In the post 9/11 world the media is flooded with images of Muslim fathers who oppress their daughters and brutally have them killed for the sake of honor. This has created an environment where all Muslim men are looked upon with suspicion and seen as “the angry barbaric man.” However, contrary to this popular stereotype, most Muslim men are just like any other regular man: regular citizens, regular husbands and regular fathers. And as the country gets ready to celebrate Father’s Day this Sunday, as a daughter myself I find it my responsibility to clear the image of all such Muslim fathers.
It is written in the Holy Quran that “He creates what He pleases, He bestows daughters upon whom He pleases, and He bestows sons on whom He pleases (42:50)." This verse indicates that sons and daughters are equal blessings from God; it helped put an end to the pre-Islamic custom of killing female infants. In Islam the father is given the role of providing for his children and seeing to his children’s material and spiritual needs. The father has a great responsibility to ensure that his children are provided for, and this includes his daughters. In fact, in Islam raising a daughter in the best manner and taking good care of her opens the doors of paradise for Muslim parents. Prophet Muhammed of Islam has said “He who brings up two girls through their childhood will appear on the Day of Judgment attached to me like two fingers of a hand."
Muhammed himself was an excellent example of how fathers should behave with their children, especially their daughters. He placed great emphasis on educating daughters and has said that “No gift, among all the gifts of a father to his child, is better than education.” The Prophet Muhammad was blessed with four daughters. And it is said the Holy Prophet showed great affection toward children and treated them with the utmost respect.
Now many skeptics would say that today’s Muslim men don’t reflect these principles. To these critics all I can say is seeing is believing. And I have seen how real Muslim fathers are and seen enough to know that real Muslim fathers are nowhere close to the frightful men shown in news and movies. I can turn to my own father for evidence. He works hard day after day to provide for me and my family. He treats me and my sister as equals to our brother and always provides for us in a like manner. My father always treats us with affection, often waking up in the night when one of us is sick. He constantly worries about our health and education. And in no way is my father the kind of man that would commit an honor killing. And I know that all my Muslim friends can say the same about their fathers.
So this Father’s Day, I, along with my fellow citizens, will honor my father for being the best father in the world and give thanks for belonging to a religion that emphasizes how daughters are just as precious as sons.