Importance of Nikah, Advantages of Living Together with Women, Upbringing of Children and Advantages of Being Friendly with them

1. Importance of nikah and prohibition of celibacy and being a hermit:

According to a reliable tradition from Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.), it is stated that keeping a woman dear was the etiquette of the Prophets. He also emphasized that there can be no progress in the faith of any brother momin unless he loves his woman. He also stated that those who love their woman more have more faith.

A reliable tradition from Imam Reza (a.s.) states that there are three things which are included in sunnat of the Prophets:

a) Smelling perfume

b) Cleaning excess hair of the body

c) Being more attached to woman and living together with woman.

According to a reliable tradition, Shaikh Najafi ignored women, perfume and tasty food and engaged himself in prayers and had written a letter about this to the Imam (a.s.). He answered that while questioning about women, he should have been aware of the number of wives of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and about tasty food, he ought to know that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) used to eat meat and honey. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) had stated that a man who marries has protected half the faith and the other half will be protected if he practices piety. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) further said that there was nothing to hinder a man from performing Nikah (Shara'i Marriage) for the man may be blessed with a son who may brighten the earth with the Kalma ‘La Ilaha Illallah’ (God is one) and emphasised that those who believe in his sunnat should perform Nikah.

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) has stated that a person who does not perform Nikah on account of his poor financial condition does not have faith and confidence in God. God says:‘If they be needy, Allah, out of His grace will make them free from want.’[^4]

In another tradition from Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.), it is stated that three women came to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). One stated that her husband did not eat meat, the second woman said that her husband did not smell perfume and the third stated that her husband did not live with her. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) came out of Baitul Sharaf in a fury; his fury could be seen from the expression of his face and his cloak dragged behind. In the same condition he seated himself on the mimbar (pulpit) and after praising the Almighty, he questioned why a certain group among his companions had stopped eating meat, smelling perfume and also refusing women; as the meat eating, smelling perfume and also living together with women was sunnat. A person who was against his sunnat was excluded from his followers.

Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) has stated that 2 rakat prayer of a married man is better than 70 rakat prayer of a celibate.

2. Types of women, good and bad:

It is stated from Hazrat Ali (a.s.) that the woman whose hand one seeks in marriage should possess the following qualities:

a) Wheat complexioned face

b) Broad forehead

c) Black eyes

d) Medium height

e) Heavy hips.

It is stated from Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) that when a man is asking a woman's hand in marriage, he should enquire about her hair; for in the beauty of the hair lies half of the charm.

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) had stated that the best woman is one who produces many children, is the well-wisher of her husband, is chaste and holds respect among her relatives and acquaintances, obeys her husband and welcomes him.

A man told the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) that his wife welcomes him when he enters the house and comes to the door when he leaves and when he is worried, tells him that if he is worried about daily living, then the Almighty God looks after it, and if he is worried about salvation, then wishes that God make him care more for his salvation. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) replied that there are divine agents in the world and such a woman is one of the divine agents and will get half the reward of a martyr.

In another reliable tradition it is stated that when God wants to bless a man with the virtues of the world and that to come, he gives him a heart which will be merciful towards those facing difficulties, is scared of the Almighty and gives him complete attention and He gives this man a tongue which always speaks about Him and He gives him a body which can bear all hardships and a woman who will be happy on seeing him and is chaste during his absence and does not waste his money.

3. Etiquette of Nikah:

A reliable tradition from Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) states that when a person intends to request for Nikah, he should offer 2 rakat prayer and recite the following dua:

‘O Allah, I intend to perform my Nikah. Bless me with a woman out of all who is highly virtuous and who, for my sake will safeguard her conscience (Nafs) and my belongings and will be a source of increase in daily bread and also in luck. And then make her give birth to sons who will be my virtuous remembrance in life and after death.’

Another reliable tradition states that it is sunnat to perform Nikah at night.

According to a reliable tradition from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and his progeny, i.e. Ahle Bait, homosexual and autosexual acts are prohibited. One who commits such acts will be inflicted by the wrath of Allah here and hereafter.

4. Etiquette of conducting bride to her groom's house for matrimonial relations:

Coition during menstruation and the period of Nifas (i.e. discharge of blood after delivery) is haram (non-permissible). It is also makrooh to touch

any part of her lower body during these periods. One should prevent himself to unite with a woman before the compulsory bath, which is meant for the physical purity, after the period is over. Semen should not be ejected outside genital organ of the wife during coition, without her permission. Certain scholars declare this as haram.

When people asked Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) whether a man could unite with his wife making himself nude, he (a.s.) replied in the negative. No one should unite keeping his face or back towards Ka'aba or during sailing in the boat.

