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Summary of question
Do the Holy Prophet’s parents enter Paradise?
question
Will the Holy Prophet’s parents enter Paradise?
Concise answer

Based on the verses of the Holy Quran, belief in God and good deeds are generally the most important requirements for entering Paradise. Shia scholars and also a number of Sunni sects believe that the Holy Prophet's parents and ancestors were monotheists and good doers. Shaykh Saduq writes in his Risalah al-I`tiqadat: In our opinion, the Prophet's parents from Adam to Abdullah and Abu Talib and also Amina, the Prophet's mother were Muslims."  There are arguments and ample evidence in the Quran and traditions to prove this opinion.

Detailed Answer

In order to get a clear answer to the above, it is necessary to know what the conditions for entering Paradise are. Based on the verses of the Holy Quran, belief in God and good deeds are generally the most important requirements and conditions for entering Paradise.[1] "And whoever does good deeds whether male or female and he (or she) is a believer-- these shall enter the garden, and they shall not be dealt with a jot unjustly."[2]

Now we shall take up the discussion to verify these conditions in respect of the Holy Prophet's parents.

1. Belief in One God

There are multiple views about whether or not the Holy Prophet's parents and ancestors were monotheists. We will point out those views along with its arguments and reasons.

Shia scholars [3]as well as a group of Sunnis[4] maintain that the Holy Prophet's parents and ancestors were Muslims[5] and they worshipped the One God.  Shaykh Saduq writes in his Risalah al-I`tiqadat: In our opinion, the Prophet's parents from Adam to Abdullah and Abu Talib and also Amina, the Prophet's mother were Muslims."[6]

There are several reason and proofs some of which are mentioned as under:

A) Verses from the Holy Quran

The Holy Quran says: "Who seeth thee standing forth (in prayer), And thy movements among those who prostrate themselves."[7]

This verse means that God, the Exalted, transfers the Holy Prophet's soul from one prostrator to another. According to this meaning, the verse denotes that the Prophet's entire ancestors were Muslims[8] and there are narrations under this verse according to which prophethood was successively transferred from the loin of one prophet to that of another prophet.[9]

B) Traditions

There are two sets of traditions about the Holy Prophet's ancestors believing in One God and worshipping Him:

1. Traditions which imply that the Prophet's parents were pure. For example, the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him and his family, said: "Gabriel descended upon the Messenger of God (S) and said: 'The Most Glorious God salutes you and says: 'verily I have forbidden hell upon the loin that produced you, the womb that contained you and the arms that raised you…'".[10] As well, the Prophet (S) said: "God, the Glorified, always transferred me from pure loins down to pure wombs, and the bodies of ignorance have not touched me."[11] The above hadiths (traditions) reach the status of spiritual tawatur[12] also.[13]

2. There are traditions according to which the Holy Prophet (S) will intercede with them on the Day of Judgment. The Messenger of God (S) says: I ask forgiveness for four people: Aminah bint Wahab, Abdullah ibn Abd al Muttalib, Abu Talib bin Abdul Muttalib and a man from Ansar who has a pact of brotherhood with me and has asked me to ask for his forgiveness."[14] Based on the order of the Quran, it is not permissible for the Prophet (S) to intercede for pagans and pray for their forgiveness.[15] When the Messenger of Allah (S) says that he will intercede with his parents, it shows that they were monotheists.[16]

C) Historical Evidence

Based on historical texts, not only there is not any explicit evidence to show that the Prophet's ancestors were polytheists; rather there are concrete proofs indicating that the Prophet's ancestors were monotheists and worshippers of the One God. An example of this is Abdul Muttalib's saying and supplications when Abraha, the Ethiopian, attacked Mecca to destroy Ka'ba, because at this time, Abdul Muttalib did not turn to idols for protection of Mecca but he consigned the matters to God.[17]

2. Requirement of a Good Deed

When it comes to the virtues and personal qualities of Amina, mother of the Messenger of God, there are reports in the Islamic sources which entirely indicate the greatness of her personality. Abdul Muttalib, addressing his son, says: "By God, the Exalted and the Glorified, there is no girl in Mecca like Amina, because she is modest and polite and has a pure soul. She is wise, understanding and faithful."[18]  She is the mother of the person who is the root and source of all creation, virtues, morality and good deeds; the reflection of all of God's glorious and magnificent features and attributes.

Conclusion:  Considering that the Prophet's parents bore the conditions necessary for entering Paradise, it can be said that the Prophet's parents and ancestors were among the good doers and people of Paradise.

 

[1] - There is no doubt that these two principal conditions consist of manifestations and sub-titles.

[2] - Nisa, 124.

[3] - Allamah Majlisi, Behar al-Anwar, vol.15, p. 117, Dar Ihya al-Turath al-Arabi, Beirut, 2nd edition, 1403 A.H. Shaykh Saduq, al-I'tiqadat, p. 110, al-Mo'tamar Lil-Shaykh al-Mufid, Qom, 2nd edition,1414 A.H.

