“Where is my child?”

As soon as a couple is blessed with the news that they will become parents, they instantly begin to weave dreams for the child that they are waiting to bring into this world. Hopes, desires, and aspirations for a bright future fill the parents’ minds and hearts, but sometimes, these lovely dreams are shattered before they even begin.

Why was my child taken from me?

The child that has been eagerly awaited may die during the early or later stages of pregnancy, at birth, or even shortly after. Such a loss is devastating, as parents love their children unconditionally from the moment they are conceived.  It is one of the greatest tests in life, but it also entitles us to greater rewards from Allah (glorified and exalted be He), and cleanses our sins. The greater the hardship we must endure, the more Allah (glorified and exalted be He) wants to raise our ranks in the hereafter.

Narrated by Abu Hurayra (may Allah be pleased with them):

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Trials will continue to befall the believing man and woman, with regard to themselves, their children and their wealth, until they meet Allah with no sin on them.” (At-Tirmidhi, Number Volume 4, Book 10, Number 2399)

Narrated by Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri and Abu Hurayra (may Allah be pleased with them):

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “No fatigue, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that.”  (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 70, Number 545)

Narrated by Abu Hurayra (may Allah be pleased with them):

“If Allah wants to do good to somebody, He afflicts him with trials.” Sahih Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 70, Numberno , 548

How do I begin to cope?

There is nothing better than facing this test with patience for the short time that we are in this world; doing so will help ensure that we enjoy the sweet rewards forever, in Jannah. It is essential to keep in mind that Allah (glorified and exalted be He) has a good reason for everything that happens. We MUST believe that Allah (glorified and exalted be He) is the best of all planners, and therefore there is nothing we can do or redo, nor is there any amount of guilt we can feel that can change what has passed.

“No amount of guilt can change the past and no amount of worrying can change the future. Go easy on yourself, for the outcome of all affairs is determined by Allah’s decree. If something is meant to go elsewhere it will never come your way but if it is yours by destiny from you it cannot flee.” Umar Ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with them)

However, when we lose someone extremely precious to us it is only natural to wish that they could be back; of all the circumstances in life that cause separation, death is the greatest test, severely testing one’s faith in the ultimate qadr of Allah. But let us not allow this to prevent us from being of the patient ones who say “Alhamdullilah,” and appreciate that we were blessed to have this child in our life for a period of time, even if it was a short while.  We can now hold onto that gift of love in our heart for all times. Our children were only a loan to us and we always have to be ready to give back whatever gifts Allah (glorified and exalted be He) blesses us with in hope of greater rewards. We must also appreciate that there is an even greater gift than what has just been said; knowing that our children are in Jannah, the best of places, and that they will NEVER suffer any hardship. We have been spared the grief of wondering what torment they are suffering in the grave, and the anxiety of wondering whether or not we will be reunited in Jannah. Instead, we can allow a feeling of peace and relief to penetrate our hearts with the knowledge that our precious children are in Paradise.

How do I handle this pain?

Now, how do we attain this seemingly impossible task of attaining peace in our hearts, given what we have just gone through and continue to go through? Through PATIENCE. Patience is one of the greatest attributes a person can acquire and Allah (glorified and exalted be He) is with those who endure their trials in life with patience. Even better, is that the reward for patience is Paradise!

If one is patient in the manner described by Allah (glorified and exalted be He),

“Who, when disaster strikes them, say, ‘Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return’.” (Al-Baqarah, 2:156)

Allah (glorified and exalted be He) promises them:

  1. His Blessings: The patient person is blessed by Allah (glorified and exalted be He)
  2. His Mercy: When Allah (glorified and exalted be He) bestows his mercy upon someone, He will allow such a person to enter Paradise with His mercy
  3. His Guidance: Allah (glorified and exalted be He) will guide his life in the right path until meeting Him on the Day of Judgement

“Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from the Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the (rightly) guided.” (Al-Baqarah, 2:157)

