Praying for the newborn to be righteous in various ways
I prayed for a newborn and said: “May Allah make her righteous, and make her grow in a good manner, and make her kind to her parents.” Is there anything wrong with this supplication?
Praise be to Allah.
There is nothing wrong with your offering supplication for the newborn by saying, “May Allah make her righteous, and make her grow in a good manner, and make her kind to her parents.” Use of the present tense [in the Arabic original] in these phrases refers to the future, in the sense that when she grows up and reaches the age of maturity, she may be settled in the path of righteousness, lead others in the path of righteousness and be kind to her parents, as Ibn al-Warraaq (d. 381 AH) said in his book ‘Ilal an-Nahw(1/563): the present tense may refer to two times (i.e., the present and the future). And az-Zamakhshari (d. 538 AH – may Allah have mercy on him) said: it may refer to the present and the future.
End quote from al-Mufassal fi San‘at al-I‘raab, p. 321
Moreover, no particular format for offering congratulations on the birth of the newborn is proven in the Prophet’s Sunnah. Rather there is a report was narrated by ‘Ali ibn al-Ja‘d in al-Musnad, p. 488, where he said: al-Haytham ibn Jimaaz told me: A man said in the presence of al-Hasan: Congratulations to the horseman. Al-Hasan said: What does congratulations to the horseman mean? Perhaps he will own cows and donkeys (not horses)! Rather say: May you give thanks to the Bestower, may what He gave you be blessed, may (the newborn) reach maturity and may he be kind to you.
Its isnaad is da‘eef (weak) because of al-Haytham ibn Jimaaz. It was classed as da‘eef by Yahya ibn Ma‘een. Ahmad ibn Hanbal said: He was rejected by the scholars. An-Nasaa’i said: He is matrook (rejected).
See: Lisaan al-Mizaan, 8/352
But there is a corroborating report – which is somewhat weak – that was narrated by Ibn ‘Asaakir in Tareekh Dimashq (59/276) via Mu‘aawiyah ibn Muhammad al-Adhri, according to which Ahmad ibn Ibraaheem ibn Bakaar al-Qurashi told them: Sa‘eed ibn Naseer told us: Katheer ibn Hishaam told us: Kalthoom ibn Jawshan told us: A man came to al-Hasan… And he narrated the report.
However the basic principle concerning the wording of du‘aa’ (supplication) outside prescribed acts of worship is that there are no restrictions, and the one who is offering supplication may choose whatever supplication he likes and whatever best suits his aim. The scholars regarded it as mustahabb to offer supplication in the words narrated from al-Hasan al-Basri, as mentioned by Imam an-Nawawi in al-Majmoo‘ (8/443) and in al-Adhkaar (p. 289), and by Ibn Qudaamah in al-Mughni (9/464).
They also regarded it as mustahabb to offer supplication in the words narrated from Ayyoob as-Sakhtiyaani (may Allah have mercy on him); when he offered congratulations on the birth of a baby, he would say, “May Allah make him a blessing to you and to the ummah of Muhammad.” Narrated by Ibn Abi’d-Dunya in al-‘Iyaal (no. 202). He said: Khaalid ibn Khaddaash told us: Hammaad ibn Zayd told us: Ayyoob used to … And he narrated the report. It was also narrated by at-Tabaraani in ad-Du‘aa’ (1/294).
This format was also narrated from al-Hasan al-Basri with a hasan isnaad. That was narrated by at-Tabaraani in ad-Du‘aa’ (p. 1243); its isnaad was classed as hasan by the commentator on the book, Dr Muhammad al-Bukhaari.
At-Tabaraani said: Yahya ibn ‘Uthmaan ibn Saalih told us: ‘Amr ibn ar-Rabee‘ ibn Taariq told us; as-Sirri ibn Yahya told us: A son was born to a man who used to sit with al-Hasan, and another man congratulated him by saying: Congratulations to the horseman. al-Hasan said: How do you know that he will be a horseman? Perhaps he will be a carpenter, perhaps he will be a tailor. He said: What should I say then? He said: “May Allah make him a blessing to you and to the ummah of Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him).”
We ask Allah, may He be exalted, to make all the children of the Muslims a blessing to their parents and to the ummah of Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him).
And Allah knows best.