The Hatred of Girls is a Trait of the Ignorant
"May Allah bless you with a boy next time," a woman said to me, all smiles, after finding out Ruqaya was my only child.
Thankfully, her Arabic dialect wasn't Egyptian, so my daughter didn't understand what she said (yes, she said this in front of my daughter).
It happened quickly, so I didn’t get a chance to process what she said and formulate a reply until later.
I don't know when we are going to get over the attitude of (at best) preferring boys over girls, and (at worst) reviling the idea of having only girls, as though it’s a curse and burden.
If you peel away the layers, at the core of that seemingly innocuous statement, “May Allah bless you with a boy,” is an expression of dissatisfaction with Allah's decree. If you believe having only girls means "something's wrong," then you are saying that Allah has made a mistake. And there’s really nothing worse to say.
Allah (swt) addresses this in the Quran, saying:
Prophet Muhammad (saw) has said, “Whoever has a (daughter) and doesn't bury her alive, nor scorn her, nor give preference to his son over her, Allah will admit him to Paradise.”
We tend to think about the burying of baby girls as “a thing of the past” that used to happen in the middle of the desert, in times of jahiliyyah. But no, it’s still happening to this day, albeit in a more high-tech manner.
This hatred of girls is a trait of the ignorant. It should frighten us. It should shake us to our core. It should leave us so disturbed that we cannot move forward except after addressing it confidently, even in the face of our own families and communities.
Every time someone scoffs at having a baby girl, or two, or more, we should stop in our tracks and say clearly and unabashedly: We are, and always will be satisfied with what Allah grants us.
When the woman said this statement to me, I wish I had been able to gather my thoughts quickly enough to tell her off. It doesn’t matter if anti-girl rhetoric is said in private or in public, as a joke or seriously, by a family or friend, or even under the guise of a sincere “dua.” It has to stop.
It has to stop because statements like these, repeated often enough, directly inform how families treat girls, what opportunities they’re given vs. what opportunities are withheld from them, and eventually how these girls see their own worth.
We also have to stop looking at the world through the lens of male vs. female. We are not meant to be at one another’s throats all the time. We are not meant to spend all our energy defending our sex. Allah (swt) calls us protectors, allies, and friends of one another:
“The believing men and believing women are allies of one another. They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and establish prayer and give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. Those - Allah will have mercy upon them. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.” (9:71)
If friends and allies continuously disparage one another, are they really friends and allies?
Girls are amazing, beautiful creatures. They’re girly girls and tomboys. They’re fun and strong and emotional and intelligent. I’ve never once in my life thought, “I wish I had a boy instead.” Never.
And why would I when Prophet Muhammad (saw) praised those who raised girls? He said,
“Whoever has three daughters whom he provides shelter for, supports and marries off, Paradise becomes absolutely binding for him.” It was said, “What if they are two (daughters)?” The Prophet said, “Even if it's two.” (Ahmad, Bukhari) And in some narrations, it says if he had been asked “Even one,” he would have replied in the affirmative as well.
May Allah (swt) grant this status to all those who are raising their daughters with love, mercy, and respect.