Died in Infancy: Where Do Children Go?

14 June, 2020
Q As-salamu Alaykum. Can you please tell me what we know about children who die before they become adults. Where do they go? Is there any hadith about those children? I have a friend who lost a young girl, and I want to explain to her that her young girl is in Heaven, or isn’t she?


Short Answer: 

  • The destiny of children of believers as well the children of non-believers is Paradise.


Salam Dear Sister,

Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

First of all, I would like you to extend my condolence to your friend and give her glad tidings that this girl will be a protection for her on the Day of Judgment. This is what the Prophet (peace be pong him) told us in his hadith that the children of believers will intercede for their parents on the Day of Judgment (Muslim).

As per the question you gave, I would like to clarify matters for you, that according to the Quran and the hadiths of the Prophet (peace be upon him) children who die before reaching the age of puberty will follow the parent with the most honored religion. Therefore, the children of believers will end in Paradise. This is proven in the verse that says what means:

{And they who believe and whose seed follow them in faith, We cause their seed to join them (there)…} (At-Tur 52:21)

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Also, it is reported that a man approached Abu Hurairah and told him that he has just lost his two sons. The man further asked Abu Hurairah to tell him a hadith or something regarding his case so that his sadness may decrease. Abu Hurairah said:

“I heard the Prophet peace be upon him saying that the children are theda`amees (small fish) of Paradise. Each of them will meet his father or his parents and take him by his cloth- or by his hand- and never stop until Allah permits both of them into Paradise” (Muslim)

One important thing that may come to your mind is what is the destiny of the children of non-Muslims? The answer is very simple. The most accurate opinion goes that the destiny of the children of non-Muslims is also Paradise.

This is proven also by the hadith of the Prophet when he saw in a dream a garden wherein there is a man surrounded by many children, the man was Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) and children are all children who die before the age of puberty. Commenting on this, the Companions inquired, “Including the children of polytheists?” and the Prophet (peace be upon him) replied, “Yes, including the children of polytheists.” (Al Bukhari)

In addition, we can simply say that Allah’s justice and mercy are beyond description. It is by His justice that He saves the kids of unbelievers from the Hellfire because they are originally born on fitrah (innate or pure nature) which is Islam.

Of course, those children have no hand in what their fathers are. They are not to be blamed for the sins of their fathers because it is recorded in the Quran that each person shall be held accountable for what he or she has committed.

The message here is so clear and we can read it in another way. Allah wants all people to enter Paradise but it is by their own ignorance and handiwork that people choose the other option. In fact, He wants all of us to be blessed, and He closes all the chances for punishment.

Even when a child dies before he reaches the age of legal responsibility, he is not reckoned for what his parents are, because it is not his own handiwork to be born to a non-Muslim family.

Besides, if the father or the mother are Muslims, and lose their children in infancy, Allah Almighty makes this child an interceder for his parents on the Day of Judgment and thus saving more people from the punishment of Allah. Allah’s mercy embraces everything and encompasses every aspect of life. Allah says in the Quran what means:

{…My mercy embraceth all things…} (Al-A`raf 7:156)

The patience these parents show for losing a child, and the agony they go through cannot be left without compensation. The compensation is really magnificent. The one you think you lose when taken by death in this world will be the same one bringing salvation to you in the afterlife. Moreover, the Prophet (peace and be upon him) said:

“If a child passes away, Allah says to His Angels, ‘Did you take the soul of My servant’s child?’ And the Angels would say, ‘Yes’. Thereupon Allah would say to them, ‘Did you take away the apple of his/her heart?’ ‘Yes,’ the angels would reply. Then Allah asks them, ‘And what did my servant say?’ And the Angels would say: ‘He/she has thanked You and committed all his/her affairs to You.’ Then Allah would say: ‘Then build a house in Paradise for My servant and name it the “House of Thankfulness.” (At-Tirmidhi)

So, the apparent loss shows to be infinite gain in the end. It is only because of our limitedness that we cannot see this bright aspect.

I hope this answer helps you out. If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to send us again. Thank you and keep in touch.


(From Ask About Islam archives)

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

What Happens to The Souls of Children Who Die Young?

How the Fear of Death Helped Me to Live

How Can A Mother Cope With Losing Her Son?