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Prophet ﷺ Sunnah & “Sugar Dose” for Premature Babies

Tahneek ( Ghutti ) research on Prophet ﷺ Sunnah, Science reveals benefits of Tahneek (Sugar Dose) after 1400 years

tahneek (ghutti) sunnah in islam.

Over 1400 years ago, when a child was born, the Prophet (‎) made it his Sunnah (practice) to take a small part of a date and place it in the newborn’s mouth. He would chew it until it was soft and then rub it onto the palate of the baby. This is called Taḥnīk.

In an Islamic ritual known as tanak, a newborn baby’s lips are touched with honey, sweet juice, or squeezed dates. Originally, the date was chewed up by a devout person and then smeared on the baby’s palate. The word “tank” is derived from the Arabic word “anak,” which also refers to the palate as a whole. Muslims would bring their newborn children to Muhammad during his lifetime so that he may perform ta’nk on them.

The genesis of the ceremonial ceremony carried out by the newborn’s mother or father is described in Kitab al-Adab, “Book of Etiquette,” one of the collected hadith books by Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj.

“It is advised to conduct tah’nik on the newborn on the day of delivery, either by taking them to a virtuous person or having the parents do it. The names of the other prophets (Peace Be Upon Them), including Abdullah, Ibrahim, and Abdul Rehman, are also acceptable choices for the newborn’s name on the day of birth.”

This incident is reported by Anas bin Malik:

At the time of his birth, I brought ‘Abdullah b. Abi Talha Ansari to Allah’s Messenger (). At that time, Allah’s Messenger () was tarring the camels and donning a woollen coat. He said: Have you got with you the dates? Yes, I replied. He got hold of the dates, softened them in his mouth, and then placed them in the infant’s mouth. The infant then started to lick it. Then Allah’s Messenger (‎) said: The Ansar like the dates, therefore he (the Holy Prophet) gave him the name of ‘Abdullah. 

The tah’nik also strengthens the mouth muscles and promotes blood flow in the mouth, which may make it easier for the baby to suckle and consume mother’s milk. It is also said to shield newborns from neonatal hypoglycemia. 

Brief Summary

In Arabic, the term “tahneek” “Taḥnīk (تَحْنِيكِ)” refers to feeding the newborn something sweet, such as dates, soon after birth. Hypoglycemia in newborns is frequent in the first few days following birth. Up to 15% of healthy newborns will have low blood sugar levels. It has been proven that treating neonatal hypoglycemia with oral dextrose gel lowered the rate of NICU admission and reversed hypoglycemia more quickly than feeding alone. Researchers are using dates in their study to evaluate the impact of hypoglycemia in vulnerable newborns.

In-Depth Description

In Arabic, the term “tahneek” refers to feeding the newborn something sweet, such as dates, soon after birth. In Islam, it is a respectable custom to greet a newborn when they are born, usually prior to breast feedings. The procedure involves rubbing a softened date on the baby’s palate shortly after birth. The tahneek also exercises the muscles of the mouth and helps with the circulation of blood in the mouth – this may aid the infant to be able to suck and consume mother’s milk. Hypoglycemia in newborns is frequent in the first few days following birth. Up to 15%, however the prevalence in children with risk factors is significantly higher, reaching 50% in children of diabetes mothers, large and tiny children, and 66% in preterm children. Hypoglycemia during pregnancy and childbirth is linked to death, brain damage, and delayed development. Neonatal hypoglycemia can be treated more well with oral dextrose gel than with feeding alone, which lowers the rate of NICU admission for hypoglycemia. Researchers are utilising dates in their study to evaluate the impact of hypoglycemia on infants who are at risk.

