt of Ťawaf al-Nisā.58
5. When it may cause serious harm to either husband or wife. Sexual intercourse is permissible if it does not cause serious harm.59
1. In the state of Iĥtilām
It is narrated from the Prophet (S): “It is Makrūh that a man who has become muĥtalim (i.e. become in the state of janābat during his sleep), goes to his wife (to perform intercourse) in this state, unless he does Ghusl for his iĥtilām.”60
2. When travelling and there is a possibility of lack of water
It is narrated from Ishāq bin °Ammār: I asked Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): “A man is accompanied by his wife whilst travelling, but he has not obtained any water to perform Ghusl. Can he go to bed with his wife?” Imām replied: “I don’t like it if he does that and it is Makrūh, unless he is scared that if he doesn’t get close to what his permissible for him, he will fall into the forbidden.”61
It is narrated from Imām al-Kādhim (as): “I don’t like it when a person travelling who doesn’t have water engages in sexual intercourse, unless he has fear of harm.”62
(In such cases, as per the fiqh rules, one is able to do tayammum instead of Ghusl in order to pray)
3. The night of a lunar eclipse and day of a solar eclipse
One evening the Prophet (S) was next to one of his wives and on that evening an eclipse occurred, and nothing occurred between them. The wife of the Prophet (S) said: “Were you unhappy with me the whole evening?” The Prophet (S) replied: “What are you saying, this evening was the eve of a lunar eclipse and I know it to be Makrūh that I should get pleasure on this evening, because Allāh (SwT) reproaches a group that become heedless and inattentive to His proofs and signs, and He has described them in the following way: “Were they to see a fragment falling from the sky, they would say, “A cumulous cloud.”“63 and 64
4. Between the Subĥ as-Ŝādiq (Adhān of Salāt al-Fajr) and sunrise and between sunset until the redness of the sky has gone.
It is narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): “Becoming junub during redness of the sun rising and the redness of the sunset is Makrūh.”65
5. At the time of an earthquake (and other events necessitating Ŝalāt al-Ayāt)
It is narrated from Imām al-Bāqir (as): “One who doesn’t leave play and pleasure at the time when the signs of Allāh (SwT) are apparent is from those people who have taken the signs of Allāh (SwT) to be a mockery.”66
A healthy body allows for a healthy sex life. Several acts have been recommended in Islam and if these instructions are acted upon, they will result in a healthy and fresh body.
3. Eating 21 red raisins on an empty stomach.
4. Drinking rain water68.
5. Praying Ŝalāt al-Layl.
6. Washing the hands before and after eating.
7. Discharging at the time of needing the toilet.
8. Washing the feet with cold water after having a bath.
9. Protecting the body from the cold in the autumn season but not protecting it from the cold in the spring season (i.e. wearing heavy clothing in autumn and light clothing in spring).
10. Getting a suitable amount of rest.
11. Eating aniseed and dates.
12. Chewing your food well.
13. Eating food only when hungry and refraining from eating when you are full.
14. Eating a moderate amount and therefore, drinking a moderate amount.
Use of massage oils69
In particular, massaging oil is very beneficial for a healthy body as well as sexual desire, so much so that the Imāms (as) have narrated traditions on this:
It is narrated from Imām °Alī (as): “To anoint the body with massage oil softens the skin, improves the mood, makes the flowing of water and fluids in the body easy, eliminates roughness, ruggedness, bad health and tightness of earning and brings light to the face.”70
It is narrated from Imām al-Bāqir (as): “To anoint the body with massage oil in the evening is the cause of circulation in the blood vessels and (this) revitalises the skin complexion and enlightens the face.”
It is narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): “At least, once a month, or once or twice a week, apply oil to your body. However, if ladies are able to, they must try and apply oil to their body every day.”
The following oils have been recommended
1. Violet Oil
It is narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): “Violet oil is oil of goodness: massage it on your body so that it eliminates head and eye aches.”
A man fell on the ground from his camel, and when water started coming out from his nose, Imām as-Ŝādiq (as) said to him: “Pour violet oil on it.” When the man did this, he was cured and became well. After that the Imām related: “Violet oil in winter is warm and in the summer it is cool71…if the people understood the benefits of this oil, they would drink a lot of it; this oil gets rid of pains and heals the nose.”
2. Willow (Catkin) Oil
A man came to Imām as-Ŝādiq (as) and complained about cracked hands and legs. Imām told him: “Get some cotton, soak it with willow oil and put it on the centre (of the crack), or put the oil straight onto the centre (of the crack).” When the person performed this act, the pain disappeared.
3. Lily Oil
It is narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): “Lily oil has cures for 70 aches, and it is better if it is white lily, which is also known as Arabian Jasmine.”
4. Olive Oil
If olive oil is mixed with honey and drunk instead of water for three days, it increases the sexual strength. If olive oil is rubbed in hair, it prevents it from falling or going white.
It is narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): “Eating olive oil increases the sperm and sexual capability.”72
It is narrated from the Prophet (S): “Definitely eat olive oil because this medicine cures bile, does away with phlegm, strengthens nerves, heals pains, makes the akhlāq good, makes the mouth good-smelling and takes away a person’s grief.”73
It is also narrated from the Prophet (S): “Eat olive oil and rub it on the body, as it is from a blessed tree.”74
It is also narrated from the Prophet (S): “Any person who drinks olive oil and massages it on the body, Satan will not come near him for 40 mornings.”
A man and a woman who would like to increase their level of sexual activity, but do not know what they must do, and likewise people that would like to derive more sexual pleasure, should use massage oils like Arabian Jasmin oil, coconut oil, violet oil and olive oil.75
Things that causes harm to the body with respect to sexual intercourse
1. Sexual intercourse at the beginning of the night, whether in summer or winter, causes harm to the body because the stomach and blood vessels are usually full at this time. Intercourse can lead to colic, paralysis (of the face), gout, stones and distillation of urine, hernia and weakness of eyes.76
Therefore, engaging in sexual intercourse at the end of the evening is more recommended for the maintenance of a healthy body, as it is more likely that one will not have a full stomach.
2. Likewise, sexual intercourse at any time with a full stomach is harmful. It is narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): “Three things damage the body of a person and these include: going to have a bath with a full stomach, engaging in sexual intercourse with your spouse with a full stomach, and engaging in intercourse with old women, decrepit and advanced in age.”77
3. Repetitive prevention of ejaculation can also lead to difficulties for men, as well as for women.78
Things that increase sexual desire79
6. Fresh pomegranate
7. Fresh milk
8. Sweet grapes
9. Wheat oil
10. Extract of the centre of a date.
11. Wearing of yellow shoes.
12. Applying massage oil to the body.
13. Applying collyrium (kohl) to the eyes.
Things that renew and charge sexual desire80
Things that reduce sexual desire81
1. Taking a bath with cold water.
2. Not eating dinner.
It is narrated from Imām al-Kādhim (as): “If people are modest when eating their food (i.e. don’t over-eat or under-eat), their bodies will always stay healthy; and never leave out dinner even if it means eating torn bits of dry bread because it is a cause of strength of the body and strength of sexual intercourse.”82
Janābat is a ritual impurity caused by the discharge of semen or by sexual intercourse, and the person on whom Ghusl al-Janābat becomes obligatory is known as a mujnib.
Things that are Makrūh for someone in the state of janābat1
However, if the person in this state of janābat washes his hands, face and mouth, then eating and drinking in that state will not be Makrūh. It is therefore easier that one performs Wuďū.
However, if the junub does not have water, or on account of water not being available, tayammum can be performed instead of Ghusl.
4. To touch with any parts of the body, the cover, margin, border of the Noble Qur`an or the space between its lines.
5. To have sexual intercourse when one is in the state of Iĥtelām (i.e. discharge of semen during sleep).
6. To dye one’s hair with henna.
7. To apply oil on one’s body.
8. To keep the Noble Qur`an with oneself.
9. To recite more than seven verses of the Noble Qur`an other than those in which obligatory sajdah occur (to recite these verses is ĥarām).
NOTE: The definition of ‘Makrūh of worship (°Ibādat)’ is different to the general ruling of Makrūh, which is that it is better that one does not perform the action. For example it is Makrūh for a traveller to recite Dhuhr, °Asr and Ishā Ŝalāt behind someone who is a non-traveller and vice versa2 or it is Makrūh to recite Qur`an in Sajdah3. This ‘Makrūh of worship (°Ibādat)’ does not mean that it is better that one does not perform the action, but rather it means that if you do perform the act, then the amountof reward received is less as compared to normal.
Things which are forbidden for someone in the state of Janābat4
1. To touch with any part of one’s body script of the Noble Qur`an, or the name of the Almighty Allāh (SwT) in whatever language it may be. It is better that the names of the 14 Ma°ŝūmīn (as) are also not touched in this state.
2. Entering Masjid al-Harām or Masjid al-Nabī.
3. To stay or halt in all other Masājid, and similarly on the basis of obligatory precaution to stay in the shrines of the Noble Imāms is also ĥarām. However, there is no harm in if one crosses or traverses through a Masjid, entering from one door and exiting through the other.
4. To enter a Masjid with the intention of lifting something up or placing something in it.
5. To recite verses of the Noble Qur`an in which performance of the sajdah becomes obligatory: Surat °Alīf Lam Mim Sajdah (32:15), Surat Ha Mim Sajdah (41:38), Surat Najm (53:62) and Surat al-°Alaq (96:19).
1. When a man enters the woman up to the point of circumcision or more, even if ejaculation does not occur, Ghusl al-Janābat becomes obligatory on both parties.5
2. If after performing sexual intercourse a man does not do Istibrā for discharge of semen (which is only urinating) and then performs Ghusl, and thereafter sees an emission and could not determine whether it was semen or not (i.e. urine) it will be deemed as semen and thus Ghusl al-Janābat will become obligatory on him again.6
3. If a man ejaculates inadvertently during sleep.7
1. If one doubts whether or not his penis penetrated up to the point of circumcision, Ghusl does not become obligatory on either party.8
2. The liquid, moisture which is discharged by a man during foreplay is called Mazī and is ritually clean. The liquid that comes out after ejaculation is called Wazī, it is also ritually clean. The liquid that sometimes comes out after urine is called Wadī is ritually clean (unless urine reaches it) and none of these require Ghusl. If one performs Istibra after urinating and then discharges a liquid and doubts whether it is urine or one of the above mentioned liquids, the liquid is ritually clean.9
3. If one engages in sexual intercourse once and wants to engage in it once or twice more in a night, Ghusl is not obligatory after each act.
4. If one has discharged in his sleep and would like to engage in sexual intercourse, it is not obligatory for him to first perform Ghusl and then engage in the act. It is however mukrooh to enagage in the act during this state.10
a. One must first make the intention for Ghusl and then wash the head and neck and then the body. It is better to wash the right side first then the left side. The body cannot be washed before the head.11
b. It does not matter if while washing the neck, one also washes a bit of the right side of the body.12
c. If part of the body is najis it is not necessary to first make it ritually clean and then do Ghusl; whilst doing Ghusl it can be made ritually clean.13
d. If any part of the body is left dry (even the amount of a needle head) the Ghusl is invalid.14
e. Unlike Wuďū, in Ghusl it is ok not to observe muwālāt, i.e. after washing the head and the neck, one then does something else (e.g. soap the body), it is ok for them to come back and wash the body next; it is not necessary for the Ghusl to be started again from the beginning.15
f. All conditions that break the Wuďū, break the Ghusl.
g. If one happens to urinate while doing Ghusl or pass wind, it is not necessary that the Ghusl is restarted; the same Ghusl can be completed. However, if one wants to pray, then according to obligatory precaution, Wuďū is performed as it is not permissible to pray with the same Ghusl.16
h. Ghusl with as many intentions as desired, mustaĥab and obligatory, for example, the Ghusl of Jumu°ah (Friday) can be done at the same time as Ghusl al-Janābat.17
i. After Ghusl al-Janābat is performed, one must NOT perform Wuďū for Ŝalāt. This is the case for all obligatory Ghusls. If multiple intentions were made, e.g., intentions for mustaĥab and obligatory Ghusl, then again, Wuďū is not necessary.18
Times when tayammum can be performed instead of Ghusl
There are six conditions of when tayammum is allowed instead of Ghusl, of which the following are the most applicable to married couples:
1. When it is not possible to obtain sufficient water to perform Ghusl
If one is living in a populated area, one should make their best efforts to procure water for Ghusl until such time that all hope is lost.19
Therefore, if one would like to do Ghusl in order to pray and there is currently no water available, but one is sure that before the Ŝalāt becomes qaďā water will become available one must wait until water arrives so that Ghusl can be performed. Tayammum cannot be performed in this case even if the time of Ŝalāt has set in (it is fadhilah) or if congregational prayers is being recited.20
Even if there is a glimmer of hope that the water will become available before Ŝalāt time, one cannot perform tayammum to pray until one loses hope altogether that water will not become available before the prayers become qaďā.21
However, if one is absolutely sure that water will not be available before qaďā, then one can perform tayammum and pray at the earliest possible time.22
2. When it is almost qaďā time
A person should perform tayammum when the time remaining for the Ŝalāt to become qaďā is so little that if a person does Ghusl, there will be no time left to offer the Ŝalāt.23
Even if a person doubts whether or not enough time will be left for prayer if he performs Ghusl or Wuďū, he should perform tayammum.24
3. Danger to health
If a person fears that if he uses water he will suffer from some ailment or physical defect, or the illness he is already suffering from will be prolonged, or become acute or some more complications may arise, then he should perform tayammum. For example, if a person has an eye disease or an injection where water is not permitted over it for 24 hours, tayammum should be performed.
However, if one can avoid the harm by using warm water, they should prepare warm water and do Ghusl.25
It is not necessary to be absolutely certain that water is harmful to someone. If one feels that there is a probability of harm and that probability is justified by popular opinion, giving cause for some fear, then tayammum should be performed.26
Method of doing tayammum27
Contrary to the common perception, performing tayammum is actually very easy and simple; it is easier than performing Wuďū. It should be performed as follows:
Step 1: Make the intention of doing tayammum (same as Wuďū or Ghusl).
Step 2: With both hands opened flat facing the object on which tayammum is permissible (earth, dust, sand or stone); strike (or place) both hands together in tandem on the object that tayammum is being done on.
Step 3: Raise your hands and put them together like one is doing qunut, then place the base of the palms on the forehead from the point of hair growth. Slide the hands down over the eyebrows and the tip of the nose, then slide the palms to the right of the forehead and then the left. Then bring the hands back to the centre of the forehead and slide them down together towards the nose, ensuring the fingers also slide down over the eyebrows and the tip of the nose. The whole forehead should be completely covered until the eyebrows (it is recommended to go beyond the eyebrows).
Step 4: Hold out the right hand ensuring that the palm is facing down, fingers and thumb are together and the thumb is not tucked under the fingers. Then, place the back of the left hand in a perpendicular position slightly above the wrist (i.e. only the little finger should be pressed on the right hand wrist, the palm of the left hand should be facing you). Slide the left hand (bringing the palm down) carefully over the whole of the back of the right hand, ensuring all areas of the back of the right hand are covered. Repeat the same procedure on the left hand (without re-striking the hands on the ground again).
a. If you leave out even a small part of your forehead or the back of your hands in tayammum intentionally or forgetfully, or even due to ignorance, your tayammum will be void. You should be careful but not be overly particular, if it can be adequately assumed that the forehead and the backs of the hands have been wiped it would be sufficient.28
b. As a precaution the wiping of the head and the hands should be done from up to down.29
c. It is Ihtiyat mustaĥab that the forehead, the palm of the hands and the palms and the back of the hands be ritually clean.30
d. When performing tayammum, rings have to be removed and any obstructions to the forehead or the palms or the back of the hands have to be removed.31
If the bed sheets or an item of clothing or a towel becomes najis with semen it can be made ritually clean in the following ways:
a. Using running water
1. If the item is still wet with semen, one needs to be careful that it does not come into contact with other clothes or things because they will also become najis.
2. One must wash the najis item once under a tap (kurr water) in such a way that:
a. Water reaches every part of the najis area
b. There is no trace of the actual semen left on the clothing (i.e. rub and squeeze the clothing during the wash in such a way, that there is no trace of semen left on the clothing, discolouration)
3. It the item is a piece of clothing then it is not necessary to wring or squeeze it after it has been made ritually clean (as per the above method), although this is generally done out of habit.
4. When the item has been washed once and made ritually clean (per the above method) this is adequate; it does not have to be washed twice or three times.
5. If a najis thing is immersed once in kurr water or running water, in such a way that water reaches all its najis parts, it becomes ritually clean. And in the case of a carpet or dress it is not necessary to squeeze, wring or press it.32
b. Using washing machines
The ruling applicable to a washing machine is that of kurr water.33 Thus, an item that has become najis by semen can be put directly into the washing machine, and as long as there is no trace of semen left after the cycle is completed, then the item is deemed to have become ritually clean, and it does need to be washed again, or squeezed and wrung.
However, as a precautionary measure, it may be a good idea to make the najis clothing ritually clean first (per above) and then put it into the washing machine, because if one puts the item straight into the washing machine and for whatever reason the semen still remains on the clothing after the wash it will not become ritually clean, and if that clothing comes into contact with other wet clothes those clothes will also become najis.
a. Using running water
If a mattress becomes najis by semen for whatever reason, it is possible to make it ritually clean by running water from a tap or hose:
‘If one wants to purify the mattress by using pure water connected to the kurr source (eg by using a hosepipe or a tap) there is no need to wipe the water off using the cloth or a vacuum cleaner etc. As soon as the kurr water covers the najis area it will become pure [as long as the ayn najasat has been removed – the semen] (and the water will also be considered as pure)’.34
It is important to remember the following when a mattress has become najis by semen: The semen only transfers from the mattress to another item through flowing wetness (i.e. there is so much wetness in the najis item that it permeates to another item and makes it najis). The najasat is not transferred when it is dry, so if you place your body or hand on the dry najis mattress your hand or body will not become najis.
Therefore, it is possible to sleep on a mattress that has become najis without your clothes becoming najis, provided that the patch that has become najis remains dry so that the najasat does not get transferred to the clothes from the mattress.
b. Using water less than kurr (Qalīl)
Water less than kurr is used in cases where either kurr water is not available or that you cannot take something like a mattress under kurr water (a tap).
The method of making something ritually clean with qalil water is as follows:
Step 1: Removing the najāsat
The semen has to be removed from the mattress. A possible method of doing this is to first pour water from a glass covering the whole area of the stain. Then take a towel and place it over the wet area and apply pressure and press over it in such a way that the water is sucked out and no semen is left behind. When the water dries up there should be no trace of semen left behind. The towel used will become najis and needs to be made ritually clean.
Step 2: Pouring water less than kurr
After removing the semen the area needs to be made ritually clean. This is done by taking another glass of water and re-pouring water over the whole area again (that had become najis).