It is stated by Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s.) that he did not like sexual intercourse during journey when the water was not available for Ghusl (compulsory bath), except when one felt the risk for health if the intense excitement was not gratified. Ulema (scholars) have declared this intercourse as haram except in unavoidable circumstances.

It is stated by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) that one should not cohabit with his wife before taking compulsory bath due to seminal emission during sleep. If anybody neglects this instruction and a child is born out of this intercourse and suffers from lunacy, then one should curse himself.

It is stated from Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) that it is makrooh to unite at the time of sunrise before it gets bright or at sunset before the sun disappears completely.

It is stated in a tradition that a person told Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) that they did not find taste in the food though they cooked it with cleanliness and fragrant ingredients as they found in the food prepared during the marriage ceremony. The Imam (a.s.) replied that it was prepared for a halal (permissible) act and the wind blew from the heaven to perfume it.

It is stated by Hazrat Ali (a.s.) that a man should not haste when he feels an urge for sexual intercourse with the wife as she has to perform other household duties. If anybody looks at any woman and feels inclined towards her, he should immediately unite with his wife as she possesses the same thing which the other has. Anyhow, the shaitan should not dominate him. If there is no wife for gratification of passion, he should perform two rakat prayer. He should recite other prayers and send durood on the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and his Ahlul bait (a.s.) that he should be blessed by God's grace and saved from committing haram (non-permissible act). His prayers for getting married will be accepted and God will protect him from committing haram for gratifying sexual desire.

In another tradition it is mentioned that one should avoid sexual intercourse in the following hours:

a) At sunrise - it means before the appearance of sun

b) At the beginning of sunset - till the appearance of complete dusk (maghrib)

c) At the night of lunar eclipse

d) At the night or day when the windstorm is blowing or earthquake happens.

Hazrat Ali (a.s.) said that none will see any sign of happiness in the person who is born out of the union mentioned above because his father had refused the signs of God.

It is stated in another tradition that one should not unite with his wife before taking out the ring which is engraved with holy names or Naqsh.

5. Prayers and supplications on the first night when the bride is conducted to groom's house for matrimonial relations, and at the time of living together:

It is stated from Imam Mohammed Baqir (a.s.) that when one conducts his bride to his house, he should direct her to perform wuzu (ablution) and two rakat namaz and the groom also should perform two rakat namaz after wuzu. Thus, one should pray to the Almighty Allah and recite durood for the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and his Ahle bait (a.s.) and recite all ladies who have accompanied the bride to groom's house to say ‘Ameen’, then recite the following dua:

‘O Allah, bless me with the love, freedom and happiness of this woman. Let me be in agreement with and keep thou, forever, love and kindness between us as thou like what is right and dislike what is not permissible.’

Afterwards Imam said, "Love is a gift from god and hatred is a gift of shaitan. Shaitan wants that people should however refrain themselves from performing halal."

In another tradition, Ali (a.s.) has stated that if one wants to keep himself away from the influence of shaitan at the time of coition, one should recite ‘Bismillah’ and ‘A-o-zubillah’.

6. Obligations of a wife towards husband and of a husband towards wife - regulations about it:

According to Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.), a woman who displeases her husband and spends a night in the same condition, will not have her prayers heard until she is on good terms with her husband. And a woman who will apply perfume for men other than her husband will not have her prayers accepted. The Imam (a.s.) has stated that the deed of three people does not reach the heavens:

a) A slave who has run away from his master

b) A woman whose husband is displeased with her

c) One who has worn a dress displaying his pride.

A woman should not prolong her prayer in order to prevent her husband from satisfying his sexual desire. When the husband calls his wife for sexual satisfaction but she delays and the husband goes to sleep, then the angels will curse her till the husband is awake.

A reliable tradition states that except in certain circumstances, a woman cannot spend her wealth in any manner without having the permission of her husband. Those exceptional circumstances are:

a) Haj

b) Zakat

c) Helping parents and one's poor relatives.

According to Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.), if a woman says to her husband that she has seen no kind act on his part, then all the rewards of her good deeds disappear.

It is stated in many reliable traditions that the husband is bound to provide sufficient food and clothes to his wife and forgive her mistake.

In another tradition it is stated that the husband should not be harsh to his wife but should supply her everyday with a sufficient quantity of oil. She should be provided with meat once in three days. Henna and Vasma, whatever she is used to, be provided to her once in every six months. He must also provide her with at least four complete sets of clothing, two for winter and two for summer. One should keep her hair oil, vinegar and olive oil in the house.