In Islam, there are various customs pertaining to the birth of a newborn child. One such Sunnah (Prophetic tradition) is the custom of giving a newborn baby a little piece of a well-chewed date. Prophet Muhammad, (‎), used to regularly do this action for the newborn infants delivered to him. This action is known as tahneek. Surprisingly, hundreds of years after the start of the Islamic tradition, modern science is only now learning the physiological and medicinal advantages of adhering to the Sunnah. Recent medical findings claim that giving a newborn baby something sweet-tasting to put in their mouths significantly lessens their perception of discomfort and slows their heart rate. The benefits of giving sugar to a newborn child to lessen the negative effects of painful hospital procedures like pricking the heel to obtain a blood sample for tests or before surgical procedures like circumcision are categorically demonstrated in reports published in the British Medical Journal (No 6993, 10 June 1995). The analgesic (painkilling) effect of sucrose in full-term infants: Researchers Nora Haouari, Christopher Wood, Gillian Griffiths, and Malcolm Levene conducted A Randomized Controlled Experiment at the post-natal ward of the Leeds General Hospital in England. 60 healthy newborns between the ages of 1-6 days and 37-42 weeks gestational age were randomly assigned to receive 2 ml of one of the following four solutions: sterile water, 25% sucrose, 50% sucrose, and 12.5% sucrose (control). Before a standard blood test (heel pricking, which is typically painful) done to identify jaundice, the first group of 30 infants received sugar syrup. In a control group, the other 30 infants received only sterilised water. Compared to babies that were given plain water, the crying period was dramatically reduced when 2ml of a 25% or 50% sucrose solution was placed on the tongue prior to pricking the heel. Their heart rates also appeared to return to normal more quickly. The crying response was lowered even more with increasing sucrose concentration, although the stronger sugar solution had the higher impact. This leads us to the conclusion that sucrose (sugar) applied to the tongue may be a helpful and secure method of analgesia for usage with newborn babies. Blass and Hoffmeyer also demonstrated that a 12% solution of intra-oral sucrose greatly decreased the amount of crying time in newborn infants who underwent circumcision or heel pricking. The British Medical Journal article and The Independent newspaper both covered this study on Friday, June 9, 1995.

Tahneek’s prophetic narrators The two Saheeh collections of Al-Bukhari and Muslim, may Allah have mercy upon them, are the most trustworthy collections of the deeds and narrations of the Prophet Muhammad (). They contain the narration listed below: Abu Moosa, may Allah be pleased with him, reportedly said, “I have a new-born infant,” according to Abu Buradah, may Allah have pity on him. Ibrahim was given to me by the Prophet (), who brought him. The Prophet () chewed on a date before using it to rub the infant’s mouth.

Let’s examine the characteristics of dates’ chemical makeup that make them particularly advantageous: • It has a very high sugar content (70–80%), contains fructose and glucose, both of which have large calorie values, is fast and readily digestible, and is particularly beneficial to the brain. 2.2% of the protein is protein. It contains trace amounts of minerals the body needs, including potassium, salt, calcium, iron, manganese, and copper. Vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamins B1, B2, and nicotinic acid (against Pellagra). Dates contain a significant amount of potassium, which is crucial for reducing haemorrhage and excessive bleeding during childbirth and surgical operations like circumcision.

Benefits of Breaking the Fast with Dates

The Prophet, (), preferred to break his fast in Ramadan and during other voluntary fasts with dates. The great nutritional benefit to be obtained from dates is also mentioned in the Quraan (what means): {“And shake towards you the trunk of the palm-tree and it will drop on you fresh ripe dates. So eat and drink and be comforted.”} (Quran 19: 25). Allah The Almighty disclosed these benefits to Maryam, the mother of ‘Eesa, may Allah exalt his mention, at the time of his birth in order to make the process of childbirth easy and comfortable. The knowledge contained in the Noble Quran and Purified Sunnah is indeed a blessing that brings about numerous benefits …if only more people realized it and followed these sources of guidance!

The Rationale of Providing Tahneek to Bewborns

According to Anas bin Maalik, “I brought ‘Abdullah ibn Abi Talha to the Prophet () on the day of his birth. He was using tar to brand one of his camels when I discovered him wearing a woollen robe. Do you have some dates with you? the Prophet asked. “Sure,” I answered. He got some dates from me. He opened the child’s mouth, chewed the dates, and then placed some chewed dates inside. Liking his lips, the kid smiled. The Prophet () said, ‘The Ansar love dates,’ and gave him the name ‘Abdullah. Al-Sahih, Albani’s Al-Adab Al-Mufrad, 1254

This is thought to be a result of the dua the prophet () made for Abdullah’s parents. Abdullah, the newborn son of Abu Talha, would have ten offspring, all of whom would grow up to memorise the Qur’an.

A little honey or the sweetness of dates are being rubbed by AT-Tahneek. Moreover, “Hanak” refers to the upper and inner parts of the mouth, so the parent places a clean finger there and gently rubs it.

