The Prophet (sa) and his Daughters


Allah (swt) says in the Quran: “Indeed in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad (sa)) you have a good example to follow for him who hopes for (the meeting with) Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much.” (Al-Ahzab 33:21)

“And We have sent you (O Muhammad (sa)) not but as a mercy for the Alamin (mankind, Jinns and all that exists)….” (Al-Anbiya 21:107)

Without doubt, one of the greatest gifts Allah (swt) has given to the believers is perfect guidance, which Muslims can follow with the assurance that it will not lead to a dead end. This guidance is the last revelation – the Noble Quran – and the way of Prophet Muhammad (sa), who practically showed us the religion of Allah Almighty (swt) and explained it in great detail, as is mentioned by Abu Zarrah (rtam): “When the Prophet of Allah left us, we had all the knowledge (even) about every bird which flies above us.”(Ibn Hibban)

One of the most important aspects of every person’s life is the relationship with one’s children. Let us see what our Prophet’s (sa) conduct was as a father.

According to one of the opinions, the Prophet (sa) had three sons: Al-Qasim, Abdullah (At-Tahir) and Ibrahim – and four daughters: Zaynab, Ruqayyah, Umm Kulthoom and Fatimah, whom he called Az-Zahra (the flower). The daughters outlived his sons and they were from his first wife, Khadijah (rtaf). It must also be mentioned that most reports about the Prophet’s (sa) relationship with his daughters date back to the Madinah period – the time, when all of them were of full age and already married. This is due to the fact that most knowledge about his private life came through his wives, all of which, except Khadijah (rtaf), he married either shortly before Hijrah or after it. Most reports came through Aisha (rtaf), who has narrated more than two thousand Ahadeeth, which constitute the fourth largest source from among the Sahabahs.

Pondering over the reason Allah (swt) gave to the Prophet (sa) so many daughters that outlived his sons, the scholars are of the opinion that it was so in order to show that he did not rely on his sons, as was a custom among the Arabs of the time, and in order to confront the Jahiliyah tradition of hating daughters.

The Prophet (sa) was overjoyed about the birth of his daughters, unlike the neglectful attitude Arabs had towards their daughters. This proved that there is no reason to worry about the birth of daughters, and that the Rizq of every person is with Allah (swt). The Rizq does not decrease because of the number of children or the birth of daughters. The Prophet (sa) also has said that a person who will raise two righteous daughters will stand next to him on the Day of Judgement. (Muslim)

All of the Prophet’s (sa) daughters were born before his prophethood; therefore, when the command of Allah (swt) came (“And warn your tribe (O Muhammad (sa)) of near kindred.” (Ash-Shuara 26:214)), the Prophet (sa) ascended the mount of Safa and called his tribe to Islam: “Oh, the people of Quraish, ransom yourselves – nothing else will help you in front of Allah (swt),” and also his daughters: “Oh, Fatimah, the daughter of Muhammad, ask me how much you wish of my money but it will not help you in front of Allah (swt).” (Bukhari) All of his daughters accepted Islam and later migrated to Madinah.

The Prophet (sa) did not delay the marriages of his daughters, choosing for them husbands who were known for their wisdom and sharp mind (like Abu al-As ibn al-Rabia, to whom he gave his eldest daughter Zaynab), or their Iman and shyness (like future Khalifah Uthman ibn Affan – a man in front of whom even angels felt shy and to whom he gave two of his daughters: Ruqayyah and after her death, Umm Kulthoom). After the death of his second daughter, the Prophet (sa) gave a brief description of this righteous man: “If I had a third daughter, I would give her to Uthman in marriage.” (Al-Asbahani)

He gave his youngest daughter Fatimah (rtaf) in marriage to Ali ibn Abu Talib (rtam), who stood at the forefront in almost all of the important battles of the Muslims. The Prophet (sa) respected his daughters and never forced husbands of his choice upon them. He always sought their opinion. After Ali (rtam) had asked for Fatimah’s (rtaf) hand in marriage, he informed her about it in a subtle way: “Ali mentioned you.” Fatimah’s shy silence was a sign of her acceptance, and they were married. (Ibn Sad)

The Messenger of Allah (sa) tried to help in solving the marital problems of his daughters and encouraged happiness and harmony among the spouses. One day, having come to visit his youngest daughter, the Prophet (sa) did not find Ali (rtam) there. When he found out that they had had a small marital argument, the Prophet (sa) went in search of him and found Ali (rtam) in the Masjid, where he was sleeping on the floor. Carefully clearing away the soil from Ali’s (rtam) face, he woke him up, in order to help the couple make up. (Bukhari)

When the Prophet (sa) saw the necklace of his deceased wife, Khadijah (rtaf), which was sent from Makkah by his daughter Zaynab as ransom for her husband, Abu al-As, who had not yet converted to Islam, he could not remain indifferent. He asked the permission of Muslims to release his daughter’s husband and let him go back to her to Makkah. He received their permission. (Abu Dawood)

When the Muslim army went out for their first decisive battle against the disbelievers of Makkah, the Prophet (sa) left Uthman ibn Affan (rtam) in Madinah with his daughter Ruqayyah (rtaf), who was ill at the time, thus showing by this action that caring for relatives is of utmost importance in any situation.

