Did Any Children Die When Allah Destroyed Past Cities?
Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick
When Allah destroyed cities or when Allah flooded the land after Prophet Nuh built his ship, were there any children and babies that died due to the events?
In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to that which is pleasing to Him.
Our mother, Sayyida ‘Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her), once asked a similar question to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). His beautiful reply teaches us that even innocent people suffer the consequences when evil prevails, but it is not a punishment for them.
For the innocent who faces any form of hardship in this world, it is a form of Divine Mercy by which Allah elevates their status in the Hereafter, and Allah knows best.
When Evil Prevails, Innocents Suffer Also
‘Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) reported that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “An army will invade the Ka’ba, and when it reaches a desert, all of them will be swallowed up by the earth.”
She asked, “O Messenger of Allah, how will they be swallowed up by the earth while amongst them will be their entrepreneurs and others not belonging to them?”
He replied, “All of them will be swallowed up by the earth, then they will be resurrected for judgment according to their intentions.” [Bukhari]
From the narration above, we learn that innocent lives are not exempted from the consequences of the evil actions of others. We learn from that lesson not to become complacent when others sin, thinking that we are safe if not guilty.
More importantly, we learn that the critical difference is the outcome of the innocent compared to the guilty in the Hereafter.
Does God Punish the Innocent?
Also from our mother, Sayyida ‘Aisha (Allah be pleased with her):
I asked the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) about plagues, and he said, “They are a punishment which Allah sends upon whomsoever He wills, but Allah has made it mercy to the believers. Anyone who remains in a town which is plagued with an epidemic, remaining patient and anticipating Allah’s reward, while firmly believing that nothing will befall him other than what Allah has preordained for him, then he will receive a reward of a martyr.”
The above narration teaches us that the same catastrophe can coincidentally be a punishment for some and mercy for others, and Allah knows best.
How Can Suffering be a Mercy?
The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Neither pain, nor fatigue, nor worry, nor sorrow, nor harm, nor depression, and not even the prick of a thorn afflicts a believer except that Allah expiates some of his sins.” [Ahmad]
From the above prophetic teaching, we learn that suffering in this world is always a Mercy from Allah to the believers. Through the suffering in this world, believers will be forgiven or elevated in the Hereafter.
Allah promises us throughout the Qur’an that this life is a test and real life is the Hereafter, and Allah knows best.
Why We Suffer: Understanding The Problem of Evil, Tribulations, and Suffering
I pray this is of benefit and that Allah guides us all.
[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan.
Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.
He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.
Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and pursuing his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.