[4] - Aalusi, Sayyid Mahmood, Rohul Ma'ani fi Tafsir al-Quran al-Azim, vol.10, p. 135, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyah, Beirut, 1st edition, 1415 A.H; Fakhruddin Razi, Tafsir Mafatih al-Ghayb, vol.13, pp. 32-33, Dar Ihya al-Turath al-Arabi, Beirut, 3rd edition, 1420 A.H. Haqqi, Boroswi, Ismail, Tafsir Rohul Bayan, vol.6, p. 313 and 314, Dar al-Fikr, Beirut, (date not mentioned); Ajjeloni, Jarrahi, Ismail bin Muhammad, Kashful Khifa wa Mazil al-Albas 'Amma Ishtahara min al-Ahadith, vol.1, pp. 60-62, Darul Kutub al-Ilmiyah, Beirut, 3rd edition, 1408 A.H.

[6] - Al-I'tiqadat, p. 110.

[7] - Shu'ara, 218 and 219:  «الَّذی یَراکَ حینَ تَقُومُ وَ تَقَلُّبَکَ فِی السَّاجِدینَ».

[8] - Vide: Shaykh Mufid, Awael al-Maqalat fil Mazaheb wa al-Mukhtarat, pp. 45 – 46, al-Mo'tamar Lil-Shaykh al-Mufid, Qom, first edition, 1413 A.H.; Sanad, Shaykh Muhammad, Al-Sahabah bayn al-Adalah wal-Ismah, pp. 97-98, Lisan al-Sidq, Qom, first edition, 1426 A.H.; Rizvani, Ali Asghar, Shia-Shenasi wa Pasokh be Shobahat, vol.1, pg. 260, Mash'ar Publication, Tehran, 2ndedition, 1384 (2005).

[9] - Kufi, Furat bin Ibrahim, Tafsir Furat al-Kufi, researched and edited by Kazem, Muhammad, pg. 304, Printing and Publication Institute in the Ministry of Islamic Guidance, Tehran, first edition, 1410 A.H.; Bahrani, Sayyid Hashim bin Sulayman, al-Borhan fi Tafsir al-Quran, vol.4, p.191-193, Be'atha Institute, Qom, first edition, 1374 (1995); Baghwi, Hussein bin Mas'ud, Ma'alem al-Tanzil fi Tafsir al-Quran, researched and edited by Al-Mahdi, Abdu Razaq, vol.3, p. 484, Dar Ihya al-Turath al-Arabi, Beirut, first edition, 1420 A.H.

[10] - Shaykh Saduq, 'Elal al-Sharaye', vol.1, pg. 177, Dawari Bookstall, Qom, first edition,1385 (2006).

[11] - Al-Borhan fi Tafsir al-Quran, vol.3, pg. 312; Tabari, Muhammad bin Jarir, Al-Mustarshid fi Imamate Ali bin Abi Talib (A), researched and edited by Mahmudi, Ahmad p. 649, Kushanpour, Qom, first edition, 1415 A.H.;  Also, this narration has been mentioned some commentary and textual sources. See: Andulusi, Abu Hayyan Muhammad bin Yusuf, Al-Bahr al-Mohit fi al-Tafsir, vol.8, pg.198, Dar al-Fikr, Beiruti, 1420 A.H.; Sha'eiri, Muhammad bin Muhammad, Jami' al-Akhbar, p. 16, Haideriyah Publications, Najaf, first edition (date not mentioned); Mafatihul Ghaib, vol.24, pg. 537.

[12] - Tawatur means to have many routes of narration that makes it intellectually impossible for all of the narrators to agree to lie about it.

[13] - Behar al-Anwar, vol.15, p. 118 and 119.

[14] - Ibid, Humairi, Abdullah bin Ja'far, Qurbul Isnad, p. 56, Aalul-Bayt Institute, Qom, first edition, 1413 A.H.

[15] - Al-Tawbah, 113: "It is not (fit) for the Prophet and those who believe that they should ask forgiveness for the polytheists, even though they should be near relatives, after it has become clear to them that they are inmates of the flaming fire."

[16] - Behar al-Anwar, vol.15, pg. 108.

[17] - Shia Shenasi and Answers to Spurious Arguments, vol.1, p. 261.

[18] -  «فو الله ما فى بنات اهل مکه مثلها لانها محتشمه فى نفسها طاهره مطهره عاقله‏دینه» Behar al-Anwar, vol.15, pg. 99; Bakri, Ahmad bin Abdullah, Al-Anwar wa Mafatih al-Sorur wal-Afkar fi Mawlid al-Nabi al-Mukhtar, edited and researched by Rouhani, Ahmad, p. 117 and 118, Dar al-Sharif al-Razi, Qom, first edition, 1411 A.H.

 

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