The destiny of the father of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam
Fatwa No: 10467

  • Fatwa Date:2-11-2010 - Thul-Qi'dah 26, 1431
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Question

There is a Hadeeth narrated by Al-Bukhaari and Muslim in the Saheehayn stating: "Indeed, my father and yours are in the Fire". Does this refer to Abdullah ibn Abdul-Muttalib? What sin did he commit to make him go to Hell when he was among the people of Al-Fatrah (an interim period when there were no messengers)?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds.  I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

The Hadeeth in question was narrated by Muslim, Ahmad and Abu Daawood  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  them on the authority of Anas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him. It was not narrated by Al-Bukhari  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him as the question suggests.

With regard to the Prophet’s, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, father, he was indeed one of the people of Al-Fatrah. The following are the statements of the scholars in this respect:

1-      Some scholars said that the people of Al-Fatrah would enter Hell, for Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {Indeed, Allaah does not forgive association with Him, but He forgives what is less than that for whom He wills. And he who associates others with Allaah has certainly fabricated a tremendous sin.}[Quran 4:48]

2-      Others said that they would be excused, for Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {Whoever is guided is only guided for [the benefit of] his soul. And whoever errs only errs against it. And no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. And never would We punish until We sent a messenger.}[Quran 17:15]

3-      A third group said that the people of Al-Fatrah will be tested on the Day of Judgment. If they answer well they will be admitted into Paradise, otherwise they will be admitted into Hell. Al-Aswad ibn Saree’  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, described the situation of four people on the Day of Judgment. One of them was from the people of Al-Fatrah, who will plead that no Messenger preached the message of Allaah The Almighty to him. Allaah The Almighty will take oaths of obedience from the people of Al-Fatrah, then He will order them to step into Hell to test their obedience. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, pointed out that once they enter Hell, it will be cool and safe for them. [Ahmad]

The last opinion is the closest to what is sound, for it gathers all the available evidences.

The father of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, will be in Hell although he was among the people of Al-Fatrah. Scholars mentioned that Allaah The Almighty knew, according to His prior knowledge, that he would not respond to the call of Islam.

Ibn Katheer  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said that the Prophet’s, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, declaration that his parents and his grandfather ‘Abdul-Muttalib will be in Hell does not contradict his statement that the people of Al-Fatrah, the children, the insane and the deaf will be tested on the Day of Judgment. Ibn Katheer  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him elaborated on this point in his commentary on the verse (which means): {And never would We punish until We sent a Messenger.}[Quran 17:15] Some of these people will respond and others will not. The parents of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and his grandfather will be among those who will not answer. Thus, there is no contradiction.

It is said that the Prophet’s father and his contemporaries will be admitted into Hell because they received remnants of the religion of Ibraaheem (Abraham)  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention in their lifetime. So, they will not be excused. It was also said that the word “father” in Arabic also refers to a person’s uncle, and that in this context it refers to Abu Taalib, the uncle of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, being in Hell rather than his father.

Allaah Knows best.

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