Q. As my wife and I are expecting our first child, a lot of different opinions and advices are being given. Can you kindly advise about the sunnah of a new born? I am familiar with the sunnah of chewing a small piece of date and having this placed in the mouth of the baby, the recitation of the azan in the right ear and the iqaamah in the left ear. However my wife was told that we should request the umbilical cord and bury this ourselves. I have never heard of this before and I kindly ask if this is a part of the islamic tradition, if so what are the reasons for such? At what time does one shave the hair of the new born and also what is the reasons for such? During the childbirth process is my wife permitted to be without hijab or does she have to wear such, all efforts of course would be made to ensure there are no male nurses in the room, except myself (her husband). We were told by some muslim women that she can have it off considering the discomfort and extremities that she would be facing.
A. With respect to what should be done with the umbilical cord, many scholars have mentioned that it should be buried. This is in keeping with the teaching of Islam which tells us that all the parts of a human being should be treated with respect and must not be treated with disgust and scorn. As such, the navel cord is a part of a human being, and instead of being disposed of in a drain or waste bin, it should be treated with respect by burying it.
With respect to the shaving of the baby’s head it is mentioned in authentic traditions that the head should be shaved on the 7th day. The hair must then be weighed, and the amount in silver should be given in charity to the poor and needy (Mu’atta of Imam Malik).
In this regard, it is narrated that the Prophet (S.A.S) said, ‘Every child is in pledge for his Aqeeqa. A sacrifice should be done on his behalf on the seventh day and his head should be shaved and he should be named.’ (Abu Dawood, Ahmad, Darimi).
It is narrated that the shaving of the head brings about a great amount of health benefits to the child.
With respect to your other question, it would be allowed for your wife to be without Hijaab once there are no male nurses around her.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan