Islam establishes complete and genuine equality between man and woman. This is a fact readily acknowledged by everyone who knows Islam well and understands Islamic law as outlined in God’s book, the holy Qur’an, and in the sayings and practices of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Islam asserts the equality of men and women in their creation. The Holy Qur’an states that God has created all mankind from a single soul; and from it He created its mate, and from the two of them He spread abroad so many men and women. [4:1] He also says: Mankind, We have created you all out of a male and a female. [49:13] Qur’an states: The believers, men and women, are close allies to one another: They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong. [9:71] The first point that draws our attention in this verse is the close relationship between believing men and believing women. The phraseology of the verse suggests a host of subtle, but very serious, implications that make the relationship between believers, males and females, one of mutual help, cooperation and solidarity. Girl Child is one of the biggest blessings of Allah as a girl is the one who plays many roles in our lives. A girl is our mother, our sister, our wife, our grandmother and many more. In this world she is the cause of life as because of her we exist. This world of Homo sapiens is just because of her. The Creator of universe has made all things bright and a female is never an exception as they are an integral part of life. There is no blessing like mothers at home! The practical and scientific fact is man’s existence on earth is dead impossible without Girls. Almighty Allah blesses with daughters to those people who deserve them. We all relish the solace of womanhood through a darling daughter, or a loving younger sister, or a caring elder sister, or an affectionate mother or a romantic/beautiful life partner as a peace for men. In Islam there is absolutely no difference between men and women as far as their relationship to Allah is concerned, as both are promised the same reward for good conduct and the same punishment for evil conduct. The Qur’an says: And for women are rights over men similar to those of men over women. (2:226) The Qur’an, in addressing the believers, often uses the expression,’believing men and women’ to emphasize the equality of men and women in regard to their respective duties, rights, virtues and merits. This clearly contradicts the assertion of the Christian Fathers that women do not possess souls and that they will exist as sexless beings in the next life. The Qur’an says that women have souls in exactly the same way as men and will enter Paradise if they do good :Enter into Paradise, you and your wives, with delight. (43:70) Who so does that which is right, and believes, whether male or female, him or her will We quicken to happy life. (16:97)In fact, existence of the human race on earth is impossible without the equal participation of both, boy and the girl as both are equally responsible for the existence of the human race on earth as well as the growth and development of any country. However, there is no doubt in saying that a woman is more necessary than man because without it we cannot think of the continuation of the human race as it gives birth to man. In the midst of a deeply sexist historical context, the Prophet (peace be upon him) preached boldly on the importance of girl, celebrating their contributions to family and society, condemning the ill-treatment of them and campaigning for their rights. In the history of Islam, The first person to embrace Islam was a woman; Khadija(R.A), The greatest scholar of Islam was a woman; Aisha(R.A) and The person who loved the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) the most was a Woman; Fatima(R.A).Considering the fact that before the advent of Islam the pagan Arabs used to bury their female children alive, make women dance naked in the vicinity of the Ka’ba during their annual fairs, and treat women as mere chattels and objects of sexual pleasure possessing no rights or position whatsoever, these teachings of the Noble Qur’an were revolutionary. Unlike other religions, which regarded women as being possessed of inherent sin and wickedness and men as being possessed of inherent virtue and nobility, Islam regards men and women as being of the same essence created from a single soul. The holy Qur’an says: O mankind! Reverence your Guardian-Lord, who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, his mate, and from this pair scattered (like seeds) countless men and women. Reverence Allah, through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and reverence the wombs (that bore you); for Allah ever watches over you. (4:1) The Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) said, “Women are the twin halves of men.” The Qur’an emphasizes the essential unity of men and women in a most beautiful simile: They (your wives) are your garment and you are a garment for them. (2:187) Just as a garment hides our nakedness, so do husband and wife, by entering into the relationship of marriage, secure each other’s chastity. The garment gives comfort to the body; so does the husband find comfort in his wife’s company and she in his. “The garment is the grace, the beauty, the embellishment of the body, so too are wives to their husbands as their husbands are to them.” Islam does not consider woman “an instrument of the Devil”, but rather the Qur’an calls her muhsana – a fortress against Satan because a good woman, by marrying a man, helps him keep to the path of rectitude in his life. It is for this reason that marriage was considered by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as a most virtuous act. He said:”When a man marries, he has completed one half of his religion.” He enjoined matrimony on Muslims by saying:”Marriage is part of my way and whoever keeps away from my way is not from me (i.e. is not my follower).” The Qur’an says, And among His signs is this, that He has created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquillity with them; and He has put love and mercy between you. Verily in that are signs for those who reflect. (30:21) The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was full of praise for virtuous and chaste women. He said: “The world and all things in the world are precious but the most precious thing in the world is a virtuous woman. He once told the future khalif, ‘Umar: “Shall I not inform you about the best treasure a man can hoard? It is a virtuous wife who pleases him whenever he looks towards her, and who guards herself when he is absent from her.” On other occasions the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him ) said: “The best property a man can have is a remembering tongue (about Allah), a grateful heart and a believing wife who helps him in his faith.” And again: “The world, the whole of it, is a commodity and the best of the commodities of the world is a virtuous wife.”The Qur’an teaches us that Adam and Eve were created from the same soul; both equally guilty, equally responsible and equally valued. As muslims, we believe that all human beings are born in a pure state- men and women and that we must strive to preserve this purity through faith, as well as good intentions and deeds. In Hindu history, the basic principles governing the roles of girls were set forth in the laws of Manu.
