Can we confirm that the child who dies before the age of puberty will enter Paradise?
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 is His slave and Messenger.
A child of a Muslim who dies before the age of puberty will enter Paradise as he or she is not held accountable. However scholars have different opinions about the children of disbelievers who die before the age of puberty. Some scholars say that they will enter Paradise. They use, as evidence, the Hadeeth that was narrated on the authority of Samurah that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam , saw the children of Muslims and disbelievers with Ibraaheem (Abraham) . [Al-Bukhari] They also quote the Hadeeth that was narrated on the authority of Khansaa’ bint Mu‘aawiyah who narrated from her uncle that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said that infants will be in Paradise. [Ahmad]
The predominant opinion, voiced by some scholars, is that these children will be tested on the Day of Judgment. The Hadeeths that they mention to support this are more specific than those mentioned by the first group and do not contradict them. Thus, those whom Allaah knows would be obedient, their souls will be with Ibraaheem during the stage of Barzakh (between death and Paradise) together with the children of the believers who died on Fitrah (the innate natural disposition); while those whom Allaah knows would be disobedient will enter Hell on the Day of Judgment. This is proved by the Hadeeths that deal with testing. One of these is that which was narrated on the authority of Anas that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said that an infant will be brought before a fire and Allaah The Almighty will order him to step into it. If he obeys Allaah he will enter Paradise, but if he disobeys he will enter Hell. [Al-Bazzaar and Abu Ya‘la]
Some scholars abstain from expressing a conclusive opinion due to personal uncertainty. They rely on the Hadeeth that was narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim where the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said that Allaah The Almighty is the one who knows what these children would have done if they had lived after the age of puberty. Others scholars say that the children will be among the people of Al-A‘raaf (a place between Paradise and Hell). This opinion means that they will be in Paradise because Al-‘Araaf is not a final abode and its people will eventually enter Paradise. Still others say that the children will be in Hell with their parents, while those who say that they will be in Paradise indicate that they will be without their parents therein.
Allaah Knows best.
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