The Best Towards His Daughters: The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as a Father

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Fathers have an important duty within their families to protect them and raise their children with patience, love and care. For daughters especially, fathers play a pivotal role in empowering their daughters by fostering a warm and loving father-daughter relationship. In examining how the best of men, the beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), raised and cared for his four daughters, we can learn from his example what it means to be an excellent father to our daughters in Islam and implement these practices in our lives.

Fathers and daughters have a remarkable impact on each other’s lives. As daughters grow, fathers have a duty to provide them with guidance, empower them in their decisions and support them through hardship. Fathers, in turn, learn how to be patient, gentle and loving from their daughters, setting an excellent example for who their daughters may choose to marry when they are grown. 

Within Islam, daughters are seen as a blessing, and to be merciful to our daughters is a decree placed upon us by Allah (SWT). The status of daughters in our deen is such that, in one hadith, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: 

“If anyone has a female child, and does not bury her alive, or slight her, or prefer his male children to her, Allah will bring him into Paradise.” [Al-Hakim]

The Prophet (PBUH), in turn, heeded these words by presenting himself as the best of examples as a man and father. In a time when society mocked families who only had daughters, the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) took pride in and cherished his daughters wholeheartedly, and raised them into pious, knowledgable and compassionate women of Islam. 

In viewing the way the Prophet (PBUH) treated his four daughters, Zaynab, Ruqayyah, Umm Kulthoom and Fatima, throughout their whole lives, these are the practices he displayed that we can implement in our lives to strengthen our father-daughter bonds. 

Showering Love to His Daughters

There is a misconception that fathers should only be the breadwinners of their families. This is untrue, as they also play a nurturing role in their daughters’ lives.

Within the life of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), his relationship with his youngest child, Fatima (RA), was a shining example of how nurturing and loving fathers should be with their daughters. As narrated by Aisha (RA), “[…] When the Prophet saw her approaching, he would welcome her, stand up and kiss her, take her by the hand and sit her down in the place where he was sitting.” [Tirmidhi]

In regularly showing Fatima (RA) these acts of love as she grew up, and likewise displaying great respect and dignity to all his daughters, the Prophet (PBUH), taught her, as well as the men around him, what good treatment of our daughters should look like. 

Looking After the Wellbeing of His Daughters

Even in the most difficult of times, the Prophet (PBUH) always made time to look after his daughters, especially when they were sick or experienced any ailments. 

Even after they were married, the Prophet (PBUH) continued to be there for his daughters, as seen when he ordered ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affaan (may Allah be pleased with him), who wanted to participate in the battle of Badr, to stay with his wife Ruqayyah, one of the Prophet’s (PBUH) daughters, because she was sick. He (PBUH), in turn, said to Uthman: “You will have the reward and the share (of booty) of a man who was present at Badr.” [Bukhari]

The Prophet (PBUH) likewise cared for and protected the dignity of his daughters, and would defend them if they were slighted. On behalf of Fatima (RA) in particular, the Prophet (PBUH) said:

“Whoever pleased Fatimah has indeed pleased God and whoever has caused her to be angry has indeed angered God. Fatimah is a part of me. Whatever pleases her pleases me and whatever angers her angers me.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

Many fathers with strong and healthy connections with their daughters will find that this is true for them and, in turn, experience a similar type of loyalty and fierceness in love reflected back to them from their daughters.

Respecting the Autonomy of His Daughters

In addition to the mutual respect and kindness displayed between the Prophet (PBUH) and his daughters, he displayed the utmost encouragement and support towards their pursuits for marriage and increasing their knowledge of Islam.

Within Islam, marriage is one of the most pleasing acts to Allah (SWT), especially between two people who are elevated in their character and their deen. However, it is also the right of the daughter to choose who she marries and not be prevented by her father from doing so. 

When the time came for his four daughters to marry, the Prophet (PBUH) took into account the permission of his daughters and advised the men around him to not marry their daughters off against their will. The Prophet (PBUH) also said: “If a man whose religion and manners you accept proposes to you [for your daughter], accept him. If you do not do so, there will be Fitnah [trials] and great corruption.” [At-Tirmithi]

The Prophet (PBUH) was, in turn, encouraging of his daughters’ pursuits to be active within the community. With many Sahabiyat, female companions of the Prophet (PBUH), to look up to, the Prophet (PBUH), alongside these great women of his time, empowered his daughters on their journey of pursuing their passions and developing into strong and knowledgeable Muslim women. 

In reflecting on this attitude within our own lives, it’s important for fathers to be respectful and considerate towards their daughters’ pursuit of goodness within their marriage and their studies, especially in Islam. As said by the Prophet (PBUH), “Whoever guides someone to virtue will be rewarded equivalent to him who practices that good action.” [Muslim].

By being the best example of a man and father within not just his household but also the Ummah, the Prophet (PBUH) set the gold standard for cultivating strong and healthy relationships between fathers and daughters. No matter how old your daughter is, for the fathers within our communities, it is never too late to beautify and enhance your relationship with her, and let Allah (SWT) and the mannerisms of the Prophet (PBUH) guide you in raising and treating your daughters with love, dignity and respect. 

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