Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: Assalam aleykum,
If Abu Lahab, died when he was a child, then he would have gone to Paradise. Is that correct? Why should we help those children who are already suffering and dying, when if they die, they will go to Paradise and not be in risk of becoming disbelievers and going to Hell?
Answer:Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. Please forgive me for the delay. May Allah reward you for your question.
It was narrated that Abu Hurairah said: “The Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) said: ‘The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, although both are good. Strive for that which will benefit you, seek the help of Allah, and do not feel helpless. If anything befalls you, do not say, “if only I had done such and such” rather say “Qaddara Allahu wa ma sha’a fa’ala (Allah has decreed and whatever He wills, He does).” For (saying) ‘If’ opens (the door) to the deeds of Satan.'” [Sunan Ibn Majah]
I encourage you to study about the attributes of Allah, and to better understand the concept of Divine Predestination. When registration reopens, please enrol in and complete Essentials of Islamic Belief: Dardir’s Kharida Explained.
Please calm your heart. Allah Most High is Merciful, and Just. Nobody enters Hellfire by mistake. Please do not torment yourself with ‘what if’s. Abu Lahab was destined to Hellfire, and nothing can change that. And unlike him, the rest of us do not know our fate. I pray that Allah has mercy on the ummah of the Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) and may He grant us Jannah.
I encourage you to read these answers:
Overwhelmed and Confused in Trying to Understand and Practice Islam: What Can I Do?
Are All Non-Muslims Deemed “Kafir”?
What is the Fate of Non-Muslims in the Afterlife?
Do Good Non-Muslims and Bad Muslims Both Go to Hell?
Truth, Other Religions, and Mysticism – Shaykh Nuh Keller
Anas bin Malik narrated that: “An older man came to talk to the Prophet, and the people were hesitant to make room for him. The Prophet said: “He is not one of us who does not have mercy on our young and does not respect our elders.” [Tirmidhi]
Your question is valid, and sincere. Allah calls us to respond to children from all backgrounds with compassion. When you see or know of a child who is suffering, the Prophetic response is to assist in ways that will bring benefit.
Should you find yourself in a situation with a dying child, then please exert your utmost to help. You do not know what Allah has in store this child. Perhaps she will embrace Islam, and be a tremendous means of good in this world. Perhaps she will not receive a true, undistorted message of Islam, and when she dies, Allah may grant her Divine amnesty.
You are not held responsible for the beliefs and actions of another adult. However, you will be held accountable if you permit an innocent child to die, even with the best of intentions.
‘Abd Allah b. Umar reported the prophet (May peace be upon him) as saying: “A Muslim is a Muslim’s brother: he does not wrong him or abandon him. If anyone cares for his brother’s need, Allah will care for his need; if anyone removes a Muslim’s anxiety, Allah will remove from him, on account of it, one of the anxieties of the Day of Resurrection; and if anyone conceals a Muslim’s fault, Allah will conceal his fault on the Day of resurrection.” [Sunan Abi Dawud]
Allah alone knows the tremendous reward for helping a child. Trust in His Mercy and Generosity, and work on purifying your intentions behind your deeds. Know that helping a child not only soothes her pain, but it also allays the grief of her parents, and other family members. InshaAllah there is a manifold reward for you.
I am wondering if your questions are pointing to a deeper pain which you carry about your own childhood. I encourage you to speak to a culturally-sensitive counsellor to unpack this, and to help you move past it.
Abu Sa’id and Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) said:
“Never a believer is stricken with a discomfort, an illness, an anxiety, a grief or mental worry or even the pricking of a thorn but Allah will expiate his sins on account of his patience”. [Bukhari and Muslim].
Living in the dunya can be unbearably painful. It is tempting to believe that death as a child and then automatic entry into Jannah is the easiest way to escape this pain. However, look at it from the perspective of the Afterlife. All the pain that you patiently endure in this Dunya will inshaAllah be a means of expiation and spiritual elevation for you.
Please seek the help that you need to help you cope with life. I recommend you to look into the resources provided by Hakim Archuletta, who specialises in healing trauma through our spiritual tradition and the work of Peter Levine.
Try your best to wake up in the last third of the night, even if it’s 10-15 minutes before the entry of Fajr, and perform the Prayer of Need. Ask Allah to grant you a sound heart, tranquility, and a deeper understanding of the deen. Endeavor to learn your personally obligatory knowledge so that your acts of worship are valid. SeekersHub has a range of wonderful online courses for you to learn from.
On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said that the Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) said: When Allah decreed the Creation He pledged Himself by writing in His book which is laid down with Him: “My mercy prevails over my wrath.” [Bukhari]
Whenever you are faced with any trial in this dunya, please don’t despair in Allah’s Mercy. When you see others being tested, know that there is a hidden mercy even in pain. We were created for Him, in the end, and difficulty is a reminder to seek comfort in Him.
Allah loves you, and knows the deepest contents of your heart. I pray that He grants you contentment, wisdom, and the ability to have a good opinion of Him.
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.