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) has stated that the best among men is he who treats his wife the best. His wife and children are his prisoners and God is happy with those who treat their prisoners well.

In connection with the wife's rights over husband, one should know that it is wajib (compulsory) that a husband should unite with wife once in four months if he is at home and has no legitimate reason to abstain from it. One should live together with wife at night, making equal arrangements of living together with other wives when he has more than one. A group of Ulema believes that each night should be reserved for each wife when there are more than one wife. Sleeping with the wife does not necessarily mean coition.

It is a common saying among the Ulema that when one marries another virgin, then he should reserve seven successive nights for her, and if she is not a virgin, then three successive nights.

7. Prayers for conception:

It is stated from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) that woman is one of the flowers of Heaven; pious children are the sign of man's good fortune. He (s.a.w.a.) also stated that one should produce more children so that he may feel proud of them on the Day of Judgement.

A tradition from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) states that a woman from the time of pregnancy to delivery, and delivery to weaning gets the reward of a man who is stationed at borders to repel the attacks of the infidels and if a woman dies during that period, she will get the reward of a martyr.

A tradition from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) states that Hazrat Esa (a.s.) crossed a grave and found that the one laid in the grave was in a state of punishment; when he crossed the grave again, he did not find the man under the divine punishment. Hazrat Esa (a.s.) enquired of God about it and God revealed unto him that one of the children who was pious had now attained adulthood. That boy had repaired a road and had made arrangement for the schelering of an orphan. On account of these deeds of his son, God had pardoned that man. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) stated that inheritage a man leaves for God is his son who will carry out his religious duties i.e. prayers.

It is stated in another tradition that a person who dies without leaving any children is equal to a person who was not born in this world and a person who dies leaving many children is as though he is not dead.

According to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), the Almighty God is more generous towards daughters than sons. A man who will please his blood-relations in a permissible manner will be rewarded likewise on the Day of Judgement.

Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) has stated that the daughters are virtues and the sons are blessings. God will reward for the virtues and question about the blessings.

In another tradition, Imam (a.s.) has stated that Prophet Ibrahim (a.s.) asked God for a daughter who will cry over him when he dies. And also stated that if a person prays to God for the death of his daughter and she dies, he will be considered as a sinner on the Day of Judgement.

It is stated that once a man was in the company of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and when the news of his wife giving birth to a daughter arrived, he turned pale. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said to the man that the earth was ready to bear its burden and the sky to shelter and the Almighty God to provide it with food and inspite of everything, the child was a flower to please him. Then addressing his companions, the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said that a person who had one daughter carried a heavy burden, a person who had two should be helped when in need, a person who had three should be excused from Jehad and such other religious sanctions, and the person having four should be given loan and dealt mercifully.

Anyone who has three daughters or three sisters and takes upon himself the responsibility and trouble of their upbringing, Allah, through his grace and mercy, shall make him enter Paradise. Then the man asked "O Prophet of Allah, if he has two daughters or sisters?" The Prophet replied, "Even then he shall enter Paradise." Another man asked, "O Prophet of Allah, if he has one?" The Prophet replied, "Even then he shall enter Paradise."

It is stated from Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) that if there is a delay in the birth of the child, the following prayer should be recited.

‘O Allah, keep me not alone though you are the best of Guardians. I am lonely and I am scared of my loneliness. This worry has made me forget thanks due to you. Bless me with true comfort, that is, give a male or female child whose love will alleviate my depression and loneliness and let me thank Thee on fulfilling my request. O the one who gives the most! O one who is the best reveted and one who showers reverence on others! After this, bless me with piety enough to thank Thee for Thy blessings that in thanking Thee, I may come nearer to you, and let me be able to fulfill my promises and return the property of others placed under my care.’

It is stated in a tradition that a man who wants his wife to conceive, should offer two rakat namaz after Juma’h prayer and lengthen Ruku and Sajdah and recite the following prayer:

‘O Allah, I ask of you through those who were referred to by Zakaria, he had said, "O my Allah leave me not alone and there is no better guardian than you. O Allah, bless me through you with a pious child, undoubtedly, you are the hearer of all prayers. O Allah, through Thy name I have made this woman permissible unto me and have taken her from your guardianship. If you intend this woman's womb to be filled with the child, then make this child virtuous and pure and let him not partake anything of the shaitan.’

According to a tradition, Abresh Kalabi approached Imam Mohammed Baqir (a.s.) and complained of no having children. The Imam (a.s.) advised

him to recite ‘Istegfar’ hundred times; and the best form of ‘Istegfar’ is the following:‘I seek refuge in you and turn to you (for your blessings).’

