Once there was a Sahabi who was always depressed and sad when he would come by Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) asked him, ‘Why are you always sad?’ He replied, ‘O Rasulullah! I committed such a sin during the days of ignorance, I fear that Allah will not forgive me even after accepting Islam!’ Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) asked him about this sin, to which he replied:
“When I had not embraced Islam, a daughter was born to me. When I heard the news of her birth, I wanted to bury her as was expected of me. My ancestors had done the same because it was considered better to kill the girl at birth before she could run away with someone in youth and bring shame to the whole family. The culture and tradition demanded that I bury the daughter as soon as she was born, but my heart had already developed feelings for the child and I could not do so. Time went by, and she grew day by day. Every day, I felt an urge to kill her but every day the fatherly love wrestled with the thought and put it to rest. But when she came to the age of becoming a lady, the thoughts of her running away and bringing shame to the whole family started to haunt me every second of the day. It grew so unbearable that I could not rest; I could not sleep or eat. One day, I asked my wife to dress her in nice clothes and get her ready and tell her that I was going to take her out so she could play with her friends. Although my wife did the same, but somehow she sensed this was not what I intended to do. She kept on crying silently while she combed my daughter’s hair and dressed her. My daughter, on the other hand was delighted that I was going to take her out.
When she was finally done and I was about to leave, my wife mustered up enough courage to come up to me and whisper in my ears, “Don’t lose your trust!”
I rushed out of my house with my daughter and started on my way. I had no plan; my mind was in a state of confusion. Should I kill her or not? If I should, then how? Suddenly I saw an old deserted well that I knew was filled up with sharp stones. Should I throw my daughter in the well? My heart and mind were going in two opposite directions. My mind told me to kill her as she would bring shame to me one day while my heart kept on fighting but the fatherly love grew weaker and weaker. All this while, my daughter had been running around me, talking to me about things she would do with her friends oblivious to what a turmoil I was going through. I could not stand it no longer; I grabbed her and pushed in the well.
She must have been surprised, but all she could say was “Don’t lose your trust!” and this is what she kept on repeating until I could hear her no longer.
When the man finished his story, he looked up and saw Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and the Sahabah (radiyallahu ‘anhum) weeping. Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) then said, “If He had been allowed to punish a person for his crimes before embracing Islam, I would have punished you.”
A similar incident is cited in several Tafsir books, without a chain of narrators.
(Tafsir Samarqandi; Bahrul ‘Ulum, Tafsir Qurtubi, Surah Al An’am, Verse: 140)
I have not come across the complete chain and can therefore not verify the authenticity. Although the evil practice of burying daughters alive was rampant among the pagan Arabs prior to Islam.
Also see here.
And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.
Answered by: Moulana Suhail Motala
Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar