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-Islamic 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’an says:
“When news is brought to one of them, of the birth of a female, his face darkens and he is filled with inward grief. He hides himself with shame, from the people, because of the bad news he has had. (Asking himself): shall he keep it in contempt or bury in the dust. Ah: What an evil choice they decide.“
Abdullah ibn Abbas (ra) reports that the Prophet (saw) 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.”
It is narrated that a very poor woman, with two daughters, came to Ayesha’s (ra) place to beg. By chance, Aisha (ra) had only one date with her, at that time, which she gave to the woman. The woman broke the date into two parts and gave one part each to the girls. She did not eat anything of it herself. When after some time, the Prophet (saw) came, Aisha (ra) related the incident to him, upon which he remarked:
“The believing man or woman upon whom there is the responsibility of daughters and he or she discharges it well and treats them with affection, the daughters will become a means of freedom, for him or her, in the hereafter.”
It is related by Anas (ra) that the Prophet (PBUH) said
“The believer 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 Judgment.”
Anas (ra), adds that the Prophet (saw) showed, by joining the fingers of his hand, that as the fingers were close to one another, in the same way will the believer be close to him on the Day of Judgment.
Abu Saeed Khudri (ra) relates that the Prophet (saw) 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.“
In these Ahadith, the Prophet (saw) has not only stated that kind treatment was the natural right or claim of the daughters, but, also that the believers who fulfilled the obligation towards them in a good and proper manner would be rewarded with Paradise in the hereafter. He, further, gives the joyful tidings that such a man will be close to him, on the Day of Judgment, as the fingers of a hand are, when joined together.