Even now daughters are considered an
unwanted burden in some societies and instead of rejoicing, an
atmosphere of grief and disappointment is produced in the family at their birth. This is the position, today, but, in the pre-Islaamic times, the daughters were positively considered a shame and disgrace among the Arabs, so much so that even the right to live was denied to them. Many a hard-hearted parent used to
strangle his daughter to death, with his own hands, when she was
born, or bury her alive. The Qur'aan states:
When if one of them receives tidings of the birth of a female, his face remains darkened, and he is wrath inwardly. He hides himself from the folk because of the evil of that whereof he has had tidings, (asking himself): Shall he keep it in contempt, or bury it beneath the dust. (16: 58-59)
Such was the attitude of the Arabs towards daughters among whom the sacred Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam was raised up. Against this background, let us now examine the following Traditions.
It is related by Abdullah Ibne Abbaas radhiyallahu anhumaa that the Apostle of Allah sallallahu alayhi wasallam said: "Whoever becomes the father of a girl, he should neither hurt her nor treat her with contempt nor show preference over her to his sons in kindness and affection. (Both boys and girls should be treated alike). Allah will grant him Paradise in return for kind treatment towards the daughter."
Aa'ishahradhiyallahu anhaa relates that she heard the Apostle of Allah sallallahu alayhi wasallam say: "The bondsman or bondwoman upon whom the responsibility of daughters was placed by the Lord, (and he/she fulfilled the responsibility in a good manner), and treated them properly, for him/her the daughters shall be a means of protection from Hell ."
In another account of Hadhrat Aa'ishah radhiyallahu anhaa of the above Tradition, quoted by Imaam Muslim, it is stated that a poor woman came to her, holding two little daughters in her arms, and asked for charity. Hadhrat Aa'ishah radhiyallahu anhaa gave her three dates of which she gave one each to the two girls and was about to put the third in her own mouth that the girls asked for it as well. The woman, thereupon, did not eat it herself, but gave half of it to one girl and half to the other. Hadhrat Aa'ishah radhiyallahu anhaa was so strongly affected by it that she described the incident to the sacred Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam . The Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam , thereupon, said: "On account of this very act of the woman, Allah gave for her the decision of Paradise and freedom from Hell ."
The two events may have taken place at different times, and it can, also, be that it was the same incident and the variation was due to the difference in the statements of the narrators.
It is related by Anas radhiyallahu anhu that the Apostle of Allah
sallallahu alayhi wasallam said: "The bondsman who bears the responsibility of two daughters and supports them
till they attain puberty, he and I will be close to one another
like this on the Day of Requital."
The narrator Hadhrat Anas radhiyallahu anhu, adds that the Apostle of Allah sallallahu alayhi wasallam showed by joining the fingers of his hand (that as the fingers were close to one another, in the same way the bondsman will be close to him on the Day of final Reckoning)."
Aboo Daawood, Tirmizi
Aboo Sa'eed Khudriradhiyallahu anhu relates that the Apostle of Allah sallallahu alayhi wasallam said: "Whoever bears the responsibility of three daughters or sisters, or even of two daughters or sisters, and bears it well, and looks after their training and welfare properly, and, then, gets them married, Allah will reward him with Paradise."
Aboo Daawood, Tirmizi
Equality between children