An-Nawawī and Al-Albānī: on seeking forgiveness for the deceased non-Muslims

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A graveyard of the non-Muslims

‘Alī Ibn Abī Tālib ([Islamic phrases=”Radhiyallahu ‘anhu”]I[/Islamic]) said: I heard a man seeking forgiveness for his polytheist parents. So I said: “You seek forgiveness for your parents and they are polytheists?!” The man said: “Did not Ibrāhīm ([Islamic phrases=”Alaihis Salam'”]S[/Islamic]) seek forgiveness for his father, and he was a polytheist?” So I informed the Prophet ([Islamic phrases=”Shallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam”]H[/Islamic]) of that, and the following verse was revealed:

[arabic-font]مَا كَانَ لِلنَّبِيِّ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَن يَسْتَغْفِرُوا لِلْمُشْرِكِينَ وَلَوْ كَانُوا أُولِي قُرْبَىٰ مِن بَعْدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُمْ أَنَّهُمْ أَصْحَابُ الْجَحِيمِ[/arabic-font]

[arabic-font]وَمَا كَانَ اسْتِغْفَارُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ لِأَبِيهِ إِلَّا عَن مَّوْعِدَةٍ وَعَدَهَا إِيَّاهُ فَلَمَّا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُ أَنَّهُ عَدُوٌّ لِّلَّهِ تَبَرَّأَ مِنْهُ ۚ إِنَّ إِبْرَاهِيمَ لَأَوَّاهٌ حَلِيمٌ[/arabic-font]

“It is not correct for the Prophet and those who believe to ask Allah’s forgiveness for the polytheists even if they be close kin, after it has become clear to them that they are the dwellers of the Fire [because they died in a state of disbelief]. And the request of forgiveness of Ibrahim for his father was only because of a promise he had made to him. But when it became apparent to Ibrahim that his father was an enemy to Allah, he disassociated himself from him. Indeed Ibrahim was compassionate and patient.” (At-Tawbah 113-114) Reported An-Nasā’ee 1/286; At-Tirmidhee 4/120 and he declared it hasan; Ahmad 771, 1085, Al-Hākim 2/335 who declared it saheeh, and Dhahabee agreed.

Al-Albānī ([Islamic phrases=”Rahimahullah”]V[/Islamic]) said: “The forgiveness referred to here is that which Allah has mentioned at the end of Sūrah Ibrāhīm (14:41) wherein Ibrahim ([Islamic phrases=”Alaihis Salam'”]S[/Islamic]) said:

[arabic-font]رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ لِي وَلِوَالِدَيَّ وَلِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَوْمَ يَقُومُ الْحِسَابُ[/arabic-font]

“Our Lord, forgive me and my parents and the believers the Day the account is established.” 

Ibn Abī Hātim reported with an authentic chain of narration as Suyootee stated in Al-Fatāwā (2/419) from Ibn ‘Abbās ([Islamic phrases=”Radhiyallahu ‘anhuma”]L[/Islamic]) who said: “Ibrāhīm did not cease seeking forgiveness for his father until he died – and when his father died, it was made clear to him that he was an enemy of Allah, so he did not seek forgiveness for him.” (Ahkāmul-Janā’iz, p. 124)

An-Nawawī ([Islamic phrases=”Rahimahullah”]V[/Islamic]) said:

“The funeral prayer over the unbeliever; and supplicating for his forgiveness is forbidden by the text of Qur’ān and by consensus (ijmā’).” (Al-Majmū’ 5/144, 258)

Al-Albānī ([Islamic phrases=”Rahimahullah”]V[/Islamic]) stated:

“I say: from this you come to know the error of some of the Muslims today who invoke the mercy of Allah and His pleasure upon some of the non-Muslims. And this is something being done plentifully by some [Muslim] journalists. Indeed I have heard that one of the heads of the Arabs who is well known for religiosity invoked the mercy of Allah upon Stalin the communist [1]; both himself and his ideology is the from the severest, most vehement enemies of Islam! And that was a speech delivered in a radio broadcast by this leader upon the occasion of the death of Stalin. And it is not surprising that this ruling is unknown to the likes of this person. However, what is surprising is that some of the Islamic callers have also fallen into this, wherein one of them said in a treatise, “May Allah have mercy upon the [deceased] Bernard Shaw…” [2] And some trustworthy narrators mentioned to me that one of the sheikhs would pray the funeral prayer over those who died from the esoteric (Bātinee) sect of Isma’īlees whilst he himself believes that they are non-Muslims, due to the fact that they don’t believe in the Prayer (Salāh) or the Hajj and they worship a human being! Yet alongside all this he prays over their deceased out of hypocrisy and wishing to impress them. And to Allah is the complaint and His aid is sought.” (Ahkāmul-Janā’iz, p. 124)


[1] Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin (18 December 1878 – 5 March 1953) was the leader of the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s until his death in 1953. Holding the post of the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, he was effectively the dictator of the state.

Stalin was one of the seven members of the first Politburo, founded in 1917 in order to manage the Bolshevik Revolution, alongside Lenin, Zinoviev,Kamenev, Trotsky, Sokolnikov and Bubnov.[3] Among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who took part in the Russian Revolution of 1917, Stalin was appointed General Secretary of the party’s Central Committee in 1922. He subsequently managed to consolidate power following the 1924 death of Vladimir Lenin by suppressing Lenin’s criticisms (in the postscript of his testament) and expanding the functions of his role, all the while eliminating any opposition. He remained General Secretary until the post was abolished in 1952, concurrently serving as the Premier of the Soviet Union from 1941 onward. (source: wikipedia)

[2] George Bernard Shaw (26 July 1856 – 2 November 1950), known at his insistence simply as Bernard Shaw, was an Irish playwright, critic and polemicist whose influence on Western theatre, culture and politics extended from the 1880s to his death and beyond. He wrote more than sixty plays. (source: wikipedia)




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