Women in general and daughters in particular have a very special status in Islam, as compared to most of the other religions. There are so many mentions about the eminence of daughters in the Quran and Hadith that tells us how important they are. Apart from this, scholars have narrated various events from the life of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ where he practically exhibited how to give honor and respect to the daughters.
We often come across a very common criticism of Islam about the status of women, especially when it comes to human rights. But the fact is that Islam ensures equal rights for both men and women. The concept of women empowerment, which the majority of the advanced civilizations follow these days, is mainly based on the teachings of Islam about the role and status of women.
Islam has declared the daughters a source of blessings for their parents. It forms the very base of the special and prestigious status Islam guarantees for the girl child, which most civilizations lacked before Islam. But remember, the emphasis of Islam on the prestige of daughters is not out of context.
The Historical Background
In the old civilizations, especially the Arab tribal society, women were practically treated as non-humans. They had no rights and were mostly treated as a man’s property. The father mourned the birth of a new girl. He would feel ashamed of the birth of a girl child. In most rigid communities, they used to bury alive the baby girl.
The men were of the view that a girl child can neither help them in a battle against the enemies nor they can help them financially. So, it was their thought that a girl child was useless and shameful for them. Against this backdrop, Islam came to the rescue of the females. It emphasized that daughters can be a source of salvage and may route you to Jannah (Paradise).
How Islam Changed this Perception
First of all, Islam taught the people not to be ashamed of the birth of a girl child and, secondly not to kill them. So, Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى says in verse 31 of Surah Al-Isra
“Do not kill your children for fear of want. We will provide for them and you. Surely killing them is a great sin”.
It refers to the tradition of burying alive the girl child in old Arabian tribes. After the inception of Islam, this tradition was abolished by Arabs. The tribal society of Arabs completely turned around into a much more civilized community. They started to give due status and respect to their daughters.
The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ practically showed his companions how to give respect to their daughters by giving honor and respect to his beloved daughter Hazrat Fatima رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهَا.
The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ also emphasized to his companions not to hate their daughters, as they are a true blessing to them. So, in the book of Etiquettes, of Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadith 3670, it is narrated that the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said,
“There is no man whose two daughters reach the age of puberty and he treats them kindly for the time they are together, but they will gain him admittance to Paradise.”
It refers to the role of daughters as a source of blessing for the parents. So, this way, daughters in Islam became a respectful and honored part of the society and became a pride for their parents. The daughter’s blessing, in fact, changed the whole scenario.
Responsibilities of a Daughter in Islam
While giving a prestigious status to the daughters, Islam has also specified various duties and responsibilities to them, primarily to their parents and society as a whole.
- A daughter has to follow the religion in its true spirit.
- She must follow the teachings of Islam in her daily life routine, especially the concept of hijab.
- They should invariably observe the restrictions Islam imposes in their interactions with those family members who are declared na-mahram for them in Islam. This is very important for their prestige and is a basic requirement of Islam regarding family relationships.
- The daughters should maintain a level of dignity in their acts and behaviors towards their parents and other family members.
- The daughters are required to ensure respect and honor of their parents.
- When married, a daughter needs to give due respect to her husband.
Rights of a Daughter in Islam
Islam has specified the rights of a daughter, especially in family matters related to inheritance. Before Islam, daughters were often deprived of their fundamental rights in this context.
- Islam gives them the right to select their husband. Though the parents are responsible for the marriage of their daughters, they should not impose their wishes on their daughters. They must take the consent of their daughter in this very crucial phase of her life.
- Islam gives equal rights to men and women in almost every affair. A girl child has an equal right to get an education.
- When married, she needs to give respect to her husband. However, she has the full right to maintain a good relationship with her parental family. Yes, she needs to be loyal to her husband and his family but it doesn’t mean that she should ignore her parents. Islam allows her to remain in contact with her parents and look after them.
- Islam has specified her share in the inheritance of her parents. She has the right to her parents’ assets. The parents are religiously bound to give her a share of their assets, as specified by the relevant teachings of Islam. In most of the Islamic Countries, this is also a part of the family laws.
- Islam also gives the right of “Khula” (divorce) to the women. If she is not satisfied with her husband’s behavior, she is at liberty to use this right, though not termed as a good deed in Islam.
- Daughters are allowed to take part in social activities while observing the basic teachings of Islam.
The daughters are given a unique status in Islam. Before Islam, a girl child was treated so badly. There was a tradition of burying them alive, as they thought the birth of a girl was shameful for them. The women were treated like animals in that old tribal culture of Arabs.
Islam altogether changed this scenario. It told the men that the girl child is a gift of God Almighty. She is a source of countless blessings for a father. Having daughters is a blessing in itself but giving them good education and arranging their marriage is also an act that Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى much likes and He guarantees a place in Paradise for such parents. This is perhaps the best of the blessings of a daughter towards her parents.
Lucky you are, if you have daughters.