The Sharing Group Discussion on Saying 'RIP' for a Non-Muslim

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Sister Nim Hanim asked this question on The Sharing Group on the 24th March 2015: “Salam to all, I have a question.  As our founding father of Singapore, has passed on, please enlighten me; is it haram or is it not allowed for a Muslim to wish, or write or say RIP, ‘Rest in peace’?  I read this on FB somewhere.”

Brother Raz Muhd: A funeral passed by the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) and he stood up.  It was said to him, “It is a Jew.”

The Prophet (s.a.w.) replied, “Was he not a soul?”

I think it is not haram.

Brother Jossy Enriquez: It is only a figurative speech.  Should we say, “Burn in Hell forever”?  Where is our level of tolerance as Muslims?

Brother Syed Zuhaib Quadri: Not haram.  Simple as that.

Sister Mahira Khairia: Even with logic, we can conclude it is not haram.  Its courtesy, an act of respect for the dead.  Surely it does not affect our iman just by giving our condolences to others?

Brother Abang Fuad Temasek: It is a term or rather, a prayer, du’a, used by the Catholics - Rest in Peace, RIP.

Sister Aidha Khadijah Muhammad: Wa ‘Alaykum as-Salam.  I say RIP too for non-Muslims.

Brother Encik Ahmad: The only religion in the Sight of Allah (s.w.t.) is Islam.  Period.

Sister Mahira Khairia: What does that statement have to do with the question, Brother Encik Ahmad?

Sister Marjorie Abdullah: In Malaysia, we have been told not to use it.  I am a bit of a rebel so I still say it all the time.  I cannot see why it is not a respectful and kind thing to say.

Sister Mahira Khairia: Yup, as a fellow Malaysian too, there has been a circulation going on about this condolences to non-Muslim issue.  Apparently Malaysian Muslims are afraid that everything around them will deteriorate their iman.  Sigh.  It is pathetic.

Brother Khalid Yaqub: Was he religious?  If not, it makes no difference to him.  I wish someone would check on Brother Terence - he has not posted in 7 hours.

Sister Marjorie Abdullah: Allah (s.w.t.) is Most Gracious and Most Merciful.  Surely we can only be Rewarded for being gracious and merciful in our manner.

Brother Iqbal Raman Muthy: It is not haram.

Brother Abang Fuad Temasek: “Rest in peace” comes from the Latin phrase, “Requiescant in pace”.  This is where the acronym “R.I.P.” comes from as well.  It is a prayer to God that the soul of the deceased person will find peace in the next life.  It is not wrong to attend or pay visit but to pray for the departed is not allowed.  Are we saying they will have peace even they are kafir?  A kafir can be anyone regardless of their race.

Sister Marjorie Abdullah: Allah (s.w.t.) is the Only Judge.  What is wrong with praying that their sins will be Forgiven and they may rest in peace?

Brother Jossy Enriquez: Muslims sometimes show more concern over those nitty gritty stuff than the bigger sins.  Rest in peace, how wrong can it be?

Sister Mahira Khairia: Brother Abang Fuad Temasek, can you share us your sources please?  And because ‘RIP’ is a phrase in Latin, is it wrong to say it in English?  Because today it is a common phrase for giving condolences and not considered a prayer since it is in English after all.  When one cannot even pay a visit for the deceased, the phrase is usually said in return, and besides one does not have the intention to pray for the deceased but only to say something as courtesy.

Brother Khan Shahnawaz: Wishing peace for anyone, whether alive or dead is not a religious thing.

Sister Amani Gamaledin: It is a prayer of goodwill; it will either be Accepted by God or Rejected according to His Divine Wisdom.  Why should this be a contentious issue?

Brother Abdullah Abu Adam: It is a legitimate question you should ask a qualified scholar really.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Firstly, it is not haram to say “Rest in Peace”.  And it certainly is not haram to wish well for the departed regardless of religion.  And Brother Abang Fuad Temasek is wrong.  The Catholic requiem prayers are quite different.  Please stick to your own religion instead of making outrageous statements about other religions.

Secondly, Harold Lee Kuan Yew was the first Prime Minister of an independent Singapore.  But he was not our founding father.  Singaporeans really need to learn their history.

