Ogun State Islamic Religious Leader Spreads Family Planning Messages through Naming Ceremonies for Newborns
A religious leader in Ogun State, Nigeria, is embedding family planning messages while speaking at naming ceremonies, which are conducted eight days after birth to give the baby a name and pray for it. This event is usually attended by family and friends. Alhaji Shefiu Misbah-ud-Deen (Al-Ameeriy), the Missioner of Ansar-ud-Deen Society, Ijebu Mushin Branch in Ogun State looks at the ceremony as an opportunity to spread the word about family planning.
Alhaji Shefiu, a member of the Interfaith Forum in Ogun State, was one of the Islamic religious leaders trained in family planning advocacy and messaging by The Challenge Initiative. He also received copies of Islamic Perspectives and Sermon Notes on Family Planning. Following his training, Alhaji Shefiu identified naming ceremonies as a relevant platform for disseminating family planning messages.
“Islam is not against family planning or childbirth spacing, it supports it. In the Qur’an, God instructed that children should take care of their parents because they are very important and when you deliver a child, make sure you breastfeed the child for 30 months, 2 and half years. When you breastfeed for two and half years and you want to have another child, the first one will be almost three years of age , if we observe this, it has a lot of advantages, the mother will be able to recover fully before having another child, when breastfeeding, the mother and child will be healthy.”
– Alhaji Shefiu at a recent naming ceremony.
In addition to asking women to adopt family planning methods, Alhaji Shefiu also encourages male involvement in family planning.
“The man also have a key role to play in protecting their wives during intercourse, they can use condom, When we do this, it will help prevent unplanned pregnancy, the woman can also visit the health center to do family planning this will promote her wellbeing. When the child starts school, the pressure of paying school fees will be reduced if we space our children properly unlike when we give birth to them without spacing, it will affect our quality of lives,” he said.