#10: A Small Child Who Died

Question:

What happens to a baby who died? Is it true that he’ll remember his parents and siblings? Is it true that he’s in paradise and is taught by Prophet Abraham? I miss my late baby so much.

Answer:

Imam al-Nawawi stated, the scholars agreed and concluded that a Muslim child who died before he reaches puberty will be in paradise.

‌أَجْمَعَ ‌مَنْ ‌يُعْتَدُّ ‌بِهِ ‌مِنْ ‌عُلَمَاءِ ‌الْمُسْلِمِينَ ‌عَلَى ‌أَنَّ ‌مَنْ ‌مَاتَ مِنْ أَطْفَالِ الْمُسْلِمِينَ فَهُوَ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ لِأَنَّهُ لَيْسَ مُكَلَّفًا

Muslim scholars have agreed, considering that the word those who died from amongst the children of Muslims, they are included as the people of paradise, for he is yet a mukallaf.” [1]

This without denying other opinions regarding the situation for non-Muslim children, I’m inclined towards the opinion that non-Muslim children will also enter paradise if they die before reaching puberty. This follows the statement of the Prophet PBUH:

‌وَأَمَّا ‌الرَّجُلُ ‌الطَّوِيلُ ‌الَّذِي ‌فِي ‌الرَّوْضَةِ ‌فَإِنَّهُ ‌إِبْرَاهِيمُ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، وَأَمَّا الوِلْدَانُ الَّذِينَ حَوْلَهُ فَكُلُّ مَوْلُودٍ مَاتَ عَلَى الفِطْرَةِ ” قَالَ: فَقَالَ بَعْضُ المُسْلِمِينَ: يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ، وَأَوْلَادُ المُشْرِكِينَ؟ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: وَأَوْلَادُ المُشْرِكِينَ

“The tall man who was in the garden was Abraham and the children who were around him were all who had been born and had died following the true religion.” Some Muslims asked God’s messenger about the children of the polytheists, and he replied that they were there too.” [2]

According to the above hadith, we can also understand that children who died are under the care of Prophet Abraham AS in paradise. These small children will remember their parents and intercede their parents by the will of Allah. From Abu Hassan radhiyallahu ‘anhu:

عن أبي حسان قال : قلتُ لأَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ : إنَّه قَدْ مَاتَ لِي ابنانِ ، فَمَا أَنْتَ مُحَدِّثِي عَنْ رَسُولِ اللهِ بِحَدِيْثٍ تُطَيِّبُ بِهِ أَنْفُسَنَا عَنْ مَوْتَانَا ؟ قالَ : نَعَمْ ، صِغَارُهُم دَعَامِيْصُ الجَنَّةِ ، يَتَلَقَّى أَحَدُهُم أَبَاهُ – أَوْ قَالَ أَبَوَيْهِ – فَيَأْخُذُ بِثَوْبِهِ ، – أَوْ قَالَ بِيَدِهِ – كَمَا آخُذُ أَنَا بِصَنَفَةِ ثَوْبِكَ هذا ، فَلا يَتَنَاهَى حتى يُدخِلَه اللهُ وَأَبَاهُ الجَنَّةَ

“I said to Abu Huraira that my two children had died. Would you narrate to me anything from Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) a hadith which would soothe our hearts in our bereavements? He said: Yes. Small children are the fowls of Paradise [2]. If one of them meets his father (or he said his parents) he would take hold of his cloth, or he said with his hand as I take hold of the hem of your cloth (with my hand). And he (the child) would not take off (his hand) from it until Allah causes his father to enter Paradise.” [3]

Ibn al-Athir said: “They are free to roam in paradise, entering the houses in it. None will stop them from any place, for they are just like small children in this world. None will stop them from entering the private quarters of a certain family. No one has to cover themselves in their presence.” [4]

Wallahua’lam.

[1] Syarh al-Nawawi ‘ala Muslim, 16/207

[2] Hadith narrated by al-Bukhari, no. 7047

[3] Imam al-Nawawi said: “Da’amis means children in paradise, it originates from the word du’mus which means the young of animals which reside in water, they aren’t separated from them. It means the children in paradise isn’t separated from them.” See Syarh al-Nawawi ‘ala Muslim, 16/182

[4] Hadith narrated by Imam Muslim, no. 2435

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