Some individuals (in modern times) limit this deed to being performed only by the Imams of Masajid, however the companions never brought their newborn to Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, or Ali (ratu); instead, they used to bring it to the prophet to ask Allah’s favour.

As for tahneek, the parent should perform it oneself rather than taking their child to another person to perform it. Whether it is done by the mother or the father, Tahneek is regulated.

Be careful when giving the baby tahneek; too much can have unintended consequences for them, such as diarrhoea and fevers, and you will be the one to blame.

The prescriptions made by Rasulullah () are both specific and all-inclusive. There are many and varied Sunnahs (ways of living or examples) connected to health, covering issues of prevention, treatment, and restoration. The Prophet’s () eating, sleeping, personal hygiene, fasting, and every other element of life provide us valuable lessons about health.

Nora Christopher Wood, Gillian Griffiths, and Malcolm Levene conducted a study titled “The analgesic impact of sucrose in full term infants: a randomise controlled experiment” in the post-natal ward of the Leeds General Infirmary in England. 60 healthy newborns between the ages of 1-6 days and 37-42 weeks gestational age were randomly assigned to receive 2 ml of one of four solutions: – sterilised water, 12.5% sucrose, and 25% sucrose (control). The sayings and reports regarding the Prophet () are collected, and the two Saheeh collections by Bukhari and Muslim are the most renowned of these: According to Abu Buradah’s account from Abu Moosa (radhiallahu anhu) ‘I had a newborn baby, I took him to the Prophet Muhammad () who called him Ibraheem. The Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wasallam) chewed a date then he took it and rubbed the inside of the baby’s mouth with it.

The date contains the very high percentage of sugar (70-80%); it has both fructose, and glucose, which have high calorific values, it is easily and quickly digestible, and very helpful to the brain. The date contains 2.2% protein, vitamin A, vitamins B1, B2 Anicotruic acid (against Pellagra); and it has traces of minerals needed for the body such as potassium, sodium, calcium, iron, manganese and copper.

Potassium, of which percentage is very high, has been found to be very effective for cases of haemorrhage, such as the occasions of birth or circumcision.

We should mention that the Sunnah also recommends using dates for the Ramadan fast-breaking ritual. If dates are available, eating them prior to sunset prayer is both the Sunnah and the recommended course of action from a medical and nutritional standpoint.

The renowned and lovely verse from Surah Maryam of the Qur’an that reads, “And shake towards you the trunk of the palm tree and it will drop on you fresh ripe dates,” also makes reference to the dates’ high value. Hence, eat, drink, and find solace.’

At the time of the birth of Eesa (alayhis salaam), the blessed Prophet of Allah, Maryam (alayhas salaam) was instructed to do this by Allah, the Creator. It was a prescription for an easy, comfortable delivery.


A dose of sugar given as a gel rubbed into the inside of the cheek is a cheap and effective way to protect premature babies against brain damage, say experts.

Low blood sugar is common in premature babies and can cause permanent damage if not treated. Researchers in New Zealand tested a gel therapy on 242 premature babies and found that it should be the first treatment option. The study is published in The Lancet. __ BBC

Sugar Dose

Researchers at the University of Auckland, led by Prof Jane Harding, have found that dextrose gel treatment is a simple and cost-effective solution for treating hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) in premature babies. The treatment costs just over £1 per baby and is easier to administer than glucose via a drip, which is the current method of treatment.

The study assessed whether the use of dextrose gel was more effective than feeding alone at reversing hypoglycaemia, which is a common condition in premature babies that can lead to admission to intensive care and repeated blood tests. Neil Marlow from University College London stated that the findings suggest that dextrose gel should be used as a first-line treatment. Andy Cole, CEO of premature baby charity Bliss, welcomed the research and its potential to improve outcomes for premature babies. However, he notes that further research is needed to implement this treatment.

Final Thoughts

We think more study will reassure people who continue to have doubts about the entire value and veracity, the wisdom of the Qur’anic and Sunnah teachings, just as it did in the case we’ve just briefly outlined. This is why Muslims follow the Sunnah of Rasūlullāh (ﷺ) without questioning it. Science is only now discovering and researching these benefits and our holy Prophet has introduced these benefits more than 1400 years ago because Islām was and still is at the forefront of development.

Written by Muhammad Ishaq