The water must be squeezed and wrung out of the mattress before it becomes ritually clean. This can be done by taking a separate towel and placing it over the wetted area in such a way that when pressure is applied over the towel all the water is squeezed out. The mattress has now become ritually clean. As a confirmed opinion and not as an obligatory precaution, the towel and the water removed from the mattress will be considered najis.
If anything becomes najis with an impurity other than urine, it becomes ritually clean by first removing the impurity and then pouring under kurr water once, allowing it to flow off. But if it is clothing etc. it should be squeezed and wrung so that the any remaining water should flow off.35
NOTE: It is important to note that even if the surface of the mattress is made ritually clean with qalīl water by following the above method, the inside of the mattress will become najis due to the rules of qalīl water. Even if the mattress is angled, it will inevitably seep through the mattress.36
RECOMMENDATION: To avoid this extra workload and hassle of cleaning the mattress, it is extremely useful that one puts a plastic sheet in between the bedsheet and the mattress, so that if any semen leaks on to the bedsheet it does not leak through to the mattress.
If a part of the body is najis because of semen, it can be made ritually clean by pouring kurr water over it once in such a way that there is no trace of semen left on the body. This can be done by standing under a shower.
However, this rule is different if the najasat is urine, for which one washing is not enough, the body must be washed twice. It is not necessary to walk in and out of water to achieve two washings. If the najis part is wiped by the hand allowing water to reach there again, it will suffice.37
Family planning as a private measure to space or regulate the family size for health or economic reasons is permissible in Islam. There is neither any verse in the Qur`an or ĥadīth against birth control, nor is it obligatory to have children in marriage. Moreover, there are several ahadith which categorically prove that birth control is permissible.
It is narrated from Imām °Alī : “One of the two (means) of affluence is to have few dependents.”‘2
It is narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as) : “(Imām) °Ali ibn al-°usayn saw no problem in coitus interruptus and he used to recite the verse that ‘When your Lord took from the Children of Adam, from their loins, their descendants…’3 So from whatsoever (seed) Allāh (SwT) has taken a covenant, it is sure to be born even if it is (spilled) on a hard rock.”4
According to the above tradition, creation is in the hand of Allāh (SwT) alone. Whether or not we practice birth control, if Allāh (SwT) wills, the child will be conceived.
In conclusion, the above aĥādith demonstrate that birth control is permissible.
There are a number of different methods of contraception. The most commonly used ones will be examined below to determine whether their use is permissible in Islam or not. Permissibility has been determined by the definition of the beginning of pregnancy according to the Islamic point of view, which is when the fertilized ovum is implanted onto the lining of the uterus. Therefore, whatever prevents implantation is permissible and whatever terminates pregnancy after implantation is an abortion and haraam.
It is necessary to note that these methods have been studied from the fiqh point of view only. For the medical opinion about the reliability or possible side-effects of these methods, please consult your doctor.
The following methods do not involve surgical operation and are also reversible. A man or woman using these methods can stop using them at any time in order to conceive a child.
1. Oral Contraceptives
Birth control pills prevent conception by inhibiting ovulation. The pills alter hormonal levels and suppress the hormonal signal from the gland for the ovaries to release an ovum. These pills are taken orally on a precise schedule for 20 or more days during each menstrual cycle. Since all such pills inhibit ovulation, they are permissible; however, the individual must consult the physician about possible side-effects.
There are some pills which work after the intercourse has taken place, for example, the ‘morning-after pill’ or the recently developed RU486 pill. Again, since the use of such pills prevents implantation, it is permissible. Therefore, the pills like the ‘morning-after’ and RU486 may be taken after the intercourse BUT not after feeling or knowing that pregnancy has already occurred.
Depo-Provera works exactly like the pills, but instead of taking it orally it is injected once every three months. This and other similar contraceptive methods by injection are also permissible.
3. Intrauterie Devices (IUD)
IUDs are plastic or metal objects, in a variety of shapes, which are implanted inside the uterus. The medical experts do not exactly know how IUD works. Presently there are two opinions: one says that IUD prevents fertilization; and the other says that it prevents the fertilized ovum from implantation onto the uterus. Since the pregnancy begins at implantation according to the Islamic point of view, the use of IUD as a birth control device is permissible, irrespective of the above differences among the medical experts.
4. Barrier Devices
All barrier devices prevent the sperm from entering the uterus. This is done by sheathing the penis with a condom, or by covering the cervix with a diaphragm, cervical cap, or vaginal sponge. The use of spermicidal substances which kill the sperm before reaching the ovum is also a barrier device. All of these are permissible forms of birth control.
5. Abstinence during fertile period
There are three basic procedures to predict ovulation, in order to avoide sexual intercourse during the approximately six days of a woman’s most fertile monthly phase.
These three methods are as follows
a. Ovulation Method: A woman learns to recognize the fertile time by checking the difference in the constitution of the cervical mucus discharge. The cervical mucus discharge signals the highly fertile period; and thus avoiding sex during this time prevents conception.
b. Rhythm Method: A method similar to the first, but it depends on observing the monthly cycles for a whole year to determine the fertile days.
c. Temperature: In this method, besides keeping a calendar record of her cycle, a woman also takes her temperature daily to detect ovulation. She can know her ovulation whenever her basal body temperature increases.
NOTE: Another more advanced option is to predict ovulation using an ovulation test, which are designed to predict the most fertile days to become pregnant.
6. Withdrawal (Coitus Interruptus):
Coitus interruptus means withdrawing the penis just before ejaculation. This was the most common method of birth control before the invention of modern devices.
It is narrated that Muĥammad bin Muslim and °Abdur Raĥmān bin Abi °Abdillāh Maymun asked Imām as-Ŝādiq (as) about withdrawal. The Imām said: “It is up to the man; he may spill it wherever he wants.”5
However, in another ĥadīth, Muĥammad bin Muslim narrated from fifth or the sixth Imām as follows: “In case of a slave-girl, it is allowed, however, in case of a free woman, I dislike it unless it had been so stipulated at the time of marriage.”6
Based on the above ahadith, the majority of our mujtahids believe that coitus interruptus is allowed but Makrūh without the wife’s consent.7
Sterilization involves surgical operation. Sterilization in men, known as a vasectomy, involves the severing or blocking of the tube in the male reproductive tract. This tube or duct passes sperm from the testes to the prostate and other reproductive organs.
Sterilization in women, known as tubal ligation, involves the blocking or severing of the fallopian tubes which transport the ovum.
Sterilization is not free from objection, although it is permissible if it does not entail the prohibited methods outlined below.8
Any method of birth control is prohibited under the following circumstances:
a) When it poses serious harm to a woman’s health, such as removing certain organs like the ovaries.
b) When it involves a ĥarām act, such as a male touching or looking at the private parts of a woman that are forbidden for him to look at, is prohibited.
These conditions can only be overridden in extreme circumstances, when it is absolutely necessary.
According to the legal aspect of Islamic law, the wife has full right to the use of contraceptives, even without the consent and approval of her husband.9 However, she should not use a method which may come in the way of her husband’s conjugal rights. For example, she cannot force him to use a condom or practice coitus interruptus.
This rule is based upon the principle that the extent of the husband’s conjugal rights over his wife is just that she should be sexually available, responsive, and cooperative. This right does not extend to that of bearing children for him. Bearing children or not is a personal decision of the woman, and therefore, she may use contraceptives such as pills, injections or cleansing of the vagina after intercourse as they do not interfere with her husband’s conjugal rights.
Conversely, the husband has no right to force his wife not to get pregnant if she wants to, by forcing the use of pills, injections or the use of an IUD. However, he is permitted to use a condom as long as he has obtained her consent for that. Additionally, he does have the right to do so by practising coitus interruptus during intercourse.
On a practical level however, such decisions are best made with mutual consultation between the husband and the wife; otherwise, it could lead to misunderstanding and mistrust. The legal aspect is to protect the basic rights of women, but in the real world, man and woman must base their life on love, mercy and cooperation as it is stated in Surat al-Rūm (30), Verse 21:
وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُمْ مَوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً
“And He ordained affection and mercy between you.”
Islam’s approach to the issue of birth control and abortion is very balanced. It allows women to prevent pregnancy but forbids them to terminate it. Abortion after the implantation of the fertilized ovum in the womb is absolutely forbidden and is considered a crime against the law of God, as well as the foetus.
From the Islamic point of view, the illegitimacy of aborting a foetus does not depend on the issue of whether the foetus has the status of a human being or not. Although Islam does not recognize the foetus as a human being, it still gives to it the right of a possible life.
Abortion is normally considered for various reasons. These will be discussed, and the Islamic viewpoint of each reason considered:
1. It is a choice between a child and a career and/or luxurious life-style
The above reason reflects the selfish nature of this materialistic society, and is not considered a justifiable or acceptable reason for abortion. Allāh (SwT) says:
وَلاَ تَقْـتُلُوا أَوْلاَدَكُمْ مِّنْ إِمْلاَقٍ نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُكُمْ وَإِيَّاهُمْ
“You shall not kill your children due to penury – We will provide for you and for them.”10
وَلاَ تَقْـتُلُوا أَوْلاَدَكُمْ خَشْيَةَ إِمْلاقٍ نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُهُمْ وَإِيَّاكُمْ إِنَّ قَتْلَهُمْ كَانَ خِطْءًا كَبِيرًا
“Do not kill your children for the fear of penury: We will provide for them and for you. Killing them is indeed a great iniquity.” 11
Indeed, has not Allāh (SwT) told us:
لاَ نُكَلِّفُ نَفْسًا إِلاَّ وُسْعَهَا
“We task no soul except according to its capacity.”12
2. A child is conceived illegitimately
This is by-product of illicit sexual relations which Islam strongly condemns, but is not considered an acceptable justification for aborting the foetus.
3. A child is an undesirable gender
This reason is no less evil and cruel than the pre-Islamic °Arab custom of burying baby girls alive, and is also not an acceptable justification for an abortion.
4. A child is a product of rape
When a woman is raped, she should use the morning after pill or RU486 immediately after the sexual assault in order to prevent the possible implantation of a fertilized ovum. However, once pregnancy is established, then Islam does not allow abortion. In such cases, Islam cannot justify the abortion of a child for the crime of the father. As for the reputation of the woman, Islam strongly condemns the people who look down upon the rape victim; instead of reviling her, they should be sympathetic to her.
5. A child has a defect
With the use of ultrasounds and other such recent technology, it is possible to know whether or not a child has a defect long before it is born. Some people justify the abortion of a defective foetus.
However, the present mujtahids do not allow such abortions, even if the deformities are so serious that they are untreatable after birth, and the child may not survive after birth except for a short while and in pain. The parents should pray and hope for a normal and healthy child. Indeed, there are always chances that the foetus is developed contrary medical prediction. This chance, however slim and negligible, denies us the right to terminate a life.
6. The pregnancy is dangerous to the woman
The only permissible instance of abortion is if the foetus is less than four months (before the soul enters into it) and doctors declare with reasonable certainty that the continuation of pregnancy will harm her, or cause her difficulty to a degree that is not normally tolerable.
It is not possible to abort the foetus after four months irrespective of the reason for abortion.
If an abortion is carried out, whoever performs the abortion will become liable for the payment of indemnity. This is regardless of whether or not the abortion is done voluntarily, with the consent of one or both parents.
The payment of indemnity forms part of the child’s estate and will go to his heirs, i.e. his parents, even though they may have been party to the decision. However, it is something that the parents, as his heirs, may waive their rights to, hence removing the liability of payment from the person who performs the abortion.
The payment is as follows13:
If the foetus is:
Upto 40 days old – 70g of gold
Upto 80 days old – 140g of gold
Upto 120 days old – 210g of gold
Upto 160 days old – 280g of gold
Older than that:
If a male child is aborted – 3500g of gold
If a female child is aborted – 1750g of gold
In addition, one must do istighfar and pray for the forgiveness of Allāh (SwT) so that the aborted life may not seek restitution.
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:
a. It has been recommended that the father should eat chicory.3
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
because this ensures that the child conceived will not have qualities of Satan.
بِسْمِ اللٌّهِ الرَّحْمٌنِ الرَّحِِيمِ
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
In several verses of the Noble Qur`an, Allāh (SwT) has mentioned the creation and stages of transformation of the child. It is by observing this miracle that one inevitably desires to thank and revere Him, the best of Creators.
In Surat al-Mu`minūn, verses 12-14, He states:
وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الإِِنْسَانَ مِنْ سُلاَلَةٍ مِّــنْ طِــينٍ ثُمَّ جَعَلْنَاهُ نُطْفَةً فِي قَرَارٍ مَّكِينٍ ثُمَّ خَلَقْنَا النُّطْفَةَ عَلَقَةً فَخَلَقْنَا الْعَلَقَةَ مُضْغَةً فَخَلَقْنَا الْمُضْغَةَ عِظَامًا فَكَسَوْنَا الْعِظَامَ لَحْماً ثُمَّ أَنشَأْنَاهُ خَلْقًا آخَرَ فَتَبَارَكَ اللٌّهُ أَحْسَنُ الْخَالِقِينَ
“Certainly We created the human being from an extract of clay. Then We made him a drop of (seminal) fluid (lodged) in a secure abode. Then We created the drop of fluid as a clinging mass. Then We created the clinging mass as a fleshy tissue. Then We created the fleshy tissue as bones. Them We clothed the bones with flesh. Then We produced him as (yet) another creature. So blessed is Allāh (SwT), the best of creators!”
In the verses above, Allāh (SwT) mentions 7 stages of creation:
Stage 1: The human being initially starts off as clay; in other words, the inorganic constituents of the earth are absorbed into living matter by way of food.
Stage 2: Living matter reproduces itself by means of sperm; thus the human is then made into a seed (the seminal fluid), and placed in a firm resting place (the ovum of a mother).
Stage 3: The first change in the fertilised ovum is the conversion into a sort of clot of thickly congealed blood, or clinging mass.
Stage 4: The zygote cells grow by segmentation; then the mass gradually assumes shape in its growth as a foetus (a lump of fleshy tissue).
Stage 5: From this develops bones.
Stage 6: Flesh now grows on the bones, as do organs and a nervous system.
Stage 7: So far the development of an infant human is like that of an animal. However, a major step is now taken and the foetus becomes a complete human. This is the breathing of Allāh (SwT)’s spirit into him. (This may not be at a specific time; rather it may be parallel to that of physical growth.)
On the subject of the creation of the foetus, it is narrated from the Prophet (S): “The seed in the womb of the mother (takes) 40 days to become a clot, then after 40 days it becomes a lump of flesh (foetus); when the child is 4 months old, by the command of Allāh (SwT), 2 Angels give the foetus a spirit (rūĥ) and specify the sustenance (Rizq), period of living, deeds (A°māl), prosperity and adversity of the child.”1
It is perhaps for this reason that it has been suggested that especially after the 40th day of intercourse, one should be extra careful when preparing food. The food must be ritually clean and ĥalāl as this will have an impact on the child.2
Imām as-Ŝādiq (as) also described the process of creation as follows: “After the completion of the materials of the body, Allāh (SwT) sends two Angels who have the duty of the creation of the child, and by the permission of Allāh (SwT), they create the ears and eyes and all the inner and outer organs (limbs) of the body.”3
In Imām Husain’s (as) Du°a of °Arafāt, he refers to the process of creation and attempts to count the blessings bestowed by Allāh (SwT) in the following manner:
“You originated me by Your blessing before I was a thing remembered.
You created me from dust,
then gave me a place in the loins (of my fathers),
secure from the uncertainty of Fate and the vagaries of
the ages and the years.
I remained a traveller from loin to womb in a time
immemorial of past days
and bygone centuries.
In Your tenderness, bounty and goodness toward me You
did not send me out into the empire of the
leaders of disbelief, those who broke Your
covenant and cried lies to Your messengers.
Rather, You sent me out to that guidance which had
been foreordained for me, the way which
You made easy for me
and in which You Nurtured me.
And before that You wert kind to me through Your
and abundant blessings.
You originated my creation from a sperm-drop spilled
and madest me to dwell in a threefold gloom among flesh,
blood and skin.
You gave me not to witness my creation,
nor didst You entrust me with anything of my own affair.
Then You sent me out into the world for the guidance
that had been foredained for me, complete
Imām Zain al-°Abidīn (as) in his Du°ā after Ŝalāt al-Lail in Saĥīfah Sajjādiya also mentions this amazing period of the foetus and of breastfeeding. He thanks Allāh (SwT) and expresses his amazement at how Allāh (SwT) created such a beautiful creation from a few seeds.
You caused me to descend as mean water
from loins of narrow bones and tight passages
into a constricted womb
which You hadst covered with veils;
You turned me about from state to state
until You took me to the completion of the form
and fixed within me the bodily parts,
as You hast described in Your Book:
then a clot,
then a tissue,
then You garmented the bones with flesh,
then You produced me as another creature
as You willed.
Then, when I needed Your provision,
and could not do without the aid of Your bounty,
Thou appointed for me a nourishment
from the bounty of the food and drink
which You bestowed upon Your handmaid
in whose belly You gavest me to rest
and in the lodging of whose womb
You deposited me.
Hadst You entrusted me in those states, my Lord,
to my own force
or driven me to have recourse to my own strength,
force would have been removed from me
and strength taken far away.
So You fed me through Your bounty
with the food of the Good, the Gentle;
You hast done that for me in graciousness toward me
up to this my present point.
I do not lack Your goodness,
nor does Your benefaction keep me waiting.
Yet with all that,
my trust has not become firm enough
that I might free myself
for that which is more favoured by You.”5
In a hadith al-Qudsi, Allāh (SwT) addresses the ungrateful man and says: “Oh, Son of Adam! You have not acted justly with me! I made your weight light on your mother! After that I made the path of your deliverance from a tight and dark place smooth (and tolerable). When you placed a foot in the world outside the womb, I saw that you don’t have teeth to eat food; I placed breasts full of milk in the warm bosom of (your) mother. I made the heart of your mother merciful towards you, and the heart of your father affectionate, such that they take pains to give you food, and do not sleep until they make you sleep.
Oh, Son of Adam! All these favours were not because you asked it from me, nor that I needed you. And when the state of your physical constitution was ready, and your teeth grew, I made you enjoy (and benefit from) (different) types of foods and fruits of the summer and winter. However! Despite all this kindness, after you did not recognise me (as your Creator and Sustainer), you disobeyed me.”6
The Prophet Muĥammad (S) has said that: “Paradise is under the feet of the mother.”7
Allāh (SwT) states in the Noble Qur`an, in Surat al-Fāťir, Verse 11:
وَمَا تَحْمِلُ مِنْ أُنْـثَى وَلاَ تَضَعُ إِلاَّ بِعِلْمِهِ
“And no female conceives or delivers except with His knowledge.”
It is also narrated from the Prophet (S): “If it is decided that Allāh (SwT) will make a child be born, He will make him in whatever shape he likes.”8
This shows us that child-bearing is a direct blessing from Allāh (SwT) and one that must be shown continuous gratitude for. Indeed, the presence of a child has been likened to the fruit of a tree, which brings a man and woman closer to each other.
