There is a question on SeekersGuidance about the recommended acts for newborns and the Sidi’s answer stated that according to the Hanafi Madhab, to shave a newborn baby hair “is merely permissible if one wishes to do this”. He referenced Ibn Abideen’s Radd al-Muhtaar. Is this correct?



Islamic Text

It is recommended (Mandoob) to shave the hair of a newborn baby, according to Imam Ibn Abideen and other leading Hanafi scholars. It is based on multiple Hadith narrations, amongst them the Hadith below.

عَنْ أَبِي رَافِعٍ قَالَ: لَمَّا وَلَدَتْ فَاطِمَةُ حَسَنًا قَالَتْ: أَلَا أَعُقُّ عَنْ ابْنِي بِدَمٍ؟ قَالَ: لَا، وَلَكِنْ احْلِقِي رَأْسَهُ ثُمَّ تَصَدَّقِي بِوَزْنِ شَعْرِهِ مِنْ فِضَّةٍ عَلَى الْمَسَاكِينِ أَوِ الْأَوْفَاضِ

Abu Rafi  narrated, when (Sayidah) Fatimah  gave birth to (Sayidina) Hasan  she said, ‘Should I not perform Aqeeqah for my son?’ He (The Prophet) ﷺ said, ‘No, rather shave his head, then give silver to charity according to its weight. Give it to the poor or the Awfaad (the people of Sufah).’ (Musnad Ahmad 27183, Hasan).

Unfortunately on the SeekersGuidance answer, they have not posted the original Arabic text. So I am not sure exactly what is being referred to from the Haashiyah of Imam Ibn Abideen (Rahimahu Allah Ta’ala). If you are in touch with them, please ask them for the original Arabic, maybe you can email a request to them.

I get sent articles from this website every now and then, I have noticed, that in translation they are sometimes generic, and do not translate specifically. It is better to have the Arabic text present and translate it as it is, and then provide one’s understanding of it. This approach leads to greater transparency and makes it easy for people to know exactly what is being referred to from classical texts.

يُسْتَحَبُّ لِمَنْ وُلِدَ لَهُ وَلَدٌ أَنْ يُسَمِّيَهُ يَوْمَ أُسْبُوعِهِ وَيَحْلِقَ رَأْسَهُ وَيَتَصَدَّقَ عِنْدَ الْأَئِمَّةِ الثَّلَاثَةِ بِزِنَةِ شَعْرِهِ فِضَّةً أَوْ ذَهَبًا. (رد المحتار على الدر المختار).

And it is recommended for a person who has a child to name him on the day of the end of the week. And to shave his head and to give charity with the three Imams based on the weight of its hair, in silver or in gold. (Imam Ibn Abideen, Radd al-Muhtaar).

This Nass (text) above may have led them to think that shaving the head of a child is not recommended in the Hanafi Madhab. However, the text is presenting the Hanafi position of recommendation regarding the shaving of a child’s head. Specifically the mention of three Imams may have led them to believe this, thinking it is referring to the three Imams of the other Madhahib. But this does not seem to be accurate since the Hanafi books sometimes use the term ‘the three Imams’ to mean Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad Shaybani.

(ويحلق رَأسه)، على صِيغَة الْمَجْهُول. أَي: يحلق جَمِيع رَأسه لثُبُوت النَّهْي عَن القزع، وَحكى الْمَاوَرْدِيّ كَرَاهَة حلق رَأس الْجَارِيَة. وَعَن بعض الْحَنَابِلَة يحلق. قلت: هَذَا أولى. (عمدة القاري شرح صحيح البخاري)

And his head is shaved. It is in the passive form. Meaning, the entirety of his head is shaved, due to the prohibition on Qaza. And al-Maawardi narrated that it is disliked to shave the hair of a baby girl. And some of the Hanabilah said it should be shaved, and this is the more correct opinion. (Imam Badr al-Din al-Ayni, Umdatul al-Qari).

In the above Nass (text), Imam al-Ayni makes it clear that shaving the head of a male child is recommended. He refers to the Hadith that speaks about it and says, the entire head should be shaved, not a part of it. Then he goes into the discussion about a female child. Do you shave the hair of a female child or not? And he is of the opinion that yes, even with a female child, you shave the head. It is quite clear from this that the Hanafi position is the child’s hair is shaved.

 (وَقَالَ: يَا فَاطِمَةُ احْلِقِي): حَقِيقَةً أَوْ مُرِي مَنْ يَحْلِقُ وَهُوَ أَمُرُ نَدْبٍ. (مرقاة المفاتيح).

And he (the Prophet ﷺ) said, O Fatimah shave (the baby’s head). Either literally (do it yourself) or ask someone to shave it. And it is a command for recommendation (not obligation). (Imam Ali al-Qari, Mirqaat al-Mafateeh).

In Mirqaat (above), Imam Ali al-Qari does not go into much detail, but he clearly considers it to be recommended in the Hanafi Madhab to shave the child’s head.

So we see from the Nusoos above that leading Hanafi Imams, including Imam Ibn Abideen, have considered the shaving of the head to be recommended, which is line with Hadith encouraging this practice. I am not sure why some people are claiming otherwise. It would be best to respectfully chase up the issue with them.

And Allah (Most High) Knows Best.

– Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen Rashid (04.09.2021)

See also:

Is Aqiqah Sunnah in the Hanafi Madhab?

How strong are the Hadith narrations negating Aqiqah?

See also (video):