Yet, at the same time, he did not give his daughters any privileges, which would raise them above other Muslims. He said about his youngest daughter, who resembled him like no one else in the way she spoke and walked: “I swear by Allah, if Fatimah, the daughter of Muhammad, would steal, I would cut off her arm.” (Bukhari)

One day, the Prophet (sa) noticed Fatimah (rtaf) entering his home. Since there were guests in the Prophet’s (sa) home, she left straight away. The next day, he went to visit her, in order to inquire why she had come. Fatimah (rtaf) did not say anything, but Ali (rtam) explained that he had requested her to ask from him a servant. Due to the hard work, the skin on her hands had become very rough; due to sweeping the floor, her clothes were dirty. To this, the Prophet (sa) answered: “Oh Fatimah, fear Allah (swt) and fulfil your duties in front of your Lord by doing the household chores. But when you go to sleep, recite Subhan’Allah thirty-three times, Alhumdulillah thirty-three times and Allahu Akbar thirty-four times, together one hundred, and this will be better for you than having a servant in your home.” (Abu Dawood)

The Prophet (sa) did not try to gift the Dunya to his daughters. He always pointed to the importance of the Akhira, especially when there was a choice between the two. Shaykh Ibn Taymiyah has analyzed that the one who will recite the above mentioned Dhikr before sleeping will not be overcome by tiredness, because the Prophet (sa) presented it as a solution to this particular complaint. It should also be mentioned that the Prophet (sa) himself, being the best among people, never looked down upon household chores and always helped his wives. This was narrated by his youngest wife Aisha (rtaf), when she was asked about what the Prophet (sa) would do while he was at home: “He did house chores together with his family, but when the time for Salah arrived, he went to the Masjid.” (Bukhari)

May Allah (swt) help us appreciate and emulate the Prophet’s (sa) example and reap unaccountable benefits resulting from it. Ameen.

The Honour of Raising Daughters

Jan 11 - The honour of Raising daughters

By Ruhie Jamshaid

The birth of a child heralds hope and cheer in the life of a family. Needless to say, a child is a special gift from Allah (swt), and not everyone has the blessing of being a parent.

Ironically, while we understand the blessings of having a child, many amongst us tend to down-play the birth of a daughter. If distribution of Mithais (sweetmeats) and the resonance of ‘Mubaraks’ (congratulations) is seen and heard at the birth of a boy-child, the same excitement is often doused at the birth of a girl-child in most South Asian societies. Many still believe that only a male child can carry on the family name and be the flag-bearer of a legacy. Interestingly, our own Prophet Muhammad’s (sa) legacy was carried on by his daughter, Fatimah (rta) at a time when male offspring were considered to be a source of strength for the clan.

It is exclusively Allah (swt), Who decides whether one has sons or daughters, or both or none. Yet, as believers in the decree of Allah (swt), we must question our rather placid attitudes towards the birth of a girl. Why is it that we possess such differing reactions to the birth of a boy as opposed to a girl?

“Indeed, Allah has set a measure for all things.” (At-Talaq 65:3)

In His infinite wisdom, Allah (swt) has a plan for all of us, as we reside in His vast universe. He, the All-Knowing, knows what good therein lies for each one of us.

Therefore, when we are blessed with a girl-child, there is great benefit in it. In fact, the status of girls is often emphasized in Islam.

“Whoever has three daughters or sisters, or two daughters or two sisters, and lives along with them in a good manner, and has patience with them, and fears Allah with regard to them will enter Paradise.” (Abu Dawood, At-Tirmidhi and others)

Bringing up a girl-child to become a righteous Muslimah is a great honour and a doorway to Jannah. When we endow our daughters with a sound education, solid morals and thorough knowledge of their Deen, they become a force to reckon with. Strong, educated Muslim women will strengthen the future generations, because a mother is the main character-builder and groomer of her children.

The character of a Muslim girl must be honed holistically. Often, two extremes dominate – either we focus on grooming our daughters to become homebound individuals or motivate them to take on a career-orientated path in life. Taking either of these extreme paths can be hazardous. We must not forget that Islam has clearly segregated gender roles: women are to be the main home managers, while men are ordained to work externally to provide for their families. There is always wisdom in Allah’s (swt) decrees, and we must adhere to the rules.

Even though a woman’s main job is to manage the home, she is also often reminded to benefit society at large.

Abu Hurairah (rta) relates that Allah’s Messenger (sa) said: “Whoever removes one of the hardships of a believing soul, Allah will remove from him one of the distresses on the Hereafter. Whoever solves someone else’s problem, Allah will make things easy for him in this world and the Hereafter… Allah is ever assisting His servant, as long as that servant is helping his brother.” (Muslim)

Hence, we must also mould our daughters to learn a skill or to gain knowledge, with which she would be able to add value to the Muslim Ummah. An intelligent and academically inclined Muslimah may choose to become a gynecologist, so as to provide the option of a female woman’s health physician. Some others may choose to teach, so as to dissipate knowledge to our fellow Muslims. We must remember that Aisha (rta), one of the mothers of the believers, was a scholar and had the privilege of reporting an enormous number of Ahadeeth based on the knowledge imparted to her by the Prophet (sa) himself. The Muslim Ummah is humbly indebted to her for her sincere service.

A woman is a brick that builds and strengthens the Muslim Ummah. To be blessed with a daughter is an honour we are bestowed upon by Allah (swt). We must strive to bring her up to be an exemplary Muslimah, for there is Allah’s (swt) great pleasure in doing so.