As for mothers, Islam has made for them a beautiful world, in which everyone must respect and revere them. Allāh (SwT) recognizes and mentions the difficulties borne by mothers:
In Surat Luqmān, Verse 14, He states:
حَمَلَتْهُ أُمُّهُ وَهْناً عَلى وَهْنٍ
“His mother carried him through weakness upon weakness.”
In Surat al-Aĥqāf, Verse 15, He states:
حَمَلَتْهُ أُمُّهُ كُرْهاً وَوَضَعَتْهُ كُرْهاً
“His mother has carried him in travail, and bore him in travail.”
Indeed, the status of mothers is even higher than fathers as demonstrated by the following traditions:
A man came to the Prophet (S) and said to him, “O Messenger of Allah, to whom should I do good?” The Prophet (S) said, “Your mother.” (So) the man said, “And then to whom should I do good?” The Prophet (S) said, “Your mother.” (Then) the man said, “And then to whome should I do good?” The Prophet (S) said, “Your mother.” (Then) the man asked, “After that, to whome should I do good?” The Prophet (S) said, “To your father.”9
It is also narrated that the Prophet (S) was asked, “Which of the parents have a higher status?” The Prophet (S) replied, “The one who for nine months kept you between her two sides (stomach), and then brought you into this world and gave you milk from her breasts.”10
There are many traditions about the signifance of pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, some of which will be narrated below. However, it should be kept in mind that these go side by side with the responsibilities that should be carried out to the best of one’s abilities. These responsibilities are naturally present when one has the intention of reaching high stations of Akhlāq and nearness to Allāh (SwT) and desires to work towards this virtuous goal. (These will be discussed in more detail in the next section)
a. It is narrated from the Prophet (S): “The reward of a woman, from the time of pregnancy until birth and breastfeeding, is the same as the reward of one on the path of Allāh (SwT), and if a woman leaves this world during that time because of the hardship and pains of birth, she has the reward of a martyr (shahid).”11
b. It is narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): “Any time a woman leaves this world because of labour pains, on the Day of Judgement, Allāh (SwT) will raise her from the grave pure and without an account (of sins), because such a woman has given her life due to the hardship and pain of labour .”12
c. It is also narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): “Every time a woman becomes pregnant, during the whole period of pregnancy she has the status of one who fasts, one who worships during the night, and one who fights for Allāh (SwT) with her life and possessions. And when she is giving birth, Allāh (SwT) grants her so much reward that nobody knows its limit because of its greatness. And when she is giving milk to her child, for every suck of the child, Allāh (SwT) gives her the reward of freeing a slave from the children of Ismā`īl, and when the period of breastfeeding the child is finished, one of the great angels of Allāh (SwT) taps her side and says: “Start your deeds afresh, for Allāh (SwT) has forgiven all your minor sins.”13
d. At the time of the Prophet (S), a man was doing tawaf (of the Noble Ka°bah) while carrying his mother on his shoulders. When he saw the Prophet (S) , he asked, “By doing this, have I repaid the rights of my mother?” To this the Prophet (S) replied, “No, you haven’t even repaid one of her cries during the time of giving birth.”14
e. A man came to the Prophet (S) and asked, “I have an old mother who because of old age is not able to move. I carry her on my shoulder and put bites of food in her mouth and clean her. Have I repaid her rights?” To this the Prophet (S) replied, “No, because her stomach was your place, and during that entire time, she desired your life.”15
f. It is narrated from Imām Zain al-°Abidīn (as): “The right of your mother is that you know that she carried you where no one carries anyone. She gave to you of the fruit of her heart that which no one gives to anyone, and she protected you with all her organs. She did not care if she went hungry as long as you ate, if she was thirsty as long as you drank, if she was naked as long as you were clothed, if she was in the sun as long as you were in the shade. She gave up sleep for your sake. She protected you from heat and cold, all in order that you might belong to her. You will not be able to show her gratitude, unless God helps and gives you success.”16
The above traditions should give hope to pregnant women, who inevitably will face one difficulty or another during this time. At times of difficulty, one should know that Allāh (SwT) has provided women with both the capability and the desire to bear children, for as Imām as-Ŝādiq (as) narrates: “Allāh (SwT) has given every woman the patience of 10 men, and during pregnancy Allāh (SwT) grants her the ability of 10 more men.”17
Like the conception period, and even more so, the thoughts and actions of the mother have an impact on the Akhlāq, actions and faith of the unborn child, as the child is like an organ of the mother and obtains all the necessary factors of development from her.
The Prophet (S) has stated that the prosperity and adversity of a child is determined in the mother’s stomach.18 In another tradition, Imām °Alī (as) too, has said that in terms of Akhlāq, nature and religiousness, a child is made by the mother and obtains his/her disposition from her Akhlāq.19 Thus it is the responsibility of the mother that she creates the best possible environment for the first home of the child.
The constant care and attention of the mother that all thoughts and actions are in accordance with the teachings of Islam and the Ahlul Bayt (as), is necessary and highly emphasized. This is especially important because the child is not only a member of the family, but a member of the society and can be a source of blessings and benefit. For it is through this manner, that the esteemed and noble Saints and scholars have come into this world and made an impact not only in their societies, but also in the history of the world mentions the purity of two noble Prophets, Yaĥyā bin Zakariya (as) and °Isā bin Maryam (as), from the day of their birth:
وَسَلاَمٌ عَلَيْهِ يَوْمَ وُلِدَ وَيَوْمَ يَمُوتُ وَيَوْمَ يُبْعَثُ حَيًّا
“Peace be to him, the day he was born, and the day he dies, and the day he is raised alive!”20
وَالسَّــلاَمُ عَلَيَّ يَوْمَ وُلِدْتُ وَيَوْمَ أَمُوتُ وَيَوْمَ أُبْعَثُ حَيًّا
“Peace is to me the day I was born, and the day I die, and he day I am raised alive.”21
Likewise in the Ziyārat al-Wārith, we bear witness to the purity of Imām Husain (as): “I bear witness that, verily, you were a light in the sublime loins, and purified wombs; the impurities of ignorance did not (even) touch you, nor its soiled and dirty bearings could ever smear you.”
The father plays an important role in helping the mother maintain a healthy spirit and development, by supporting her and helping her in every way. By being informed and understanding about the changes the mother will undergo, as well as her physical, emotional and mental needs, he can help create the warm and loving atmosphere at home that is essential for the positive development of the child.
The following incident clearly highlights the importance of the actions of the mother and father during the period of pregnancy:
a. When °Allāmah Majlisi (the compiler of Biĥār al-Anwār) was a child, he went with his father to a mosque in Isfahan. While his father went to pray, he remained in the courtyard, playing. When his father came out, he saw that his son had poked a needle into a water skin full of water that belonged to the mosque, and all the water had spilled out.
The father was very upset and when he reached home, he narrated the incident to his wife and said that this act must be a consequence of something we did. He continued saying that however much he thought of his actions before conception, during conception, ĥalāl intake and all other possibilities, he could not think of a possible cause, and asked his wife to think on it as well.
After doing this, the wife replied that I can’t think of any thing except one incident. One day while I was pregnant with him, I went to a neighbour’s house and saw a pomegranate tree. I made a prick in one of the pomegranates and sucked a little bit of juice. It was this one small act that led to the later incident that took place with her son.22
May Allāh (SwT) grant all mothers the tawfīq (Divine opportunity) to be able to carry out their responsibilities to the best of their abilities, and thus be able to apply the following tradition of Imām as-Ŝādiq (as) to their children: “Glad is the one whose mother possesses the precious gem of chastity and pure thoughts.”23
The food of a foetus is obtained from the blood of the mother and so most of what the mother eats and drinks eventually reaches the child in one form or another.
It is narrated from Imām °Alī (as): “Allāh (SwT) has trapped the blood in the stomach of the mother, so that it becomes the sustenance of the child.”24
It is also narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): “Whatever the mother eats, drinks or breathes during pregnancy, Allāh (SwT) also allots it to the child.”25
It is therefore again, as with conception, very important that the mother takes care with the food that she eats. About ĥarām intake and ĥarām food in particular, it is narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as) that “The effects of ĥarām earnings become apparent in the offspring of a person.”26
In another tradition it is narrated from Imām al-Bāqir (as): “All sins are grave, and the gravest of them is that of which blood and meat grows on (i.e. ĥarām intake).”27
It is recommended to eat the following foods during pregnancy:
1. Breast of animal meat
a. Is very useful for pregnant women and makes the newborn child beautiful and strong.28
a. Is good for the increase (in size) of a child.
b. Increases the water around the waist, makes the child good and increases the masculinity of a male child.
c. Is a cause of beauty of the child.
d. Eating a lot is a cause of increase of wealth, and a male child.
Chicory is also good medicine for the liver.
a. It is apparent from traditions that the best food and medicine for a pregnant woman is dates.30
b. It is narrated from Imām °Alī (as): “No food is better for a pregnant woman than fresh dates.”31
c. It is narrated from the Prophet (S): “For pregnant women, especially when giving birth, the best food is dates, because Allāh (SwT) has sworn by its greatness and glory. And if women use ratb (a type of fresh dates) in these days, their newborn children, whether son or daughter, will be forbearing and patient.”32
d. It is narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): “If one eats apple, her child will be beautiful, and if one eats squash, the memory of both the woman and child will increase, and eating ratb (a type of fresh dates) and dates strengthens the body.”33
NOTE: It has also been narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as) that one should smell an apple before eating it.34
e. Dates are known as the fruits of paradise and were the fruit of choice of the Prophet (S). They have also been mentioned in the Noble Qur`an.35
Dates contain thirteen elements of vital importance, and five types of vitamins, making it a rich food. The calcium in dates is essential for firming bones, the phosphorus for forming the brain and preventing weakness of the nerves and tiredness, and the potassium for preventing wounds/sores in the stomach.36
a. Has been mentioned and sworn upon in the Qur`an.38
b. Eat it dry, as this increases the strength of sexual intercourse and prevents piles.
c. Eating it prevents colic.39
d. It is narrated from Imām al-Riďā (as) that figs remove bad smells from the mouth, make the bones firm, cause hair to grow and prevent illnesses.
e. It is not recommended for those with Diabetes Mellitus, stomach or intestine disorders, or overweight people. Overeating also causes problems for the stomach and eyes; however, eating celery neutralises these effects.40
a. It has been narrated from the Prophet (S) that one should make pregnant women eat makka ubani, for surely when the makka ubani becomes food for the child in the stomach, it will make his/her heart strong and increase his/her intellect.43
6. Olive oil
a. A pregnant woman should not forego drinking olive oil as it makes her colour white, and clears her liver as well as that of her child.44
a. Highly recommended to be eaten before breakfast on Fridays.
b. Makes the child good (righteous).
c. Very good for easing nausea, anemia, jaundice, joint aches, blood pressure and piles.46
d. Anyone who eats 1 pomegranate, their heart will be filled with Nūr (Noble light) and Satan will not whisper to them for 40 days.47
a. If eaten by both parents, it is a cause of strength and lack of stupidity, weak mindedness and foolishness in the child.
b. Feeding the child qawoot causes increase in strength, growth of the flesh, and firmness of the bones.
a. Is a cause of strength of the heart, cleanliness of the stomach, clearness of the mind and bravery and beauty of the child.49
b. Gives lustre to the heart, and cures the inner pains (with the permission of Allāh (SwT) ).50
c. It has been narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as) that a pregnant woman should eat quince, so that her child is more sweet smelling and his/her colour is purer.51
d. It is narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as) : “Make pregnant women eat quince, as it makes their children beautiful.”52
e. It is narrated from the Prophet (S) : “Eating quince makes the colour of the skin clear and full of freshness, and makes the child of a person beautiful and healthy as well.”53
Quince contains Vitamins B1, B2, B6 and C, magnesium and phosphorus54
a. Makes the child cheerful and good natured.55
b. It is narrated from the Prophet (S) : “No pregnant woman eats watermelon with cheese, except that her newborn child becomes beautiful and of a nice figure.”56
11. Various other things
a. Eating almonds, bran rice, vegetables, black plums, fish, lentils, cabbage, lettuce, honey, beans, grapes, peaches, olive oil, hazel-nuts, nuts and dairy products (especially milk) is also beneficial during pregnancy.57
Properties of some of the above-mentioned foods
1. Hazel-nuts: Good for anaemia and colic (although not in excess).58
2. White beans: Good for people whose work involves thinking.
3. Grapes: Fruit with the most calories. Removes weaknesses, cleans the blood and kidneys, removes acidity in the blood and provides energy.
4. Peaches: Contains iron, Vitamin B and C. Is very good for the liver and improves the colour of the face.59
5. Almonds: Softens the chest, strengthens the bladder and cures burning when urinating. Contains phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, calcium, sulphur and iron. Almond oil contains Vitamin E.60
6. Bran rice: Bran grains such as wheat, barley, millet and rice are an important source of Vitamin B. Bran rice whose outer skin (which contains the vitamin) has been removed leads to rheumatism and gout, increased hair fall or hair going white quickly. Pregnant women are recommended not to eat too much of this type of rice, and to eat it with raw onion to make up for the lack of vitamins.
7. Black plums: Black and yellow plums contain Vitamins A, B and C, potassium, sodium, magnese oxide, carbohydrate, iron, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. They are good for curing rheumatism, gout, clogging of arteries and food-poisoning. When eaten in the morning on an empty stomach, it is beneficial for chronic constipation.
8. Lentils: Good for anaemia and increases milk. Contains Vitamins A, B and C, phosphorus, iron and calcium. Over-eating can lead to darkness of the eyes and menstruation problems; however, eating sesame oil and cooking it with beetroot leaf can neutralise these effects.
9. Cabbage: Contains Vitamins A, B and C, and is a cure for all illnesses. Is also good for sleeplessness and heaviness of the ear (i.e. when one does not hear well). Increases the growth of the child and heals hemorrhoidal injuries.
10. Lettuce: Extract of lettuce contains iron and magnesium. In itself, the lettuce contains copper and is beneficial for the liver. The magnesium contained is beneficial for muscles, nerves and the brain. Increases resistance to infectious diseases.
11. Turnip: Contains Vitamins A, B and C, phosphorus, calcium, potassium, iodine and sulphur. Strengthens the light of the eye, and because of the Vitamin A, cures night blindness. Softens the chest and cures coughs and colds. Prevents and cures black leprosy. The sulphur along with Vitamin A prevents or reduces stones in the bladder. Brings down blood pressure and is also beneficial for strengthening the ovaries and sexual stimulation.
Because of its properties, turnips (and its syrup/jam) are recommended to pregnant and breastfeeding women for the development of the child, easy teething, firming of the bones, walking and talking quickly and resistance against illnesses.
(Syrup: Make a hole in the middle of the turnip, fill it with sugar and let it liquidise. This is a good balm for the chest and can also be fed to children.)61
NOTE: Fresh air and plenty of oxygen are vital for the development of a healthy child
For children possessing good character and make-up, mothers are recommended to do as many of the following acts as possible:
1. Always try and be in Wuďū, especially when eating food.
2. Always try and face Qibla while carrying out daily acts, especially eating and drinking.
3. Give ŝadaqah every day for the protection of the child.
4. Don’t look at the mirror at night.
5. Stay away from all types of sin, especially back-biting and lies.
6. Perform all obligatory acts and try and do as many mustaĥab acts as possible.
7. Try and be relaxed and have positive thoughts at all times, and don’t get angry.
8. Prevent any potential worrying about the child’s development or about pregnancy by obtaining all the necessary information, and most of all, by trusting Allāh (SwT) .
9. Listen to, and recite the Qur`an as much as you can, and thus help your child become Hafidh of the Qur`an from the womb.
10. Listen to lectures from scholars
11. Perform Ghusl Jumu°ah (Friday) on 40 Fridays (Please note pregnancy is usually 40 weeks. Additionally, it is narrated in tradition that one who does Ghusl Jumu°ah 40 weeks in a row, the person will not face the squeezing of the grave).
12. Pray Ŝalāt al-Layl a minimum of 40 times. If one cannot wake up before Ŝalāt al-Fajr to pray, then it is possible to pray after Ŝalāt al-Ishā.63 If this is also not possible, it is recommended qaďā be recited.
13. Eat large raisins for 40 days on an empty stomach, every day 21 pieces, each piece eaten after the recitation of Bismillah.
14. Remember Allāh (SwT) (recite the dhikr of ‘Allāh (SwT)’) constantly.
15. Help other people with their needs.
16. Look at the faces of pious people and beautiful scenes of nature.
17. Do not mix with people who have bad manners.
18. Go for ziyārat.
19. Recite Ŝalāt on time.
20. Name the child in the stomach, and choosing a good name like Muĥammad, °Alī and Fāťima, and call him/her by this name.
21. Talk to the child in the stomach, as this increases the closeness of the parents and the child. This remains in the memory of the child, even after birth.64
Specific acts for each of the 9 months of pregnancy65
• Recite Surat Yāsīn (36) and al-Saffāt (37) on Thursday and Friday and blow on the stomach.
• Eat sweet apple in the morning.
• Eat pomegranate before breakfast on Friday.
• Eat a very small amount of khakhe shafaa66 (the size of a lentil) before sunset.
• Pray daily prayers at its fadhilah time.
• Recite the Adhān/Iqāmah before prayers with your hand on the stomach.
• Recite Surat al-Qadr (97) on 2 dates everyday and eat them on an empty stomach.
• Recite Surat al-Mulk (67) on Thursday and Friday.
• Recite Ŝalawāt (with Wa Ajjil Farajahum added at the end) on Thursday 140 times and on Friday 100 times:
أَللٌّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ وَ عَجِّلْ فَرَجَهُمْ
• Recite the following long Ŝalawāt with the hand on the stomach:
أَللٌّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ وَ عَجِّلْ فَرَجَهُمْ وَ أَهْلِكْ عَدُوَّهُمْ مِنَ الْجِنِّ وَ الإِِنْسِ مِنَ الأََوَّلِينَ وَ الآخِرِينَ.
“O Allāh (SwT)! Bless Muĥammad and the family of Muĥammad, and hasten their release from suffering, and destroy their enemy, and curse their enemies from among the jinn and humankind from the beginning to the end (of time).”67
• Eat meat with sweet apple and some milk every week.
• Recite Surat al-Tawĥīd (112) on 2 jujube (dark red fruit; also known as the Chinese date) everyday and eat them on an empty stomach.
• Recite Surat Āli-’ Imrān (3) on Thursday and Friday.
• Recite Ŝalawāt (with Wa Ajjil Farajahum) 140 times.
• Recite the long Ŝalawāt before every Ŝalāt keeping the hands on the stomach:
أَللٌّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ وَ عَجِّلْ فَرَجَهُمْ وَ أَهْلِكْ عَدُوَّهُمْ مِنَ الْجِنِّ وَ الإِِنْسِ مِنَ الأََوَّلِينَ وَ الآخِرِينَ.