In another tradition a person complained to Imam Reza (a.s.) that he was always ill and no child was born to him. The Imam (a.s.) advised him to say Azan in his house loudly. He did accordingly and had a child.

In another tradition the Imam (a.s.) has stated that a person who decides to keep the name of the male child Ali or Husain will be blessed with a male child.

It is stated in several traditions that a woman who decides to give the name of Mohammed or Ali to her male child will be blessed by one.

It is stated in ‘Tibbul Aaima’ that a person complained to Imam Mohammed Baqir (a.s.) of the scarcity of children, the Imam (a.s.) asked him to recite for three days ‘Subhanallah’ and ‘Astaghfiroollah’ 70 times each after morning and Isha prayers and recite the following Ayat after it:

‘Then said I, "Seek ye the forgiveness of your Lord! Verily He is the most forgiving." He will send (down) upon you the cloud raining in torrents, and help you with wealth and sons (children) and make (grown) for you gardens, and make for you rivers.’[^5]

8. About the days of pregnancy, delivery and giving names to child:

According to Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.), a pregnant woman should take Behi (Quince) that the child's complexion may be fair and it may smell good.

According to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), a woman should take fresh dates after child bearing, as the Almighty God had ordered Hazrat Mariam (a.s.) (mother of Jesus) to take fresh dates at the time of Hazrat Esa (a.s.)'s birth. People enquired as to what should they do if fresh dates were not available. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) replied that one should give 9 dried Madani dates and in case of its non-availability, any kind of dates to a woman who had given birth to a child, for the Almighty God had taken an oath on His honour that he would bless the child with modesty and sobriety.

Another tradition from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) states that one should provide his pregnant wife with kundur (a kind of gum) for eating. A child who will get this food in his mother's womb will have a courageous heart and an intelligent mind. If the child is a male, he will be brave and if it is a female, the lower part of her body will be heavy on account of which she will be dear to her husband.

According to Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.), before cutting the umbilical cord of the child, 2 drops of the mixture of jaosheer in water should be poured in the right and left nasals and Azan in the right ear and Iqamah in the left ear be recited. After this, the child will neither be afraid nor will be affected by ‘Umus Subyan’. (Sookheki Bimari).

According to Imam Mohammed Baqir (a.s.), the best names for the child are those that convey submission to God, like Abdullah and also the names of Prophets, also the names of Ahlul bait.

According to the tradition of Hazrat Ali (a.s.), a child's name should be kept when it is still in the womb of the mother; for if the child dies due to

miscarriage, then it will ask its parents on the Day of Judgement as to why he was not given a name. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) had kept the name of Hazrat Fatima's child ‘Mohsin’ while he was still in his mother's womb and who died after a few days of the Prophet's death while still in the womb on account of a door falling on Hazrat Fatima when her house was burnt.

It is stated from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) that if one has four children, one should be named after the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.).

It is stated from Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s.) that if one of the following names is kept in the family, there will be no poverty - Mohammed, Ahmed, Hasan, Husain, Ja'far, Talib, Abdullah and Fatima.

According to Jaber, he accompanied Imam Mohammed Baqir (a.s.) to the house of a person. A boy came out of the house and the Imam (a.s.) asked him his name. The boy answered, Mohammed; and when he was asked his Kuniyat, he said, Abu Ali. At that time the Imam (a.s.) said that the boy has made himself safe from the mischief of shaitan. When the shaitan hears anyone calling Ya Mohammed or Ya Ali, he melts like gilt before the furnace. And when he hears the names of the Ahlul bait's enemies being taken, he is happy.

According to another tradition, a person told Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) that God has blessed him with a son. The Imam (a.s.) congratulated him and when he was told that the boy's name was Mohammed, he bowed down saying "Mohammed Mohammed". He neared touching the ground in this process and said that he, his offsprings, his parents and wives were ready to be sacrificed over the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). He (a.s.) further said that when he had kept such a a name he should not scold or hurt (abuse) his child. When a child of the name of Mohammed is in any house, it is daily visited by angels.

It is stated in a tradition that the name ‘Yaseen’ should not be kept as it was particularly meant for the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). And it is stated by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) that if a group had the people of following names; Mohammed, Ahmed, Mahmood and Hamed, then their advice will be the best. IT is stated that if a child is named Mohammed, he should be given due respect, given a place in a gathering and should not be scolded or hurt (or abused). He further stated that if one in the family is named after the Prophets, an angel will be kept to pray for the piety of the child.

