I read this article a few weeks ago and am confused. I thought A’raaf was the place where those who’s good and bad deeds were equal go, and eventually they are admitted into Jannah. In the article it mentions quite a few other people, including children. But I thought those who died in childhood were seen by Rasulullah Salla Allahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam underneath a tree with Ebrahim ‘Alayhis Salaam.
Below is the article:
Companions of the A’raf [a boundary between Hell and Paradise] are of various types. Some of them are as follows:
 People whom the message of Islam did not reach in the first place, such as residents of mountain tops who have not associated anyone with their Lord nor rejected [His existence] but they have also not believed in Him. They are like animals which do not turn to God, neither in negation nor confirmation. They pay attention to the things of their interest only.
Or it is such that they received the message of Islam but they did not derive benefit from it on account of their ignorance, such as those people who did not understood the language of Islam nor did they grasp its argument.
Or they were brought up heedless towards such deep thinking. The extent of their knowledge was that Muslims are people whose turbans are of a particular type and whose shirts are of a particular sort and who eat certain things and hold certain others as forbidden.
Or they are the people who engage with us in combat over kingdom, thus unavoidably we must fight with them. Despite all this, they had not associated anyone with God and were like animals even though they were constitutionally sound.
 People who are defective in intelligence, such as children, the insane, the mentally handicapped, farmers and slaves, i.e. those who are unable to distinguish right from wrong and are hardly able to recognize their Lord and worship Him. They are like water which on account of its weakness cannot be printed upon. From such people it is only sought that they bear resemblance to Muslims and obey their manifest orders so that the True Word not be divided. This much faith is enough for them which the Holy Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) considered enough for a black woman who when asked where Allah was had pointed to the sky.
As far as the first kind of people are concerned it is necessary that they are explained the truth clearly, so that they may be able to understand it, and the argument and the guidance is unambiguously proved before them as true.
(Al-Budur al-Bazighah, p. 163-164)
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu `alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
Children who pass away in their childhood fall into two categories: Children of Muslims and the children of the disbelievers.
Children of the Muslims who pass away in childhood will be in Paradise. However, there is a difference of opinion among the scholars regarding the destination of the children of the disbelievers.[i]
Some commentators of the Quran have mentioned that the Ashāb al-‘Arāf are the children of the disbelievers. This view has been recorded by Imam Bagawi (rahmataullahi alayhi) in his tafsīr.[ii]
The above opinion regarding the children of the disbelievers being from the Ashāb al-‘Arāf does not contradict the majority view which states that the Ashāb al-‘Arāf are those whose good and bad deeds are equal. This is because those who did not have the capability or ability to perform good or bad deeds conscientiously will also fall into this category of being “equal” in their good and bad deeds such as the children and mentally-challenged are. That is why Shah Waliullah (rahmataullahi alayhi) says regarding the Ashāb-ul-‘Arāf in Al-Budūr Al-Bāzigah: “Companions of the Arāf are of many kinds…”
The dream in which in the children are seen around the Prophet Ibrahim (alayhis salam) is an authentic hadīth. Some have said that it refers to both the children of the believers and disbelievers alike, while others have said that the children meant here are the children of the disbelievers. [iii] [iv]
Regardless of the fact, that too would not contradict the view of the children of the disbelievers being from the Ashāb al-‘Arāf since Al-‘Arāf is not a permanent destination and its inhabitants are only there as a temporary measure. Additionally, the Ashāb al-‘Arāf stand delivered from the Hellfire but have not entered Paradise yet, which they eventually will through the intercession of Rasulullah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam).[v]
And Allah knows best.
Ml. Sohail Bengali
Student Darul Iftaa
Checked and Approved by:
Mufti Ebrahim Desai
i. واختلف العلماء قديما وحديثا في هذه المسألة
فتح الباري,قوله باب ما قيل في أولاد المشركين ٣/ ٢٤٦ دار المعرفة
ii. وقيل : هم أطفال المشركين
iii. والشيخ في أصل الشجرة إبراهيم وإنما أختص إبراهيم لأنه أبو المسلمين قال تعالى ملة أبيكم إبراهيم وقال تعالى أن أولى الناس بإبراهيم للذين اتبعوه الآية وأما الولدان الذين حوله فكل مولود مات على الفطرة في رواية النضر بن شميل ولد على الفطرة وهي أشبه بقوله في الرواية الأخرى وأولاد المشركين وفي رواية جرير فأولاد الناس لم أر ذلك إلا في هذه الطريق ووقع في حديث أبي أمامه
فتح الباري,قوله باب تعبير الرؤيا بعد صلاة الصبح ١٢/ ٤٤٥ دار المعرفة
iv. وأما الصبيان حوله فأولاد الناس قد أخرجه في التعبير بلفظ وأما الولدان الذين حوله فكل مولود يولد على الفطرة فقال بعض المسلمين وأولاد المشركين فقال وأولاد المشركين ويؤيده ما رواه أبو يعلى من حديث أنس مرفوعا سألت ربي اللأهين من ذرية البشر أن لا يعذبهم فأعطانيهم إسناده حسن
المرجع السابق ٣/ ٢٤٦
v. وأصحاب الأعراف يدخلونها بشفاعة النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم وقد تقدم قريبا أن أرجح الأقوال في أصحاب الأعراف انهم قوم استوت حسناتهم وسيئاتهم
المرجع السابق ١١/ ٤٢٨