“O Allāh (SwT)! Bless Muĥammad and the family of Muĥammad, and hasten their release from suffering, and destroy their enemy, and curse their enemies from among the jinn and humankind from the beginning to the end (of time).”68
• Eat wheat and meat and drink milk every week.
• Eat honey in the morning.
• Recite Ayat al-Kursī (Suratul Baqarah (2), Verse 255) on an apple everyday and eat it on an empty stomach.
• Eat a very small amount of Makka Ubani (the size of a lentil) on an empty stomach.69
• Recite Surat al-Dahr/al-Insān (76) on Thursday and Friday.
• Recite Surat al-Qadr (97) in one Rak°at of every prayer.
• After daily prayers, recite Surat al-Kawthar (108), Surat al-Qadr (97) and the long Ŝalawāt with the hand on the stomach:
أَللٌّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ وَ عَجِّلْ فَرَجَهُمْ وَ أَهْلِكْ عَدُوَّهُمْ مِنَ الْجِنِّ وَ الإِِنْسِ مِنَ الأََوَّلِينَ وَ الآخِرِينَ.
“O Allāh (SwT)! Bless Muĥammad and the family of Muĥammad, and hasten their release from suffering, and destroy their enemy, and curse their enemies from among the jinn and humankind from the beginning to the end (of time).”70
رَبَّنَا هَبْ لَنَا مِنْ أَزْوَاجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّاتِنَا قُرَّةَ أَعْـيُنٍ وَاجْعَلْنَا لِلْمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا
“Our Lord! Grant us comfort in our spouses and descendants, and make us Imāms of the Godwary.”71
• Recite Astaghfirullaha Rabbi Wa Atubu Ilaik (I seek forgiveness from Allāh (SwT) and turn to Him) 7 times:
أَسْتَغْفِرُ اللٌّهَ رَبِّـي وَ أَتُوبُ إِلَيْكَ
• Recite Ŝalawāt 140 times after prayers.
• Eat sweet apple, honey and pomegranate.
• Start reciting Ŝalāt al-Layl (if you cannot manage this on time, recite qaďā).
• Recite Surat al-Tin (95) on 2 figs everyday and eat them on an empty stomach.
• Choose the child’s name before it is 4 months and 10 days old.
• Recite Surat al-Fatĥ (48) on Thursday and Friday.
• Recite Surat al-Naŝr (110) in a daily prayer.
• Rub khakhe shafaa on the stomach.
• Eat a date every morning.
• From the start of the 5th month, at the time of Ŝalāt, recite Adhān and Iqāmah with your hand on the stomach.
• Recite Surat al-°amd (1) on an egg everyday and eat it on an empty stomach.
• Recite Surat al-Wāqiah (56) on Thursday and Friday.
• Recite Surat al-Tin (95) in one of the Rak°at of Maghrib and Isha prayers.
• Rub khakhe shafaa on the stomach, after every Ŝalāt.
• Eat fig and olive after breakfast.
• Either in the morning or night, try to eat bone marrow72, and stay away from fatty foods.
• Recite Surat al-Fatĥ (48) on a pomegranate everyday and eat it on an empty stomach.
• From the 7th month, for 40 days after the Fajr prayer, recite Surat al-An°ām (6) on almonds and then eat them.
• From the 7th month onwards, eat an almond a day.
• Recite Surat al-Nahl (16) on Monday.
• Recite Surat Yāsīn (36) and Surat al-Mulk (67) on Thursday and Friday.
• From this month on, recite Surat al-Nūr (24) often.
• From this month on, after tasbih, recite 5 Surahs (al-°adīd (57), al-°ashr (59), al-Saff (61), al-Jumu°ah (62) and al-Taghabun (64)) often.
• Recite Surat al-Qadr (97) and Surat al-Tawĥīd (112) in daily prayers.
• Recite Ŝalawāt 140 times every day.
• Eat a little watermelon after food (do not drink water before or after).
• Recite Surat Yāsīn (36) on a quince everyday and eat on an empty stomach.
• Recite Surat al-Qadr (97) 10 times on Saturday after Subh prayer.
• Recite Surat al-Tin (95) twice on Sunday after Subh prayer.
• Recite Surat Yāsīn (36) on Monday.
• Recite Surat al-Furqān (25) on Tuesday.
• Recite Surat al-Dahr/al-Insān (76) on Wednesay.
• Recite Surat Muĥammad (47) on Thursday.
• Recite Surat al-Saffāt (37) on Friday.
• Eat sweet yoghurt and honey.
• Eat sweet pomegranate on Friday on an empty stomach.
• If there is no fear of harm, use vinegar (in your food) once a week.
• Do not eat garam masala.73
• Sacrifice a sheep for Imām Mahdī and eat from that.
• Eat dates and kebab. About eating dates, it is narrated from the Prophet (S) : “In the month in which pregnant ladies will give birth, feed them dates as their children will be forbearing and virtuous.”74
• Recite Surat al-°Aŝr (103) and Surat al-Dhāriyāt (51) in Dhuhr and °Asr prayers.
• Recite Surat al-°ajj (22) on Thursday and Surat al-Fāťir (35) on Friday night.
• Recite Surat al-Insān/al-Dahr (76) on some dates and milk everyday and eat on an empty stomach.
• Try to avoid looking at pictures and into the mirror.
• Go for a daily walk at a slow pace.
General supplications over the course of pregnancy75
1. Recite Surat Mariam (19) daily for a righteous and pious child.
2. Recite Surat Yāsīn (36) 40 times (each time blow on a pomegranate and eat it).
3. Recite Surat Yūsuf (12) 40 times (each time blow on an apple and eat it).
4. Recite Surahs: al-°adīd (57), al-°ashr (59), al-Taghabun (64), al-Jumu°ah (62) and al-Saff (61) 40 times before sleeping on Thursday night or any night.
5. Recite Surat al-Tawĥīd (112) 50 times every day after Subh prayer.
6. Recite Surat al-Qadr (97) 50 times every day after Subh prayer.
7. Recite Surat al-Anbiyā (21) continuously (at least once a week) for a pious child.
8. For a patient child, recite Surat al-°Aŝr (103) with your hand on the stomach.
9. Recite Ziyārat al-Jām°ia 40 times.
10. Recite Ziyārat Ale Yāsīn (and the Du°ā that follows it) 40 times.
11. Recite 40 Ziyārat °Ashūrā (including 100 curses and 100 salaams and Du°ā Alqamah; if the 100 curses and salaams are not possible, then even 10 times will suffice).
12. Recite Ziyārat of Imām Mahdī 40 times.
13. Recite °adith al-Kisā 40 times.
14. Recite Du°ā al-Tawassul 40 times.
15. Recite Du°ā Kumail on Thursday night 40 times.
16. Recite Du°ā al-Nudba on Friday mornings (before Dhuhr) 40 times.
17. Recite Du°ā al-Samāt on Friday afternoons 40 times.
18. Recite Du°ā al-Aĥd 40 times consecutively after the Fajr prayer.
19. Recite Ŝalawāt 140 times a day.
20. Recite Istighfār 70 times after Ŝalāt.
21. Recite Tasbīĥ of Haďrat Fāťima after every Ŝalāt, and every night before sleep.
22. Recite the entire Qur`an once (and send the reward to Imām Mahdī ).
23. When feeling movement of the child, place your hand on the stomach and recite Ŝalawāt and Surat al-Tawĥīd (112).
NOTE: It is important to note for the recommended 40 weekly supplications (such as Du°ā Kumail), that there are approximately 40 weeks in a pregnancy.
Qur`anic supplications for righteous children
1. The Du°ā of Prophet (S) Ibrāhīm:
رَبِّ هَبْ لِي مِنَ الصَّالِحِينَ
“My Lord! Give me (an heir), one of the righteous.”76
2. Another Du°ā of Prophet Ibrāhīm (as):
رَبِّ اجْــعَـلْـنِي مُقِيمَ الصَّلاَةِ وَمِنْ ذُرِّيَّتِي رَبَّنَا وَتَقَبَّلْ دُعَاءِ
“My Lord! Make me a maintainer of the prayer, and my descendants (too). Our Lord! Accept my supplication.”77
3. The Du°ā of Prophet Zakariya(as):
رَبِّ هَبْ لِي مِنْ لَّدُنْكَ ذُرِّيَّةً طَيِّبَةً إِنَّكَ سَمِيعُ الدُّعَاءِ
“My Lord! Grant me a good offspring from you! Indeed you hear all supplications”78
4. The Du°ā of the Prophet (S):
وَأَصْلِحْ لِي فِــي ذُرِّيَّتِي إِنِّي تُبْتُ إِلَيْكَ وَإِنِّي مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ
“And invest my descendants with righteousness. Indeed I have turned to you in penitence, and I am one of the Muslims.”79
5. Another Du°ā of the Prophet (S):
رَبَّنَا هَبْ لَنَا مِنْ أَزْوَاجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّاتِنَا قُرَّةَ أَعْـيُنٍ وَاجْعَلْنَا لِلْمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا
“Our Lord! Grant us comfort in our spouses and descendants, and make us Imāms of the Godwary.”80
Imām Zain al-°Abidīn’s (as) supplication for righteous children81
Imām Zain al-°Abidīn’s (as) Du°ā for children, as narrated in Saĥīfatul Sajjādiya, is a highly recommended Du°ā to be recited during pregnancy and after:
بِسْمِ اللٌّهِ الرَّحْمٌنِ الرَّحِيمِ
أَللٌّهُمَّ وَ مُنَّ عَلَيَّ بِبَقَآءِ وُلْدِي وَ بِإِصْلاَحِهِمْ لِي و بِإِمْـتَاعِي بِهِمْ.
“O God, be kind to me through the survival of my children, setting them right for me, and allowing me to enjoy them!
إِلٌهِي امْدُدْ لِي فِي أَعْمَارِهِمْ، وَ زِدْ لِي فِي آجَالِهِمْ، وَ رَبِّ لِي صَغِيرَهُمْ، وَ قَوِّ لِي ضَعِيفَهُمْ، وَ أَصِحَّ لِي أَبْدَانَهُمْ وَ أَدْيَانَهُمْ وَ أَخْلاَقَهُمْ، وَ عَافِهِمْ فِي أَنْـفُسِهِمْ وَ فِي جَوَارِحِهِمْ وَ فِي كُلِّ مَا عُنِـيتُ بِهِ مِنْ أَمْرِهِمْ، وَ أَدْرِرْ لِي وَ عَلَى يَدِي أَرْزَاقَهُمْ. وَ اجْعَلْهُمْ أَبْرَاراً أَتْقِيَآءَ بُصَرَآءَ سَامِعِينَ مُطِيعِينَ لَكَ، وَ لِأَوْلِيَائِكَ مُحِبِّينَ مُنَاصِحِينَ، وَ لِجَمِيعِ أَعْدَائِكَ مُعَانِدِينَ وَ مُبْغِضِينَ، آمِينَ.
My God, make long their lives for me, increase their terms, bring up the smallest for me, strengthen the weakest for me, rectify for me their bodies, their religious dedication, and their moral traits, make them well in their souls, their limbs, and everything that concerns me of their affair, and pour out for me and upon my hand their provisions! Make them pious, fearing, insightful, hearing, and obedient toward You, loving and well-disposed toward Your friends, and stubbornly resistant and full of hate toward all Your enemies! Amen!
أَللٌّهُمَّ اشْدُدْ بِهِمْ عَضُدِي، وَ أَقِمْ بِهِمْ أَوَدِي، وَ كَثِّرْ بِهِمْ عَدَدِي، وَ زَيِّنْ بِهِمْ مَحْضَرِي، وَ أَحْيِ بِهِمْ ذِكْرِي، وَ اكْفِنِي بِهِمْ فِي غَيْـبَتِي، وَ أَعِنِّي بِهِمْ عَلَى حَاجَتِي، وَ اجْعَلْهُمْ لِي مُحِبِّينَ، وَ عَلَيَّ حَدِبِينَ مُقْبِلِينَ مُسْتَقِيمِينَ لِي، مُطِيعِينَ، غَيْرَ عَاصِينَ وَ لاَ عَاقِّينَ وَ لاَ مُخَالِفِينَ وَ لاَ خَاطِئِينَ.
O God, through them strengthen my arm, straighten my burdened back, multiply my number, adorn my presence, keep alive my memory, suffice me when I am away, help me in my needs, and make them loving toward me, affectionate, approaching, upright, obedient, never disobedient, disrespectful, opposed, or offenders!”
وَ أَعِنِّي عَلَى تَرْبِيَتِهِمْ وَ تَأْدِيـبِهِمْ، وَ بِرِّهِمْ،وَ هَبْ لِي مِنْ لَدُنْكَ مَعَهُمْ أَوْلاَداً ذُكُوراً، وَ اجْعَلْ ذٌلِكَ خَيْراً لِي، وَ اجْعَلْهُمْ لِي عَوْناً عَلَى مَا سَأَلْتُكَ.
Help me in their upbringing, their education, and my devotion toward them, give me among them from Yourself male children, make that a good for me, and make them a help for me in that which I ask from You!
وَ أَعِذْنِي وَ ذُرِّيَّتِي مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ، فَإِنَّكَ خَلَقْتَنَا وَ أَمَرْتَنَا وَ نَهَيْتَنَا وَ رَغَّبْتَنَا فِي ثَوَابِ مَا أَمَرْتَنَا وَ رَهَّبْتَنَا عِقَابَهُ، وَ جَعَلْتَ لَنَا عَدُوّاً يَكِيدُنَا، سَلَّطْتَهُ مِنَّا عَلَى مَا لَمْ تُسَلِّطْنَا عَلَيْهِ مِنْهُ، أَسْكَنْتَهُ صُدُورَنَا، وَ أَجْرَيْتَهُ مَجَارِيَ دِمَائِنَا، لاَ يَغْفُلُ إِنْ غَفَلْنَا، وَ لاَ يَنْسَي إِنْ نَسِينَا، يُؤْمِـنُنَا عِقَابَكَ، وَ يُخَوِّفُنَا بِغَيْرِكَ.
Give me and my progeny refuge from the accursed Satan, for You have created us, commanded us, and prohibited us, and made us desire the reward of what You have commanded, and fear its punishment! You assigned to us an enemy who schemes against us, gave him an authority over us in a way that You didst not give us authority over him, allowed him to dwell in our breasts and let him run in our blood vessels; he is not heedless, though we be heedless, he does not forget, though we forget; he makes us feel secure from Your punishment and fills us with fear toward other than You.
إِنْ هَمَمْنَا بِفَاحِشَةٍ شَجَّعَنَا عَلَيْهَا، وَ إِنْ هَمَمْنَا بِعَمَلٍ صَالِحٍ ثَـبَّطَنَا عَنْهُ، يَتَعَرَّضُ لَنَا بِالشَّهَوَاتِ، وَ يَنْصِبُ لَنَا بِالشُّبُهَاتِ، إِنْ وَعَدَنَا كَذَبَنَا، وَ إِنْ مَنَّانَا أَخْلَفَنَا، وَ إِلاَّ تَصْرِفْ عَنَّا كَيْدَهُ يُضِلَّنَا، وَ إِلاَّ تَقِنَا خَبَالَهُ يَسْتَزِلَّنَا.
If we are about to commit an indecency, he gives us courage to do so, and if we are about to perform a righteous work, he holds us back from it. He opposes us through passions, and sets up for us doubts. If he promises us, he lies, and if he raises our hopes, he fails to fulfil them. If You do not turn his trickery away from us, he will misguide us, and if You do not protect us from his corruption, he will cause us to slip.
أَللٌّهُمَّ فَاقْهَرْ سُلْطَانَهُ عَنَّا بِسُلْطَانِكَ حَتَّى تَحْبِسَهُ عَنَّا بِكَثْرَةِ الدُّعَاءِ لَكَ فَنُصْبِحَ مِنْ كَيْدِهِ فِي الْمَعْصُومِينَ بِكَ.
O God, so defeat his authority over us through Your authority, such that You holdest him back from us through the frequency of our supplication to You and we leave his trickery and rise up among those preserved by you from sin!
أَللٌّهُمَّ أَعْطِنِي كُلَّ سُؤْلِي، وَ اقْضِ لِي حَوَائِجِي، وَ لاَ تَمْنَعْنِي الإِِجَابَةَ وَ قَدْ ضَمِنْتَهَا لِي، وَ لاَ تَحْجُبْ دُعَائِي عَنْكَ وَ قَدْ أَمَرْتَنِي بِهِ ، وَ امْـنُنْ عَلَيَّ بِكُلِّ مَا يُصْلِحُنِي فِي دُنْـيَايَ وَ آخِرَتِي مَا ذَكَرْتُ مِنْهُ وَ مَا نَسِيتُ، أَوْ أَظْهَرْتُ أَوْ أَخْفَيْتُ أَوْ أَعْلَنْتُ أَوْ أَسْرَرْتُ.
O God, grant me my every request, accomplish for me my needs, withhold not from me Your response when You hast guaranteed a response, veil not my supplication from Yourself, when You hast commanded me to make it, and be kind to me through everything that will set me right in this world and the next, in everything that I remember or forget, display or conceal, make public or keep secret!
وَ اجْعَلْنِي فِي جَمِيعِ ذٌلِكَ مِنَ الْمُصْلِحِينَ بِسُؤَالِي إِيَّاكَ، الْمُنْجِحِينَ بِالطَّلَبِ إِلَيْكَ غَيْرِ الْمَمْـنُوعِينَ بِالتَّوَكُّلِ عَلَيْكَ. الْمُعَوَّذِِينَ بِالتَّعَوُّذِ بِكَ، الرَّابِحِينَ فِي التِّجَارَةِ عَلَيْكَ، الْمُجَارِينَ بِعِزِّكَ، الْمُوَسَّعِ عَلَيْهِمُ الرِّزْقُ الْحَلاَلُ مِنْ فَضْلِكَ، الْوَاسِعِ بِجُودِكَ وَ كَرَمِكَ، الْمُعَزِّينَ مِنَ الذُّلِّ بِكَ، وَ الْمُجَارِينَ مِنَ الظُّلْمِ بِعَدْلِكَ، وَ الْمُعَافِيْنَ مِنَ الْبَلاَءِ بِرَحْمَتِكَ، وَ الْمُغْنِينَ مِنَ الْفَقْرِ بِغِنَاكَ، وَ الْمَعْصُومِينَ مِنَ الذُّنُوبِ وَ الزَّلَلِ وَ الْخَطَاءِ بِتَقْوَاكَ، وَ الْمُوَفَّقِينَ لِلْخَيْرِ وَ الرُّشْدِ وَ الصَّوَابِ بِطَاعَتِكَ، وَ الْمُحَالِ بَيْنَهُمْ وَ بَيْنَ الذُّنُوبِ بِقُدْرَتِكَ، التَّارِكِينَ لِكُلِّ مَعْصِيَتِكَ، السَّاكِنِينَ فِي جِوَارِكَ.
