As we go through life, there are many things that people say and do that confuse us. For me, one of those things is that so many people are disappointed to find out that they or somebody they know is having a baby girl. As a girl myself, I never understood this. What could I possibly have offered my parents had I been a boy that I haven’t given them now? I was so blessed that my parents never let me feel like they regretted not having a son instead and were simply grateful to Allah the Almighty for having blessed them with the kids they had. So many girls aren’t that lucky.
And when to one of them is conveyed the tidings of the birth of a female, his face darkens, while he suppresses his inward grief. He hides himself from the people because of the bad news he has had: ‘Shall he keep it in spite of disgrace or bury it in the dust?’ Verily, evil is that which they judge.
This verse of the Holy Qur’an is dedicated to describing that despicable reaction of some men when they find out that they have had a daughter. It would be an understatement to say that in pre-Islamic Arabia, people preferred sons over daughters. In fact, they adored their sons but felt humiliated if they had a daughter. Some tribes even buried their daughters alive or if they allowed them to live, they were very rarely cherished as all babies and children deserve. Muslims call that time the era of the Jahiliyya – the ignorant people. Yet, many continue to hold this belief that sons are more worthy of their parents’ love, time and care whereas daughters are simply considered a burden.
Imagine the position of a mother in this. She carries her baby for 9 months and takes care of her body in a way that she has probably never done before to ensure that her child is given the best possible chance in life. Many women have such difficult pregnancies – morning sickness, constant dizziness and aches and pains are just the tip of the iceberg. Then they go through labour which needs no explanation. Now imagine when she goes for a scan or gives birth and she tells people her child is a girl and they respond with anything less than excitement or they have the audacity to try to reassure her by saying, “it’s okay, maybe you’ll have a boy next time” or worse still they show full-on disappointment. Can you imagine how that mother’s heart must break?
He creates what He pleases, He bestows daughters upon whom He pleases, and He bestows sons on whom He pleases.
Many women know that society will not look upon their daughters as kindly as it will their sons so they pray or hope that their child will be a boy and accept this is a sad reality. However, it is essential to always think of both sons and daughters as blessings from Allah. Nobody except God knows or has any control over whether a woman will give birth to a boy or a girl.
There are a few cultural reasons why parents may prefer sons over daughters particularly in the Indian subcontinent or in those of South Asian origin. Many parents feel that boys work and contribute to the home while girls are simply a financial burden. The reality is that until their education is complete, many children do not work at all. Instead, boys are pampered when they come home because ‘they’ve been working so hard all day’ while girls may even help out around the house. Furthermore, we now live in a world where it is common for both boys and girls to work. Based on this, who is more useful – boys or girls? Ultimately, it doesn’t even matter who is more useful though as both should be equal in their parents’ eyes.
Another idea that parents have is that boys will eventually bring a daughter-in-law home whereas girls leave when they get married and are considered to be part of the family of her husband rather than her own parents. Again, this is a slightly outdated concept. It is often not even questioned in some cultures whether a woman will live with her in-laws – it is simply taken for granted that she will. Nevertheless, this is becoming less common and many couples choose to live separately and away from either set of parents. A marital home should belong to both the husband and wife equally anyway. The idea that a woman lives in her father’s home and then her husband’s home is preposterous. They should both be considered to be her home too.
Islam has clearly and beautifully stated that men and women are equal. We must show our daughters and sisters and nieces and all our female relatives that they are not inferior to anyone and this should be done from when they are born. We should show our daughters just as much love as we show our sons. Children are a blessing, never a burden. Whether Allah the Almighty gives you sons or daughters, He will provide for them both. Have faith in Him and never take any of His blessings for granted.
Hadhrat Umamah (ra) was the daughter of Hadhrat Zainab (ra) who was the daughter of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa). She was so dear to the Holy Prophet (sa) that he would not part with her even when offering prayers. He would seat her on his shoulders while offering prayer. When the Holy Prophet (sa) would move to his bowing position and prostration, he would lay her down. Then, when he would raise his head from prostration, he would seat her on his shoulders again. The Holy Prophet (sa) would follow this routine through the completion of his prayer. This incident shows the immense love that the Holy Prophet (sa) had for daughters.
Taken from the book Hadhrat Zainab (ra) on alislam.org