Need an explanation for a Muslim relative tragedy

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

I have a Muslim relative family who lost their first born child after couple of months of his birth.

The situation of the mother is very bad specially that she is over 30 now (so she might not get pregnant again) and she had spent months breast-feeding her child and the mother-child relationship had been established.

The child was born with birth complications that he had to undergo many surgeries to adjust an internal blood vein.

Islam does not have an answer to their tragedy, and I’m personally searching the Bible for an adequate explanation for that so I can point it to that family.

I have read in the Bible the following:
***(John 9:1-5):
*“As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.””

***(Luke 13:16):
*“Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?””

My 1’st inquiry is: Is that birth complication is Satan’s work, Humans work, or GOD’s work?

My 2’nd inquiry is: JESUS said in (John 9:1-5) “that the works of God might be displayed in him”, how does that apply nowadays when no one (even Priests) can do anything regarding many birth defects?

My 3’ed inquiry is: What is the proper explanation from the Bible to tell that family regarding their child?

Because of man’s fallen nature, human bodies are vulnerable to sickness, injury and death.Trust in God to put all things right again in His time.

Miracles happen everyday-much prayer is needed and it must be the will of God. We must trust that He will bring a greater good out of each tragedy.

Ecclesiastes 3:1
Everything Has Its Time ] For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

Psalm 139:13

For thou didst form my inward parts,
thou didst knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Jeremiah 31:15
Thus says the Lord:
“A voice is heard in Ramah,
lamentation and bitter weeping.
Rachel is weeping for her children;
she refuses to be comforted for her children,
because they are not.”

Psalm 4

Answer me when I call to you,
my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress;

Human work that God permits. God permits evil - but only so that (eventually) He can bring good from it. What good could come from the death of this child is not yet seen.

My 2’nd inquiry is: JESUS said in (John 9:1-5) “that the works of God might be displayed in him”, how does that apply nowadays when no one (even Priests) can do anything regarding many birth defects?

Again, God permits evil because he gives us free will and will not change that. Many factors go into birth defects. I read an article recently that spoke of Nikolai Sennels a Danish psychologist who has done extensive research into Muslim birth defects relating to first cousin marriages. After 1400 years there appears to be significant damage done to the gene pool of Muslims. I don’t think you need to share this with your Muslim friends I just supply it as one explanation in what is probably a vast list of factors.

My 3’ed inquiry is: What is the proper explanation from the Bible to tell that family regarding their child?

We he/she is in heaven, which may be cold comfort for a grieving mother, I realize. They may be in sorrow but the child is happy beyond anything we know here on earth. Perhaps thinking of the child’s happiness will help.

As Catholics, we do not believe that an unbaptized baby would be in Heaven. It seems unlikely, but we may hope for this. However, we do know that God in His justice would not allow pain to fall upon someone who does not deserve it, which is why the idea of Limbo exists: a place of natural happiness for those with *only *Original Sin on their souls. Since the fate of unbaptized babies is not revealed to us, the Church has no definitive teaching on this point.

You are quite correct in your statement that the Church has no definitive understanding of the fate of unborn children, thus the theory of Limbo and the teaching that we must fall on the mercy of God.
But with the constructive teaching of a baptism of desire and that of blood, a well as the baptism of water, I cannot see my merciful God rejecting the millions of miscarriaged and aborted souls that are brought to His throne every year. Nor would he reject, in my opinion, babies and other souls who have no chance to learn of Jesus Christ. No, such a God as would reject these babies is not my God or the God of the New Testament.
We can be like the Pharisees and bind the will of our God in the red tape of our laws, or we can pull the ox out on the Sabbath, using our understanding of His bountiful mercy and His joy at the return of His created children to His arms.
I would put this proposition to your muslim friends who rightly grieve at the loss of their son. So Our Lord would grieve at the loss of His child if he could not produce his fully accredited baptismal certificate. Who writes the certificate in the first place, and who seals the document in the long run? It is a foolish man who limits the mercy of the Lord, for surely we are all going to rely heavily on that very mercy we would limit.

