Prelude: Ahaadeeth Al Imtihaan were mentioned by Al-Imaam ibn Katheer (Tafseer Al Qur’aan Al Adheem vol.3 pp.1699-1700) and by Al Etiyobee ( in Daakheeraah Al ‘Uqbah vol.19 pp.194-195).
Scholars have three opinions on the authenticity of the narrations:
The first opinion: Those who weaken all of the narrations, like Al Imaam Aboo AbdiLlahi Al Qurtubee (See Tafseer Al Qurtubee vol.13 p.44).
The second opinion: Those who make demarcations in their opinions, like Ibn Qayyim and Al Etiyiobee (in Adh Dhaakheerah vol.19 p.145). They say: the narration of Allaah putting the deaf, an insane etc to test on the Day of Ressurrection are authentic, while the narration that contains the word “infant” is weak.
The Third Opinion: These scholars are of the opinion that the hadeeth of the infant has corroborating evidence, like Al-Imaam Al-Albaanee (in As-Saheehah vol.6 pp.603-605).
Al Imaam Ibn Katheer and Muhaddith Al-‘Asr [Al-Imaam al-Albaanee] cited some of the routes of the narrations.
Precisely, the texts of the narrations are of three.
The first Text:
Al Aswad bn Saree’ narrated
"أَرْبَعَةٌ يَحْتَجُّونَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ: رجلٌ أَصَمُّ لَا يَسْمَعُ شَيْئًا، وَرَجُلٌ أَحْمَقُ، وَرَجُلٌ هَرِمٌ، ورجل مات في فترة. فالأصم فَيَقُولُ رَبِّ قَدْ جَاءَ الْإِسْلَامُ وَمَا أَسْمَعُ شَيْئًا، وَأَمَّا الْأَحْمَقُ فَيَقُولُ: رَبِّ قَدْ جَاءَ الْإِسْلَامُ وَالصِّبْيَانُ يَحْذِفُونِي بِالْبَعْرِ، وَأَمَّا الْهَرِمُ فَيَقُولُ لَقَدْ جَاءَ الْإِسْلَامُ وَمَا أَعْقِلُ شَيْئًا، وَأَمَّا الذي مات في الفطرة فَيَقُولُ: رَبِّ مَا أَتَانِي لَكَ رَسُولٌ. فَيَأْخُذُ مواثيقهم ليطيعنه فَيُرْسِلُ إِلَيْهِمْ أَنِ ادْخُلُوا النَّارَ، فَوَالَّذِي نَفْسُ محمد بيده لو دخلوها لكانت برداً وسلاماً"
There are four who will present their cases on the Day of Resurrection; a deaf man who never heard anything, an insane man, a very old and senile man, and a man who died during the fitrah [before the advent of Nabee Muhammad - salallaahu alahyi wa sallam]. As for the deaf man, he will say: 'O Lord, Islam came but I never heard anything.' As for the insane man, he will say O Lord, Islaam came and the young boys were throwing camel dung at me. As for the senile man he will say, 'O Lord Islam came and I did not understand anything.' As for the one who died during the fitrah, he will say: 'O Lord, no messenger from You came to me.' Allah will accept the pledge of obedience to Him, then he will send word to them that they should enter the fire. By the One Whose Hand is the soul of Muhammad, if they enter it, it will be cool and safe for them.
At the end of the narration of Aboo Hurayrah, it says:
مَنْ دَخَلَهَا كَانَتْ عَلَيْهِ بَرْدًا وَسَلَامًا، وَمَنْ لَمْ يَدْخُلْهَا يُسْحَبُ إِلَيْهَا"
Whosoever enters it will find it cool and safe and whosoever does not enter it will be dragged into it.
Source: Musnad Al Imaam Ahmad vol.4 p.24 no.15866, Al Haytamee (Al Majma’ vol.7 p.216) said: 'It has authentic chain of narration.' Al-Albaanee said a similar thing [see: vol.3 p418 no.1434].
