Sons and Daughters
All children are celebrated and welcomed in Islam. Before Islam, the birth of a girl was usually met with sorrow and disappointment. Female infanticide was commonplace, and girls who did grow up did so as unwanted, unloved servants.
Preference for Boys
The Qur'an criticizes the attitude of parents who are disappointed at the birth of a daughter. “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 he hides himself from people, because of the bad news he has had! Shall he retain it in suffering and contempt, or bury her in the dust? Ah! What an evil choice they make” (Qur'an 16:58–59). Love and affection for a newborn child should be the same, regardless of gender.
Muslims recognize that God is the One who creates, and God alone is the One who chooses whether a child will be a boy or a girl. It is not something for us to despair over, because that would be questioning God's wisdom. The Qur'an reminds: “To God belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. He creates what He wills. He bestows children, male or female, according to His will. Or He bestows both males and females. And He leaves barren whom He will, for He is full of knowledge and power” (Qur'an 42:49–50).
Rewards for Raising Girls
Not only should parents be delighted at the birth of a daughter, they should treat her well and raise her in mercy and kindness. Islam encourages this attitude, reminding Muslims of the rewards for this unconditional love and care.
Muhammad once said, “The one who raises a daughter properly, she shall be his pass into Heaven.” Another time he said, “Whoever 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.” Muhammad himself had four daughters who grew to adulthood, and he was an example to others of how to lovingly treat a little girl.