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The Prophet’s Parents Are Saved

Posted by al Adaab on October 31, 2007

The Prophet’s Parents Are Saved

Imam Jalaluddin al-Suyuti

Translated by Shaykh Gibril Fouad Haddad

Released by 1428 H

Reprinted with permission from

This writing concerns the question of the ruling (hukm) that the father and mother of The Prophet (Sall Allahu ‘alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim) are (believed to be) saved and not in Hellfire. This has been declared by the majority of the scholars, and in reaching that declaration they have several methods (masalik).


His parents died before he was sent as Prophet, and there is no punishment for them as “We never punish until We send a messenger (and they reject him)” (17:15). Our Ash`ari Imams of those in kalam, usul, and Shafi`i fiqh agree on the statement that one who dies while da’wa has not reached him, dies saved. This has been defined by Imam Shafi`i . . . and some of the fuqaha’ have explained that the reason is that that person is on fitra (primordial disposition), and has not stubbornly refused nor rejected any Messenger.

That is the position of our Shaykh, Shaykh al-Islam Sharafuddin al-Munawi, as I received it. He was once asked whether the Prophet’s father was in the fire and he groaned loudly at the questioner. The latter insisted: “Is his Islam established?” and he answered that he died in fitra and quoted the verse.

It is the position of Ahl al-Sunnah and it was opposed by the Mu`tazila and those who follow them among those who say that one is condemned because Allah is known rationally. It is also the position of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani who said, The (proper) conjecture (zann) concerning his parents, meaning also all those who died before his Messengership, is that they shall obey (his call) at the time of their examination (in the grave), as a gift (from Allah) to please him.

This method is based on the following sources:

[Evidence from the Qur’an]

• The aforementioned verse. (17:15)

• The verse, “Your Lord does not unjustly (bi zulm) destroy the townships while their people are unconscious (of the wrong they do)” (6:131). Al-Zarkashi adduced it to illustrate the rule (qa`ida) that one thanks Allah through hearing (about Him), not through rational induction.

• The verse, “Otherwise . . . they might say, Our Lord! Why sentest Thou no messenger unto us, that we might have followed Thy revelations and be among the believers?” (28:47) Adduced by Zarkashi and Ibn Abi Hatim in their tafsirs. The latter adds the Hadith, “Those who die in fitra will say, My Lord, no book nor messenger reached me, and he recited his verse.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

• The verse, “And if We had destroyed them with some punishment before it [your coming], they would assuredly have said: Our Lord! If only Thou hadst sent unto us a messenger, so that we might have followed . . .” (20:134)

• “And never did thy Lord destroy the townships, till He had raised up in their mother-town a Messenger reciting unto them Our revelations. And never did We destroy the townships unless the folks thereof were evil-doers” (28:59). Ibn Abi Hatim quotes Ibn `Abbas’s and Qatada’s explanations that it refers to the people of Mecca, who were condemned only after The Prophet (Sall Allahu ‘alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim) was sent to them and they denied him.

• “Lest ye should say, the Scripture was only revealed to two sects before us, and we in sooth were unaware of what they read” (6:156).

• “And We destroyed no townships but it had its warners for reminder, for We never were oppressors” (26:208-209). `Abd ibn Hamid, Ibn al-Mundhir, and Ibn Abi Hatim quote Qatada in their tafsirs to the effect that revelation, proof, and exhortation must precede condemnation.

• “And they cry for help there, (saying), Our Lord! Release us; we will do right, not (the wrong) that we used to do. Did not We grant you a life long enough for him who reflected to reflect therein? And the warner came unto you” (35:37). The commentators said, “The warner is the Prophet .”

[Evidence from the Hadith]

Hadith Concerning the Examination of the People of fitra [Primordial Disposition] on the Day of Resurrection and the Entry into Paradise of Those Who Obey and the Entry into the Fire of Those Who Disobey:

Ahmad, Ibn Rahawayh, Ibn Mardawayh, and Bayhaqi (al-I`tiqad `ala madhhab al-salaf ahl al-sunnah wa-l-ama`ah) who said, sahih through Aswad ibn Sari’. The Prophet (Sall Allahu ‘alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim) said,

Four will present excuses on the Day of Resurrection: The deaf one, the idiot, the senile old man, and the one who died in fitra. The first will say, I didn’t hear anything; the second, Islam came and street-children were throwing dung at me; the third, Islam came and I did not have my wits about me, and the fourth, my Lord, no Messenger came to me. Allah will Himself take their covenant to obey Him. They will be told to enter the fire (as a test). Those who obey will find it cool and safe, while those who refuse will be dragged to it. (Aswad, Abu Hurayra)

Al-Bazzar and Tirmidhi who correctly graded it hasan:

The Prophet (Sall Allahu ‘alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim) said, The one who died in fitra, the imbecile, and the infant will say respectively: No Book or Messenger reached me; You gave me no mind wherewith to understand good or evil; I did not have a chance to do anything. A fire will be presented to them and they will be told to enter it. Those who would have done well in life will obey and enter it (temporarily) while those who would have disobeyed in life will refuse. Allah will tell them, You disobey Me (seeing Me), so how could you obey My Messengers in My absence? (Abu Sa`id al-Khudri)

Al-Bazzar and Abu Ya’la: same as above with the addition of the senile old man. Those who obey and enter the fire will go across it speedily. (Anas)

`Abdul Razzaq, Ibn Jarir, Ibn al-Mundhir, Ibn Hatim, with an authentic chain that meets the criteria of Bukhari and Muslim:

The Prophet (Sall Allahu ‘alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim) said, “The one who died in fitra, the idiot, the deaf, the mute, and the senile will be sent a messenger (at that time) who will say, Enter the fire. They will argue and say: How can it be when no messenger reached us? But woe to them! If they had entered it they would have found it cool and safe. Whoever accepts and obeys will enter it.” Abu Hurayra added, Read, “We never punish until We send a messenger” (17:15).”

Al-Bazzar and Hakim, who graded it sahih by the criteria of Bukhari and Muslim:

The Prophet (Sall Allahu ‘alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim) said, The people of Jahiliyya will come on the Day of Judgment carrying their idols on their backs. Allah will question them and they will say: Our Lord, You did not send us a Messenger and nothing from You reached us. If you had sent us one, we would have been your most obedient servants. Allah will say, Shall I test your obedience? And He will tell them to enter the fire and stay in it. They will enter it and return again, in fear of its fury and exhalations, and they will say, Our Lord, protect us from it. He will say: Didn’t you promise to obey Me if I ordered you something? They will pledge again and enter it, only to come back and plead again. The Prophet (Sall Allahu ‘alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim) said, Had they stayed in it the first time, they would have found it cool and safe. (Thawban)

Tabarani and Abu Nu’aym:

The Prophet (Sall Allahu ‘alaihi wa Aalihi wa Sallim) said, The imbecile will come on the Day of Judgment together with the one who died in fitra and the infant etc. (same as (e)) They will keep coming back although the fire would not have hurt them, and Allah will say, I knew your actions from afore, so take them (O Fire). Read the rest of this entry »


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