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Virtues of Having Daughters

22 June 2013 2,532 views No Comment

By Afaf Sultana

May 2013

In some countries and societies around the world, female newborns are disrespected and less favored than males. This custom of considering girls as inferior is not new, rather it has been going on for thousands of years. For centuries, women have been physically and mentally tortured. In the time of jahiliyya, for example, people became unhappy when they heard the news of a newborn girl. Allah mentions this in the Quran,

“And when one of them is informed of the birth of a female, his face becomes dark, and he suppresses grief. He hides himself from the people because of the ill of which he has been informed. Should he keep it in humiliation or bury it in the ground? Unquestionably, evil is what they decide” [Quran, 16:58-59]

To this day, some people become unhappy when they hear the news of newborn female. And it is the ignorant, who are unaware about the virtues of female children, who become the most upset.

I become very frustrated when people around me only desire sons despite having three or more sons. One of my aunts had two daughters and Allah gave her another daughter. Following this, some people around her said that it would be better if she had a son. On the other hand, when my aunt who had two sons was given another son, no one said anything deceitful or that a daughter would have been better. On the contrary, some of the relatives voiced wanting to have three sons like her, thinking that sons will provide them in future. These experiences upset me very much. I don’t know where they got this trend to dislike daughters while Allah elevated the honor of female children. It seems that they do not reflect on the name of Allah as The Provider, Al-Razzaq. If they did so, they might not consider or say that sons will provide them in future.

 These days, some people with little knowledge about what Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said about the blessing of daughters still have this perspective. Before the coming of our Prophet (peace be upon him), some people had no mercy on their daughters and buried them alive. I learned the reason for burying daughters alive in Arabia and the virtues of having daughter through Complicated? A to Z of Women’s Modern Fiqh, a seminar taught by Shaykh Waleed Basyouni. The Arab people of that time were combative and engaged in many tribal wars. The tribe which won the battle took the women of the opposite group as slaves.  The reason for the sadness and shame upon hearing the birth of female child was because having a   female daughter could leave to her enslavement.

A very heartbreaking incident which took place at the time of jahiliyya was described to the Prophet (peace be upon him).

“One day, after Muhammad’s declaration of his Prophethood, one of his Companions came to him and narrated what he had done with his little daughter: O Messenger of God, I had a daughter. One day I told her mother to dress her as I was taking her to her uncle – the poor mother knew what this meant, but she could do nothing but obey and weep. My wife dressed the infant, who was rejoicing at the news of going to the uncle. I took her near a well, and told her to look down into the well. While she was looking into the well, I kicked her into it. While she was rolling down, she was shouting ‘Dad, Dad!’As he was recounting this, the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, sobbed as if he had lost one of his nearest kinsfolk.”(Darimi, Sunan, Muqaddima, 7-8)

 One of the first things our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) changed when he came with the message of Islam was the burying of daughters. He told people about the blessing of a female child, of which the people were unaware.  Allah says in the Quran,

“To Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth; He creates what He wills. He gives to whom He wills female (children) and He gives to whom He wills males” [Quran, 42:49]

This ayah shows that, Allah knows what is best for us and gives some people female child, others a male child, and some people both.  Therefore, we should be satisfied with what is given to us. Furthermore, Allah emphasizes the female child by mentioning the female before the male.

 The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) always advised people not to become upset when receiving the news of a daughter. We learned some ahadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him) about the virtues of female child which encourage people to look at the news positively.  An example of the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) teachings is, “Whoever has a female child and he does not kill her, disrespect her, and he does not favor his son over her, then Allah will enter him into jannah” (Abu Dawud).

In another narration, Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) reports that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever was given any female children and took good care of them, they will be a shield for him from the Hellfire” (Al Bukhari and Muslim).

Some people become frustrated when they continue to have many daughters. However, the Prophet (peace be upon him) showed that more daughters provide more protection from the Hellfire. Jabir reports that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever has three girls, takes good care of them and is merciful with them, he deserves nothing less than Jannah.” They asked, “Oh, Messenger of Allah, what if they are two?” He replied, “even if they are two”. Some narrators added that if the Prophet (peace be upon him) had been asked about one, he would have also affirmed that. (Al Hakim’s Mustadrak)

In another hadith the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever takes care of two young girls until they reach maturity, he will come on the day of resurrection with me, like this,” and he joined his fingers together (Muslim). Who would not become happy after hearing this? This hadith brought glad tidings to the sahaba and continues to do so for the righteous people who embrace the path of Quran and Sunnah today. Since this hadith talks about caring for young girls this can also include sisters.  Therefore, if one takes care of his/her young sisters they will also get the superior reward of being close with the Prophet (peace be upon him).

From the seminar, we learned that whenever Imam Ahmad’s son told his father the news of getting a baby girl, he responded with, “The prophets were fathers of girls.” This is a great example of the desired attitude towards female children. The prophets serve as role models for our lives. How can we be Muslims and treat girls unjustly? How can we be unhappy after receiving the glad tidings of a female child? How can people think that son would be better than a daughter whom Allah gives as a blessing?  Knowing Allah gives us what He knows is best for us, we should always be satisfied with what children we are given.

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