Narrated by Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari (may Allah be pleased with them):

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

“When a person’s child dies, Allah the Most High asks His angels, ‘Have you taken out the life of the child of My slave?’  They reply in the affirmative. He then asks, ‘Have you taken the fruit of his heart?’ They reply in the affirmative. Thereupon he asks, ‘What has My slave said?’ They say: ‘He has praised You and said: Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji’un (We belong to Allah and to Him we shall be returned).’ Allah says: ‘Build a house for My slave in Jannah and name it Bait-ul-Hamd (the House of Praise)’.” (At-Tirmidhi, Number 1736)

Now, let us seek this patience by remembering the following:

  1. If our child were here in this dunya with us, we would have been separated for certain time periods, perhaps if he or she travelled for their studies or work, or got married; yet we would never know if we would be together in the Akhirah
  2. Every soul shall taste death. It is inevitable and without dying we can never attain Jannah.
  3. For the regular person, the path to Jannah is one filled with harsh trials, severe hardships, and torment in the grave, but our children have been saved Alhamdullilah.

How blessed are our children to have been able to by-pass all this adversity. Our children felt no pain or suffering when dying; they did not ‘taste’ death as many others have experienced or will have to experience. The Quran informs us that the extraction and pulling out of the soul from the flesh is very gentle on the innocent believer, and he or she will not feel any pain. Since our children were innocent and pure, we are assured that dying was a painless experience for them.

The experience of death when the soul is being taken away from the good believer is described by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in the following when the portion of a narration:

Narrated by Al-Bara bin ‘Azib (may Allah be pleased with them):

“…When the believing slave is about to depart this world and enter the Hereafter, there come down to him from Heaven angels with white faces like the sun, and they sit around him as far as the eye can see. They bring with them shrouds from Paradise and perfumes from Paradise. Then the Angel of Death comes and sits by his head, and he says, ‘O good soul, come forth to forgiveness from Allah and His pleasure.’ Then it comes out easily like a drop of water from the mouth of a water skin. When he seizes it, they do not leave it in his hand for an instant before they take it and put it in that shroud with that perfume, and there comes from it a fragrance like the finest musk on the face of the earth…” (Abu Dawood, 4753; Ahmad, 18063, Sahih)

Will I ever see my child again?

Not only has our child been selected for this free, one way entry into Jannah, but massive rewards are in store for the parents who suffer the pain of this separation, and bear it with patience. Such parents are promised intercession on the Day of Judgment as a compensation for such a great loss. These parents will have protection, a fortress, and shield from the painful torment and great penalty of the hereafter, which no human can ever escape, nor can anyone be strong enough to tolerate. Not only will we have such an amazing protection, but it will be from our own child! Those entering Jannah will be reunited therein and will never have to suffer separation again. Hence we can conclude then, that both child and parent are the WINNERS in such a case. So let us not be deceived into believing that our child is gone forever.

Narrated by ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’oud (may Allah be pleased with them):

“The Messenger of Allah said, ‘Who do you reckon to be the childless among you?’ They said, ‘They are those who do not have any children. ‘No,’ he said, ‘The childless are those who have not sent any of their children ahead’ (i.e. none of their children have died).” Al-Buhkari, Al-Adab Al-Mufrad, Book 8, Number 12

Let us compare this briefly with those children whom Allah (glorified and exalted be He) allows us to keep in this dunya:

“Your wealth and your children are only a trial (fitnah). And Allah – With Him is a great reward (Paradise).” (At-Taghabun,  64:15)

“And know that your possessions and your children are but a trial (fitnah) and that surely with Allah is a mighty reward.” (Al-Anfal, 8:28)

Allah (glorified and exalted be He) is telling us in these aayah and hadith, that the children whom He allows to remain with us in this dunya are a big test for us.  Many people become proud as a result of their children, while for some, their life’s biggest ambition is to show off their wealth and children; since children are one of the most highly prized possessions in this dunya, they often become a cause for pride, arrogance and competition between people. On top of that, there is no way of knowing for certain that all our efforts that we are directing towards our children will get us reunited in Jannah.

