In some cultures (including some of predominantly Muslim cultures), daughters are considered less then sons and are looked down upon. People celebrate when they have a son and sulk when they have a daughter. This outdated thinking of favouring sons upon daughters has no place in Islam. To clarify and educate everyone, in today’s post we will be discussing the status of daughters in Islam.
Sons and daughters should be treated equally
I learnt very late in life that unfortunately in some households, sons are given preference to daughters in smallest of things like food. I was dumbfounded. How can parents give preference to one child of theirs over another and that too on the basis of gender. This is so disgusting to even think about.
Anas reported: A man was with the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, when his son came. He kissed him and sat him down on his thigh. Then, his daughter came and she sat to his side. The Prophet said, “Why do you not treat them equally?”Sharḥ Maʻānī al-Āthār 3838
What does this show? That sons and daughter should be shown equal amount of affection.
In another hadith, Prophet peace be upon him again advised on equality between children when giving them gifts but also said that, IF he could favour one gender on another it would be daughters. Gender bias of parents can reflect in how much they spend on each child and according to this hadith they cannot do favouritism.
Ibn Abbas reported: The Messenger fo Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Treat your children equally regarding gifts. If I were to favor anyone, I would have favored women.”
In another narration, the Prophet said, “If I were to prefer anyone, I would have preferred women over men.”al-Sunan al-Kubrá 11092
Prophet (peace be upon him) expressed love for his daughter
Openly expressing love and affection for children is the sunnah of the prophet peace be upon him. Loving behaviour of parent sis very important is psychological and emotional health of a child. Children who are deprived of it developed skewed understanding of relationships and low self-esteem.
Aisha reported: I have not seen anyone more closely resemble the disposition, mannerism, and characteristics of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, than his daughter Fatimah, may Allah honor her countenance. If she entered his home, the Prophet would stand for her, take her by the hand, kiss her, and seat her in his place. If the Prophet entered her home, she would stand for him, take him by the hand, kiss him, and seat him in her place.Sunan Abī Dāwūd 5217
Daughters are precious companions
The following hadith is so beautiful. It just warmed my heart.
‘Uqbah ibn ‘Amir reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Do not hate your daughters, for they are your precious companions.”Musnad Aḥmad 16922
Precious companions! But how, you may ask? How are the daughters precious companions? There might be many different aspects to it but I found this interesting fact that across the globe, different researches have proved time and again that daughters offer more care to their parents in their old age.
A research from 1990 concludes that “daughters were more likely than sons to be providing care to an impaired parent”. Another study goes on to say that “the key to receiving help is having at least one daughter”. This result is reaffirmed again in a research from 1997 which says that daughters are shown to take on greater parent-care roles.
When it comes to figures, data of 4,371 impaired adults and their children were used for analysis which proved that “daughters were 3.22 times more likely than sons to provide ADL (assistance with activities of daily living) assistance and 2.56 times more likely to provide IADL (assistance with instrumental activities of daily living) assistance”.
This love of daughters for their parents is so amazing and beautiful that it makes one wonder, how can people be sad on the birth of their precious companion?
Coward, R. T., & Dwyer, J. W. (1990). The association of gender, sibling network composition, and patterns of parent care by adult children. Research on Aging, 12(2), 158-181.
Spitze, G., & Logan, J. (1990). Sons, daughters, and intergenerational social support. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 420-430.
Wolf, D. A., Freedman, V. A., & Soldo, B. J. (1997). The division of family labor: Care for elderly parents. Journals of Gerontology Series B, 52, 102-109.
Dwyer, J. W., & Coward, R. T. (1991). A multivariate comparison of the involvement of adult sons versus daughters in the care of impaired parents. Journal of Gerontology, 46(5), S259-S269.