I do not think telling people something untrue in order to comfort them is the correct thing to do, esp since we can simply say that the soul of a child that young would be in a place of happiness, whether in God’s presence (Heaven) or not.

My point is not that the child would not be happy in a place as is purported like Limbo, without knowledge of God. Rather, that God may not be satisfied to be without His innocents, such is His unlimited love for His created. These children did not reject Him, why would we suppose that He would reject them?
I respect the position of our lack of firm knowledge of His will in this area, but I am making a presumption from what we know of His nature as disclosed in the Bible and the Magisterium of the Church. We after all have been taught to have hope in the promises of Christ.
What we tell the Muslim grieving, is not “something untrue”; rather according them the hope of our risen Christ we rely on in our own faith in His mercy.
Again I plead with you not to bind the will and the mercy of the Lord in the letter of the law; but rather take in both hands, our intellect and our faith, the hope given to us in the upper room through the Holy Spirit.

Thank all of you for those insightful comments, however, what possibility that the parents or the parents of the parents have committed a serious sin and GOD is punishing them by that?

Didn’t GOD punish Pharaoh by the death of the first born children in Egypt?

One of my favorite passages for the death of a young person comes from the book of Wisdom:
Wis. 4:7-15 But the righteous man, though he die early, will be at rest. For old age is not honored for length of time, nor measured by number of years; but understanding is gray hair for men, and a blameless life is ripe old age.

There was one who pleased God and was loved by him, and while living among sinners he was taken up. ** He was caught up lest evil change his understanding or guile deceive his soul. **

For the fascination of wickedness obscures what is good, and roving desire perverts the innocent mind. ** Being perfected in a short time**, he fulfilled long years; for his soul was pleasing to the Lord, therefore he took him quickly from the midst of wickedness.

Yet the peoples saw and did not understand, nor take such a thing to heart, that God’s grace and mercy are with his elect, and he watches over his holy ones.

How am I “binding the will and mercy of the Lord”? I mean, right, a mere creature is going to bind the will of God by stating what the Church teaches, which is that God revealed many things, but He did not reveal this? I rely on what Christ taught us; I do not rely on what He did not teach us. We may hope, we may explain the reason for our hope, but we should not proclaim this as fact when we actually do not know. We know those not guilty of personal sin will not suffer, because of God’s justice, but further than that, we do not know.

From the CCC:

1261 As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus’ tenderness toward children which caused him to say: “Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,”64 allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church’s call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism. (1257, 1250)

So I’m going to “err” on the side of the grace and mercy of Christ and believe the child is in heaven.

Limbo was “buried” (I like the phrase) by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVII in a 41 page document called “The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptised”. It was published in April 2007. So it’s been gone 7 years.

A wise post.
It is not that I do not understand the position espoused by the posts of St. Francis which requests prudence as to what has not been revealed. He is right in as far as that goes. Perhaps I went too far in suggesting that his more legalistic and cautious understanding of the possible destination of the unborn child would bind the will of God; however, I believe your quotations of the recent teachings of the Church in the CCC and the statements of the Pope in the quoted document give my interpretation of a greater probability of mercy than was found before in the Church teaching of an unknown fate founded in mercy.
I did not mean to suggest that by following the teaching of the Church you bind the will of God,rather that it should still allow for the hope of eternal salvation of the innocents whilst remaining loyal to the truths of the Church.

You are completely correct in saying that we do not know. Just as Thomas did not know until he was offered the right to touch His blessed wounds. But we have the right of Mary to have complete trust in Him as she showed at Cana or the seemingly laughable faith and hope that the Holy Spirit inspired in the Good Thief in requesting his place before the Lord. So shall I go that extra leap from what we know to what we hope for in our faith in His mercy.
I bow to your prudence, but I am impudent in my demands as I know we are family and the Father knows His sons.

The teaching of the Church is they do not know, they hope and pray.,d.b2k

“The Christian faith affirmation of the necessity of sacramental Baptism for salvation cannot be depleted of its existential significance by being reduced to a merely theoretical affirmation.”