According to ‘Fikh-e-Reza’, a child's name should be kept within seven days of his birth. It is wajib or sunnat-e-muwakkida to bathe a child after the birth with this intention that one is bathing the child for proximity to God. First his head should be washed followed by his right and left sides.

9. Etiquette of aqiqa and hair cutting:

A person who is well off should perform Aqiqa for his child as it is sunnat-e-mukida (strongly recommended bordering to compulsory) and according to some Ulema, it is compulsory. It is advisable to have Aqiqa on the 7th day of a child's birth and if it is not possible, then it can be done by the father of the child as this sunnat can be done till the child reaches puberty. If it is not performed till puberty by the father, then the child becomes responsible for carrying out this sunnat from his reaching adulthood till the end of his days.

According to Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.), Aqiqa is compulsory for both, the rich and the poor but a poor man can perform when possible and if he cannot perform at all, then he is not responsible. And if a child's Aqiqa has not been performed till the sacrifice (of a lamb), then the first sacrifice will be done in his name and considered instead of Aqiqa.

According to another tradition, people complained to Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) that even after searching they were unable to find a sheep for the purpose of Aqiqa. They asked whether they could give in charity the total cost of the sheep instead. The Imam (a.s.) asked them to wait and said that if they searched more, they would get the animal, as God liked the giving of food after sacrifice.

When people asked if they have to do the Aqiqa of the child who died on the seventh day, the Imam (a.s.) answered that they should not do if the child had died before Namaz-e-Zohar but must perform if the child died after Namaz-e-Zohar.

According to a tradition from Umar Ibne Zaid, he told Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) that he was not sure if his father had performed his Aqiqa. The Imam (a.s.) asked him to perform his own Aqiqa. So Umar did it in his old age.

A reliable tradition from the Imam (a.s.) states that a child's name should be kept on (better within) seventh day after his birth and also his Aqiqa performed and the child is given a shave and the silver equal in weight to the shaven hair should be given in charity. One leg of the sheep should be sent to that woman who has helped in child's birth and the remaining meat should be distributed among other people and given in charity.

According to Imam Ali ibne Musa-al-Reza (a.s.), the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), at the birth of Hasnain (a.s.) said Azan in his ears on the first day and Hazrat Fatima (a.s.) performed the Aqiqa on the seventh day and gave the mid-wife one leg of the sheep and one gold coin. A gold coin perhaps means a dinar. It is popular among Ulema that it is sunnat to have a male animal sacrificed for a son and a female for a daughter. Many reliable traditions prefer a male animal for both, a son or a daughter. It is sunnat that the parent should not take the meat of Aqiqa and it is also advisable for them not to eat that dish in which that meat is being used (like pulao).

It is sunnat that in an Aqiqa the animal's bones should not be broken and the meat should be detached from the joints.

It is sunnat to distribute the meat of the Aqiqa cooked or uncooked and the best way of cooking is by boiling the meat in salt and water. But distribution of uncooked meat also does not matter. If the animal for sacrifice is not available, then it is no use to give the total cost of the sacrificial animal in charity; in this situation one should be patient. There is no condition that the meat should be given to the needy only, but it is advisable to give meat to the wealthy too.

It is a popular sunnat to give a head-shave first and to perform the Aqiqa later and according to another tradition, giving the child a head shave, performing Aqiqa, measuring silver or gold equal to the shaven hair and giving that silver or gold in charity should be done at the same place and at

the same time. It is sunnat to have complete head shave of the child, not a single hair or wisp should be lift behind.

In a tradition, it is stated that a child with a plait was brought to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) that he may pray for it. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) refused and asked his plait to be cut off.

Many reliable traditions prohibit the rubbing of the animal's blood on child's head as it is a custom of primitive times.

A reliable tradition states that Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) used to recite the following prayer while the animal of Aqiqa was being sacrificed:

‘I begin with the name of Allah and with reliance on him. O Allah, this Aqiqa is of (take the name of the child). This meat is instead of his meat, this blood is instead of his blood and these bones are instead of his bones. O Allah, through Mohammed (s.a.w.a.) and Ale Mohammed (s.a.w.a.), consider this Aqiqa instead of the child.’

If there is a girl's Aqiqa, then the middle of the prayer should be as such:

‘This meat is instead of her meat, this blood is instead of her blood and these bones are instead of her bones.’

In another tradition he has stated the following prayer to be recited:

‘I begin with the name of Allah. I rely on Allah. All praise is the praise of Allah. Thank for the safeguarding of Allah's command and His gift and this act. Ahlebait are superior to us and through them he has blessed us.’

If it is a son, recite:

Name of the child and father; and if it is a girl, the first part of the prayer is enough.