In all of this, place me through my asking You among those who set things right, those who are answered favourably when they request from You and from whom is not withheld when they put their trust in You, those accustomed to seek refuge in You, those who profit through commerce with You, those granted sanctuary through Your might, those given lawful provision in plenty from Your boundless bounty through Your munificence and generosity, those who reach exaltation after abasement through You, those granted sanctuary from wrong through Your justice, those released from affliction through Your mercy, those delivered from need after poverty through Your riches, those preserved from sins, slips, and offenses through reverential fear toward You, those successful in goodness, right conduct, and propriety through obeying You, those walled off from sins through Your power, the refrainers from every act of disobedience toward You, the dwellers in Your neighbourhood!
أَللَّهُمَّ أَعْطِنَا جَمِيعَ ذٌلِكَ بِتَوْفِيقِكَ وَ رَحْمَتِكَ، وَ أَعِذْنَا مِنْ عَذَابِ السَّعِيرِ، وَ أَعْطِ جَمِيعَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ وَ الْمُسْلِمَاتِ وَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَ الْمُؤْمِنَاتِ مِثْلَ الَّذِي سَأَلْتُكَ لِنَفْسِي وَ لِوُلْدِي فِي عَاجِلِ الدُّنْيَا وَ آجِلِ الآخِرَةِ، إِنَّكَ قَرِيبٌ مُجِيبٌ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ عَفُوٌّ غَفُورٌ رَءُوفٌ رَحِيمٌ. وَ آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً، وَ فِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَ قِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ.
O God, give me all of that through Your bestowal of success and Your mercy, grant us refuge from the chastisement of the burning, and give to all Muslims, male and female, and all the faithful, male and female, the like of what I have asked for myself and my children, in the immediate of this world and the deferred of the next! Verily You art the Near, the Responder, the All-hearing, the All-knowing, the Pardoner, the Forgiving, the Clement, the Merciful! And give to us in this world good, and in the next world good, and protect us from the chastisement of the Fire!
1. Recite Surat al-Insĥiqāq after Ŝalāt in the 9th month. When labour pains start, recite this, and if it is not possible to recite it with your tongue, recite it in your head.
2. Drink saffron syrup during labour to ease the pain (not before as it may lead to miscarriage).
3. At the time a woman thinks labour pains are going to begin, take a warm (not hot) shower.
4. At the time of labour, have pleasant smelling things around you and breath with your mouth open.
5. Do not eat large quantities of food, but eat good quality and high energy food, and stay away from foods that cause constipation.
6. Recite the recommended Du°ās for delivery.2
7. Ibn °Abbās has related that to write the names of the Aŝĥāb al-Kahf (Companions of the Cave) down and tying these names around the left thigh of a woman going through a difficult labour is recommended.3
Their names are:
مكسلمينا مليخا مكسينا مرطوس يوانس
اريطانس اونوس كيد سططيوس قطمير
In another tradition, it is narrated that their names are:
مكسكمينا تمليخا رطيونس ينبونس
سازيونس كشيططونس قطميرزبان تنور
8. Do not wear nylon, as this prevents sunrays reaching the body, and therefore a lack of Vitamin B and a more difficult delivery.
9. One of the reasons of difficult labour for many women is fear and lack of preparation. Therefore, it is recommended that you prepare in advance for labour, mentally and physically.
Reading and becoming familiar with what will occur helps tremendously in reducing fear.
10. Recommended exercises also help in reducing labour pains.4
1. Fresh dates1
a. It is narrated that the Prophet (S) said: “The first thing a woman should eat after delivery should be ratb (a type of fresh date), as Allāh (SwT) told Haďrat Maryam after delivering Prophet (S) °Isā to eat ratb.2” When asked, ““If it is not the season for ratb?” He replied, “Then nine dates from Medina, and if these are also not available, then any nine dates. Surely Allāh (SwT) has stated: ‘I swear by My Honour and Glory, that any woman who has recently delivered and eats ratb, I will make her child patient.’”
b. It is narrated from Imām °Alī (as) that feed Birni dates (a type of date) to women after the birth of their child, so that the child becomes clever and patient.
c. Eating dates is not only beneficial for the mother but has an effect on breast milk as well, and is also beneficial when fed to children.3 For newborns, it is narrated from Imām °Alī (as) that put a little bit of date in the mouth of the child, and the Prophet (S) did the same with Imām Hasan (as) and Imām Husain (as).
2. Euphrates Water and Khakhe Shafaa4 (on the roof of the child’s mouth)
b. It is narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as) that khakhe shafaa should be placed in the mouth of the child, as this protects him/her from pains and tribulations.7
c. In another tradition from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as), it is narrated that he said: “There isn’t a person who drinks Euphrates water and puts it in the mouth of his child, except that he is a friend of ours, because the Euphrates is the river of a mu’min (believer).”8
a. It is narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as) that when a child is born, obtain some milk from the mother (the size of a lentil), mix it in water and put two drops in the right nostril of the baby, and then the left, and recite Adhān in his right ear and Iqāmah in his left, before they take the umbilical cord away. If this is done, fear will never reach the child and Umme Sabyān (a Jinn) will never trouble him/her.9
1. Acceptance of the child, whether boy or girl
Unfortunately, even today, many still have the stereotype that girls are undesirable and treat sons and daughters differently. Whereas, it is clear in the Qur`an that the child is a creation of Allāh (SwT) and He grants a boy to whomsoever He pleases and a girl to whomsoever He pleases.10
It is narrated that when Imām Zain al-°Abidīn was given glad tidings of the birth of his child, he didn’t ask whether it was a boy or a girl, but rather first asked, is his creation ok? Then, if told that the child was healthy and there was no defect in the creation, he recited:
أَلْحَمْدُ لِلٌّهِ الَّذِي لَمْ يَخْلُقْ مِنِّي شَيْئاً مُشَوَّهاً.
“Praise Be to Allāh (SwT) who did not create from me something disfigured.”11
It is narrated from the Prophet (S): “It is prosperous for the woman that her first child be a daughter.”12
It has been narrated that daughters are goodness and blessings and sons are favours. One will be questioned about the favours given to them, whereas goodness and blessings will be increased.13
2. Recitation of Adhān and Iqāmah
The Prophet (S) stated that whomever a child is born to, should recite Adhān in the right ear and Iqāmah in the left ear, as this is a protection from the evil of Satan.14
Additionally, in another tradition it is stated that the mid-wife or someone else should be told to recite the Iqāmah in the right ear so that the Jinn will never trouble the child, nor will it become mad.15
It is also narrated that the Prophet (S) ensured that Adhān and Iqāmah were recited in the ears of Imām Hasan (as) and Imām Husain (as), as well as Surat al-Fātiĥa, Ayat al-Kursī, the end of Surat al-Hashr, Surat al-Ikĥlāŝ, Surat al-Falaq and Surat al-Nās.16
3. Clothes of the child
From traditions at the time of the birth of Imām Hasan (as) and Imām Husain (as), it is apparent that it is Makrūh to tie the child in yellow cloth just after birth; rather it is recommended to tie him/her in white cloth.17
It has been mentioned in Fiqh al-Riďā that one of the emphasized mustaĥab acts (some even call it obligatory) after the birth of a child is giving it a Ghusl. One should make a intention that I am giving this child a Ghusl for the pleasure of Allāh (SwT), and then first wash the head, then the right side, and then the left side.18
However, it should be noted that this should only be done if it is medically safe and not harmful to the baby.
5. Shaving the hair19
This involves shaving of all the hair of the child (from in the womb) once after birth, and giving gold or silver according to the weight of the hair as ŝadaqah. The hair should then be buried in the ground. It is recommended to do this on the 7th day after birth.
The hair should completely be shaved off, leaving no forelock or ringlet. It is narrated that a boy who had a forelock was brought near the Prophet (S); the Prophet (S) did not pray for him and said that his forelock should be shaved off.
It is recommended that after the shaving of the hair, saffron should be massaged into the head. Massaging the blood of the aqīqah however, is strongly discouraged, and has been called an act of ignorance (Jāhiliat).
This involves slaughtering an animal in the name of the child for his/her protection. °Aqīqah is a highly recommended sunnah for anyone who has the capability (some even call it obligatory), and it is better if performed on the 7th day after birth. 22
NOTE: It is recommended that the shaving of the hair, giving of the gold/silver as ŝadaqah and °Aqīqah should be carried out in the same place and at one time, although it is sunnah that the shaving of the hair takes place first.
NOTE: It is narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as) that aqīqah is not the same as sacrifice (qurbānī)
7. Circumcision of boys23
Circumcision is obligatory on boys, and as with shaving and aqīqah, it is recommended that it be done on the 7th day after the birth of the child, although if done earlier, there is no harm.24
If not done then, it is sunnah that it be done until the bulugh of the child, after which it is obligatory on the child himself to do it. However, other ulema have stated that as the child nears puberty, it is obligatory on the guardian. Indeed, it is narrated from Imām °Alī that a person who becomes a Muslim should be circumcised, even if he is 80 years old.
It is narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as) that children should be circumcised as it makes the body cleaner, makes the meat of the body grow faster, and the earth has an aversion to the urine of an uncircumcised person.
It is narrated from the Prophet (S) that the earth becomes najis for 40 days from the urine of an uncircumcised person, and in another tradition, it is narrated that the earth groans to Allāh (SwT) because of his urine.
It is also narrated that if you circumcise a boy, and the sheath grows again and covers the penis, circumcise him again, because the earth groans to Allāh (SwT) for 40 days because of the covering of his circumcision.
It is narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): “Somebody who has not been circumcised should not lead prayers, and his witness is not accepted, and if he dies, do not pray for him as he has left the biggest sunnah of the Prophet (S), unless he has left it for fear of death (resulting from circumcision).”
It is recommended to recite the following Du°ā at the time of circumcision25:
أَللٌّهُمَّ هٌذِهِ سُنَّتُكَ وَ سُنَّةُ نَبِيِّكَ (صَلَوَاتُكَ عَلَيْهِ وَ آلِهِ) وَ اتِّـبَاعٌ مِنَّا لَكَ وَ لِدِيـنِكَ بِمَشِيَّـتِكَ وَ بِإِرَادَتِكَ لِأَمْرٍ أَرَدْتَهُ وَ قَضَآءٍ حَـتَمْتَهُ وَ أَمْرٍ أَنْفَذْتَهُ فَأَذَقْتَهُ حَرَّ الْحَدِيدِ فِي خِتَانِهِ وَ حِجَامَتِهِ لِأَمْرٍ أَنْتَ أَعْرَفُ بِهِ مِنِّي. أَللٌّهُمَّ فَطَهِّرْهُ مِنَ الذُّنُوبِ وَ زِدْ فِي عُمْرِهِ وَ ادْفَعِ الآفَاتِ عَنْ بَدَنِهِ وَ الأَوْجَاعِ عَنْ جِسْمِهِ وَ زِدْهُ مِنَ الْغِنىً وَ ادْفَعْ عَنْهُ الْفَقْرَ فَإِنَّكَ تَعْلَمُ وَ إِنَّا لاَ نَعْلَمُ.
“O Allāh (SwT)! Surely (what we are performing) is in line with Your tradition and the tradition (Sunnah) of Your Prophet (S) (may Your blessings be upon him and his family) - to obey You and Your religion and to fulfill Your will, intention and to carry out the rules which You have decided to make to be followed unconditionally. You have thus given him the taste of the heat of the iron through his circumcision and cupping for a matter which You definitely know better than I do. O Allāh (SwT)! Then cleanse him of sins; increase his age; and release from his body, epidemics and pains; and increase his wealth; and save him from poverty; since surely You know better and we do not know.”
This involves feeding the believers upon the birth of the child and for the circumcision of the child (these can be combined). It is highly recommended to invite family and friends on the 7th day after the birth of the child (or near that day) to share in the auspicious occasion of the birth of the newborn.
It is narrated from the Prophet (S): “A walīmah on the first day is a duty, on the second day good, and on the third day, riyā (i.e. for the sake of other people and not for the sake of Allāh (SwT)).”26
It is Makrūh that all the invitees be rich, but a mix of rich and poor is not a problem. It is also mustaĥab that the invitees should accept the invitation to a walīmah.
9. Piercing the ears
Piercing the ears of the child is recommended.27
One of the best acts after birth is cleaning the child and returning him/her next to the mother’s skin and covering them with one blanket. Half an hour after birth, the child is completely aware and alert and it is the best time for him/her to become familiar with breastfeeding and the mother’s touch.
The first few day a lot of milk is not produced; however, the amount produced is enough, useful and necessary for the new-born child. It is important that as much as possible, tiredness of the mother and lack of milk are not used as reasons to bottle-feed the child as this results in delayed milk production from the mother and the child not being able to suck properly. It also increases the possibilities of infections in the child.
It is narrated30 that the life of a child is bound by °Aqīqah31, and if it is not carried out, it exposes one to tribulation and death. If delayed, it is sunnah on the father until the bulugh of the child, and after bulugh, it is sunnah on the child himself.32
It is narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as) that aqīqah is necessary for any rich man, and if one is poor, he should perform aqīqah once he obtains some money, and if he does not obtain any money, then it is ok. If one has not performed aqīqah, and he carried out a sacrifice (qurbani), this will suffice.
It is narrated that somebody asked Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): “We have asked for a sheep for aqīqah but cannot get one, what do you suggest? Should we give the value of the sheep as ŝadaqah instead?” Imām replied, “No, ask until you get one as Allāh (SwT) likes the feeding of (others)...”
°Umar bin Yazīd narrates that he asked Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): “I don’t know if my father performed aqīqah for me or not.” Imām replied, “Perform it,” and so he performed aqīqah in his old age.
In another tradition it is related that somebody asked Imām as-Ŝādiq (as) that if a child dies on the 7th day, should aqīqah still be carried out? Imām replied if the child dies before Dhuhr, aqīqah is not necessary, but if the child died after zuhr, then do it.
It is common among the ulema that the °Aqīqah should be a sheep, a camel or a goat, and that the °Aqīqah of a boy should be a male animal and the °Aqīqah of a girl should be a female animal.
If it is a camel, it should be 5 years or older. If it is a goat, it should be 1 year or older.
If it is a sheep, it should be at least 6 months or older and it is better if the 7th month has been completed. Its testicles should not be cut and it is better if the testicles is not squashed either. Its horn should not be broken (such that it bled) and its ears should not be cut. It should not be too thin, nor blind, nor should it be so lame that walking is difficult for it.
However, it is important to note that as narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as), °Aqīqah is not the same as sacrifice (qurbānī) which has stricter criteria for the type of animal that is sacrificed. Therefore, if it is not possible that the above criteria be met, any sheep is fine, although the fatter it is the better.
At the time of slaughtering the animal for °Aqīqah, the following supplications should be recited:
1. At the end of the supplication, one should say his name and the name of his father [for example, if the father’s name is Ťāhir and his father’s name is °Abdullah you would say, Ťāhir ibne (the son of) °Abdullah]. This supplication begins with Verses 78 and 79 of Surat al-An°ām followed by Verses 162 and 169 of Surat al-An°ām:
يَا قَوْمِ إِنِّي بَرِيءٌ مِمَّا تُشْرِكُونَ. إِنِّي وَجَّهْتُ وَجْهِيَ لِلَّذِي فَطَرَ السَّمٌوَاتِ وَ الأَرْضَ حَنِيفاً مُسْـلِماً وَ مَا أَنَا مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ. إِنَّ صَلاَتِي وَ نُسُكِي وَ مَحْيَايَ وَ مَـمَاتِي لِلٌّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِـين لاَ شَـرِيكَ لَهُ وَ بِذٌلِكَ أُمِرْتُ وَ أَنَا أَوَّلُ الْمُسْلِمِـينَ. أَللٌّهُمَّ مِنْكَ وَ إِلَـيْكَ بِسْمِ اللٌّهِ وَ اللٌّهُ أَكْـبَرُ. أَللٌّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلـى مُحَمَّدٍ وَ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ تَقَـبَّلْ مِنْ... [Name of father and his father]
“O my nation! Surely I disown myself from that which you associate (with Allāh (SwT)).” “Surely I have turned my entire presence towards He who has brought forth the Heavens and the Earth, sincerely and I am not of those who set up partners (with Allāh (SwT)). Surely my ŝalāť and my sacrifice and my life and my death are all entirely for Allāh (SwT), the Lord of the All the Worlds, He has no partners and to this I have been commanded (to attest to) and I am the first of those who submit as Muslims.” “O’ Allāh (SwT)! Surely this (animal) is from You and it goes back to You in the Name of Allāh (SwT) and Allāh (SwT) is greater than any description which can be mentioned of Him. O Allāh (SwT)! Shower your prayers upon Muĥammad and the family of Muĥammad and accept this from [your name and your father’s name.]”
2. The following supplication should also be read while the animal is being slaughtered (whether the child is a boy or girl):
بِسْمِ اللٌّهِ وَ بِاللٌّهِ وَ الْحَمْدُ لِلٌّهِ وَ اللٌّهُ أَكْبَرُ إِيْمَاناً بِاللٌّهِ وَ ثَنَاءً عَلـى رَسُولِ اللٌّهِ (صَلَّى اللٌّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَ آلِهِ وَسَلَّمَ) وَ شُكْراً لِرِزْقِ اللٌّهِ وَ عِصْمَةً بِأَمْرِ اللٌّهِ وَ مَعْرِفَةً بِفَضْلِهِ عَلَيْنَا أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ.
“In the Name of Allāh (SwT) and in Allāh (SwT) and All Praise belongs solely to Allāh (SwT) and Allāh (SwT) is Greater than any description which can be mentioned of Him. With full faith in Allāh (SwT) and admiration upon the Messenger of Allāh (SwT) (may the blessings of Allāh (SwT) be upon him and his family) and they are thankful for the sustenance of Allāh (SwT) and the protection afforded by the command of Allāh (SwT) and complete cognizance with His bounties upon us the Ahlul Bayt.”
If the child is a boy, then the following supplication should also be said:
أَللٌّهُمَّ أَنْتَ وَهَبْتَ لَنَا ذَكَراً وَ أَنْتَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا وَهَبْتَ، وَ مِنْكَ مَا أَعْطَيْتَ وَ لَكَ مَا صَنَعْنَا فَتَقَبَّلْهُ مِنَّا عَلـى سُنَّتِكَ وَ سُنَّةِ رَسُولِكَ (صَلَّى اللٌّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَ آلِهِ وَسَلَّمَ) وَ أَخْسِءْ عَنَّا الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ، لَكَ سَفَكْتُ الدِّمَاءَ لاَ شَرِيكَ لَكَ وَ الْحَمْدُ لِلٌّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِـينَ.