The second Text:
Anas bn Malik narrated:
"يُؤْتَى بِأَرْبَعَةٍ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ: بِالْمَوْلُودِ، وَالْمَعْتُوهِ، وَمَنْ مَاتَ فِي الفَتْرَة، وَالشَّيْخِ الْفَانِي الْهَرِمِ، كُلُّهُمْ يَتَكَلَّمُ بِحُجَّتِهِ، فَيَقُولُ الرَّبُّ تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَى لِعُنُقٍ مِنَ النَّارِ: ابْرُزْ. وَيَقُولُ لَهُمْ: إِنِّي كُنْتُ أَبْعَثُ إِلَى عِبَادِي رُسُلًا مِنْ أَنْفُسِهِمْ، وَإِنِّي رَسُولُ نَفْسِي إِلَيْكُمُ ادْخُلُوا هَذِهِ. قَالَ: فَيَقُولُ مَنْ كُتِبَ عَلَيْهِ الشَّقَاءُ: يَا رَبِّ، أَنَّى نَدْخُلُهَا وَمِنْهَا كُنَّا نَفِرُّ؟ قَالَ: وَمَنْ كُتِبَتْ عَلَيْهِ السَّعَادَةُ يَمْضِي فَيَقْتَحِمُ فِيهَا مُسْرِعًا، قَالَ: فَيَقُولُ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى: أَنْتُمْ لِرُسُلِي أَشَدُّ تَكْذِيبًا وَمَعْصِيَةً، فَيُدْخِلُ هؤلاء الجنة، وهؤلاء النار"
Four (types of people) will be brought forth on the Day of Resurrection; the infant, the insane, the one who died during the fitrah and the very old man. All of them will speak with their own defence, then the Lord, may He be blessed and exalted, will say to a neck of hell, come forth and he will say to them, 'I used to send messenger to My slaves from amongst themselves. Now, I am the messenger of Myself to you. Enter this (the fire…).' Those who are decreed to be among the doomed will say: 'O Lord, how could we enter it when we are trying to escape from it?' And those who are decreed to be among the blessed will rush to enter it. And Allah will say: 'You would have been more disobedient towards My messengers.' So those will enter paradise and those who will enter hell.
Source: Musnad Abee Ya’la vol.7 p.225 no.4224. Al Albaanee graded it authentic due to corroborating evidences (see As Saheehaah vol.6 pp.603-605). Al Allaamah Ahmad Shaakir removed it in his summary of Tafseer Ibn Katheer entitled “Umdah At Tafseer”, which indicates its weakness.
Anwar Al Baaz said in the introductory note:
'Nothing remains in the summary except the authentic narrations. This is not strange, it is his profession and field in which he was hardly preceded. Thus, we truthfully say: It is “Saheeh Al Mukhtasar Tafseer Al Qur’aan Al Adheem of Ibn Katheer…(‘Umdatut Tafseer vol.1 p.5).
Al Allaamah Aadam Al Etiyiobee said:
'If the narration of the trials of the infant is authentic, this Madh’hab would have been right and preponderant as Ibn Qayyim said, but it is not authentic.' Aboo Ya’ala Al Mawsoolee mentioned it from the narration of Anas; it chain contains Layth bn Abee Sulaym and he is matrook - rejected person in hadeeth narrations, likewise Adh Dhuhaylee and Al Bazzaar collected it from the narration of Abee Sa’eed Al Khudree; it chain contains ‘Atiyyah Al Awfee and it is extremely weak, it was also mentioned in the narration of Mu’aadh bn Jabal and it chain contains ‘Amr bn Waaqid Ad Damashqee; (also) matrook. Conclusively, the narration of the trial of the infants is weak. (Daakheerah Al ‘Uqbah vol.19 p.194). Allah knows best.
The Third Text:
The Messenger of Allaah (sallaLlaahu alayhi wa sallam) said:
قَالَ: "النَّبِيُّ فِي الْجَنَّةِ، وَالشَّهِيدُ فِي الْجَنَّةِ، وَالْمَوْلُودُ فِي الْجَنَّةِ، وَالْوَئِيدُ فِي الْجَنَّةِ
Prophets are in paradise, martyrs are in paradise, infants are in paradise and baby girls who were buried alive are in paradise.
Source: Musnad Al Imaam Ahmad no. 20026 and Sunan Abee Daawood. Ibn Hajar graded it hasan (Al fat'h vol.3 p.246), Al Albaanee graded it authentic (Saheeh Sunan Abee Daawood no 2430) and Al Allaamah Ahmad Shaakir mentioned it in Al Mukhtasar.