‘O Allah you have blessed us with a son and you are aware of what caliber he is. Whatever you have blessed us with and whatever you have done for us is by yourself. O Allah, accept this from us; it is in accordance with Thy sunnat and the sunnat of Thy Prophet and keep shaitan away from us. O Thou who has no partner! Only for Thy goodwill am I offering this blood. All praise is for Allah who is the creator of all the universe. O Allah this meat is instead of his meat and this blood is instead of his blood and these bones are instead of his bones and these hair are instead of his hair and this skin is instead of his skin. O Allah, accept this as the sacrifice of so and so, son of so and so (name of the son and the father); and if it is a girl, the first part of the prayer is enough.

10. Circumcision (Khatna) of boys:

It is sunnat-e-muwakida to circumcise a boy on (within) the seventh day after birth. To do it on eighth day or before puberty is also sunnat. Some say that it is wajib (compulsory) on the guardian to get it done when the boy is approaching the age of puberty.

It is stated in a reliable tradition from Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) that the body will become handsome and improve weight after circumcision within the seven days after his birth. The earth dislikes the urine of one who does not get himself circumcised.

It is stated from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) that the earth remains impure for forty days by the urine of a person who has not been circumcised.

It is stated in a reliable tradition from Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s.) that it is sunnat to circumcise the boy on (within) the seventh day after his birth but there is no harm if it is done later.

According to Hazrat Ali (a.s.), one should get circumcised even at the age of eighty if he has professed Islam.

It is stated from Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) that at the time of circumcision, the following dua should be recited:

‘O Allah! This is Thy sunnat and that of Thy Prophet on whom and on whose Aal (dear one) Thou shower Thy blessings. We follow Thou and Thy Prophet which is in accordance with Thy will, intention and the affair about which Thou had willed and decided and commanded according to which you have made him taste the temperature of iron in the performance of Khatna (circumcision) and hajamat (vivisection) the suitability of which thou are more aware than us.O Allah clean him of his sins, lengthen his age, alleviate all his bodily pains, and make him healthy and let him not suffer from poverty for you have knowledge whereas we do not have.’

Even if the circumcision is performed near the age of puberty, the above dua should be recited.

It is stated from Saheb-uz-Zaman (12th Imam (a.s.)) (a.s.) that the boy should be circumcised again if the foreskin of the genital organ has developed after the first circumcision and covered the front portion of the organ. The earth complains to God for forty days when a person whose organ is covered with foreskin, urinates upon it.

It is narrated from Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) that one cannot be a peshnamaz, give evidence as witness if he has not got himself circumcised without any strong reason, neither is the prayer on his death permissible. The only acceptable strong reason is the danger of life in the case of circumcision.

11. Manners of feeding and upbringing the child and consideration of their rights:

It should be remembered that a child should be given mother's milk for not more than two years and Ulema do not think it correct for a mother to feed her child for more than two years, except when there is some disease or dangerous situation, and the feeding period should not be less than 21 months unless there is some compulsion as the non-availability to pay the feeding woman, or the mother's milk has dried in the process of feeding or she suffered from some dangerous disease. According to some Ulema, it is wajib (compulsory) for a mother to feed the baby the moment the milk is filled in her breast; otherwise the child will die, or even if it survives, it will be weak.

According to another tradition, once Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) said to a mother not to feed with one breast; but both breasts, as one is instead of food and the other is instead of water and he also stated that feeding the child for less than 21 months is cruelty on the part of the mother towards the child.

It is stated from the Imam (a.s.) in another tradition that Daya (wet nurse) should be kept under vigilance to feed the child properly. The Daya can be a

Jew or a Christian. In case she takes the child home, she should be prohibited to commit any haram (forbidden) act like drinking wine, eating haram etc. It is prohibited to feed the child with any woman's milk who gives birth to a child by committing fornication.

According to Hazrat Ali (a.s.), one should find a feeding woman who is both, good looking and of good character; because when milk enters the child's body, he resembles his feeding woman both, in looks and character.

In another tradition he stated that when a child reaches the age of six, he should not be allowed to sleep with another child of the same age on the same bed.

In another tradition it is stated that a boy and a girl reaching the age of ten should sleep on different beds.

According to Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.), one should let one's children learn the traditions (ahadeeth) as soon as possible so that the dissenters are not able to lead them astray.

According to the same Imam (a.s.), a person who possesses the love of Ahlul bait (a.s.) in his heart should pray a lot for his mother as she is the cause and has not dealt meagerly with his father.

