What should we understand from the narrations which indicate that children will be intercessors for their parents?

The Details of the Question

- Can children who die before reaching puberty intercede for their family members?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

ANSWER: 1

Children as intercessors mean that, with the help of their supplications and their cute looking appearance which evoke feelings of mercy and compassion towards them, they will cause for Allah to forgive and show mercy on their parents for some of their sins. Our good opinion of Allah necessitates that we expect the Divine Mercy will accept their supplications.

Yes, children who died in their childhood will intercede for their parents. Allah the Just Majesty has given the right of intercession firstly to our Prophet (pbuh) and to apostles, angels, saintly people, who are beloved servants of Allah, martyrs and innocent children who died at a young age. However, what should be understood from intercession is that Allah allows the people, whom He wants to let into Heaven, to be put into Heaven through the intercession of His beloved servants. We understand that no one will be able to redeem the ones whom Allah does not want to be redeemed and whom He does not like or who is not worthy of redeeming. Therefore, people who deserve intercession are already the ones with whom Allah is content. Otherwise, people who could not earn Allah’s content in worldly life, such as infidels and idolaters, will not deserve intercession.

Some of the Prophet’s hadiths on the issue are as follows:

“Allah will let Muslims, whose three children died before puberty, into Heaven because of His mercy and compassion towards children.” (Bukhari,Janaiz (dead) 6, 91; Muslim, Birr (Goodness), 153).

“If any Muslim’s three children die before puberty, the hellfire will touch them only for a short time until Allah’s vow is met.” (Bukhari, Janaiz 6, Ayman 9; Muslim, Birr 150)

The Prophet (pbuh) said: “If any woman amongst you loses three of her children (before puberty), those children will surely be a shield for her against Hell.” A woman asked: “Is it valid also for women who lose two children?” Upon this, the Prophet (pbuh) replied: “Yes, it is the same for those who lose two children.” (Bukhari, Knowledge 36, Dead 6, 91; I’tisam 9; Muslim, Goodness 152).

“Give a name to children whom you miscarried; because they are your pioneers who went before you in order to earn you high positions in the Hereafter.” (Jamiu’s-Saghir, 3/1074).

“Give a name to children whom you miscarried so that Allah will make your scale of good deeds heavier with them. Otherwise, s/he will come and say on the Day of Judgment: “O Lord! They missed the thawab they would earn from me, by not naming me.” (Jamiu’s-Saghir, 3/1075).

“Children who died before puberty are very lively in Heaven, they are like rattling fish. One of them meets his/her parents and takes hold of their clothes and does not let it go until Allah lets his/her parents into Heaven with him/her.” (Jamiu’s Saghir, 3/2364).

As it is seen, those hadiths give good news that parents whose three children died before puberty will enter Heaven because of those children, using different expressions.

While these children are obviously emphasized to have died “before puberty”, no discrimination is made between boys and girls; and precisely the word “child” (walad) is uttered. Therefore, parents whose children, either boy or girl, died before puberty are given the good news of entering Heaven on condition that they show patience when their children die and expect its reward from Allah. That condition of putting up with death and not rebelling against Allah’s decision but being content with it is deduced from the implications, although not from the words of hadiths. In Sahikh Bukhari, the condition of being content with death is clearly stated under the section about the issue. (see: Janaiz 6). As a matter of fact, Allah the Supreme Being states

“Those who patiently persevere will truly receive a reward without measure!” (az-Zumar, 39:10).

In order for children to welcome their parents as intercessors in the Hereafter, with their cuteness, we must consider them as fruit of Allah’ we must not rebel against Allah when He takes them away from us; we must submit to Allah’s decision and considering them a gift and that they are entrusted to us from Allah, we must know that we deliver them to Allah’s mercy, not to the grave when we bury them when Allah takes them away from us. This kind of belief is the essential of the creed of tawhid (Allah’s Oneness). It is, also, submission to and belief in Allah, which gives one the strength to bear a painful situation.

ANSWER: 2

Rather than interceding for those who, as children, did not receive Islamic upbringing from their parents and consequently led a life distant from religion after growing up, they will cling to them and complain to Allah about them.

The following summarized statements by Badiuzzaman Said Nursi support the truths we have mentioned.

"A compassionate mother undertakes every sort of self-sacrifice so that her child should not fall into danger in this worldly life and should receive every sort of benefit and advantage; she brings him up with this in view. Thinking, “My son is going to be a Pasha,” she gives him all her property, takes him from the Qur’an school and sends him to Europe. But it does not occur to her that her child’s eternal life has fallen into danger. She tries to save him from prison in this world, and does not take into consideration his being sentenced to the prison of Hell. And as the complete opposite of innate compassion, she makes her innocent child a claimant against her in the Hereafter, while he should be her intercessor. He will complain to her saying: “Why did you not strengthen my belief and so cause me to be lost?” And in this world too, since he did not receive a proper Islamic upbringing, he cannot respond to his mother’s wondrous compassion in the way it deserves; in fact he does so very deficiently."

"If, not misdirecting her true compassion, she works to save her unhappy child from the everlasting incarceration of Hell and from dying while in misguidance, which is to go to eternal extinction, the equivalent of each of the child’s good works will pass to the book of good deeds of his mother, and just as after her death he will continuously send lights to her spirit with his good works, so too in the Hereafter, he will be not a claimant, but with all his spirit and life an intercessor for her, and a blessed child of her’s for all eternity..." (see The Flashes, The Twenty-Fourth Flash, First Point)

On the other hand, those who died in their childhood will intercede for their parents and other relatives who died as believers. They will let their parents experience the love of children eternally in the Hereafter, as a compensation for the separation they experienced in this short worldly life.

"One time, a man was in prison. They sent one of his lovable children to him. The unhappy prisoner suffered both his own sorrows, and since he could not make the child comfortable, he was grieved also at his hardship. Then the compassionate judge sent a man to him with a message which said:"

"For sure this child is yours, but he is my subject and of my people. I shall take him and look after him in a fine palace."

"The man wept in anguish. He said: "I won't give you my child who is my solace!"

"His friends said to him: "Your grief is meaningless. If you pity the child, he will go to a spacious and happy palace in place of this dirty, stinking, distressing dungeon. If you are grieved for yourself and are seeking your own benefits, if your child remains here, you will suffer much distress and pain at the child's difficulties in addition to your single dubious, temporary benefit. If he goes there, there will be a thousand advantages for you, for it will be cause of attracting the king's mercy and will be like an intercessor for you. The king will want to make you meet with him. For sure, he will not send him to the prison so that you can see him; he will release you from the prison, summon you to the palace, and allow you to meet with the child there. On condition that you have confidence in the king and you obey him...."

"My dear brother, like this comparison, you must think as follows, like other believers when their children die: the child was innocent, and his Creator is All-Compassionate and All-Generous. He has taken him to His most perfect grace and mercy in place of my deficient up-bringing and compassion. He has released him from the grievous, calamitous, difficult prison of this world and sent him to the gardens of Paradise. How happy for the child! If he had stayed in this world, who knows what form he would have taken. Therefore, I do not pity him, I know him to be fortunate. There remains the benefits for myself, and I don't pity myself for those, and I do not grieve and be sorrowful. For if he had remained in the world, he would have secured ten years of a child's temporary love mixed with pains. If he had been righteous and if he had been capable in the matters of the world, perhaps he would have helped me. But with his death, he has become like an intercessor who is the means to ten million years of a child's love in eternal Paradise and to everlasting happiness. Most certainly, one who loses some dubious, immediate benefit and gains a thousand certain, postponed benefits does not display grief and sorrow, he does not cry out in despair. (The Letters, From the Risale-i Nur Collection)

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