So here’s the final part of the birth rites series.
It is recommended in Islam to shave the baby’s hair on the seventh day. This practice is clearly mentioned in many narrations as what was being performed by the beloved Prophet Muhammad for his grandchildren.
We know t (from the companion Anas bin Malik) that the Prophet ordered to cut the hair of his grandsons Hassan and Hussayn on the seventh day after their birth. After cutting their hair an amount of silver ( in other narrations, gold) was given as alms, and the weight of the silver was equal to the weight of the hair that was cut.
I have heard that the reason behind the full shaving is that it improves hygiene, given that the hair grew inside the body, passed through the passage with blood covering it, and the only reference I could find with regards to this advantage is this:
Ibn Al-Qayem (Allaah’s mercy upon him) said about the benefit of shaving the newborn’s hair: Shaving his head removes the harm from him, removes the weak hair so that stronger and firmer hair replaces it and it is beneficial for the head. In addition, it comforts the newborn and opens the head’s skin openings. And along with this is a strengthening of his eye sight, his sense of smell and hearing. Refer to Ahkamul Tifl: Ahmad Al-Eesawee 192.
While there is a typical traditional ceremony in Malay society where the baby’s hair was cut (a bit, not clean-shaved as required), and the parents throw a huge feast (these days the ceremony looks more like weddings), we beg to differ and stuck as much as we could to the prophetic tradition i.e. sunnah.
Isa was shaved on the seventh day, according to his father’s calculation. My mom who has strong hands took charge of shaving him, assisted by my husband. It took nearly an hour to remove all his hair, first cutting them short using a pair of scissors, then shaved clean using a razor. I remember Isa was sound asleep throughout the process – and mommy got to rest the whole time!
And yes, Isa was not hurt at all during the process. I know some people who hire professional lady to do this since they have no confidence in doing it themselves.
On the second part where parents are supposed to give charity, we did that too Alhamdulillah. Since we didn’t have a scale at that time, we made a guesswork on the weight of the shaven hair. I googled, and found some blogs that estimated the typical weight to be in the range of 1-2 grams.We took the higher amount i.e. 2 g, check the gold price at that moment was around MYR170/g, so my husband gave approximately twice of that amount to charity.
I know that some Muslim parents neglect this practice. Especially if it is a girl – who would want their cute baby girl to be bald? While it is not compulsory, I would highly recommend this to contemplating parents, for these reasons:
- It is sunnah. It means that it is a practice loved and done by the Prophet. I agree that we did not know fully the benefit, but is not it enough a reason to provide an environment with the possibility blessings and barakah from God for following the prescribed tradition?
- The new hair will grow. Don’t worry about that. Sooner (or maybe a bit later) your baby will be ‘cute’ again. Isa hair grew very quickly that his head was not hair-free after a week.
- It helps to reduce things to manage with regards to your baby. Most babies have cradle cap for example, and without hair it is easier to be treated.
Happy shaving new moms & dads!
This post is the final part of the Muslim Birth Rites Series.