“O Allāh (SwT)! You have gifted us with a son and You know better what You have gifted us, and back to You is that which You have granted to us and back to You is that which we make - so then accept from it (this sacrifice) from us upon Your Tradition (Sunnah) and the Tradition (Sunnah) of Your Messenger (may the blessings of Allāh (SwT) be upon him and his family) and keep us distanced from the accursed Satan. For You the blood (of this animal) has been spilt, and You have no partners and all the Praise belongs solely to Allāh (SwT), the Lord of all the Worlds.”
3. The follow supplication should also be recited at the time of the slaughtering of the animal. When one reaches to the square brackets, you would say the name of the child and his or her father [for example, if the child’s name is Jābir and his father’s name is Kumayl, then you would say: Jābir ibne (the son of) Kumayl] and then continue on with the rest of the supplication. The first version of the supplication is for a boy, the second supplication is if the child is a girl.
بِسْمِ اللٌّهِ وَ بِاللٌّهِ أَللٌّهُمَّ هٌذِهِ عَقِيقَةٌ عَنْ [Name of child and his father] لَحْمِهَا بِلَحْمِهِ وَ دَمِهَا بِدَمِهِ وَ عَظْمِهَا بِعَظْمِهِ. أَللٌّهُمَّ اجْعَلْهَا وِقَاءً لَهُ بِآلِ مُحَمَّدٍ صَلَّى اللٌّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَ آلِهِ وَ سَلَّمَ.
“In the Name of Allāh (SwT) and by Allāh (SwT), this aqīqah (slaughtering of an animal) is for [name of the child and his father’s first name]. Its flesh instead of his flesh; its blood instead of his blood; its bones instead of his bones are all offered to You. O Allāh (SwT)! accept it for that by which this child may be protected and preserved, in the name of the progeny of Muĥammad, blessings of Allāh (SwT) be upon him and his progeny.”
بِسْمِ اللٌّهِ وَ بِاللٌّهِ أَللٌّهُمَّ هٌذِهِ عَقِيقَةٌ عَنْ [Name of child and her father] لَحْمِهَا بِلَحْمِهَا وَ دَمِهَا بِدَمِهَا وَ عَظْمِهَا بِعَظْمِهَا. أَللٌّهُمَّ اجْعَلْهَا وِقَاءً لَهَا بِآلِ مُحَمَّدٍ صَلَّى اللٌّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَ آلِهِ وَ سَلَّمَ
“In the Name of Allāh (SwT) and by Allāh (SwT), this aqīqah (slaughtering of an animal) is for [name of the child and her father’s first name]. Its flesh instead of her flesh; its blood instead of her blood; its bones instead of her bones are all offered to You. O Allāh (SwT)! accept it for that by which this child may be protected and preserved, in the name of the progeny of Muĥammad, blessings of Allāh (SwT) be upon him and his progeny.”
It is recommended that the bones should not be broken; rather they should be separated at the joints. It is also better that the meat be distributed cooked (with at least salt and water) and the raw hide be given as ŝadaqah.
It is recommended that the legs and thighs of the aqīqah (this can either be counted as one third or one fourth of the sheep depending on the method of division) should be given to the mid-wife (or doctor) that helped during the delivery and the rest should be given to the people to eat as ŝadaqah. If the mid-wife or doctor is a Jew, then the value of a quarter of a sheep should be given.
If the child was born without a mid-wife or doctor, it should be given to the mother who can give it to whomever she wants; she should give it to at least ten Muslims, and if she can give it to more, it is better. It is not necessary that the meat should only be given to the poor; however, it is better that it is given to the pious and the poor.
It is recommended that the father and mother (and those who are dependant on them, such as parents and children) do not eat from the cooked meat of the °Aqīqah, and this has been emphasized especially for the mother.
It is narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as) that he congratulated someone for the child that God had blessed him with in the following manner (there have been many similar narrations from Imām Hasan (as) also)33:
رَزَقَكَ اللٌّهُ شُكْرَ الْوَاهِبِ وَ بَارَكَ لَكَ فِي الْمَوْهُوبِ وَ بَلَغَ أَشُدَّهُ وَ رَزَقَكَ اللٌّهُ بِرَّهُ.
“May Allāh (SwT) bless you, and bless that which He has granted you, and make him reach physical maturity, and (May) Allāh (SwT) bless you with his righteousness.”34
It is narrated35 from Imām al-Kādhim (as) that the first good a father can do for his child is to give him a good name.
It is the right of the child that his parents give him a good name and treat him well.36 In another tradition it is narrated that among the rights of a child are a good name, teaching him to write and marrying him off when he reaches the age of bulugh.37
It is narrated from Imām °Alī (as): “A child should be named while in the stomach, and if not named and is miscarried, on the Day of Judgement it will ask its father, “Why did you not name me?” The Prophet (S) named Muĥsin, the son of Haďrat Fāťima while in the stomach, and Muĥsin is that child that after the Prophet (S) passed away, he was still in the stomach when °Umar made him a martyr.”
It is narrated from the Imāms (as) that: “A son is not born to us, the Ahlul Bayt, except that he is named Muĥammad for 7 days, and then if desired, it can be changed or removed.”38
It has been mentioned in Fiqh al-Riďā that fix the name (i.e. announce the name to others) on the 7th day.
Naming the children after the Ahlul Bayt (as) is an open declaration of love and friendship towards them, and religion is nothing but love and friendship of the Ahlul Bayt (as), as Allāh (SwT) states in the Noble Qur`an, in Surat Āli-’ Imrān, Verse 31:
إِنْ كُنْـتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللٌّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللٌّهُ...
“If you love Allāh (SwT), then follow me (the Prophet (S)); Allāh (SwT) will love you…”
It is narrated from Imām al-Bāqir (as) that the most suitable names for a child are those that denotes servitude to Allāh (SwT), like °Abdullāh (servant of Allāh (SwT)), and the best names for a child are those of the Prophets.
The Prophet (S) said that whoever has four children and has not named any of them after me, has oppressed me.39
It is narrated from the Prophet (S): “In a house where the names of some of the individuals are of Prophet (S)s, the blessings of that house will never disappear.”40
In another tradition, it has been narrated from Imām al-Kādhim (as) that poverty and indigence will never enter the house in which the name Muĥammad, or Aĥmad, or °Alī, or °asan, or Husain, or Ja°far, or Ťālib, or °Abdullāh, or Fāťima is present.41
It is narrated from Imām Husain (as): “If I had a hundred children, I would have liked to name all of them °Alī.”42
It is narrated that a person came to the Prophet (S) and asked, “A son has come to us, what should I name him?” The Prophet (S) replied, “Name him the best of names with me, and that is Hamza.”
It is narrated from Jābir who said: I went with Imām al-Bāqir (as) to someone’s house and a child came out. Imām asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “Muĥammad.”
Imām asked him, “What is your title (kunyah)?” He replied, “Abu °Alī.” Imām said, “You have taken yourself out of Satan’s stronghold. Surely, every time Satan hears someone being called, Ya Muĥammad! Ya °Alī! he withers away and when he hears someone being called by the name of our enemies, he becomes happy and takes pride in that.”
In another tradition it is narrated that someone came to Imām as-Ŝādiq (as) and said that Allāh (SwT) had given him a boy. Imām congratulated him, and asked, “What have you named him?” He replied, “Muĥammad.” Imām turned his head down towards the floor and kept repeating the name Muĥammad until his face almost touched the ground.
Then he said, “My life, my children, my wives, my father, my mother and all of the people of this earth be sacrificed for the Prophet (S). Because you have given him such a blessed name, do not abuse him and do not hit him and do not make bad reach him. And know this that there is not a house in which the name of Muhammed is present, but that everyday, that house is made Noble and pure.”
In another tradition it is narrated that one should respect a daughter whose name is Fāťima and not abuse her and never hit her.43
The titles of Haďrat Fāťima (sa) can also be used for names of daughters:
Mubāraka: The one who is blessed.
Ťāhira: The one who is pure.
Zakiyya: The one who is wise.
Rāďiya: The one who is content.
Marďiyya: The one whom Allāh (SwT) is pleased with.
Ŝiddīqa: The one who is truthful.
Muĥaddathah: The one that angels talk to.
Muĥaddithah: The one that narrates traditions.
Zahra: The luminous one.
In several traditions it has been narrated that the Prophet (S) has forbidden naming a child with the following names: Hākim, Hakim, Khālid and Mālik. And he has said that the worst names with Allāh (SwT) are Hārith, Mālik and Khālid. And when the name is Muĥammad, he has forbidden 4 titles (kunyah): Abu °Isā, Abul Hakim, Abu Mālik and Abul Qāsim, as both the name and title are not agreeable to the Prophet (S).
In tradition, it has been narrated that one should not name the child Yāsīn, as that is specific to the Prophet (S).
Allāh (SwT) has placed food and water for the child in the body of the mother, and has created an amazing system of feeding the newborn child in a manner which is perfect and most beneficial.
It is narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): “Oh Mother of Isĥāq, don’t feed the child from just one breast, but feed from both, as one is the substitute for food, and the other is a substitute for water.”1
In another tradition, it is narrated from the Prophet (S): “Allāh (SwT) has placed the sustenance (rizq) of the child in the two breasts of the mother, in one is his water, and in the other his food.”2
As we are now on the subject of directly feeding the newborn child from the mother, it is once again necessary to mention and highlight the importance of ĥalāl income, the paying of Khums and Zakāt, the use of pure and ĥalāl food by the mother and its effect on the child. Allāh (SwT) has mentioned the necessity of eating ĥalāl and good food several times in the Noble Qur`an3 and traditions have clearly highlighted that lack of adherence to this is one of the main causes of bad Akhlāq, aggression and oppression. It has even been cited as the cause of the lack of heed paid to Imām Husain (as) by the enemy and thus, the tragedy of Kerbalā.
Pertaining to the effects of eating ĥarām food, the Prophet (S) has narrated: “Every time a bite of ĥarām food enters the stomach of a person, all the angels of the heavens and the earth send curses on him, and until the time that the ĥarām bite is in his stomach, Allāh (SwT) does not look in his direction. Every person that eats a bite of ĥarām food is gathering causes of Allāh (SwT)’s wrath. Then, if he repents, Allāh (SwT) accepts his repentance and if he leaves this world without repentance, he is deserving of the fire (of hell).”4
In order to highlight the above, as well as some recommended methods of breastfeeding and their consequences, three examples of the lives of our scholars have been mentioned below:
1. It was said to the mother of Shaykh Anŝārī, one of the honourable Shī°a scholars: “Māshā-Allāh (SwT), what a good child have you given to society!” The mother replied: “I had higher expectations of my son because I gave him milk for two years and I was never without Wuďū. When my child cried in the middle of the night and wanted milk, I got up, did Wuďū, and then gave my child milk.”5
2. It was asked of the mother of Muqaddas Ardabīli, that what is the cause of the high status of your son? She replied: “I never ate a doubtful bit (of food), before giving milk to the child I did Wuďū, I never looked at a non-mahram (someone with whom marriage is permissible), and after his weaning, I endeavoured in his training, observed cleanliness and purity and made him sit with good children.”6
3. Haj Sheikh Faďhlullāh Nūrī, an esteemed Mujtahid who was hung in his time, had a child who was the type of person who tried to get his father executed. One of the great scholars reports: I went to meet Marhum Nūrī in jail and asked him, “This son of yours should have been the son of a gentleman, and an excellent inheritor of yours. Why is he so low that he speaks badly of you and is even happy with your execution?”
Marhum Nūrī replied: “Yes, I knew this and had this very fear.” He then continued: “This child was born in Najaf. When he came into this world, his mother became sick and could not produce breast milk. We were forced to get a wet nurse so as to give him milk. After a while of breastfeeding, we realised that this woman is corrupt (not of a good nature), and on top of that, an enemy of Imām °Alī and the Ahlul Bayt . At that time, the warning bells started ringing for me.”
At the time of the execution of his father, his son stood and applauded along with other foolish people, and he too eventually delivered a son to society who is none other than Noureddin Kianuri the leader of Hizb-e Tude (Iranian Communist Party)7; this is the son of the very person who clapped at the execution of his father.8
There are many traditions narrating the rewards of breastfeeding, such as those narrated in the Importance of Motherhood section in Chapter 5, where the breastfeeding mother has been likened to one who fights for Allāh (SwT), and if she dies during this time, she attains the reward of a martyr.
It is narrated from the Prophet (S): “For a child, there is no milk better than the milk of the mother.”9 The Prophet (S) has also said that there is nothing that can take the place of food and water except milk.10 Likewise, it is narrated from Imām °Alī (as) that for a child, there is no milk that has more blessings than the milk of a mother.11
Breastfeeding is not only feeding your child, but is the exchange of love and strengthening of the soul. When the child is feeding, he/she can hear the sound of the mother’s heart and this leads to relaxation and calmness. Breastfed children tend to be healthier and sounder in terms of bodily and spiritual health and psychologists believe that breastfeeding keeps children happy and content and even has an effect on their Akhlāq.
Being breastfed is one of the rights of a child and is also counted as the right of a mother, and has been strongly recommended in the Noble Qur`an and traditions. Indeed, its benefits are widely accepted in the world today. Of course, it should be kept in mind that breastfeeding is only recommended if it does not pose any risk to mother or child.
1. Breast milk contains all the necessary ingredients that the child needs in the first 4-6 months of life.
2. Breast milk contains the suitable proteins and fats to satisfy the natural needs of the child.
3. There are higher quantities of lactose in breast milk than other types of milk, as this is what is needed by the child.
4. There are enough vitamins in the breast milk, ensuring that no extra vitamins or fruit juices are needed.
5. The iron in breast milk is enough for the child. Even though the levels are not very high, the child’s ability to absorb the necessary amount is very good.
6. Breast milk contains enough water for the child, even if one lives in a dry climate.
7. Breast milk contains enough salt, calcium and phosphate for the child.
8. Breast milk contains the enzyme lipase that digests fats.
9. The breastfed child is less susceptible to infections due to increased immunity.
10. Breast milk is the most important protector against two main causes of death among children: diarrhetic illnesses and respiratory infections.
11. Being breast fed reduces illnesses resulting from allergies such as asthma, eczema, etc, and helps prevent or reduce some diseases when the child is in the teenage years and above.
12. Diabetes and some digestive problems are found less in breast fed children.
13. Breast feeding helps ill children recover faster; therefore, it is important that it is not stopped during this time.
14. Breast milk is easy and quick to digest, therefore, breastfed children tend to get hungry faster than children fed on other types of milk.
15. Breast milk is always ready and has no need for any preparation.
16. Breast milk never spoils or becomes sour, even if the child hasn’t fed for a few days.
17. Regular feeding, and feeding when the child desires it, prevents conception.
18. The regular contact between mother and child in the first days of its life increases the spiritual and physical bond between the two, leading to a deep and loving relationship and better training and fostering of the child.
19. Breast milk doesn’t require any expenses.
20. Breastfed children develop sight and talking and walking skills faster.
21. The sucking of the child soon after birth causes the stimulation of oxytocin which results in the contraction of the womb, and thus less bleeding from the mother.
22. Mothers that breastfeed are less likely to get breast or ovary cancer.
23. Breastfeeding women return to their pre-pregnancy body sooner, as their maternal fat is being used up faster.
24. Breast milk of the mother changes according to the daily needs of the child. There are also differences between mothers depending on the needs of their children, e.g. the milk of a mother of a premature child and the milk of a mother of a full term child.
25. Breastfed children are more intelligent even as new-borns (i.e. the first four weeks of their lives). Research has shown that these children move more in the first two weeks and show more reactions than other children.
26. Adults who were breastfed tend to be more stable and temperate by nature.
Allāh (SwT) mentions in Surat al-Baqarah, Verse 233:
وَالْوَالِدَاتُ يُرْضِعْنَ أَوْلاَدَهُنَّ حَوْلَيْنِ كَامِلَيْنِ لِــمَنْ أَرَادَ أَن يُتِمَّ الرَّضَاعَةَ
“Mothers shall suckle their children for two full years, - that for such as desire to complete the suckling.”
And in Surat al-Aĥqāf, Verse 15, He states:
وَحَمْلُهُ وَفِصَالُهُ ثَلاَثُونَ شَهْرًا
“And his gestation and weaning take thirty months”
As outlined in the above verses, the recommended time in Islam for breastfeeding is approximately two years. It is also apparent from traditions, that the period of breastfeeding of Imām Husain (as) was also 24 months.12
The Ahlul Bayt (as) have several recommendations on the period of breastfeeding. In some traditions, it has been narrated that breastfeeding for less than 21 months is counted as oppression and aggression against the child.13 In other traditions, breastfeeding for 21 months is seen as necessary and a must.14 Similarly, it is narrated in traditions that breastfeeding for more than two years is also forbidden.15
1. The mother should have taqwa (piety), and should be careful that the milk should not be contaminated due to lack of piety and virtue. Especially during the period of breastfeeding, one should stay away from all types of sin. Mustaĥab acts and closeness to Allāh (SwT) have positive effects on the child.
2. Say “Bismillah” before starting to breastfeed. It is narrated from the Prophet (S): “Any important and valuable act that is carried out without the dhikr “Bismillahi Rahmani-Rahim,” will be imperfect and without a (good) conclusion.”
3. Breastfeed the child with the remembrance of Imām Husain (as), as it is narrated from the Imām: “Oh my Shī°a, every time you drink wholesome water, remember me.”
4. At the time of breastfeeding, look at the child and talk to him/her. In particular, talking about the martyrdom and birth of the Ma°ŝūmīn (as) is recommended; do not be worried about whether the child understands or not. A mother who wants to pass on the culture and traditions of the Ahlul Bayt (as) to her child needs to have the culture of the religion herself and implement this when training and feeding her child.
5. Patience and relaxation, anger and hot-temperedness, healthy and un-healthy thoughts, generous disposition and kindness and stubbornness and revengefulness all have an effect on the child. It is important to remember that the future of the child is in the hands of your actions.
6. Each day of the week, carry out your daily duties such as cooking, cleaning, eating and breastfeeding, with the remembrance of the Ma°ŝūmīn (as) of that day, as specified in Mafatihul Jinan:
Saturday: Prophet Muĥammad (S).
Sunday: Imām °Alī (as) and Haďrat Fāťima (sa).
Monday: Imām Hasan and Imām Husain (as).
Tuesday: Imām Zain al-°Abidīn, Imām Muĥammad al-Bāqir (as) and Imām Ja°far as-Ŝādiq (as) .
Wednesday: Imām Mūsā al-Kāďim, Imām °Alī al-Riďā, Imām Muĥammad al-Taqī and Imām °Alī al-Naqī (as).
Thursday: Imām Hasan al-°Askarī (as).
Friday: Imām Mahdī (as).
7. As recommended by the Prophet (S), begin your actions with Qur`an, and remembrance of Allāh (SwT) and the Ahlul Bayt (as) (including Du°a al-Faraj for Imām Mahdī (aj)).