The ancient code specified that women must be honoured and adorned by their fathers, brothers, husbands and brothers-in-laws who desired their own welfare. “Where girl is honoured, there the gods are pleased. Where they are not honoured, no sacred rite yields rewards”. In the vedic world, girls were required to be present for their rituals to work, even though they had no official role to play in them. Manu continues: “Day and night, women must be kept dependent to the males of their families. If they attach themselves to sensual enjoyments, they must be kept under one’s control. Her father protects her in youth. Her sons protect her in old age. A woman is never fit for independence”. The history is witness that the status of a being daughter before Islam was very harsh and cruel. In Roman culture, daughters were being sold in the market and married to old persons. In Arab, they were such egotist animals they used to bury their innocent daughters alive. And in china they were alligated with chains. Islam granted women folk rights and even bestowed some responsibilities for them which men could never fulfill. “If you have a daughter and you grow her educate her and, Love her with full care then Allah will grant you Jannah for sure” Prophet Mohammad (saw).This hadith shows that daughters are indeed a source of blessings from Allah (swt), therefore if a daughter is born in someone’s home, he should not be saddened by this, instead he should rejoice and thank Almighty Allah (swt), for his great blessings. How can a girl be inferior when a place in paradise is being promise against them? One must never feel saddened by the birth of a girl child as being saddened by the birth of daughters was the practice of Non- Believers (kuffars). We notice before the prophet Muhammad (saw) came in this, the Non-believers (kuffars) used to get saddened by the birth of daughters and used to consider then a burden as they would need to find someone for their daughters to marry. The prophet Muhammad (saw) has called them as blessed parents whose first child is daughter. Therefore rejoice and smile when you hear about the birth of a daughter and consider them a towering blessing for yourself. In the present world by the grace of Allah people are well aware about the rights and freedom of girls. Its unfortunate some girls misuse their freedom and rights given by their parents and religion. Girls should always obey the rules and regulations, to stop untoward and vulnerable situations in their entire life. The correct upbringing of the children is the onus of the parents. The last Messenger (saw) said; “Each person amongst you is the ruler of house and each one of you is responsible for those under your care. So the onus of guiding and upbringing of the dependents is the foremost responsibility of the parents. It is important to mention that being a girl is not easy.There are different issues that hinder the growth. There are laws that ban sex-determination of a foetus and selective abortion, this practice continues in the shadows. This not only negatively impacts the number of girls born, but also affect the health and safety of the mother. Child marriage is the second biggest hurdle faced by a girl worldwide. According to a report by girls not brides, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18 every year. This is equal to 23 girls every minute or nearly one in every two seconds. If the same trend continues, 150 million more girls will be married as children by 2030. Child marriages lead to the psychological, social, mental and physical issues for young girls. Literacy is another issue that a girl child is facing in India. It is where a girl is supposed to household chores and are permitted at home. Rape is one of the most significant issues that are faced by girls or women in India. It destroys the entire life of a girl or woman. According to statistics, it is one of the most common crimes on a girl or woman all over the world. Latest data released by the National Crime Records Bureau also receals that kidnapping, abduction and sexual offenses against children were among the top two crimes committed against children. 28% of all rape victims were girls under age 18 and out of total number of children that went missing in the year 2018, 70% were girls. Apart from these there are many issues that a girl or woman faces, like dowry deaths etc. In brief Islam regards women as the spiritual and intellectual equals of men. The main distinction it makes between them is in the physical realm based on the equitable principle of fair division of labor. It allots the more strenuous work to the man and makes him responsible for the maintenance of the family. It allots the work of managing the home and the upbringing and training of children to the woman, work which has the greatest importance in the task of building a healthy and prosperous society. The National Girl Child Day is celebrated on 24th January every year in India. This day was introduced by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2008. The aim of celebrating this day was to highlight the inequality and bias faced by girl children. Girls in India face numerous challenges – from the risk of infanticide to child marriages and much more. It is about encouraging everyone to support girls and speak up against their mistreatment.Thisday raises awareness about the rights of girls in general. The researchers found that girl children are neglected when it comes to providing for their health and nutrition, academics, and safety. National Girl Child Day raises awareness about these issues and demands better conditions for girl children. This day is celebrated nationwide on 24th January to raise awareness about the many issues that girl children in our society struggle with. This day encourages everyone to demand and create a positive environment for girls simultaneously. Girl Child Day also marks the anniversary of the BetiBachaoBetiPadhao (BBBP) program.The day is in line with with government campaigns and initiatives such as BetiBachaoBetiPadhao, Save the Girl Child, free/subsidized education, and women’s reservations in colleges and universities.Every year, the Ministry of Women and Child Development celebrates Girl Child Day by organizing events, holding talks, etc. Through Girl Child Day, the government wants to send a message of the urgent need to treat girl children equally and provide them with the opportunities that they rightfully deserve. A world without girl is as impossible as a world without water. In brief, achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment is an integral part. In brief, Love and respect women folk. Look to her not only for comfort but for strength and inspiration and the doubling of your intellectual and moral powers.
( Bilkees Nazir is a research scholar at Zoology Department University of Kashmir Hazratbal Srinagar and Dr Bilal A Bhat Professor at S K University Of Agriculture Sciences & Technology-SKUAST Srinagar. The views, opinions, facts, assumptions, presumptions and conclusions expressed in this article are those of the authors and aren’t necessarily in accord with the views of “Kashmir Horizon”.