On the Day of Judgement, it will be every man for himself, as even a mother will drop the child in her womb, SubhanAllah! On that day, the fear will be so great that the love a mother feels for her child will cease to exist, as the objects of our desires will no longer hold ANY significance to us. Wealth and children will hold no value, and parental emotions will lose all meaning.

At this time, the only people who have children are those that precede their parents to Jannah, since those who have a child in Jannah will see their child welcome them on that day with water to quench their thirst. For 50,000 years (the amount of time the Day of Judgment will last), Alhamdullilah, our children will come and comfort us when we need it the most. In their hands, lie the key to the most important door we will ever go through – the door to Jannah. This is the reward promised by our Rabb Insha Allah.

Narrated by Muslim (may Allah be pleased with them):

“Abu Hassaan said: ‘I said to Abu Hurayrah: Two of my sons have died. Can you narrate to me any hadith from the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) which will console us for our loss? He said: Yes: Their little ones are the little ones (da’aamees) of Paradise. When one of them meets his father – or his parents – he takes hold of his garment – or his hand – as I am taking told of the hem of your garment, and he does not let go until Allah admits him and his father to Paradise’.” (Sahih Muslim, Book 32, Number 6370)

Where is my child right now?

Shortly after passing through the initial stages of grief, we begin to wonder where our child is. Many thoughts and even worries about him or her start to cross our mind such as ‘is he or she safe? Alone?’ ‘Do they miss us?’ Or, ‘What are they doing without their parents?’ Such thoughts are completely normal and our complete and beautiful way of life, Islam, answers most of our questions.

Narrated by Khalid al-‘Absi:

“A son of mine died and I felt intense grief over his loss. I said, ‘Abu Hurayra, have you heard anything from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, to cheer us regarding our dead?’ He replied, I heard the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, ‘Your children are roaming freely in the Garden’.” Al-Bukhari, Al-Adab Al-Mufrad Al-Bukhari, Book 8, Number 3

From this hadith we can be certain that our children do not face the stage of Barzakh (period of time between a person’s death and his resurrection on the Day of Judgment), but instead, enter Jannah as soon as they leave this dunya, where their souls are blessed under the care of Prophet Ibrahim [as], known as the ‘friend of Allah’, mentioned in the Quran over 60 times.

Narrated by Samura bin Jundub (may Allah be pleased with them):

“Allah’s Apostle very often used to ask his companions, ‘Did anyone of you see a dream?’ So dreams would be narrated to him by those whom Allah wished to tell.

One morning the Prophet said,

‘Last night two persons came to me (in a dream) and woke me up and said to me, Proceed! I set out with them…’

He mentioned things and places that he had seen, and then he said, ‘We proceeded and we reached a garden of deep green dense vegetation, having all sorts of spring colours. In the midst of the garden there was a very tall man and I could hardly see his head because of his great height, and around him there were children in such a large number as I have never seen. I said to my companions, Who is this? They replied, Proceed! Proceed!…’ 

Then among the things that the two companions (angels) said to him was: ‘The tall man whom you saw in the garden, is Abraham and the children around him are those children who die with Al-Fitra (the Islamic Faith).”

The narrator added: Some Muslims asked the Prophet, “O Allah’s Apostle! What about the children of pagans?”

The Prophet replied, “And also the children of pagans.” Sahih Bukhari, Book 87, Volume 9, Number 171

Every time we think of our children and our hearts begin to ache, let us remember that they are enjoying the fruits of Jannah! They are wearing the best clothes, eating the best foods, and enjoying the most perfect health. Even the smallest babies in Jannah have wet nurses to take care of them. And we can be even more reassured by the fact that Prophet Ibrahim [as] and his wife Sarah are taking the best care of them.