8. Thank and praise Allāh (SwT) after breastfeeding
9. Ultimately, carry out all your actions, especially breastfeeding, with the intention of seeking Allāh (SwT)’s pleasure and closeness.
It is necessary to remind16 the reader that although there are many recommended methods of weaning, this manual only mentions a few that have been have been mentioned in Islamic sources and by the Ahlul Bayt (as):
1. Do not use harshness with the child, and stay away from techniques like rubbing spices on the breast, etc.
2. When a child insists on breastfeeding, do not chase him/her away from you.
3. With attention to the fact that breastfeeding is not only a source of food but a source of closeness and comfort for the child as well, it is important that along with adequate food replacements, adequate love and quality time with the child are provided as well.
4. Choosing a good time and place for the beginning and end of all acts, especially those with importance and value, is one of the techniques of the scholars of Islam. Therefore, it is only appropriate that for the weaning of a child from such an important act as breastfeeding, a good place and time is chosen, and acted upon by taking into account the readiness of the child and presentation of a good opportunity.
5. Where possible, the best place for weaning is the ĥarām (shrine) of the Ma°ŝūmīn (as) or Imāmzade (sons or daughters of the Imāms).
6. The recommendation of a scholar is as follows:
In the last months of breastfeeding when the decision has been made to slowly wean the child, do Wuďū and enter the ĥarām in a ritually clean state. Once you have reached the ďarīh (noble grave), recite the relevant ziyārat and ask for tawassul (Divine Intercession) of the noble person. Then, take a peeled sweet pomegranate and sit facing the Qibla.
While reciting Surat Yāsīn, feed the child from both breasts until the milk is finished, and blow on the pomegranate from time to time. At the end of the recitation, send the reward of the recitation to the soul of 6-month old °Alī Asghar and his mother. Then pray to Allāh (SwT) to accept the period of breastfeeding by his generosity, and to give meaningful sustenance to your children with the end of breastfeeding. Then feed the child the whole pomegranate (or the juice of it).
NOTE: The sweetness of the pomegranate has been emphasized in particular. Also in general, eating pomegranate is very useful, especially on Fridays, and has been linked to increased relaxation, the removal of agitation and worries.
NOTE: If going to the ĥarām is not possible for geographical or other reasons, it is possible to make the intention of visiting the shrine and performing all the recommended acts at home.
From the time when the child birth takes place, the blood seen by the mother is Nifās, provided that it stops before or on completion of the tenth day. While in the condition of Nifās, a woman is called Nafsa.
1. The blood which a mother sees before the appearance of the first limb of the child is not Nifās.1
2. It is possible that Nifās blood may be discharged for an instant only, but it never exceeds 10 days.2
3. It is not necessary that the baby is fully grown. Even if a deficient baby is born, the blood seen by the mother for ten days will be Nifās. The term ‘child birth’ must be applicable to it.3
4. If a woman doubts whether she has aborted something or not, or whether the thing aborted is a child or not, it is not necessary for her to investigate, and the blood which is discharged in this situation is not Nifās.4
Things which are obligatory and forbidden for someone in the state of Nifās
On the basis of precaution, halting or pausing in a Masjid and other acts which are forbidden for a ĥāidh (a woman in the condition of ĥaydh) are also forbidden for a Nafsa and those acts which are obligatory for a ĥāidh are also obligatory for a Nafsa.5
It is possible that Nifās blood may be discharged for an instant only, but it never exceeds 10 days. Depending on the normal habit of the woman’s ĥaydh, the rules of the length of Nifās differ as follows6:
1. For a woman who has a fixed habit of ĥaydh:
a. Her Nifās will be equal to then normal duration of ĥaydh.
b. If her habit is less than ten days, after this time she has a choice to leave out her Ŝalāt until ten days, or act as a mustahadha (a woman in the condition of istihadha); however, it is better to leave out Ŝalāt for one day (in addition to the regular number of days she had a period for before pregnancy).
c. If, however, the blood continues to be seen even after ten days, then all they days after the normal duration of ĥaydh, until the 10th day, will be istihadha, and she should give Qadha of the acts of worship not performed during this time upto the 10th day (as she will have followed the rulings of istihadha after the 10th day anyway).
d. When acting as a mustahadha, she must refrain from acts forbidden to a Nafsa as well until the 18th day.
Example: If the ĥaydh duration of a woman has always been six days and her blood comes for more than six days, she should treat six days as Nifās and on the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th day, (if the bleeding does not exceed ten days) it will be her choice either to abstain from all acts of worship or adopt the rules of istihadha. If, however, she sees blood for more than ten days, all the days in excess of her habitual duration of ĥaydh will be treated as the days of istihadha and qaďā will have to be offered for Ŝalāt missed if she chose to abstain from all acts of worship on the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th day.
2. For a woman who does not have a fixed habit of ĥaydh
a. Her Nifās will be ten days, and the rest will be istiĥādha.
b. It is a recommended precaution that while acting as a mustahadha, to refrain from acts forbidden to a nafsa from the 10th to the 18th day.
When the period of Nifās is over7
When a woman becomes ritually clean from Nifās, she should do Ghusl and perform acts of worship. If she sees blood again, once or often, there are two possibilities:
1. The total number of days on which blood is seen immediately after childbirth and the intervening days during which she remains ritually clean is 10 days or less than 10 days, then all of it will be Nifās.
In the intervening days, as a precaution, she will perform all that is obligatory for a ritually clean woman and also refrain from all acts which are forbidden to a woman in Nifās. So, if she had kept fasts, she will give their qaďā.
2. If the blood which she saw later exceeds ten days then again, the rules differ depending on the normal habit of the woman’s ĥaydh:
a. For a woman who has a fixed habit of ĥaydh
As a precaution, she should consider the blood seen after the normal ĥaydh duration to be istiĥādha; therefore she should act as a mustahadha, and also avoid all that is forbidden to a nafsa.
b. For a woman who does not have a fixed habit of ĥaydh
She should count the first ten days as Nifās, and the rest as istiĥādha.
The rules of determining a woman’s first ĥaydh after childbirth is again depending on the normal habit of the woman’s ĥaydh:
1. For a woman who has a fixed habit of ĥaydh:
a. If blood is seen continuously for a month or more after giving birth to a child, the blood seen for the days equal to her ĥaydh habit will be Nifās, and the blood seen after that for ten days will be istiĥādha, even if it coincides with the dates of her monthly ĥaydh.
b. After the lapse of ten days of istiĥādha, if bleeding continues, then it is ĥaydh if it falls in the days of habit, irrespective of whether it has the signs of ĥaydh9 or not. If bleeding does not occur in the days of ĥaydh habit, she should wait until the days of her habit, even if it means waiting for a month or more and even if blood has the signs of ĥaydh.
Example: A woman has a fixed ĥaydh habit is from 20th to 27th of every month. She gives birth on the 10th of a given month, and she continues to see blood for a month or more; her Nifās will be seven days, equal to her ĥaydh days, and will be from 10th to 17th of that month; now, the blood which she continues to see from the 17th to the 27th, i.e. for ten days, will be istiĥādha even though it falls in her days of ĥaydh habit.
c. If she has no fixed habit of commencement time of ĥaydh, she should make an effort to recognise her ĥaydh by its signs, and if that is not possible (because the blood seen after Nifās often remains of one type for a month or more), then she should adopt the habit prevailing among her blood relatives (mother, sisters, etc.) to determine the days of ĥaydh. If that also is not possible, then she has an option of fixing her days of ĥaydh.10
2. For a woman who does not have a fixed habit of ĥaydh
a. As explained earlier, the blood seen for the first ten days will be treated as Nifās, and as for the next ten days it will be istiĥādha. The blood seen thereafter can be either ĥaydh or istiĥādha, and in order to ascertain whether it is ĥaydh, she should follow the rule as above, i.e. recognise ĥaydh by its signs, by the prevailing habit among relatives, or fixing her own days of ĥaydh.
Making things ritually clean from the urine of a suckling child
If anything becomes najis with the urine of a suckling child, who has not yet started taking solid food, and, as a precaution, is less than two years old, the thing will be ritually clean if water is poured over it once, reaching all parts which had been najis. As a recommended precaution, water should be poured over it once again. If it is a carpet or dress, etc. it will not be necessary to squeeze it.11
Mostly derived from Rayhāneye Beheshtī, pg. 221-241
1. Give gifts to your daughter(s) first.
2. Play with your children.1 This has an important effect in the training and nurturing of your child. Our leaders in Islam have stressed the importance of this issue, and recommended it highly to Muslims.
It is narrated from the Prophet (S): “The person who has a child, should behave like a child with him.”2 It is also narrated from Imām °Alī (as): “Anybody who has a child, should, for his/her training, bring themselves down to their level of childhood.”3
3. Do not hit your child when they cry, because it is narrated from the Prophet (S): “Do not hit your babies since their crying has a meaning. The first 4 months of crying is professing the unity of Allāh (SwT), the second 4 months of crying is sending blessings upon the Prophet (S) and his family and the third 4 months of crying is the baby praying for the parents.”4
4. Kiss your child. It has been narrated from one of the Imāms that: “Kiss your children a great deal because for every kiss, you will be granted a Divine heavenly rank which would otherwise take 500 years to achieve!”5
It is also narrated that a man once came to the Prophet (S) and said: “I have never kissed my child.” The Prophet (S) said: “Surely a man like this will be a resident of the fire of hell.”
5. By saying Salām to your child, build their sense of personality and character. If youngsters say Salām, it is obligatory for elders to reply; however, it was a characteristic of the Prophet (S) to say Salām first, whether to elders or youngsters.6
6. Do not ridicule the actions of your child, nor call them silly.
7. Do not order or forbid your child too much, as this emboldens them and leads to rebellious behaviour when older.
8. Build your children’s chracters by respecting them. We read in traditions that the Prophet (S) prolonged his sajdah until his grandson came down from his shoulders, and at other times he recited Ŝalāt al-Jamā°at faster as he heard children of praying mothers crying. Likewise, Imām °Alī used to ask his children questions about religious matters in the presence of others, and even passed on people’s questions to them to answer.
When parents don’t satisfy the natural urges and desires of the child, the child then resorts to wrong ways and means (often linked to sin) to try and give himself the necessary push to build his sense of self and importance. Personality, independence, will, self-trust, and likewise, weakness, baseness and lack of self-trust are all characteristics the foundations of which are in the lap of the father and bosom of the mother. A child who has not been treated like another human being or a valuable member of the family cannot be expected to have a well formed personality in adulthood.
9. Keep your promises. Keeping promises in Islam is a sign of one’s faith, and Allāh (SwT) mentions it in the Qur`an.
وَأَوْفُوا بِالْعَهْدِ إِنَّ الْعَهْدَ كَانَ مَسْؤُولاً
“And fulfil the covenants; indeed all covenants are accountable.”7
وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِأَمَانَاتِهِمْ وَعَهْدِهِمْ رَاعُونَ
“And those who keep their trusts and covenants.”8
Keeping promises is one of the pillars of the prosperity of mankind and one of the best qualities of one’s Akhlāq, its base lying in one’s raising and training. It is narrated from the Prophet (S) : “Like your children and treat them with affection and kindness. When you make a promise to them, you must keep it, because children consider you their sustainer.”9
10. For the sexual training of children, the parents must first teach their children not to enter their bedroom without asking permission. Allāh (SwT) has pointed to this important point in Surat Nūr, Verse 58:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لِيَسْتَأْذِنُكُمُ الَّذِينَ مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ لَمْ يَبْلُغُوا الْحُلُمَ مِنكُمْ ثَلاَثَ مَرَّاتٍ مِن قَبْلِ صَلاَةِ الْفَجْرِ وَحِينَ تَضَعُونَ ثِيَابَكُم مِّنَ الظَّهِيرَةِ وَمِنْ بَعْدِ صَلاَةِ الْعِشَاء ثَلاَثُ عَوْرَاتٍ لَّكُمْ
“O you who have faith! Let your permission be sought by your slaves and those of you who have not reached puberty three times: before the dawn prayer, and when you put off your garments at noon, and after the night prayer. These are three times of privacy for you.”
It is also recommended to keep a close watch and control over their actions with others and prevent those actions that increase one’s sexual instinct (e.g. going out in mixed gatherings). It is important to mention that their curiosity is very high in childhood. In addition, they are very sensitive to what they watch and see, and fearlessly want to put it into action and try it out for themselves, without knowing or thinking that what they are doing may not be right.
a. Mothers should be careful that when tending to the cleanliness of their children (e.g. giving them baths), even newborns, other children are not present, especially those who are of a different gender.
b. From childhood, parents should not play with the child’s genital organs, or even their chest and thighs.
c. Never leave children alone or in private for long periods of time and when they are going through an inquisitive phase. It is also not recommended to leave them unattended with someone else during this time, especially a brother or sister.
d. Do not let girls of 6 years sit on a non-maĥram man’s lap or be kissed by non-maĥram men.
e. Do not let girls be naked in front of others. In particular, their chests and thighs should be covered.
f. Create love for Ŝalāt in your child, as Allāh (SwT) clearly states in the Noble Qur`an that Ŝalāt makes one far from ugly acts.
إِنَّ الصَّلاَةَ تَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ
“Indeed the prayer prevents indecencies and wrongs.”10
11. Spoiling a child creates weakness, and a lack of will and determination. These types of children trouble their parents in their childhood, and make them encounter many problems.
The spoilt children themselves face two types of problems
a. They have expectations that the rest of society will, like their parents, comfort and respect them no matter what, and carry out their wishes without any questions. When they realise that people will not only not do this, but will also ridicule these expectations, they become upset and feel humiliated and debased.
b. Such experiences form the base of contempt and make them angry, aggressive, lacking patience and weak. They become the type of people who think low of others and treat them with harsh words and actions.
12. Nothing silences the sense of self-trust in a child more than forcing him to do things they may not have the capability of doing. This is especially the case when, if the child is unsuccessful, it is followed by belittling statements like: “Don’t bother trying, you can’t, you don’t have the capability.”
13. Pray for your children, both during pregnancy and afterwards.11
14. Reminders and requests should be given with gentleness and softness so as not to create a barrier between parents and child. One day, Imām Husain called his children and his brother’s children together and said to them: “All of you are the children of today’s society and, it is hoped, the leaders of tomorrow’s society.
So learn and make efforts in the acquisition of knowledge, and whoever does not have a good memory and cannot memorise the subjects taught by the teacher in teaching sessions, (should) write them down and keep them at home.” Thus we see that the Imām created the love of acquiring knowledge in them without using techniques like scaring or forcing them, but by making them understand that knowledge is the path to honour and esteem.
15. If your child is respected, he/she is less likely to rebel against the rules of the house. Respect and good interaction between parent and child are the bases in forming the child’s character. It is narrated from the Prophet (S): “Respect your children and talk to them with (good) manners and a likeable method.”
16. A good role model is someone who adjusts their children’s desires wisely and with the correct techniques.
17. Foster the faith of your child. Children that have been raised from the beginning with faith in Allāh (SwT) have a strong will and powerful soul and from their early years are mature and courageous; this is easily observed by their actions and words. The readiness of the soul of a child to learn faith and Akhlāq is like fertile ground in which any type of seed can grow. Therefore, parents should teach their child love for Allāh (SwT) and the Ahlul Bayt (as) and leaders of Islam from the earliest opportunities.
It is narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): “Teach traditions to your children as soon as possible, before opposers (to your beliefs) reach them before you do.”12
In traditions, parents who do not take the future life (aakhirat) of their children into consideration are reproached. It is narrated that the Prophet (S)’s gaze fell on some children and he said: “Woe upon the children of the end of time (before the coming of the 12th Imām) because of the disliked methods of their fathers.”
It was asked of him: “Oh Prophet (S) of Allāh (SwT)! Because of their polytheistic fathers?” He replied, “No, because of their Muslim fathers who didn’t teach their children any religious duties. They were content with worthless material things for them. I am weary and exempt of such people…”13
It is said that in communist Russia, they used to eliminate the existence of God from the ground roots level; for example, when a child was hungry or thirsty their parents would let them cry and say to them, “Ask God to provide for you.” When the children would do this, and still remain hungry and thirsty, they used to say to them, “See, you cried to God he gave you nothing!
Now ask Lenin (the Russian leader) to provide for you!” When the children would do this, then only would they give them food and drink. The effect of this was that it was instilled in the children from childhood that God doesn’t exist through this very deluded manner. This same concept is condemned in Surat Yāsīn, Verse 47:
قَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَنُطْعِمُ مَنْ لَّوْ يَشَآءُ اللٌّهُ أَطْعَمَهُ إِنْ أَنْـتُمْ إِلاَّ فِي ضَلاَلٍ مُّبِينٍ
“The faithless say to the faithful, “Shall we feed (someone) whom Allāh (SwT) would have fed, had He wished? You are only in manifest error.”“
However, this is a wonderful lesson to us as to how Allāh (SwT) should be introduced to a child from young age. Whenever a child gets to that age that he understands that whenever they desire something they need to ask their parents, their parents should ask them first to ask from Allāh (SwT). Then when they provide the desired object, they should stress that it reached them through the blessings of Allāh (SwT). Thus, as they grow up, they will be able to see Allāh (SwT) as the underlying principal behind every action.
18. Stay away from wrist-grabbing and bossy behaviour with children.
19. One of the duties of parents is to foster the innate nature of telling the truth in children. Their behaviour in the house should be such that this becomes a habit. However, this is one of the more difficult areas of raising a child and attention to knowledge and action is very important.
It is narrated in a tradition from the Prophet (S): “May Allāh (SwT) have mercy on the person that helps his child in (doing) good.” The narrator of the tradition asked: “How?” In his reply, the Prophet (S) gave 4 instructions:
a. Whatever the child has in his power and has carried out, accept it.
b. Don’t expect that which is hard for him.
c. Prevent him from sin.
d. Don’t lie to him, or do silly things.
20. Do not use fear as a method of raising your child, as this causes damage to their personality and leads to psychological problems. In particular, excess punishment by the mother weakens the relationship and value that the child has for his mother in his heart. Often a look or silence can be more effective in making the child understand their mistake than hitting them or scaring them.
21. Cuddling and kissing a child is one of their soul-foods, and it is necessary that enough of this is given to them. One of the reasons that a child is crying may be that they are thirsty for this expression of love. Children who grow up with plenty of love have confident personalities which are not swayed by the difficulties that crop up in life.
It is narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): “Certainly Allāh (SwT) shows mercy upon His servants who have strong love for their offspring.”14 It is also narrated from the Imām: “Prophet (S) Mūsā said the following to Allāh (SwT) when he was on the mountain of Tur: “O Allāh (SwT)! Which act is the best one according to you?” Allāh (SwT) replied: “Loving children is the best act.”“
22. Parents have a responsibility to make their children understand the indecency of sin and create an aversion for people who partake in this, and likewise, to reproach the bad and encourage the child’s good actions. However, reproach and admiration has its time and place and should not be overdone as this itself can corrupt a child.
