بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Four types of children, you ask? As in 1) loud 2) very loud 3) ear-shattering and 4) beyond embarrassing?
No, no, no. That is NOT what I was referring to. I’m talking about the following two ayaat (verses):
لِّلَّـهِ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۚ يَخْلُقُ مَا يَشَاءُ ۚ يَهَبُ لِمَن يَشَاءُ إِنَاثًا وَيَهَبُ لِمَن يَشَاءُ الذُّكُورَ
أَوْ يُزَوِّجُهُمْ ذُكْرَانًا وَإِنَاثًا ۖ وَيَجْعَلُ مَن يَشَاءُ عَقِيمًا ۚ إِنَّهُ عَلِيمٌ قَدِيرٌ
To Allah belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. He creates what He wills. He bestows female (offspring) upon whom He wills, and bestows male (offspring) upon whom He wills. Or He bestows both males and females, and He renders barren whom He wills. Verily, He is the All-Knower and is Able to do all things. [Surah Ash-Shura (42) : 49-50]
Imam Ibn Kathir (rahimahullah) has got a really wonderful explanation of these two verses:
“Whatever he wills happens, and whatever He does not will does not happen. He gives to whomsoever He wills and withholds from whomsoever he wills; none can withhold what He gives, and none can give what He withholds, and He creates whatever He wills.
﴿يَهَبُ لِمَن يَشَآءُ إِنَـثاً﴾
(He bestows female upon whom He wills.) means, He gives them daughters only. Al-Baghawi said, “And among them (those who were given daughters only) was Lut, peace be upon him.”
﴿وَيَهَبُ لِمَن يَشَآءُ الذُّكُورَ﴾
(and bestows male upon whom He wills.) means, He gives them sons only. Al-Baghawi said, “Like Ibrahim Al-Khalil, peace be upon him, who did not have any daughters.”
﴿أَوْ يُزَوِّجُهُمْ ذُكْرَاناً وَإِنَـثاً﴾
(Or He bestows both males and females,) means, He gives to whomsoever He wills both males and females, sons and daughters. Al-Baghawi said, “Like Muhammad .”
﴿وَيَجْعَلُ مَن يَشَآءُ عَقِيماً﴾
(and He renders barren whom He wills. ) means, so that he has no children at all. Al-Baghawi said, “Like Yahya and Isa, peace be upon them.” So people are divided into four categories: some are given daughters, some are given sons, some are given both sons and daughters, and some are not given either sons or daughters, but they are rendered barren, with no offspring.
(Verily, He is the All-Knower) means, He knows who deserves to be in which of these categories.
(and is Able (to do all things).) means, to do whatever He wills and to differentiate between people in this manner. This issue is similar to that referred to in the Ayah where Allah says of Isa, peace be upon him:
﴿وَلِنَجْعَلَهُ ءَايَةً لِّلْنَّاسِ﴾
(And (We wish) to appoint him as a sign to mankind) (19:21): i.e., proof for them of His power, for He created people in four different ways. Adam, peace be upon him, was created from clay, from neither a male nor a female. Hawwa, peace be upon her, was created from a male without a female. All other people, besides Isa, peace be upon him, were created from male and female, and this sign of Allah was completed with the creation of Isa bin Maryam, may peace be upon them both, who was created from a female without a male. Allah says:
﴿وَلِنَجْعَلَهُ ءَايَةً لِّلْنَّاسِ﴾
(And (We wish) to appoint him as a sign to mankind) (19: 21). This issue has to do with parents, whilst the previous issue has to do with children, and in each case there are four categories. Glory be to the All-Knower Who is Able to do all things.”
So, that’s what the title meant by four types of children i.e the four types of children in terms of boys and girls – only girls, only boys, a mix of boys and girls and no children.
As for the four types of parents, it’s coming from a man and a woman for every human except three – Adam (alaihissalaam), Hawwa (radiallahu anha) and Isa (alaihissalaam).
Shaikh Ibn Uthaimeen (rahimahullah) mentioned some additional benefits about the first two verses. He pointed out that children are referred to as something Allah bestows on a person. Why? Because they are blessing from Allah, as a person has no power over getting children.
