Language Failure: Death of a Child

Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’oon. To Allah we belong and unto Him we return. There is no word in the English language that I am aware of to describe a parent that has lost a child. There are many other words to describe other life and death situations:

A child that loses both of its parents is an orphan.

A woman that loses her husband is a widow.

A man that loses his wife is a widower.

The Prophet said, upon him be peace, “The miscarried child will pester its glorious and mighty Lord for His entering its two parents into the Fire until it is told, ‘O miscarried child that pesters its Lord! Enter your father and mother into Paradise.’ Then it will drag them with its umbilical cord until it makes them enter Paradise.” [Ibn Majah and Abu Ya`la from `Ali]

And again, “By the One in Whose hand is my soul, truly the miscarried child will certainly drag its mother with its umbilical cord to Paradise, provided one expects recompense [for sabr].” [Ibn Majah and Ahmad from Mu`adh]

And he said, upon him peace: “Your little ones are the larvas (da`aamees) of Paradise. They will meet their parents and grab them by their garments or their hands to no end other than that Allah will enter them into Paradise.” [Sahih Muslim]

IslamQA: Ruling on a Miscarried Fetus

SunniPath: Miscarriage – Loss of a Child

Karla Holloway: Giving a Name to the Pain of Losing a Child [The essay begins about 2 min 15 sec in so you can skip the first part]


  1. The janaza was this morning. It was small yet sweet. There were a lot of young sisters there some of whom perhaps have not previously prayed a janaza so there was some confusion in the line and some went down into ruku at the second takbir. After the salaam, some sisters that came late, remained standing behind us with a look of confusion on their faces. I’m not sure what they thought we were praying at 10:23 in the morning but they didn’t seem to know it was a janaza.

    I remember my own confusion the first time I prayed a janaza after jumuah a few years ago. I was amazed at its simplicity and saddened remembering a convert I had known that had recently passed away. Her parents had never accepted her Islam and buried her in the Christian fashion.

    Among the things I made dua for today was to be able to remain firm my faith and to live and die as a Muslim and to have the rites of washing, janazah, and burial amongst the Muslims performed for me on a day when I will not be able to do anything for myself. It’s a sad thing when converts die and their families do not bury them in the manner prescribed by Islam.

    May Allah have mercy on the child(ren) whose lifespan was decreed to never take a breath outside of the womb and on the families. And on those Muslims that never had a janaza prayed for them as was their right. Ameen.

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