Praise be to Allaah.
The hadeeth mentioned was narrated by al-Bazzaar and Abu Ya’la from Anas, and says, “All of mankind are the dependents of Allaah, and the most beloved of them to Allaah are those who are most helpful to their dependents.” This is a very weak (da’eef jiddan) hadeeth as al-Albaani said in Da’eef al-Jaami’, hadeeth no. 2946.
Any Muslim who says, “We believe that we are all the children of Allaah” should be asked to explain what he means before any judgement is made concerning him.
1 – If what he means by being children is the metaphorical meaning, which is that people are dependent upon Allaah, and he is using this word for a purpose allowed in sharee’ah, such as refuting the Christians who say that the Messiah is the son of God, then there is nothing wrong with that if he uses it only with Christians in order to show that their belief is false, but he should not use it with others lest that generate confusion and misunderstanding. That is because one of the means of showing the Christians’ beliefs concerning ‘Eesa (peace be upon him) to be false is to use the same expressions as are mentioned in their holy Book (the Bible) to prove that others were described as “sons of God” as well as ‘Eesa, which clearly indicates that what is meant by being a son of God in the texts of the Gospels is not “sonship” in the literal sense, which St. Paul claimed for Jesus in order to lead them astray from belief in Divine Oneness (Tawheed). St. Paul based his argument on the confusion that may arise from the use of the words “father” and “son”. Some of the Bible texts that may used to refute their argument are as follows:
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus said of those who believed in him:
“They are like the angels. They are God’s children since they are children of the resurrection.”
And in the Book of Isaiah:
“Bring back My sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth”
And this is what was said describing God as the Father, as it is narrated in the Gospel of Matthew that the Messiah said to his students:
“If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.”
In the Gospel of Luke:
“When you pray say, ‘Our Father, Who art in heaven…’”
In the Gospel of John:
“I am returning to my Father and your Father, my God and your God.”
The Christians do not say that the angels, the Children of Israel and the Disciples were sons of God in a literal sense, or that God was their father in a literal sense, rather they interpret that in a metaphorical sense, i.e., that He is a father to them in the sense of blessing them, being kind to them, protecting them and taking care of them, and they are His children in the sense that they worship Him, need Him and are dependent upon Him.
This demonstrates the falseness of their understanding of ‘Eesa being the son of God, basing their argument on some texts that say that he is the son of God.
2 – If he means that all people are children of Allaah just as ‘Eesa is the son of Allaah, in the sense of the Christian belief, then this is kufr (disbelief) that is worse than the kufr of the Christians.
3 – If he means that we are all children of Allaah or dependent upon Him, with no difference between Muslims and kaafirs, and he means that the Jews, Christians and idol-worshippers are not kaafirs, then this is riddah or apostasy from Islam, because whoever doubts that the Jews and Christians are kaafirs or approves of their religions is a kaafir, according to scholarly consensus.
4 – If he means thereby to justify using the word “brother” for Jews and Christians, because we are all the children of Allaah, this is false, because there is no brotherhood between the believers and the disbelievers. The hadeeth (which some may interpret as meaning that all men are brothers) has been proven to be not saheeh. Even if it was saheeh, it could not be interpreted in this fashion.
We must beware of using confusing words which may cause a person to fall into something haraam or make people think badly of him, especially words which have to do with the Oneness of Allaah (Tawheed) and His Uniqueness in His names and attributes. For the rights of Allaah take precedence and must be taken care of, and we must avoid anything that may violate them, especially when those words are used by the Jews and Allaah quotes them in the Qur’aan in the context of condemnation.
“And (both) the Jews and the Christians say: ‘We are the children of Allaah and His loved ones.’ Say: ‘Why then does He punish you for your sins?’ Nay, you are but human beings of those He has created…”
[al-Maa’idah 5:18 – interpretation of the meaning]
And Allaah knows best.