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Last Updated: 2012/09/24
Summary of question
Are there any guidelines from the Ahlulbayt (as) suggesting any specific foods and diet for a child’s development apart from the mother’s milk?
We have at our disposal in the English language many ahadith (traditions) on the best practices and foods including duas, for the conception of a child and the duration it spends in its mother’s womb. But are there any ahadith that you can shed light on in regards to the best practices for the first 2-4 years of a child’s development? Have the Ahlulbayt (as) suggested any specific foods and diet apart from the mother’s milk? Have they provided any guidance on the age of a child when it should be introduced to other foods, and the types? Your information is eagerly anticipated. May Allah (swt) reward this team for all their efforts.
Concise answer

In this commotion-filled world and era in which human societies have turned into a scene for competition and rivalry for reaching  worldly and material ends, many people are putting all their thoughts and efforts into gaining  worldly benefits. However, behind these commotions and negligence there are parents who have got rid of negligence and are endeavoring relentlessly in this world with an attitude towards the next world to train and educate noble children.

One of the factors having an effective role in materializing and actualizing this goal i.e. proper education of children is to give importance to the kind of food and its being halal (food earned through halal means) because it has a considerable role in the morals, behavior and beliefs of the child. In the holy Quran and traditions, man has been commanded to take care of the quality and quantity of his own food and this has been considered to be very important.

Different traditions have been passed to us regarding the benefit and reward of breastfeeding for a fixed period of time.[1] The Commander of the Faithful, Ali (as) has been narrated as having said: "No milk is greater in prosperity than the mother's milk for the baby to suck from."[2]

After the period of breastfeeding, certain foods – provided they are halal – are suitable and useful for spiritual and physical development of the child. For instance Imam Sadiq (as) says: “Offer pomegranates to your kids to make them grow faster to reach adulthood.”[3]

In many traditions, emphasis has been placed on the benefits of certain food stuffs in a general way including all age groups. Except for few traditions, others are general and address all age groups.

In any case, what is important is that parents should attach importance to offering halal and useful food stuffs to their children. In addition, they should endeavor to bring up and educate their children in the best possible manner using the most useful and efficient Islamic methods so as to guarantee the prosperity, happiness and wellbeing of their children and themselves. They should not attend only to one aspect ignoring the others because the divine system of creation has considered and given rights to all the physical and spiritual; psychological and emotional needs.


[1] Vide: Index “The Timeframe for Breastfeeding a Child” question 16389.

[2] Shaykh Hurr Amili, Muhammad bin Hasan, Wasail al-Shi’ah, vol.21, p. 452, Aalulbayt Institute, Qom, first edition, 1409 A.H.

[3] Ibid, vol.25, p. 155.


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