The Qur’an says: “And when the good news is given to any of them of a daughter, His face turns dark and he is filled with grief.” (Qur’an, Surah An-Nahl, 16:58)
In Pre-Islamic 7th century Arabia, the custom of killing female children was very common. They killed their children for three reasons and the Qur’an has mentioned all the three. First, they sacrificed their children at the altar of their gods to please them: (See Qur’an, Surah Al-An’am, 6:37 and again, see Qur’an, Surah Al-An’am, 6:140)
Secondly, they killed their children for fear of poverty.
The Qur’an cautioned them against this and made it absolutely unlawful for anyone to kill their children:
“Do not kill your offspring for fear of poverty: for it is We Who provide for them and for you as well. Indeed their killing is a terrible sin.” (Qur’an, Surah Al-Isra’, 17:31)
This verse cuts at the very root of birth control, which has been going on from ancient times to our present age. It was the fear of want that induced people to kill their children or resort to abortion. In our age, another means has been added to these, i.e., contraception and pre-natal ultra sound imaging.
A newly born girl child was a subject of embarrassment and she was buried alive in order to avoid disgrace of having a female child, one out of every ten men was guilty of this crime. Not only men, but women also participated in the act.
Mothers handed over their girl child for burial. These practices are continued in today’s modern world in the form of female foeticide. According to a World Children’s Report by UNICEF, boys are outnumbering girls in India; there are only 880 girls per 1000 boys in India. It also reveals the global sex ratio of 954 girls to 1000 boys. The drop in female birth rate is due to female foeticide.
An estimated number of about 70 million of Female children are caused to perish before their birth every year; these staggering figures must put the whole mankind to shame and must jolt from head to toe every person with conscience.
But still, we are forced to believe that we are living in a civilised world that cares for the human rights?
The combination of a strong cultural preference for boys and pre-natal ultrasound imaging has led to couples identifying and aborting female fetuses so that their only permitted child is male.
The Qur’an mentions this in connection with accountability on the Day of Judgment when the murderer of the girl child will be questioned as to why they killed their daughter:
“On the Day of Judgment ‘When the infant girl buried alive is asked,’ for what crime she was killed.” (Qur’an, Surah At-Takwir, 81:8-9)
Prophet Muhammad has clearly demonstrated that a girl is not a matter of humiliation to a family. On the other hand, she is a matter of pride. A man who brings up his daughters in a proper way will be among those who have the honor of standing close to the Prophet on the Day of Judgment.