Today's post is the second part of my notes from Lesson 183 of the Commentary of al Tajrid al Sarih (Book of Funerals, The Abridged Saheeh al-Bukhari) which was delivered by our respected teacher Shaykh Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq on Friday 8th February 2008. In this lesson, we studied ahadeeth 694-697. The notes below are for hadeeth 695 and the related chapter heading.
باب: مَا قِيلَ فِي أَوْلاَدِ المُسلِمِين
Chapter: what has been said about the children of Muslims
This is related to hadeeth 677 and the chapter heading that we studied then: باب إذا أسلم الصبي فمات هل يصلى عليه وهل يعرض على الصبي الإسلام ا). When a child embraces Islam and then dies, should the funeral prayer be performed over him? And should Islam be presented to the child? The respected Shaykh explained a few laws during commentary of that hadeeth.
The first chapter heading is that what has been said about the children of Muslims and the second one which will be covered in the next part of my notes is what has been said about the children of polytheists (the pagans)?
If a child embraces Islam and then dies should the funeral prayer be performed over him? Secondly, should Islam be presented to the child? The respected Shaykh explained how we (from worldly perspective) should regard children who have died? He mentioned then that if a child lives in a Muslim family and both parents are Muslims then if the child passes away, the child will be considered Muslim. Since the child is a Muslim Salatul Janaza (funeral prayer) will be performed over the child. However, if a child dies in a non-Muslim household where both parents are not Muslims, then again everyone agrees that the child (from a worldly perspective) will not be regarded as a Muslim. Therefore the funeral prayer will not be performed over the child. The child will not be buried in a Muslim graveyard with Muslims. All the laws of death i.e. the washing of the body, funeral and burial related to the child will be such that Muslim laws will not be applied. The question we can ask is what happens if one of the parents is a Muslim?
The respected Shaykh explained that there is some difference of opinion but simplified the rulings regarding this. According to the majority of Muslims scholars from all the school of Fiqh, if one of the parents is a Muslim (either father or mother) then the child will be regarded to be a Muslim also. But remember that this refers to the household of the child; the child has to be living with both parents. If the parents are separated or divorced and the non-Muslim parent brings up the child only, the child would, for all intents and purposes, be following the religion of the parent they are living with. This is all related to the laws of the world (dunya). This is a very important distinction. It doesn’t just apply to funeral prayers but it is a very wide concept and it is important for everyone to know, Muslims and non-Muslims. This is because it is grossly misunderstood topic and often irrelevant objections are raised. As Muslims we have to apply and abide by the teachings of religion apparently; apparently from worldly perspective and the Ulamah (scholars) and Qazees (judges) have to make a judgment. However, that judgment is no comment on that rulings validity or acceptance in the sight of Allah as far as the hereafter is concerned.
There is one way of describing this; the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم says in an hadeeth that I am but a human being; when two of you come before me with a dispute فلعل أحدكما أبين من الأخر , there is a great possibility that one of you is more eloquent than the other so he presents a more convincing case. If I judge in his favour and cut out a piece of land for him and he knows that the right does not belong to him and I cut out a piece of land for him then (based on his eloquence and argument) then فانما أقطع له قطعة من النار . The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم says I’m only cutting out a share of the hellfire for him. He should know that. Even though he is the Messenger of Allah, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم is saying that he can only judge on what is apparent.
This example of a judgement regarding wealth is one example that we can only judge on what is apparent. The rulings based on the judgement of the ulama are no comment on the hereafter. Similarly, the respected Shaykh explained that when he spoke about the burial of children it is only as far as the dunya is concerned. Do we treat the child as a Muslim as far as laws of funeral, burial and prayer are concerned? This is what applies here not their position with Allah and what their judgment will be in the hereafter.
لَمّا تُوُفّيَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ عَلَيْهِ السّلاَمُ, قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم: (إِنّ لَهُ مُرْضِعًا في الجَنّةِ). رواه البخاري :1382
695. Narrated Al Barâ' رضى الله عنه : When Ibrâhim (the son of Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم ) expired, Allâh's Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم said, There is a wet nurse for him in Paradise. (2:464O.B.)
This hadeeth refers to Prophet’s son Ibrahim رضى الله عنه who was born to Maria Qittiya رضى الله عنها in the 8th year of Hijrah and who passed away in the 10th year of Hijrah on the day of an eclipse. The respected Shaykh has discussed this incident in detail on a number of occasions and especially during the chapters of the prayers of the eclipse and also Hadeeth 662.
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم says in hadeeth related by Imam Muslim in his Saheeh and he (Ibrahim) is my son, he has died in infancy whilst being breastfed and he is in Jannah. He shall have two wet nurses in Jannah who will complete his breastfeeding for him. According to this narration in Bukhari, he will have one wet nurse.
The reason why Imam Bukhari mentioned this hadeeth here again is that he is trying to demonstrate the point باب ما قيل في أولاد المسلمين ‘What’s been said about the children of Muslims what happens to the children of Muslims?’ Thus, he mentioned this hadeeth of Sayiduna Ibrahim رضى الله عنه he is in Jannah. The Ulama of Islam all agree that children of Muslim households die as Muslims.