Bismillahir rahmanir rahmeem
People often disagree with what they fail to understand leading to unnecessary arguments and tensions. This is something I know and have dealt with frequently since becoming Muslim but, when I became a mother (alhamdulillah), I realised again how little people knew about Islam and the way in which it nurtures and cares for children.
Ali (RA) reported that the Messenger of Allah (saw) slaughtered a goat on the occasion of Hasan’s birth, the son of Fatimah (RA) and Ali (RA) and said “Oh Fatimah! Shave the head of Hasan and pay silver equal to the weight of the hair as charity” – Tirmidhi 2:1226
Let me set the picture for you. At 7 days old, we shaved my son’s head and paid it’s weight in silver as charity, a right which he has over us as his parents. However, the reactions we got were phenomenally negative. “Why couldn’t you leave him in his ‘natural’ state?”, “Just because you’re Muslim it doesn’t mean he has to be”, “Actions like that will get your child taken from you by social services, it’s not right. It’s child cruelty!” And the list goes on.
Even after explaining the beauty of the act people still reacted negatively. Despite knowing the hair will grow back, people reacted as if we had pierced his ears or given him a tattoo astaghfirAllah.
So it got me thinking, Islam cannot be the only religion/ tradition in which children’s heads are shaved. So, I began to research and found 4 examples of infant hair cutting in different cultures.
From birth the hair of the baby is associated with undesirable traits from a past life. Therefore during the Mundan it is freshly cut to symbolise leaving the past behind and embracing a fresh future. A tuft is left at the top of the head, said to protect the memory.
At the 20th day of birth, Maliku babies have their heads shaved and it’s weight measured against silver or gold and given in charity to the poor. This process is called boabeylun.
In the Yazidi tradition, the first few locks of a boys hair are cut by the child’s 40th day after they have been named according to the old ttradition This is called the bisk ceremony. Traditionally, the hair was given to the family’s shaikh or pir but now it is often kept by the family
BABIES IN AFRICAN CULTURE
From speaking to many friends from all over the continent, it is popular to shave the head of babies as it is believed that this will stimulate hair growth.
As you can see, infant hair cutting is not unheard of in many cultures across the globe. So why is there such a backlash when it comes to doing the same in Islam? Part of me knows why. Whatever is associated with Islam, people will automatically reject because they don’t understand/ don’t want to understand it. We live in a society that preaches tolerance of all religions and races…. EXCEPT Islam. This is the sad reality but, the aim of this blog has always been to help spread the true message of Islam and to educate myself along the way.
Did you shave your child’s head on the 7th day? Comment below with the reactions you had and how you handled them.
Please share this article with those who are interested in Islam. May it be a means of sadaqah for me and you also during this blessed month of Ramadan, Ameen.