Daughters Can be Enough

Updated: Jun 18

The culture of people desperately wanting sons has been long-standing. It predates all of us, and it has even been talked about in the Quran and hadith, yet it’s still prevalent in our society. Many people don’t mind daughters, but they deem sons integral to their existence. Sons will carry the family name forward; they’re more capable and are essentially a retirement plan. They can take care of their parents when they’re old. On the other hand, daughters are inconsequential. Many people love their daughters but don’t deem them as necessary as their sons.

This mindset is wrong, flawed, and it needs to be left behind as we move forward. Instead, people should be grateful no matter what the gender of their children is because it can not define their actions and virtues. Good parenting is what determines how the children will turn out and what their contribution to the world will be. The perfect example of how children can grow into successful people and become their parents’ crutch in times of need has nothing to do with gender, is of Sadia and Afzal.

Sadia and Afzal had three daughters and no sons. This never bothered them. They decreed it Allah’s will, and there was never any remorse over the absence of a son. According to them, they were blessed with three kids, who happened to be girls, and they were responsible for helping them blossom into capable adults. And that’s exactly what they did.

Afzal never had the sort of job that would guarantee his pension or any benefits in his retirement, but this never bothered him. It was what it was, and he was happy. He and his wife strongly believed in assisting their daughters to become self-sufficient and capable. They never pressured their children but did encourage them to do well in school. They taught them to be honest, confident, and knowledgeable. They let their daughters pursue whatever field they wanted to and never tried to stand in the way of them and higher education. They taught their daughters how to drive so they’d never have to face problems while commuting to college or work. When their kids were done with their education, they started to earn for themselves. When the time came, all three of them got married and moved away.

They lived happily on their own for the longest time, and Afzal worked for as long as he could. Of course, time rolled on, and they’re in their eighties now— no denying the fact that they’re old. But it’s okay. They have three amazing, capable daughters who can take care of them just fine, even if they claim they can still take care of themselves.

Because their daughters strongly insisted, they live with their middle daughter, with her family. Their eldest has a steady job and has taken up the responsibility of supporting them financially. Unfortunately, both Sadia and Afzal have the early stages of dementia, so their daughters make all their decisions mutually. For example, they discuss their medical requirements, handle their treatments, and manage their bank accounts, finances, and house.

If one could compare how their daughters take care of Sadia and Afzal with how a son would care for his parents, there is no difference. This is due to the fact that the gender of a person is irrelevant. The values they are taught and how they are brought up is what really matters; whether they are made capable enough to take charge when circumstances require them to or not matters.

It is time that people finally understand that some things are not really important. Whether the family name continues or not is pointless. Once they’re dead, people will neither know nor care if their family name has been passed onto future generations. Some people feel ashamed at the thought of taking help from their daughters, but isn’t that just senseless? There are people who invest so much in their sons and not so much in their daughters because they expect everything from the prior. At times, their sons fail them; other times, the expectations are a bit too much. In an effort to make their sons capable enough, some people fail to focus on teaching their daughters the same values, making them less confident and self-sufficient than their brothers.

The right thing to do is to be grateful for the children you do have. Humans have no hand in determining the gender of their children. This means that all children, regardless of their gender, deserve to be raised to become productive members of society. Unfortunately, sometimes when people are proud of their daughters, they don’t lose their retrogressive mindset. To praise their daughters, such people tell them that they are not daughters but are sons. They say this as a compliment, but what does this imply? That it is unlike daughters to be just as accomplished as sons? This narrative is backward and wrong. Daughters are daughters, and they should not be expected to abandon their femininity to be considered competent.

Going back to the example of Sadia and Afzal, sure, they had to hear people say things. Over the years, people ‘sympathised’ with them over the fact that they had no sons— some still do. Some feel sorry that they have to depend on their daughters. I feel sorry for such people because they still have an old mindset that should not be part of the present. It is incredibly regressive and immoral to make people feel bad about their children and way of life, especially if it’s legal and morally correct. The bottom line is that daughters can be just as proficient as sons, and people need to realise that daughters can be enough.

- Names have been changed for anonymity.

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