Parents are the most influential and puissant people in the life of their children. They are the most precious gift and blessing bestowed by God to human beings. They are the real well wishers of their children in this world whose love and affection never fades away and who always think for the betterment of their children. Aptly saying, nothing in this world can replace our parents' love and care for us. It has been said by the prophet Mohammed (PBUH) that parents are heaven or hell for their children. So, if a person wants to be successful in this world and hereafter, he or she should be obedient to his/her parents. Allah says in the Quran ‘and we have enjoined on man to be good and dutiful to his parents'. Their love for us is limitless and unconditional. So it is obvious that there is no love more significant than a mother's love and no care greater than a father's care. The Quran says the role of a mother in raising children is very prominent as heaven is under the feet of the mother but also directs that the father is the middle door of paradise (i.e. the best way to paradise). The Quran sends an enchanting message to fathers by declaring that paradise is a gift for every father who raises his daughter following the protocols of Islam, provides and fulfils their needs and hands them over to good persons in marriage.
Father and daughter's bond:
Fathers have an important and irreplaceable nurturing role to play in their daughters' lives .The most special and beautiful bond is the bond between a father and his daughter and the most beautiful example of this bond is the relationship between Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his daughter Fatima (RA) . The prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had a special place in his heart for her daughter Fatima (RA). In the books of Hadith it is narrated that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Fatima is a part of me .Whatever pleases her, pleases me and whatever angers her, angers me” (Bukhari &Muslim).
Role of father in a daughter's life:
A father has a pivotal role in the life of her daughter. Indeed, the father is the first contact the daughter will have with the opposite gender. According to psychologists, how a father treats his daughter will usually have a deep impact on the future interaction of the daughter with the opposite gender. Daughter takes his father as an example and will use their relationship with him as a basis for future relationships with men. In later stages of her life, when a daughter is ready for marriage, a father helps his daughter to make a good decision when it comes to choosing her spouse.
Father is a lighthouse:
Father is like a lighthouse for her daughter standing tall above the sea; when the storms of life come crushing in, it is the only light from your father you will see. Father acts as an everlasting protector and treats his daughter with love, affection and care. He is the only man who never likes to hurt his daughter in this world and always tries his best to fulfil all the needs of his daughter to keep her happy. Father, although may be a poor man, but he always strives hard to fulfil all the dreams and desires of his daughter. He is the only real and forever supporter of his daughter and daughters also have a soft corner in their hearts for their fathers. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had a special place in his heart for Fatima (RA) and also Fatima (RA) loves her father beyond limits. It is narrated in the books of seerah that Fatima Bint Muhammad (RA) stood by her father when the people of Quresh used to throw dead animal's intestines on the Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH) back while prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was praying. Fatima (RA),who used to weep at this sight would be confronted with beautiful words of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The prophet (PBUH) used to console her by saying: “Do not cry, my daughter for Allah shall protect your father”. The entire Muslim ummah should learn from this unique father-daughter relationship and all the parents should try to up bring their daughters like our prophet did. Further, all Muslim daughters should not forget that Fatima (RA) was always ready to support and defend her father. So, daughters of Muslim ummah should always support and honour their fathers by doing good deeds and standing beside them in hard times. They should always remember that the honour and respect of fathers lies in the hands of their daughters .Likewise Fatima (RA) used to console the prophet Muhammad (PBUH) whenever He was sad, today's daughters also have the responsibility to follow the footprint of the mother of heaven Hazrat Fatima (RA) and should console their fathers whenever they are sad or depressed as well as be faithful and truthful with their sincere love and affection.
How to be a good father:
Islam stresses equality of treatment for sons and daughters. In treating our children our prophet (PBUH) made it clear that giving precedence to daughters is encouraged. Daughters are the advantages and sons are the graces. So we will be rewarded for the ‘advantages' and asked about the ‘graces'. Many people who are dissatisfied with the birth of a daughter should remember that prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that daughters are most beautiful gifts from Allah and the love and affection He has shown to his daughters should be our ideal while dealing with our daughters. Fathers need to re-think of their roles beyond being physical protectors and financial supporters. They need to seek active participation in their daughters spiritual upbringing in spite of supporting them in adopting westernization. Besides being loving their daughters, fathers need to keep an eye on their daughters so that they may not go astray at any stage of their lives.
Note for fathers:
O Muslim fathers, will you follow the footsteps of the messenger of Allah (PBUH)? Are you ready to do what you can do to help your daughters to become the Fatima az zehra of today or will you keep ignoring her, neglecting her, passing her off to womanly influences who could become the next Maryam,Asiyah, Khadijah or Fatima? O Muslim Men… Be men! Be Muslim fathers, be fathers of the greatest Muslim women this ummah has ever known. No matter what age your daughter has, It is never too late to beautify and enhance your relationship with her. May Allah bless our ummah with daughters who are the coolness of eyes of their parents and carriers of inspiring islamic legacy! Ameeeen
(The author works as headmistress at Dream House School Srinagar and clinical psychology counsellor and can be reached at email@example.com)