Q. I was just wondering about calling the azaan and iqaamah in the ears of a new born child. My friend told me that it is a bidat because it is not stated in quraan or sunnah and Sheikh Albani also said that it is a bidat. Can you please tell me if it is a sunnah or not, and if it is stated in any hadith?
A. Calling the Azan in the right ear of a new born child is desirable and it is evident in the hadith of Abu Rafie (R.A). He (Abu Rafie) said, ‘I saw the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W) calling the Azan in the ear of Hasan bin Ali (R.A) when Fatima (R.A) gave birth to him.’ (Recorded by Imam Tirmizi who said, ‘this hadith is good and sound – Chapter of ‘Azan in the ear of a new born’. Imam Abu Dawood has also recorded the tradition and has remained silent and did not comment on the Sanad – Chapter of ‘a child who is born and the Azan is called in the ear. Imam Ahmad has also narrated the same tradition).
With respect to the weakness which has been reported regarding this hadith, it is on account of the narrator Aasim bin Ubaidullah. About him, some scholars of hadith have stated that he is weak. (See At-Taqreeb at Tahzeeb vol. 1 pg. 457; Tahzeeb at Tahzeeb and Meezan al Itidal). However, not withstanding this weakness, Ibn Addi has stated that his Ahadith are accepted and many great and Sound narrators of hadith like Sufyaan Thauri, Ibn Uyaina, Shu’bah and others have narrated from him. (Alkaamil fi Dhu’afa ar Rijaal by Ibn Addi Vol. 6 pg. 393).
With respect to the Iqamah in the left ear, Mulla Ali Qaari has written in his ‘Sharhus Sunnah’ that it is reported from Umar bin Abdul Aziz that ‘the Azan used to be called in the right ear and the Iqamah used to be called in the left ear when a child was born.’ Having quoted this, Mulla Ali Qaari said, ‘It has been established in the Musnad of Abu Yala Al Mosili from Husain (R.A.) in a Marfu (Tradition), that ‘Whoever calls the Azan in the right ear of a child when he is born, and the Iqamah in the left ear, then the sickness of Um Sibyan would not affect the child.’ This is also mentioned in Jamius Sagheer by Ibn Sunni (Tuhfatul Ahwazi vol. 5 pg. 91).
Although the Sanad may have been considered weak by some scholars, they have nevertheless allowed practice upon it since they are not fabricated. In this regard, Dr. Wahba Az Zuhaili has written in his book ‘Fiqhul Islami Wa Adilatihi, ‘From among the Azan which is given for other than salaah, is the Azan in the right ear of a new born, just as it is commendable to give the Iqamah in the left ear.’ (Al Fiqhul Islami Wa Adilatihi vol. 1 pg. 720).
Similarly, the great Muhadith Sheik Khaleel Ahmad has written in his ‘Bazlul Majhood’ (explanation of Abu Dawood) that, ‘it is Hasan (good and commendable) that the father give the Azan in the right ear and the Iqamah in the left ear. (Bazlul Majhood vol. 13 pg. 501).
Shaikh Abdullah Nasih Ulwan (A.R) has also written in his beautiful book, ‘Islam and the upbringing of children, ‘From among the teachings which Islam has given about the newborn is that the Azan be given in the right ear and the Iqamaah be given in the left ear.’ (Islam and the Upbringing of Children vol. 1 pg. 87).
While commenting on the fact that these acts should be done, Hafiz Ibn Qayyim states in his book, ‘Tuhfatul Mawdood’, ‘The wisdom and secret of calling out the Azan and Iqamaah in the ear of the newborn is that the first words which are heard by the child should be words which speak about the greatness of Allah. (Islam and the Upbringing of Children vol. 1 pg. 88).
It is therefore clear from these statements that calling the Azan in the right ear and the Iqamaah in the left ear of the new born are acceptable and may be practiced.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan