When a person asked the Prophet (pbuh), "Where is my father?", he said to the man, "Both my father and your father are in hellfire." Will the Prophet's father go to Hell?

Details of the Question
When a person asked the Prophet (pbuh), "Where is my father?", he said to the man, "Both my father and your father are in hellfire." Will the Prophet's father go to Hell?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

- Imran b. Husayn narrates: My father, Husayn went to the Messenger of Allah and asked, “What do you say about my father, who entertained guests, visited his relatives but who died before you came?” The Prophet (pbuh) said, “My father, your father and you are in hellfire.” Indeed, Husayn died as a polytheist twenty days later.” (Tabari, Kabir, 13/128-Shamila) Hafiz Haythami stated the the chain of the hadith is sound by saying, “The narrators of the hadith are the narrators of Sahih.” (see Majmau’z-Zawaid, 1/117)

- According to another narration, Amir b. Sad reported from his father:  A Bedouin came over to the Prophet (pbuh) and said, “My father visited his relatives, and did many other good deeds. Where is he now?” Hz. Prophet (pbuh) said, “He is in Hell” The Bedouin was a bit disturbed by the answer and asked, “O Messenger of Allah! Where is your father? Hz. Prophet (pbuh) said to him, “When you go to the grave of any unbeliever, tell him he is in Hell.” This man, who became a Muslim afterwards, said, “Hz. Prophet (pbuh) ordered me a hard task. Whenever I go to the grave of an unbeliever, I tell him he is in Hell.”(Tabarani, Kabir, 1/143-Shamila)

- We cannot find anything to interpret the first narration differently. One of the ancestors might have been meant with the phrase "my father".

- It is possible to understand the expression of the Prophet (pbuh) in the second narration as something that aimed to relieve the man who asked the question. For, the statement “When you go to the grave of any unbeliever, tell him he is in Hell” sounds as if the Prophet's father is also in Hell but it does not necessarily mean so.

- There are also narrations stating that the father and mother of the Prophet (pbuh) will go to Paradise with belief. For instance, Hz. Aisha narrates: “Hz. Prophet (pbuh) was standing in a very grieved state in Hajjun (where his mother's grave was). He stood there for a while and returned to me in a very happy state. He said,

“I asked my Lord and He revived my mother; she was sent back after she believed in me.”(see Nabhani, Hujjatullahi ala’l-Alamin, p.412)

- According to what Hz. Aisha narrates,

“Hz. Prophet (pbuh) asked his Lord to revive his mother and father. He revived them and they both believed in him. Then, they were returned to their previous state.”(ibid)
 

- Some evidences indicating that the mother and father of the Prophet (pbuh) are among the people of Paradise are as follows:

a.They did not live long enough to see his prophethood.

“…Nor would We visit with Our Wrath until We had sent an messenger (to give warning).”(al-Isra, 17/15)

According to the verse above, they will not be punished. 

b. They are among the people of interregnum. There are narrations that the people of interregnum will attain salvation or that they will be tested in the Gathering Place.

c.Most of the people who memorized hadiths hold the view that the Prophet's parents are among the people of Paradise acting upon the narrations that they were revived and then believed in him.

d. Hz. Prophet's parents believed in the religion of Hanif (the religion of Hz. Ibrahim) like Abu Bakr, Amr b. Nufayl, Qus b. Saida, Waraqa b. Nawfal. According to Razi, who is one of those who support this view, all of the ancestors of the Prophet (pbuh) up to Hz. Adam believed in the religion of oneness.

Accordingly, the statement,"My father and your father are in Hell" has two meanings:

1.The Prophet (pbuh) meant that his uncle, Abu Lahab, was in Hell because Arabs call their uncles as "father".

2.The hadiths stating that the mother and father of the Prophet (pbuh) are in Hell belong to an earlier period; the narrations stating that they are among the people of Paradise are newer hadiths that abrogated the previous ones.  The Prophet (pbuh), who did not have information about them in the past, received definite information about them later and stated that they were among the people of Paradise. (see Nabhani, ibid, p. 412-414)

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