Narrated by Al-Bara’ (may Allah be pleased with them):

“When Ibrahim (the son of Prophet) expired, Allah’s Apostle said, ‘There is a wet-nurse for him in Paradise’.” Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 73, Number 215

Oh dear parents with children in Jannah, be truly happy for your child who is now being taken care of in Jannah, by people better than ourselves, in a place far better than this dunya. Rest assured that your child is much happier than we could have ever made him or her in this dunya.

But my heart feels so empty inside…

Something that will help you Insha Allah to get through this grief and separation is to replace all negative thoughts with positive ones. Below are a few examples:

You see an outfit you could have bought for your baby in the shop? Close your eyes and imagine the silk and gold your child is wearing. How soft and luxurious are their garments now!

Perhaps you saw a crib that you would have purchased. Imagine instead, the soft beds they are relaxing on with silk blankets, under the shade of beautiful fruit trees. Needing no sleep, they are simply relaxing in their beds, able to reach out to easily pick the finest fruits, softer than butter, sweeter than honey.

Maybe you feel depressed that you cannot share your food with your child. Never despair, but instead replace that thought with the image of the magnificent food they are getting to eat, whatever fruits or meat of bird their hearts desire.  Close your eyes once more and imagine the drinks of ginger, Tasneem (fountain in Jannah whose drink is superior to the purest of wines), and Kafoor (spring in Jannah) in drinking cups that are crystal clear but made of gold and silver. Our children have beautiful rivers to drink from; rivers of milk in which the taste never changes, delicious rivers of wine, rivers of honey that are pure, and rivers of water that is fresh.

If you are feeling scared or apprehensive of where they are residing, wishing they could be close to you in your home, imagine the mansions they are living in, a form of luxury that we could in no way be able to provide for them in this dunya. The tents and encampments in Jannah each comprise of a tent of a concealed pearl that is 60 miles long. There are towers which have rooms above rooms, in buildings that have rivers running underneath. The buildings are made of gold and silver bricks.

The ground and the soil on which our children are running around on are made of musk and saffron, its rocks are peals and jewels that shimmer and glimmer.

The gardens in which our children are playing have trees with trunks made of gold and silver, and leaves that are softer than the softest cloth. The temperature is perfect with the trees providing shade so vast that that a rider on the fastest horse can travel in its shade for 500 years and still not be able to get across it.

Everything is indescribably perfect. Its vastness is unimaginable such that the lowest of its people will have within his kingdom, palaces and gardens the distance that would be travelled in a thousand years.

The roof of Jannah is the Throne of the Most Merciful. Jannah reaches so far into the sky beginning as far as the shining star that is visible, reaching well beyond those far in the heavens that the eyesight cannot possibly see.

Narrated by Abu Hurayra (may Allah be pleased with them):

“We said: O Apostle of Allah! Describe to us how will be the construction of Paradise? He said: ‘There will be bricks of gold and silver and the mortar will be of musk and its gravel will be of garnet and pearls and its dust of saffron’.” Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi, Ad-Darimi, Mishkat al-Masabih, 3/29 Sahih

How do I move forward in life without my child?

Try to forget the worldly dreams you had of your child, and replace them with those of Jannah. Think of them in “Heaven’s” hotel where their care takers are Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and his wife Sarah. The day when we are reunited with our child will be the toughest day; it is a day everyone fears but on that day we can expect some relief. When people have no one to grasp for help, we can look forward to our child waiting at the gates of Jannah with that desired water.

Remember the good moments you enjoyed, but be even more thankful that they are in a place where they can rejoice, and dream of them with images of Jannah!!!

You are never alone

May Allah (glorified and exalted be He) bless you with patience and forbearance. May He bestow His guidance on you throughout this great test you are facing, and may He give you something far better in return. Whatever you are feeling or thinking, turn to Allah with open hands and an open heart, for it is only through Him that we can attain serenity, and it is only via His leave that we will attain guidance Insha Allah. And Never forget that through sadness and grief, happiness and peace, He will never burden your soul for more than you can bear.