He also pointed out that daughters are mentioned before sons. Why? Well, because people usually want sons (as is the case of many cultures which think that it is more honourable!) so daughters are mentioned first to show these people that this matter is in the Hands of Allah alone and not according to what they desire.
Subhan Allah, so many people are depressed about the fact that they have no children. Others are sad that they “only” got boys and others are sad that they “only” got girls. Others get annoyed because they DO have children and they have no clue how to deal with them!
The fact of the matter is that Allah granted them this out of His Wisdom. He knows what they need and He has power over all things.
Even the Prophets (alaihimissalaam) got tested with different types of children. Some only got girls and some only got boys whereas others were childless. Yet, they never got upset over this issue, rather they were always pleased with the decree of Allah.
Even the great women were tested with having no children or just one child. Aishah (radiallahu anhu) had no children whereas Maryam (radiallahu anha), the greatest woman, had just one child (and she was not married either). Yet, this never seemed to be an issue.
Someone told me once that she HAD to have children because it had been so long since she got married. Subhan Allah, this is not the correct attitude to have. True iman (faith) means that we submit to Allah no matter what. It means that we love what Allah loves. It does not mean that we get angry if we don’t get what we want. It doesn’t mean that we say “This HAS to happen.” We need to be pleased with what Allah has decreed for us, no matter what it is.
On the other hand, if a person has children, they too need to be happy with that instead of complaining every five minutes about how “difficult” parenting is, how their children drive them “crazy” and how they have “no life”. So much for showing gratitude to Allah for granting them children to begin with!
You know what’s really sad? So many people beg Allah for children and then when they finally get a child (or more), they become too “busy” to remember Allah.
Children are a blessing from Allah so they, like all the other blessings, should be a means to come closer to Allah, and not a means to forget Him.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تُلْهِكُمْ أَمْوَالُكُمْ وَلَا أَوْلَادُكُمْ عَن ذِكْرِ اللَّـهِ ۚ وَمَن يَفْعَلْ ذَٰلِكَ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْخَاسِرُونَ
O you who believe! Let not your properties or your children divert you from the remembrance of Allah. And whosoever does that, then they are the losers. [Surah Al-Munafiqun (63) : 9]
And if one has no children? Well, so what? So what if one has no children? Some people think that children are the end all and be all of life and that’s not true.
زُيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ حُبُّ الشَّهَوَاتِ مِنَ النِّسَاءِ وَالْبَنِينَ وَالْقَنَاطِيرِ الْمُقَنطَرَةِ مِنَ الذَّهَبِ وَالْفِضَّةِ وَالْخَيْلِ الْمُسَوَّمَةِ وَالْأَنْعَامِ وَالْحَرْثِ ۗ ذَٰلِكَ مَتَاعُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ۖ وَاللَّـهُ عِندَهُ حُسْنُ الْمَآبِ
Beautified for men is the love of things they covet; women, children, much of gold and silver (wealth), branded beautiful horses, cattle and well-tilled land. This is the pleasure of the present world’s life; but Allah has the excellent return (Paradise with flowing rivers, etc.) with Him. [Surah Aal- Imran (3) : 14]
الْمَالُ وَالْبَنُونَ زِينَةُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ۖ وَالْبَاقِيَاتُ الصَّالِحَاتُ خَيْرٌ عِندَ رَبِّكَ ثَوَابًا وَخَيْرٌ أَمَلًا
Wealth and children are the adornment of the life of this world. But the good righteous deeds (five compulsory prayers, deeds of Allah’s obedience, good and nice talk, remembrance of Allah with glorification, praises and thanks, etc.), that last, are better with your Lord for rewards and better in respect of hope. [Surah Al-Kahf (18) : 46]
So, children, along with wealth, are the adornment of this life. If one doesn’t have either of them, it doesn’t actually mean anything from a hereafter perspective. Conversely, having children (and wealth) doesn’t mean that one is guaranteed a place in Paradise.
وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا فِي قَرْيَةٍ مِّن نَّذِيرٍ إِلَّا قَالَ مُتْرَفُوهَا إِنَّا بِمَا أُرْسِلْتُم بِهِ كَافِرُونَ
وَقَالُوا نَحْنُ أَكْثَرُ أَمْوَالًا وَأَوْلَادًا وَمَا نَحْنُ بِمُعَذَّبِينَ
قُلْ إِنَّ رَبِّي يَبْسُطُ الرِّزْقَ لِمَن يَشَاءُ وَيَقْدِرُ وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ
وَمَا أَمْوَالُكُمْ وَلَا أَوْلَادُكُم بِالَّتِي تُقَرِّبُكُمْ عِندَنَا زُلْفَىٰ إِلَّا مَنْ آمَنَ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَأُولَـٰئِكَ لَهُمْ جَزَاءُ الضِّعْفِ بِمَا عَمِلُوا وَهُمْ فِي الْغُرُفَاتِ آمِنُونَ
وَالَّذِينَ يَسْعَوْنَ فِي آيَاتِنَا مُعَاجِزِينَ أُولَـٰئِكَ فِي الْعَذَابِ مُحْضَرُونَ
قُلْ إِنَّ رَبِّي يَبْسُطُ الرِّزْقَ لِمَن يَشَاءُ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ وَيَقْدِرُ لَهُ ۚ وَمَا أَنفَقْتُم مِّن شَيْءٍ فَهُوَ يُخْلِفُهُ ۖ وَهُوَ خَيْرُ الرَّازِقِينَ
And We did not send a warner to a township, but those who were given the worldly wealth and luxuries among them said: “We believe not in the (Message) with which you have been sent.”
And they say: “We are more in wealth and in children, and we are not going to be punished.”
Say (O Muhammad): “Verily, my Lord enlarges and restricts the provision to whom He pleases, but most men know not.”
And it is not your wealth, nor your children that bring you nearer to Us (i.e. pleases Allah), but only he (will please Us) who believes (in the Islamic Monotheism), and does righteous deeds; as for such, there will be twofold reward for what they did, and they will reside in the high dwellings (Paradise) in peace and security.
And those who strive against Our Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.), to frustrate them, will be brought to the torment.
Say: “Truly, my Lord enlarges the provision for whom He wills of His slaves, and (also) restricts (it) for him, and whatsoever you spend of anything (in Allah’s Cause), He will replace it. And He is the Best of providers.” [Surah Saba (34) :34-39]
In fact, children are a trial (as any parent can and will tell you for five hours straight if you let them).
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنَّ مِنْ أَزْوَاجِكُمْ وَأَوْلَادِكُمْ عَدُوًّا لَّكُمْ فَاحْذَرُوهُمْ ۚ وَإِن تَعْفُوا وَتَصْفَحُوا وَتَغْفِرُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّـهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
إِنَّمَا أَمْوَالُكُمْ وَأَوْلَادُكُمْ فِتْنَةٌ ۚ وَاللَّـهُ عِندَهُ أَجْرٌ عَظِيمٌ
O you who believe! Verily, among your wives and your children there are enemies for you (i.e. may stop you from the obedience of Allah), therefore beware of them! But if you pardon (them) and overlook, and forgive (their faults), then verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. Your wealth and your children are only a trial, whereas Allah! With Him is a great reward (Paradise). [Surah At-Taghabun (64) :14-15]
So, whoever has children should be grateful to Allah for them whilst making sure that they don’t become a means of disobedience to Allah.
As for those who are married and have no children, this isn’t something to get depressed about. Rather one should ask Allah for children as He has power over all things. After all, He created Adam (alaihissalaam), Hawwa (radiallahu anha) and Isa (alaihissalaam) in a different manner i.e. they did not come from a man and a woman. He also granted Zakariyyah (alaihissalaam) and Ibrahim (alaihissalaam) children in their old age.
So, yes, go ahead and ask but remember to be pleased with the decree of Allah no matter what the response is, because that’s the most important thing at the end of the day.