"Our conclusion is that the many factors that we have considered above give serious theological and liturgical grounds for hope that unbaptised infants who die will be saved and enjoy the Beatific Vision. "

It does not say they are saved, it says; “hope they will be saved.”

And suppose hope is in vain, then they are not saved where does this leave the unbaptized as indicated above? Hoping they are in purgatory?


Petaro, I cannot bow to St Francis’ prudence but give you credit for doing so. His claim that we should rely on what Christ taught us and not rely on what he did not teach us discredits the apostolic faith we have been blessed with. It also relegates the bible verse describing the many things Jesus taught the apostles that were not recorded in scripture. To believe in what Chris taught us means to believe what the apostolic Church teaches today.

It is sad that a Catholic would take such a view of Our Father. So many people get confused at the teaching of our Church regarding the normative requisites for salvation that they lose sight of the fact that God is not bound by his revealed law under covenant to his sons and daughters on earth. God is not bound by this law in his judgment of us as St Francis fails to understand. He is God. Sometimes intellect gets in the way of that child like faith and the Beauty of The Holy Spirit gets lost in the process.

Baptism is necessary for the Beatific Vision, however, God is all powerful and merciful and free to call all to glory through the blood of Christ, any person. I have more fear for our protestant bothers and sisters who DO know the real Jesus Christ but choose not to baptize their infants. It is truly tragic and one of my greatest petitions to our God, that our protestant brothers and sisters children that are not baptized be saved. It seems a Muslims infant whose parents were fed lies about Jesus Christ and who he is have a better chance of seeing their children in heaven.

Maybe I’m wrong. I pray both cases are treated equally by God but what then of our obligations to follow the law of God as Christians who claim to be blessed with the knowledge of the real Jesus Christ???


Hello, sorry for your families situation. My wife’s cousin lost triplets two years ago and there is very little proof that good can come of it unless you realized that its a chance to develop your relationship with God the Holy Spirit. But then, the best of good things will happen. There is no strictly human good out of the tragedy but its spiritual fruit that matters as always. I would encourage they consider more deeply the story of Abraham ands Isaac and give focus to the fact that Isaac was Sarah’s son, the one born of his wife as opposed to Ishmael, the illegitimate son that Muslims claim they are descendants of. It is this story which shows who God really is, the loving God that would rather give the life of his own son than to ask you to offer the life of your own son. That said, human life, due the fall of man will have suffering that we must accept as a sign of our faith and hope that it is our eternal life that we are seeking. We suffer because we have free will to turn on God and disobey him.

Our Father in heaven asks us not to endure anything more than he did when he offered his son up on the cross. Your family had no choice in the tragedy that happened unlike God who freely gave his son over to a brutal death. The few positives from all this can be the fact that the baby is no longer and will never again suffer (much of human life is suffering), the parents may have a soul in heaven praying for them, the Christian faith can better answer why such things happen and hence a possible conversion of faith.

There are organizations (catholic ones too) that deal with such loss and you can easily search them online. There are groups to join as well.

All those in heaven receive the beatific vision. Your proposal suggests all unborn and unbaptized who perish are in the same reality as the Saints.

Its not sad what another thinks and its not contrary to the Bible or Catholic teaching, Baptism is Dogma of the Church reaffirmed from apostolic times forward, its a Sacrament instituted by Jesus Christ. And the unborn have been addressed and many times.

Purgatory is not an option for two reasons:

  1. Those in purgatory are heading for heaven.

  2. Those in purgatory are there because they committed sins and while the guilt was forgiven the recompense was incomplete and they need to be cleansed of the stain of sin. Since the child could not commit sin he/she has nothing from which to be cleansed.

God’s mercy is infinite. I think we can safely trust that innocent children are loved and cared for. The fact that God has not told us how does not mean it does not happen.

This article was written in Dec 2005. Pope Benedict issues his document in April 2007. It just took a bit longer than folks thought.

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