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Girl child From the Life of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.

The Holy Prophet Muhammad ﷺhas clearly demonstrated that a girl child is a matter of pride.

By Syed Hamid Mohsin / 1 Feb 2013

“On the Day of Judgment ‘When the infant girl buried alive is asked,’ for what crime she was killed.”(Quran, 81:8-9) 

Children are gifts of God and His great blessing, but the birth of a girl child is generally seen as disgraceful. The son is preferred over a daughter.  This is totally against the teachings of Islam.

Many incidents reported these days from various parts of the world give us the impression that we, at least in terms of the treatment of women, are going back to a time identical to the ignorance period, the age before the emergence of Prophet Muhammad .

Allah says in the Quran:

“And when the good news is given to any of them of a daughter, His face turns dark and he is filled with grief.”(Quran, 16:58)

In Arabia, the custom of killing female children was very common. The Holy Prophet made it unlawful and cautioned parents that there would be a severe punishment for this act on the Day of Judgment. They killed their children for three reasons and the Quran has mentioned all the three. First, they sacrificed their children at the altar of their gods to please them: “And likewise, to many of the polytheists their partners have made [to seem] pleasing the killing of their children in order to bring about their destruction and to cover them with confusion in their religion.” (Quran, 6:137)

And again, we find these words,

“Those will have lost who killed their children in foolishness without knowledge and prohibited what Allah had provided for them, inventing untruth about Allah . They have gone astray and were not [rightly] guided.”(Quran, 6:140)

Second, they killed their children for fear of poverty. The Quran cautioned them against this and made it absolutely unlawful for anyone to kill his children: “…do not kill your children out of poverty; We will provide for you and them.” (Quran, 6:151).

And again, in chapter 17 ‘The Night Journey,’ we find these words,

“Do not kill your offspring for fear of want: for it is We Who provide for them and for you as well. Indeed their killing is a heinous excuse.”(Quran, 17:31)

Prophet Muhammad said: ‘He, who brought up two girls properly till they grew up, he and I would come (together) (very closely) on the Day of Resurrection, and he interlaced his fingers (for explaining the point of nearness between him and that person)’.

This verse cuts at the very root of birth control, which has been going on from ancient times to our present age. It was the fear of want that induced people to kill their children or resort to abortion. In our age, another means has been added to these, i.e., contraception and pre-natal ultra sound imaging. An article of the Islamic Manifesto prohibits people from reducing the number of mouths by artificial means but exhorts them to increase the means of production according to the natural methods enjoined by God. According to this article, it is one of the biggest mistakes of man to check the birthrate as a solution to want and scarcity of provisions. Therefore, it warns him, as if to say, “O man, it is not you who make arrangements for food, but God, Who settled you in the land and has been providing for you and will provide for those who come after you.” History tells us that food resources have always expanded in proportion to the number of inhabitants of a country: often they have exceeded by far the needs of the inhabitants. Thus it is a folly on the part of man to interfere with the arrangements of Allah.

A newly born girl child was a subject of embarrassment and she was buried alive in order to avoid disgrace of having a female child, one out of every ten men was guilty of this crime. Not only men, but women also participated in the act. Mothers handed over their girl child for burial. These practices are continued in today’s modern world in the form of female feticide. According to a World Children’s Report by UNICEF, boys are outnumbering girls in India, there are only 882 girls per 1000 boys in India  It also reveals the global sex ratio of 954 girls to 1000 boys. The drop in female birth rate is due to female feticide.

The combination of a strong cultural preference for boys and pre-natal ultrasound imaging has led to couples identifying and aborting female fetuses so that their only permitted child is male.

The Quran mentions this in connection with accountability on the Day of Judgment when the murderer of the girl child will be questioned as to why they killed their daughter:

“On the Day of Judgment ‘When the infant girl buried alive is asked,’ for what crime she was killed.” (Quran, 81:8-9)

Once a man narrated to the Prophet ,peace be upon him,  something gruesome that he had done, following the pre-Islamic practice of female infanticide, he had taken his daughter to the desert and, after placing her in a ditch, had started to bury her alive. The innocent little girl had cried out “Daddy! Daddy!”, but the man ignored her cries. The Prophet, visualizing this tragedy, was overcome by emotions and tears.

Daughters, a Matter of Pride

The Holy Prophet completely rejected and condemned the attitude of the pre-Islamic Times of Ignorance when the girls were hated and the news of the birth of female child was the worst news one could ever expect in his lifetime.

The Quran says about this era, “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).

The Quran totally changed this attitude of parents towards their children and taught equal treatment towards them, irrespective of their sex or color. All are children and as such are entitled to the same treatment. In order to change this long established attitude of parents, the Prophet actually leaned more towards female children. His love and affection for his daughter Fatimah, may Allah have mercy upon her, was a bright example.

There are many sayings of the Prophet wherein he has promised a great reward from Allah for bringing up female children nicely and with care. “If anyone has a female child and does not bury her alive, or slight her, or prefer his children (i.e., the male ones) to her, Allah will bring him to Paradise.” And, according to Aishah (May Allah have mercy on her) the Prophet said, “If anyone has suffered at all respecting these girls and treats them well, they will be a covering for him from Hell.”

The Holy Prophet Muhammad has clearly demonstrated that a girl is not a matter of humiliation to a family. On the other hand, she is a matter of pride. A man who brings up his daughters in a proper way will be among those who have the honor of standing close to the Propheton the Day of Judgment.

Anas (may Allah have mercy on him) reported Allah’s Messengeras saying, “He, who brought up two girls properly till they grew up, he and I would come (together) (very closely) on the Day of Resurrection, and he interlaced his fingers (for explaining the point of nearness between him and that person)”


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