Celebrate the birth of a girl child

The roles of men and women are complementary and cooperative rather than competitive
"Both genders are recipients of the “divine breath” since they are created with the same human and spiritual nature (nafsin-waahidah)" [Representational Image]
"Both genders are recipients of the “divine breath” since they are created with the same human and spiritual nature (nafsin-waahidah)" [Representational Image] peakpx

To begin with I dare say that the first enemy of a woman is a woman. This may sound crude, or may be rude, but I will substantiate it.

While it was T20 world cup fervor all around the mother would be was watching every match so keenly because she wants the baby in the womb to be a sports lover, an athlete and an acrobat, a footballer like Ronaldo; before that she had gotten the foot ball shoes for her nephew.

She would reject pink towel and pink lollipop not to talk of dress; she identifies pink with girls. Every preparation is made for the arrival of a baby boy. The blue blanket, dresses and also the name Sadd Hamzah.

She has it all sorted in her mind, from delivery to his career and marriage. Enquiring why is she so desperate to have a boy. She doesn’t have a clear answer except that she says she is a female; she knows what it means to be a girl in the society.

I kept on asking, what? I told her you are well read, a doctorate to be in English literature, college and university degrees, a fair participation in games, years of experience of campus in and outside valley. Your four sisters and your brother all raised so perfectly; all post graduates in subjects of their liking.

Your sister a gold medalist in sports, a lecturer in Physical education and others having subjects from horticulture to science. What is the reason of your bias toward boys. You have freedom she argued. Freedom of what?

In this patriarchal society a male child might be preferred because we hitherto were agrarian society and a son would help the father in farm activities.

Even in that case women worked shoulder to shoulder with men. But that is now out sourced to migrant workers; even the work of orchids,. Second, the fathers in our society will put the pressure of their failed dreams on the male child and make his life miserable.

Third, and the most important, is the economic reason. Fathers think they will produce son and son will after some schooling and training start earning and bail the family out of the financial problems. But all these reasons are gone.

We are living in a world of technology where the cerebral health is replacing the only requirement of physical health. We are forced to reframe the question when we ask, who is the captain of Indian cricket team? Harmanpreet Kaur.

Oh! I mean men’s cricket team. We have women everywhere in all the spheres of life working neck to neck with men. Because women have monthly periods and different hormonal activity doesn’t make them children of lesser god. They might feel less in physical strength. But that is okay. This is not an inability or disability to write off women for a role.

The whole debate which is shrouding the gender equity is the place of women in religion.

This is well known how women are revered by every religion and civilization, from mythological Greek goddesses and Roman Goddesses like Aphrodite and Venus, to Hindu mythological goddesses Lakshmi and Saraswati to symbols of strength of character and courage Sita and Draupadi.

The place of saint Mary (Maryam A.S) to Hazrat Khadija (R.A), Hazrat Aisha (R.A), Hazrat Fatima (R.A) - all these, and innumerable such daughters, are held in high esteem by every religion practiced in the world.

Then we have women who have left an indelible mark on the history of humankind be it political leadership, leadership in arts or advancement in science. Women have raised to the occasion whatever the role assigned. We have women scientist who have got Nobel prizes, we have astronauts too.

Then the most difficult aspect of being a girl child in our society is the Islamic perspective.

Because we have seen clerics shouting loud from pulpits without genuine reason and valid argument and blaming this gender for all the nuances in the society without understanding the distinction between the normative Islamic teachings and the cultural practices followed by Muslims.

Such opinions and verdicts do not enjoy immunity of infallibility which is accorded to the primary and revelatory sources, The Quran and the Sunnah.

Therefore when we analyse the spiritual, economic, social and political aspects and review the position of women in society through an Islamic prism, the roles of men and women are complementary and cooperative rather than competitive.

Both genders are recipients of the “divine breath” since they are created with the same human and spiritual nature (nafsin-waahidah): But He fashioned him in due proportion and breathed into him something of His spirit.

And He gave you (the faculties of) hearing and sight and feeling (and understanding): little thanks do you give (Qur’an 15:29). Both genders are dignified and are trustees of Allah on earth. According to the Qur’an, woman is not blamed for the “fall of man.” Pregnancy and child birth are not seen as punishments for “eating from the forbidden tree.”

On the contrary, the Qur’an considers them to be grounds for love and respect due to mothers. In narrating the story of Adam and Eve, the Qur’an frequently refers to both of them, never singling out Eve for the blame.

On the question of pregnancy and childbirth, the Qur’an states: And We have enjoined on the person (to be good) to his/her parents: in travail upon travail did his/her mother bear him/her and in years twain was his/her weaning: (hear the command) “Show gratitude to Me and to your parents: to Me is (your final) Goal. (Qur’an 31:14)

Nowhere does the Qur’an state that one gender is superior to the other. Some mistakenly translate “qawwamah” or responsibility for the family as superiority. The Qur’an makes it clear that the sole basis for superiority of any person over another is piety and righteousness not gender, color, or nationality:

O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes that you may know each other. Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (one who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things). (Qur’an 49:13)

The absence of women as prophets or “Messengers of Allah” in prophetic history is due to the demands and physical suffering associated with the role of messengers and prophets and not because of any spiritual inferiority.

Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “Whosoever has a daughter and he does not bury her alive, does not insult her, and does not favor his son over her, Allah will enter him into Paradise.”[Ahmad]

“Whosoever supports two daughters till they mature, he and I will come in the day of judgment as this (and he pointed with his two fingers held together).” [Ahmad]

“The best of you is the best to his family (wife).”

A man came to the Prophet Muhammad asking: O Messenger of Allah, who among the people is the most worthy of my good companionship? The Prophet said, your mother. The man said then who is next: the Prophet said, Your mother. The man further asked, And then who is next? Only then did the Prophet say, your father. (al Bukhari).

Fortunately, there is an emerging positive trend of our understanding of gender equity, based on the Qur’an and Hadeeth, not on alien and imported un-Islamic or non-Islamic values.

And not on the basis of the existing oppressive and unjust status quo in many parts of the Muslim world. The debate and support for the argument of gender equity (read the word equity not equality) is endless.

With so much of debate and references of religious texts she got the right perspective of looking at gender equity. When I told her the Qur’an rebukes the unwelcoming attitudes among some parents upon hearing the news of the birth of a baby girl, instead of a baby boy:

When news is brought to one of them of (the birth of) a female (child) his face darkens and he is filled with inward grief! With shame does he hide himself from his people because of the bad news he has had! Shall he retain her on (sufferance and) contempt or bury her in the dust? Ah! What an evil (choice) they decide on! (Qur’an 16:58 59).

She welcomed baby girl Liaba Ilhaam (A gorgeous Hoor of Heaven which inspires everything around) with joy and hope, contrary to her preconceived fear and inferiority. She is celebrating each day of nursing and caring for her.

vajūd-e-zan se hai tasvīr-e-kāenāt meñ rañg,

isī ke saaz se hai zindagī kā soz-e-darūñ.

Allama Iqbal

Showket Akhoon, Lecturer in Chemistry, Department of School Education, JK.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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