According to another tradition, Sakooni presented himself before Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) and said that he was badly hurt. When Imam (a.s.) inquired into the case, Sakooni said that God had given him a daughter. The Imam (a.s.) told Sakooni that there was no need for him to be hurt as the earth was ready to bear her burden and God was ready to provide her with food and not a single moment from his life would be given to the child and she would not even eat a single grain of food that was reserved for him. When the Imam (a.s.) asked him as to what name he had given to the child, he replied, Fatima, at which the Imam (a.s.) sighed twice and keeping his hand on the forehead told Sakooni that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) had made the parents responsible for certain rights of the child. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) had said that if the child was a son, the father was responsible for keeping a beautiful and pious feeding woman for the child and for giving him a good name, for educating him in the Quran, for circumcising him and for making him learn swimming. If the child was a daughter, then it was the responsibility of the mother to appoint a good feeding woman for her, to give her a good name, to make her learn Sura-e-Noor and to keep her from reciting Sura-e-Yusuf, not to keep her on the floor of the house and to get her married as soon as possible. The Imam (a.s.) told Sakooni that if he had named his daughter Fatima, he should not be rude and harsh to her or abuse her in any other way.

According to a tradition from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), some parents are punished by God for being disinheriteed by their children; i.e., the children can disinherit their parents, in the manner the parents can disinherit the children, and the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) also said that God takes mercy on those fathers who help their children in good deeds and make them pious.

According to Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.), the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) has said that a person who helps his children with good deeds is blessed by the Almighty God. When the traditionist asked about the manner of rendering

help, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said that the parents should show their children simple work and congratulate them on completion of the work so that they may be encouraged and should refrain themselves from allotting difficult tasks to children and as far as possible should not burden the children and deal with them without anger and embarrassment.

According to a tradition from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), a person who will kiss his child will have a good act recorded in his book of deeds by God and a person who makes his child happy and makes him recite the Quran, on the Day of Judgement, both the parent and the child will be called and clothed in the heavenly dress that the light emanating from them will brighten the faces of the inhabitants of the heaven.

Another tradition states that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) noticed a person who had two sons. The person used to kiss only one son. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) asked him why he was not kind to both his sons. One should remember that one child should not be given preference over other children except when one of them has more knowledge or more talents; as one can give preference on account of knowledge or talent.

According to a reliable tradition from Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.), when the child is of three years he should be made to recite ‘La Ilaha Illal-lah’ seven times and when the child is of 3 years 7 months and 20 days, he should be made to recite ‘Mohammadun Rasoolillah’ and when he reaches the age of four years, then he should be made to recite ‘Sallal-laho Mohammadin Wa Aalehi’ seven times and when the child is of full five years, he should learn to prostrate before God. When the child reaches the age of six, he should be made to learn ablution (wuzu) and prayers (namaz) and at the age of seven he should know the prayers (namaz) completely and should get punishment for not performing ablution or prayers. The result being, that when the child knows ablution and prayers completely, the God forgives his parents.

According to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), if a person brings favourite gifts for his wife and children after visiting the bazar, then he gets the reward of providing a group of beggars with charity and handing it over personally to them. It is advisable, that whatever is brought should be given first to the daughter then to the sons. For a person who makes the daughters happy gets the reward of freeing an offspring of Hazrat Ismail (a.s.) from slavery and the one who makes his sons happy gets the reward of crying on account of the fear of God and the one who will cry for the fear of God will enter Heaven.

According to Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.), feeding the children with qawalal (a halwa) will increase flesh of their bodies and strengthen their bones.

In Kitab-e-Tibbul Aaimma, Hazrat Ali (a.s.) has stated that if a child cries a lot or a woman is afraid in her dreams or a person cannot sleep in the night, then the following ayat should be recited:

‘Then We did set a seal on their ears for a number of years. Then We raised them up that We might know (i.e. show) which of the two parties reckoneth best the duration of their stay.’[^6]

According to a reliable tradition, when a girl reaches the age of six, she should observe purdah with na-mehram (persons with whom marriage is not prohibited) and should not be allowed to sit on the lap.

According to a reliable tradition, the person who does not give his children any bread and lets it get spoiled, is the accused.

According to Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.), maintenance of two daughters, two sisters, two paternal aunts or two maternal aunts is enough to save a person from the fire of hell.

According to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), there is a special level in heaven. No one can reach that level except three persons:

a) Justified Imam

b) A person who is kind and generous with his relatives

c) One who bears with patience the expenditure on his wife and children and difficulties faced on account of them.

According to Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.), providing food to the following is compulsory:

a) Offsprings

b) Father

c) Mother

d) Slave

e) Wife.

