Question : If the husband becomes an apostate (murtadd), should the children stay with the Muslim mother?
Answer : If the father of the children became an apostate, then his guardianship over the children is no longer valid.
Question : If the parents of a six-year-old child are divorced, and the father has custody of the child, does the mother have the right to visit her child, even though the father does not let her?
Answer : It is not permissible for the father to prevent the divorced mother from visiting her child and see him, except when it is in the best interest of the child to do so.
Child Birth
Question : What are the religious rules for the parents following the birth of a child?
Answer : A number of things are reported to be recommended following the birth of a child, amongst them are the following:
1. Bathing the baby as ghusl for him. Apparently, the one bathing the child is required to have the intention of ghusl.
2. Covering him with a white cloth, and it is disliked to use a yellow one.
3. Reciting the Adhan of the prayer in the right ear and the Iqamah in the left ear.
4. Placing water from the Euphrates River and a small amount of the earth of the grave of Imam Hussein (peace be upon him) on the top and the bottom of his mouth. If the said is not available, rain water can be used instead. Also it is recommended to place honey and date on his jaw from the outside.
5. Choosing a good name for him. It was reported that the most truthful names are those which indicate servitude to Almighty Allah, like Abdullah and Abdul-Raheem. And the best names are the names of the prophets (peace be upon them) and their best is Muhammad. It has been reported also to name the baby “Ali”. It is also reported that poverty does not enter a house where its residents are named Muhammad, Ahmad, Ali, Hasan, Husein, Ja’far, Talib or Abdullah, and amongst the females Fatima.
It is also reported that it is recommended to name the baby boy at his birth “Muhammad” for at least seven days, and after that either continue naming him that or change it at that time.
6. Cutting the hair of the baby on the seventh day, donating its weight of gold or silver to the needy.
7. Circumcising the boy on the seventh day.
8. The “Aqeeqah”: the sacrificing of a sheep, a goat, a cow or a camel. It is better to choose a male animal for the boy and a female animal for the girl.
Question : Is there a need to shave the hair of the man’s head when performing the Aqeeqah?
Answer : There is no recommendation for the man to shave his head when his Aqeeqah is slaughtered.
Question : As a child, my Aqeeqah could not be performed. Can I perform it now?
Answer : Yes, you can.
Question : Is it permissible for persons other than the parents of the child to raise him or her?
Answer : It is permissible for others to raise the child in special circumstances like if the parents are deceased or are non-Muslim.
Child Custody
Question : My ex-wife and I got divorced and we have a daughter who is now ten years old. My daughter is with my ex-wife. She does not let me see her. What are my rights as a father in this situation?
Answer : If the girl reached the age of Sharia-defined adulthood, she can choose to live with her mother or father. Neither of them is allowed to prevent the girl from seeing the other parent.
Question : When a girl becomes nine years old, does she have the right to choose whether she wants to live with her father or her mother?
Answer : Yes, if she reached the age of nine years, she can decide with whom she wants to live.
Question : In the event of a divorce or a separation, who is entitled to the custody of children, the father or the mother?
Answer : The right of the custody of the children is for the mother for the first two years of the child’s age. After that, it is obligatory on her to give the custody to the father if he asks for it. At the same time, the father should not prevent the mother from having a relationship with her child, as this is a right for both the child and the mother.
Question : What names are recommended, according to the teachings of the Imams (peace be upon them), to give to a child?
Answer : Some narrations state that it is recommended to name children after the names of the prophets and the names that refer to the servitude of the Lord, like “Abdullah”. Also, we find emphasis in some reports on certain names like Muhammad, Ali, Hasan, Hussein, Ja’far, Talib and Hamza, and amongst the female names, Fatima.
Question : Is it permissible for a man to beat his children?
Answer : It is not permissible for the father to beat his child, except for the sake of discipline and correction. This must be limited to the need to achieve this purpose. It must be applied gradually with reasoning and should not exceed the need for the sake of revenge and retaliation or due to belittling the child because of his weakness. One must be careful to discern between the welfare of the child and his own emotions such as anger or frustration. The narrations of the Imams (peace be upon them) report that it is permissible to beat the child five or six hits, while emphasizing on leniency. One should not exceed this number unnecessarily.
It is not permissible for the father to beat his son or daughter after they reached the religiously recognized age of adulthood. He must limit his means of discipline by advice and suggestion.
Question : If a woman has conceived a child before marriage and she marries the same man whose child she is bearing, what will be the ruling about the child?
Answer : The said child is that of the father by whose sperm he was conceived, as well as being the mother’s child. The child belongs to both of them, but does not inherit the father as he was born illegitimately.
Question : Is circumcision mandatory or recommended?
Answer : It is recommended to circumcise the baby boy at the age of seven days, and it is disliked to delay it. When the uncircumcised male reaches the age of adulthood, he must get himself circumcised. Circumcision is mandatory for Pilgrimage (Hajj).