Killing a girl child is a heinous crime
1 February 2008
I LOVE her! As I lay beside her, kissing her head and smelling her hair, I struggled to think of how I breathed without her before she came into my life. From the tips of her toes to the top of her head, she is all mine. She is my daughter.
It’s unbelievable that any human being can mourn the birth of a daughter! Little girls bring such happiness to our homes.
Unfortunately, if we look back on history, we would see how female infanticide had been a rampant crime that often went unpunished. Even today, in countries like India, a girl child is not always welcomed by her parents with open arms. All too often they are buried alive right after birth.
Governments have been cracking down on people who bury their infant girls alive, so the murderers have changed their methods of perpetrating the crime. Nowadays, some women in India and China take ultra-sound tests to learn about the sex of their babies. If it’s a girl, then the foetus is aborted.
Looking back on Arabia before the religion of Islam was revealed to the world more than 14 centuries ago, female infanticide was the order of the day. It was common for baby girls to be taken straight from the warmth of their mothers' wombs and put right into their graves through no fault of their own. And those girls who managed to escape being buried alive had to face a life of intense suffering.
Allah Almighty says in the Holy Quran: “And when the news of (the birth of) a female (child) is brought to any of them, his face becomes dark, and he is filled with inward grief! He hides himself from the people because of the evil of that whereof he has been informed. Shall he keep her with dishonour or bury her in the Earth? Certainly, evil is their decision.” (16:58-59)
With the advent of Islam, all forms of infanticide were abolished as they were regarded as murder. And women were given equal rights. They could pursue education, own property and claim inheritance.
According to Islam, boys and girls are supposed to be treated equally by their parents. Once the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) saw a man sitting with his son on one side and his daughter on the other. The man picked up his son, kissed him and sat him on his lap. He left his daughter to stand. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) rebuked the man and told him that his daughter was entitled to the same love and affection he had bestowed on his son. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the perfect father and condemned gender discrimination. In several authentic hadiths, girls are actually the passport to Heaven for parents.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Anyone who brings up two daughters properly, will be very close to me on the day of Judgment.” Favouritism is strictly forbidden in Islam.
Islam also castigates all forms of abortion. However, special circumstances are taken into consideration. For example, if the mother’s life is in danger then she is allowed to terminate the pregnancy. Allah Almighty says in the Holy Quran: “Kill not your children on a plea of want. We provide sustenance for you and for them. Come not near shameful deeds, whether open or secret. Take not life which Allah has made sacred.” (6:151)
Boys, girls, men and women have their own mission in this world. It should not be left to society or cultural bias to determine anyone's worth on the basis of his or her sex. Both men and women serve important functions in this world. If one is missing, the other cannot exist, period!
Sumayyah Meehan is a Kuwait-based American writer who embraced Islam.