Children of one's offsprings is also included in the term offsprings and paternal grandfather and grandmother are also included among parents.

12. The rights of parents on their children and obedience and respect due to the parents on behalf of the children:

One should remember that respecting one's parents is one of the essentials of faith and keeping them happy is the most excellent form of supplication and to make them hurt on one's account or desalinate from them is a major sin. The Almighty God has revealed in the Holy Quran that if one's parents are kafirs and order one to become kafir, still one should be kind towards them, though one may not accept to become a kafir (obey their orders).

According to a reliable tradition a person entered the presence of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and asked him for some advice. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said, ‘I advise you not to think of anyone with the Almighty God even if people burn you; though you can say something to save your life, but your heart should have solid faith in the Oneness of God and I advise you to give due respect to parents and be kind towards them, whether they are alive or dead.’

Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) asked the people why they were not kind to their parents whether they were dead or alive. After the death of the parents one should offer prayers on their behalf, keep fast for them, perform Hajj for them; and both, the dead parents and the child will be rewarded for these deeds. These kind deeds are on behalf of the parents and God will reward one bountifully for these.

A reliable tradition states that a man came to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and asked him to whom should he render kindness. The Prophet (s.a.w.a.)

asked him to be kind with his mother. Thrice he put the same question to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and thrice the got the same answer. Fourth time when he asked the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), he was asked to be kind to his father.

According to another tradition, a person came to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and said that he liked to go on Jehad very much. The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) answered that he should go on a Jehad for Almighty and if he dies during it, he would be alive and the presents of Almighty would be provided with food from heaven and even if he died a natural death during Jehad, God was responsible for his reward. If he returned alive from Jehad, he would be washed off all his sins as though he had just been born of his mother's womb. The man told the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) that his parents were very old and were quite attached to him and could not bear his separation. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) asked him to remain with his parents and, taking an oath on the Almighty in whose power lay his life, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said that the nearness of the parents for a night for the man was better than a year of Jehad for the Almighty God.

According to Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.), no one could repay the rights of the parents except in two ways; firstly, when the father is a slave, the child can buy him and free him and secondly, when the father is in debt, then the child can repay it.

In another tradition, the Imam (a.s.) has stated that at times children are kind to their parents while they are alive, but after their death, they forget to pay back their debts or pray for their salvation and this makes the Almighty God disinherit the children of their parents. And at times it happens that the child is disinherited of his parents during their life time but after their death he pays back their debts and prays for their forgiveness and on account of this, God considers him among those who are kind with their parents.

According to another tradition, the Imam (a.s.) has said that there are three things which are not prohibited by God in any way:

a) Returning a thing of which you were given responsibility, whether the thing is good or bad

b) Fulfilling one's promise regardless of its being with good or bad people

c) Obedience of parents, whether they are good or bad.

In another tradition the Imam (a.s.) has stated that giving a harsh look to one's parents is equal to disobedience.

In a reliable tradition from Imam Mohammed Baqir (a.s.) it is stated that the Imam's father saw a person walking on the road. His son was walking along with him supporting himself against the hand of his father. The Imam (a.s.) did not talk with him.

Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) has asked one to be kind towards one's parents that one's children may in turn be kind towards him and that one should not ignore the purdah of other women that people may not ignore the purdah of the women of one's household. He also stated that whosoever desires God to ease the pain of death, then it is compulsory on him to be considerate towards relatives and kind towards parents, for on account of these deeds,

God eases the difficult time of death and keeps one safe from difficulties during lifetime.

According to a reliable tradition from Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.), three prayers and three curses are definitely heard:

a) Prayers of parents for their pious offsprings and curses of parents for their disobedient offsprings

b) Curse for the cruel and prayers of the innocent for he who takes revenge on the cruel person in justification of the innocent

c) The prayers of the momin for a momin who shares his wealth with the former for the sake of Ahle bait and curse of the momin for a momin who, inspite of having authority and power, did not oblige the request of the momin.

According to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), a pious offspring who looks towards his parents with kindness and love is rewarded for every look of his with the reward of an accepted deed. When the people asked the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) whether he will be rewarded even if he looks a hundred times towards his parents in that manner, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) replied that the greatness and generosity of God is larger than his deeds.

In another tradition, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) has stated that looking towards the faces off four persons is equal to supplication:

a) The justified Imam

b) The scholar

c) The father

d) The mother.

He also stated that one gets the punishment for three sins very soon in this world only:

a) Sin of disobeying parents

b) Of being cruel to the creatures (human beings) of God

c) Of being unthankful to God and his creatures.