According to Islamic teachings, all human beings without exception are born Muslim, with an innate inclination to believe in Allah (fitrah), and that they may follow another religion following the manner in which their parents teach them and bring them up. As the prophet ﷺ said, “Every child is born with the natural inclination to surrender to Allah (fitrah), (that is, to be a Muslim), but then his parents make him a Jew, a Christian or a Zoroastrian.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree: 1292; Saheeh Muslim: 2658)
Regarding non-Muslim parents’ children, we consider them non-Muslim in this life; if they die young, Allah I, the best of judges who does not wrong anyone and who knows their secrets and yet what is more hidden, will test them on the Day of Judgement; those who obey Him will be admitted into Paradise, while those who disobey Him will be consignedto hellfire.
When Allah’s Messenger ﷺ was asked about the fate of the children of the polytheists on the Day of Judgement, he replied, “Since Allah created them, He knows what sort of deeds they would have done.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree: 1317)
However, when can we consider non-Muslim parents’ children Muslim in this life?
To prove this, there are different cases, including the following:
- If the parents, or one of them, embrace Islam, children born to them will be considered followers of the religion of the parent that is better than the other, namely, Islam.
- If a child, who is able to distinguish between right and wrong but has not necessarily reached the age of puberty, embraces Islam even though his parents are not Muslim, he will equally be considered Muslim. A Jewish boy used to serve the prophet ﷺ. One day, the boy became ill, and the prophet ﷺ went to visit him. He sat by his head and said, “Become a Muslim.” The boy looked at his father who was also sitting by his head. His father said to him, “Obey Abul-Qaasim r .” The boy then embraced Islam. The prophet ﷺ left saying, “Praise be to Allah who has saved him from the Fire!” (Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree: 1290)
- Has both or one of his parents embraced Islam?
- Yes => He is considered Muslim and is treated as such.
- No => Has he embraced Islam while his parents haven’t?
- Yes => Muslim scholars are unanimously agreed that he is considered Muslim if he is able to distinguish between right and wrong, and that such knowledge will save him in the hereafter.
- No => Regarding non-Muslim parents’ children, we consider them non-Muslim in this life; if they die young, Allah I, the best of judges who does not wrong anyone and who knows their secrets and yet what is more hidden, will test them on the Day of Judgement; those who obey Him will be admitted into Paradise, but those who disobey Him will be consigned to Hellfire.