23. The beds of children of 6 years and above should be separated from each other, even if they are both daughters or both sons.15
24. As well as the natural characteristics that the child inherits from his parents, the environment and Nurture of the child have a profound effect. It is highly unlikely that in a family that does not function properly, a normal and natural child is raised.
In particular, the instructions of parents only have an effect if the parents lead by example. The first step of raising children is the Nurture of the self. Somebody who does not possess good Akhlāq cannot guide another to this, and similarly, hot-tempered parents cannot usually raise a calm and patient child.
Children need to be taught that characteristics such as lying, back-biting, bad language, etc. are disliked, and naturally, the child will refrain from such when the parents themselves have set such examples.
25. There should be a difference in the order and expectations of the behaviour of a child inside the home, and out. At home, allow the child to play freely.
26. Always bear the unexpected behaviour of your child to a limit and do not always take the mistakes of your child to be unforgivable, so that you are not always compelled to punish. Patience, coping and forgiveness are a must when raising children. If your child has a quality that you do not like, it should be corrected in a wise manner without displaying contempt of the child, and the correct manner of doing things should be shown at the same time as stopping him/her from old ways.
When parents constantly tell the child off, they are belittling the child and not only are they not going to be successful in reforming the child, but are also going to create stubbornness in them. It is narrated from Imām °Alī (as): “Excess reproach fuels the fire of stubbornness.”16
27. When instructing your child, don’t mention the names of other children constantly, or compare them with others.
28. Stories are a useful and important method of encouraging good qualities and characteristics, and discouraging bad ones, such as the rights of friends, faith, etc. The Noble Qur`an uses this method to do the same as mentioned in Surat Yūsuf, Verse 111:
لَقَدْ كَانَ فِي قَصَصِهِمْ عِبْرَةٌ لِّأُولِي الأَلْبَابِ
“There is certainly a moral in their accounts for those who possess intellect.”
It is important to keep the following in mind when selecting stories:
a. They should mention Allāh (SwT) in some form or the other, and be narrated with the intention of Nurturing the personality and characteristics of your child.
b. Attention should be paid to the child’s age, intelligence and mental state when choosing a story.
c. There shouldn’t be extremes, or lies or rumours far from the truth in the stories.
d. They should contain answers to the questions of the child.
e. The best stories should be chosen, just as Allāh (SwT) has stated in Surat Yūsuf, Verse 3:
نَحْنُ نَقُصُّ عَلَيْكَ أَحْسَنَ الْقَصَصِ
“We will recount to you the best of narratives.”
f. Truth and righteousness should always prevail in the stories.
g. The main character (who is the role model) of the stories should not possess deviations or bad characteristics.
h. The stories should not be too lengthy or tiring for the child.
29. The mischievousness of your child in the early years is a sign of increased intelligence in the older years, so you shouldn’t be too worried or punish it too much.
30. Make your children perform Ŝalāt from 7 years, and fast from 9 years, either half day or more or less, depending on their abilities.
It is narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): “When our children reach 5 years of age, we tell them to pray ŝalāt, so you tell your children to do this when they reach 7 years of age; and we tell our chidren at the age of 7 years to fast however much they have the ability to, half a day, or more, or less, and to break their fast when they become hungry or thirsty so that they get used to fasting and develop the ability for it, so you tell your children at the age of 9 years to fast however much they have the ability for, and when thirst overcomes them, to break their fast.”17 and 18
It is also narrated in a tradition: “We command our children to (do) the tasbih of Haďrat Fāťima, just like we command them to (pray) Ŝalāt.”19
It is important to remember that in acts of worship, just like everything else, there should be moderation. It is narrated from the Prophet (S): “Islam is the firm religion of Allāh (SwT). Go forth with moderateness and don’t do something that will make your heart pessimistic to the worship of Allāh (SwT).”20
31. Do not be quick to accuse your children of lying because until 5 years, real lying or lying out of self-interest is rare; rather it is due to their active imagination, related to playing or creating astonishment in others, or to the child’s exploration of the self.
32. Do not condemn a child who has tired you with their questions, as this weakens their sense of curiousity.
33. Try not to quarrel, especially in front of the child, as this troubles them greatly and affects their personality.
34. Children have a particular fear of the word death, especially death of their mother or father. Therefore, where it is not necessary, don’t speak constantly of your death, or the like. However, do teach your child the truth about death, clearly and calmly and without eliciting fear.
35. Find out about your child’s talents and develop these as much as possible.
36. In terms of wordly aspects, do not over-saturate your child so that they go on the wrong path, nor under do it, as both these methods are dangerous.
37. The single most important cause of the happiness of the child is the kindness of the parents. No other quality can create happiness and calmness in a child-like love, and likewise, no other quality can disturb and trouble a child like the lack of affection from the parents.
Children of parents who are successful in this area try their best to please their parents and stay away from actions that will displease and trouble them, both in their childhood and when they are older. Therefore, love and affection not only satisfies the needs of the child but ensures their obedience.
Allāh (SwT) has referred to this impact of kindness in the Noble Qur`an, in Surat Āli-’ Imrān, Verse 159:
فَبِمَا رَحْمَةٍ مِّنَ اللٌّهِ لِنتَ لَهُمْ وَلَوْ كُنتَ فَظًّا غَلِيظَ الْقَلْبِ لاَنفَضُّوا مِنْ حَوْلِكَ
“It is by Allāh (SwT)’s mercy that you are gentle to them; and had you been harsh and hardhearted, surely they would have scattered from around you.”
It is important to note that there should not be extremes; too much love, just like too little, is destructive to the child; therefore practise the middle path and raise your child in such a manner that they are able to stand on their own two feet when older.
It is narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): “The worst fathers are those who, in their goodness and love towards their child, go over the limits and incline to excesses.”21
38. It is important that the parents give freedom and independence to their children according to their capabilities, so that they develop their initiative, innate independence and self-trust. At the same time, one must be careful not to exceed the limits so that children bring harm to themselves.
Some parents, either to free themselves of their responsibilities or because of misplaced love, leave their children completely to their own devices; however, before long, the child grows up without knowing anything of their responsibilities in the house, or otherwise. It is at this point parents try to instil this in their children, not surprisingly without any effect.
Other parents however, do the opposite and do not give their children enough opportunities to lead their own activities, constantly interfering in what their children are doing and how. Both are wrong and have negative consequences.
39. Raising your child properly is one of the responsibilities of a parent, and lack of attention to this responsibility is a cause of reproach of the Imāms.22 One should try their best through various ways to create the love of Allāh (SwT) and the Ahlul Bayt (as), so that the child follows the right path. Insofar as the requisite of love is acquaintance and knowledge, one should try their best to instil this in their children.23
40. Teach your children the Qur`an. Recitation of Qur`an in the home spreads the superior words of the truth and reality of Islam. Being in an environment where one is familiar with the Noble Qur`an, listens to the recitation of the Noble Qur`an and acts upon the instructions of the Noble Qur`an, has a strong effect on the child’s life.
Every time parents recite Qur`an, children are encouraged to do the same and follow them in this habit. In particular, those children who have a naturally strong memory and are talented can easily memorise the Qur`an, which will benefit them forever. 24
Mostly derived from Rayĥāneye Beheshtī, pg. 244-247
1. Conception, the pregnancy period and the mentality of the parents all have an effect on the child in this area. As well as following the recommendations mentioned in this manual, the following things are emphasized: eating the tabarruk (blessed food) of the Imāms, going to majalis and listening to lectures, being careful of what one sees or hears, listening to the Noble Qur`an, Nauhas and Qasidas when breastfeeding, etc.
2. Use Euphrates water and Khāke Shafā (dirt from around the grave of Imām Husayn (as) in Kerbalā).
3. Develop love and emotional attachment. Teach your children that love of the Ahlul Bayt (as) leads to them being loved by both Allāh (SwT) and the Ahlul Bayt , and that the love of Allāh (SwT) and the Ahlul Bayt (as) go hand in hand.
4. Pay attention to the Ahlul Bayt’s (as) favour to their Shī°as. It is narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): “We know our Shī°as the same way one knows their family.” It is also narrated that on the Day of Judgement, the Shī°as of Imām °Alī (as) will be satiated, saved and successful.
5. Relay the benefits of friendship with the Ahlul Bayt (as), such as: “Know that whoever dies with the love of the family of Muĥammad is a martyr,” and “Know that whoever dies with the love of the family of Muĥammad, two doors to heaven will open from his grave.”
The value of a person is according to how much love is in their hearts. The more valuable the object of love is, the more valuable is the one that loves.
6. Relay the need of this love. People usually are attracted to those things that satisfy their needs, and we are indeed extremely needy of the Ahlul Bayt (as). It is narrated from the Prophet (S): “Love of me and love of my Ahlul Bayt benefit one in 7 places where there is a lot of agitation: At the time of death, in the grave, at the time of being raised from the grave, at the time of getting the book of deeds, at the time of accounting, at the time of the weighing of deeds, and at the time of (crossing the bridge of) ŝirāt.”25
7. Show your appreciation, and encouragement of certain acts, so as to make an example of those acts for the future. It is narrated that the Prophet (S) gave an Arab a piece of gold that had been gifted to him, because the Arab had presented himself humbly to Allāh (SwT) in his meaningful and sincere Ŝalāt. The Prophet (S) said: “I have given this gold to you because in the presence of Allāh (SwT), you praised him with goodness and deservingly.” However, it is important that encouragement should not be in the form of a bribe.
8. Practice what you preach, as the state of being and actions of the parent are indirect but important teachers of the child.
9. Celebrate and mourn the wiladats and wafats (birth and death anniversaries) of the Ahlul Bayt (as), such as Muĥarram, °Eid al-Ghadīr, the wiladat of the 12th Imām, etc. This includes not only going to mosque, but programs at home, madrasa, etc. There should be ties between the happiness of the child’s life and the lives of the Imāms, for example, making their wiladats a happy experience in the child’s memory by having a party, giving sweets, gifts, and thus indirectly having a beneficial effect on the child.
10. The child’s desire for growing up and reaching perfection is highest in the teenage years and early adulthood, and this causes them to automatically look for role models in life. This innate desire must be utilised well and the vacuum filled by the Ahlul Bayt (as).
Indeed, the Ahlul Bayt (as) are the manifestation of perfection of beauty of Allāh (SwT). Relaying their bravery, virtues, miracles, generosity, ability to cure people and solve difficulties and their station of intercession with Allāh (SwT) all have a beneficial effect in creating an attachment between the child and them.
One of the Qur`anic methods of Nurturing human beings is also by the use of good role models to guide one to the right path, as mentioned in Surat al-Aĥzāb, Verse 21:
لَقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللٌّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِّمَنْ كَانَ يَرْجُو اللٌّهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الآخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللٌّهَ كَثِيراً
“In the Apostle of Allāh (SwT) there is certainly for you a good exemplar, for those who look forward to Allāh (SwT) and the Last Day, and remember Allāh (SwT) greatly.”
11. Stay away from those acts that remove love of the Ahlul Bayt (as) from the child; this goes side by side with those actions that incite love. For example, if the many majalis that take place in the first 10 days of Muĥarram are tiring and make the child weary, or the atmosphere is not good for the children in that they are not treated well, or the child is forced to do lots of worship, these all can create obstacles to a close and loving relationship with the Ahlul Bayt (as).
12. Create a spiritual and meaningful atmosphere. Even if children are left mostly to their own devices and not pulled in this direction or that, if they are systematically placed in such an atmosphere, the attraction to the Ahlul Bayt (as) will automatically arise. Cultural and Islamic camps, ziyarats, going to the ĥarām, meetings with meaningful personalities, constantly being with friends of the Ahlul Bayt (as), community activities and participation in majalis, can all contribute to creating such an atmosphere.
13. Acquaint your child with books, articles, paintings and poems relating to the Ahlul Bayt (as). This can take place in a number of ways such as competitions, discussions, studying, writing of articles, exchanging opinions, etc.
14. Encourage the formation of youth groups specifically to commemorate events in the lives of the Ahlul Bayt (as), including activities such as azadari, plays, speeches, etc.
Mostly derived from Rayĥāneye Beheshtī, pg. 235-238
Below are some points to help both parents and children memorise the Qur`an, so that this honourable act will provide continuous benefits forever, inshAllāh (SwT).
1. Start memorisation of the Noble Qur`an with children at a young age, as it is said that what is learnt in the early years is never forgotten.
Indeed, it is narrated from Imām °Alī (as): “The hearts of youngsters are like uncultivated ground, it accepts whatever is strewn on it.”26 It is also narrated from the Prophet (S): “Knowledge in childhood is like engraving on a stone.”
2. Memorise the Noble Qur`an with sincerity. All actions should be for seeking nearness and closeness to Allāh (SwT) alone. As this is not something easily conveyed to children, they must be observed to see what their motivation for memorising the Noble Qur`an is. There is no harm in giving the child gifts to encourage them in the beginning, and then, as they get older, gradually and suitably making them aware of the true goal behind their actions.
3. Memorize each verse, section or Surat with the intention of a Ma°ŝūmīn (as) or a marytyr, and gift that individual the reward upon memorising it. Not only does doing this increase one’s reward but these individuals will also become our intercessors. Thus one will insha-Allāh (SwT) become the recipient of the increased mercy, blessings and tawfiq of Allāh (SwT) and the verses will be memorised faster and better.
4. Trust in the eternal power of Allāh (SwT).
5. Never underestimate the power of prayer. For Allāh (SwT) says in Surat Furqan, Verse 77:
قُلْ مَا يَعْبَأُ بِكُمْ رَبِّي لَوْلاَ دُعَاؤُكُمْ
“Say: What store my Lord would set by you were it not for your supplication?”
6. Have resolution, aspiration, perseverance and hope. To realise this goal, as well as desire and enthusiasm, struggle and determination is a must.
7. Eat simple, ĥalāl and pure foods as these are most effective in preparing the mind and memory.
8. Have a precise timetable. Without a good timetable, it will be a lengthy and difficult process, and maybe even impossible, to reach this noble goal. For memorisation, specify a certain time every day, a certain time-period as well as a certain amount (e.g. a number of pages per day). Do not wait for opportunities to come, rather actively create the necessary conditions required, and try not to skip even a day of carrying out the timetable.
9. Use a Qur`an that is simple, has a clear script, is easy to read and has tajwid rules in it. If you are not familiar with the translation of the Noble Qur`an, it is better to use one that has the translation under the script (or on the side), which is fluent and easy to read, as reading the translation as well will help memorisation. It is important that the numbering of the verses in the Qur`an is correct and reliable. The background of the pages should not be completely white, as this leads to tiredness of the eyes.
10. Correct your pronunciation by learning under the supervision of a competent reciter, or listening to a good reciter. The use of audio and video tapes and CDs is helpful for this as well.27
11. Repeat what you have learnt, melodiously and often. Don’t move to a new set of verses/Surat until the previous set has been perfected. Recite it to others to correct and test the memorisation, and constantly return to what has been memorised in order to maintain it.
12. At the time of memorisation, have complete concentration and free the mind from all types of thoughts. This is one of the main factors leading to successful memorisation. Removal of all types of distractions, such as hunger, thirst, agitation, tiredness is necessary, as is the choosing of a suitable time and place.
It is narrated from Imām as-Ŝādiq (as): “The recitor of the Noble Qur`an needs three things: a humble heart, a free body (from disturbances) and a private place.”
13. Be in Wuďū when memorising the Noble Qur`an, and as much as possible, face the Qibla.
14. Encourage participation in memorisation and recitation competitions and programs.
15. Recite the following Du°ā before beginning:
أَللٌّهُمَّ ارْحَمْنِي بِتَرْكِ مَعَاصِيكَ أَبَداً مَا أَبْقَيْتَنِي وَ ارْحَمْنِي مِنْ تَكَلُّفِ مَا لاَ يُعْنِينِي وَ ارْزُقْنِي حُسْنَ الْمَنْظَرِ فِيمَا يُرْضِيكَ عَنِّي وَ أَلْزِمْ قَلْبِي حِفْظَ كِتَابِكَ كَمَا عَلَّمْتَنِي وَ ارْزُقْنِي أَنْ أَتْلُوَهُ عَلَى النَّحْوِ الَّذِي يُرْضِيكَ عَنِّي أَللٌّهُمَّ نَوِّرْ بِكِتَابِكَ بَصَرِي وَ اشْرَحْ بِهِ صَدْرِي وَ فَرِّحْ بِهِ قَلْبِي وَ أَطْلِقْ بِهِ لِسَانِي وَ اسْتَعْمِلْ بِهِ بَدَنِي وَ قَوِّنِي عَلَى ذَلِكَ وَ أَعِنِّي عَلَيْهِ إِنَّهُ لاَ مُعِينَ عَلَيْهِ إِلاَ أَنْتَ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَ أَنْتَ.
“O Allāh (SwT)! Have mercy on me by enabling me to abandon acts of disobedience to You forever as long as You keep me alive, and have mercy on me by (keeping me from) burdening myself with that which does not concern me. And grant me that I may have a good opinion of all that I must do to make You pleased with me. And make my heart adhere to memorizing Your Book as You have taught me, and grant that I may recite it in the manner that makes You pleased with me. O Allāh (SwT)! Through Your Book, enlighten my sight, expand my breast, gladden my heart, make my tongue expressive and my body active. Make me strong for it (the Book), assist me therein. Verily there is no assistant for it save You; there is no god but You.”28
Most of the sources used to produce this manual are not available in English. Below is a summary of the works researched and translated:
1. The Adornment of the Allāh (SwT) Conscious (°alliyatul Muttaqīn)
By Allamah Muĥammad al-Bāqir (as) Majlisi
Published in Iran, 1374 (1995)
2. A Code of Practice for Muslims in the West
Abdul Hadi Al-Hakim
Published by Imam Ali (as) Foundation (1999)
3. Heavenly Flower (Rayĥān-e Beheshtī)
By Sima Mikhbor
Published in Iran, 1382 (2003)
4. Islamic Laws (English Version of Tawďhīul Masā`il)
According to the Fatawa of Ayatullāh al-Udhmā Sayyid °Alī al-Husainī as-Sīstānī
Published by The World Federation, 1994
5. Marriage and Morals in Islam
Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi
Published by The Islamic Education and Information Centre
6. A Mother’s Prayer
Compiled by Saleem Bhimji and Arifa Hudda
Published by Islamic Publishing House, 2004
7. The Noble Qur`an (Al-Qur`an Al-Karim)
English Translation by Sayyid °Alī Quli Qarai
Published by The Centre for Translation of the Noble
8. The Relations and Requirements of Mothers and Embryo
(Niyāzhā wa Rawābith Mādarān wa Janīn)
By Mohsen Majaraju
Published in Iran, 1382 (2003)
9. The Sexual Requirement and Matrimony Relations
(Niyāzhā wa Rawābith Jinsī was Zanāshuī)
By Mohsen Majaraju
Published in Iran, 1382 (2003)