Daughter of the Well

“(On the Day of Judgement)
The infant girl
Who was buried alive
Shall be asked
For what crime was she murdered?” (81:8-9)

This Quranic verse was revealed to rebuke the practice of some pagan Arabs who used to bury their infant daughters alive for fear of shame and poverty.

A man once approached the Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and said: O Messenger of God, I used to have a daughter…

One day I told her mother to get her ready to visit her uncle’s house. My daughter became very happy when she heard this, but my poor wife knew exactly what it meant; all she could do was weep and obey.

When my daughter was finally ready, I took her out to a well and told her to look down into it; as she was doing so, I came from behind and kicked her forward…

Her last words as she rolled down the well were “Daddy! Daddy!”
Upon hearing this, the Prophet sobbed as if he had just lost a member of his own family.

I penned this poem in memory of that little girl…

How did it feel?
To fall, to roll, to drown,
to see your dad
as you turned around.

Which pain was worse?
The burning gasp for breath?
or the painful knowledge of
the cause behind your death?

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