Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
1- The details of the Hereafter are amongst the unknown matters whose knowledge is only confined to Allah the Almighty.
2- Muslim children who die before reaching the age of puberty will enter Paradise.
3- Non-Muslim children are similar to Muslim children with respect to entering Paradise.
4- If Muslim parents lose three children, they will be a protection for them from Hell. This applies if they lose even one child.
To give evidence and proofs for this, we would like to quote what the late Sheikh Sayyed Sabiq (may Allah bless his soul) states in his book Fiqh-us-Sunnah:
Fate of Muslim children
The children of Muslims who die prior to the age of puberty will go to Paradise. Al-Bara ibn Azib (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates: When Ibrahim, son of the Prophet, died, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Verily, there is a wet-nurse for him in Paradise.”? (Al-Bukhari)
Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) quotes the Prophet (PBUH) as saying, “If any Muslim has three children and they die prior to the age of puberty, Allah will cause him to enter Paradise on account of his being patient over them.” (Al-Bukhari)
It is clear from this hadith that those children who become a reason for others to enter Paradise, would themselves be in a far better position to enter it, because they are the real cause of the mercy of Allah.
Fate of non-Muslim children
As for children of non-Muslims, they are similar to the children of Muslims with respect to entering Paradise.
Imam An-Nawawi says:
“This is the sound view held by eminent scholars, and it is supported by Allah’s Words, “We will not punish anyone until We have sent a Messenger.” (Al-Israa 17:15)
Now if an adult is not punished for the reason that the truth did not reach him, it is far more reasonable to assume that a child will not be punished.”
A report by Ahmad from Khansa, daughter of Muawiyah ibn Sarim, states that he related her aunt’s following account: “I asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Who will be in Paradise?” The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Prophets will be in Paradise and martyrs as well.” Ibn Hajar said that this hadith has a sound chain of narrators?”
Reward for losing a child or more
Having stated the above, we’d like to elaborate on the reward parents will get if they lose a child or more as explained by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in more than one hadith.
Al-Bukhari and Muslim reported on the authority of Abu Said al-Khudri: Some women asked the Prophet (PBUH): “Appoint a (separate) day to (admonish) us.” The Prophet (PBUH) told them: “If a (Muslim) woman’s three children die, they will be a protection for her from Hell.” A woman asked him, “And what if two of her children die?” He replied: “And (even) if two of her children die.”
As for your question about whether this applies to one who loses one child or not, the answer is yes. This has been stated in the hadith reported by Abu Musa Al-Ashari (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (PBH) 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)
Almighty Allah knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.