Sister Angel Leah: My thoughts, it boils down to the intention.  Say “RIP”, say ‘Merry Christmas”, say Happy Valentines”...  My intention is just courtesy.  If you do not feel confident, do not say anything.  No one is going to judge.

Brother Jossy Enriquez: Surely God is not going to put you in Hell just because you said, “Happy New Year”, or, “Happy Father’s” or “Mother's Day”, right?  It is all about the intentions.

Sister Nim Hanim: Brother Terence, we know who Singapore’s founding fathers really are.  I do not take it seriously.  Neither do I believe he is the founder of Singapore.  It is just a term the media is currently using to promote the old man.  I do, however, give the man, and many forgotten others, credit for building this country up.

Brother Jossy Enriquez: Same here.  I know that too, Sister Nim Hanim.  But it is the media and a whole lot of politics.  I do not want to get into that because it will become a never ending story.  He is dead; let us leave it that way in due respect.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Everybody who know me knows I am not a fan of this man or his politics.  This was a country built by the likes of Toh Chin Chye, David Marshall, Goh Keng Swee, Lim Chin Siong and Devan Nair.  Harold Lee took credit for all that.

This was a man who was a Japanese collaborator during the Occupation, whilst my family was almost wiped out fighting the invaders.  Their heads decorated the bridges over the Singapore River, and their bodies are at the Bridge over the River Kwai.  There is a reason why there is only us left.

This was the man who had a certain position before independence, and then collaborated with the communists, whilst my family fought in the Emergency.  And then, once in power, used the very same Internal Security Act to put his political opponents in indefinite detention without trial for decades. He branded them communists.

This was the man who turned the Singapore Armed Forces from a mainly Malay force into one where non-Chinese did not hold many senior positions because we ‘could not be trusted’.  His actions led to a mutiny of the then Malay commando regiment, and he had some of them hanged and others detained for decades.  And then for those who did not take part, because they were Malay, he forced them to resign, or deported some of them to Malaysia despite the fact that their family was in Singapore for generations, and rewrote history.  Any person who converted to Islam was immediately transferred out of any specialised units or ‘sensitive’ units, unless you were ‘trusted.’

This was a man who described Islam as a virus and a cancer.  Who said that the wearing of hijab and the fact more Muslims were praying were signs of creeping Islamisation.  And he did this while appointing as the Minister in charge of Muslim Affairs, a man who did not pray, who drank, and who took away the waqf trusts and turned them into REITS.  They sold Angullia’s waqf for a pittance, and that land was turned into part of Orchard Road’s shopping district.

This was a man who sued anyone for suggesting nepotism despite the fact that many of our current and past politicians, the family that owns OCBC, CDL, and many of our GLCs, and the people who run our two state investment vehicles, are all related to him, either by marriage or blood.

If ever there was a person who deserved the title ‘kafir’, it was this man.  Most Singaporeans have been so beguiled by the media propaganda that they do not know their history.  Wikileaks has been helpful.  The numerous transcripts of his speeches, and his interviews have amply demonstrated his ideas on eugenics, class and race.  He was a racist, masquerading as a pragmatist.  A vindictive man who practised guilt by association.  A bully who utilised the organs of state to punish any who dared question him.  And those he could not defeat by the pulpit, he had them exiled, some by making them ambassadors, such as David Marshall.

Brother Zain Aly Trook: What wrong could come of wishing someone well in the Hereafter?  God has the Final Say, irrespective of what we say or do not say in this world.  RIP, Mr. Yew.

Brother Ishaq Mohammed: Well....I have seen, “Inna lillah wa inna ‘ilayhi raji’un” used by Muslims for those in the Diyn and not in the Diyn.  Why is that allowed but ‘R.I.P.’ is forbidden?  Subhanallah!  Will we pass fatawa on the WWE’s Undertaker next?

Sister Mahira Khairia: I wonder what his beef with Muslims and Malays were, and which ones he hated more.

Brother Abang Fuad Temasek: Sister Mahira Khairia, whether it is in Latin or Cambridge English, ‘RIP’ means “rest in peace”.  It is said to express the hope that someone’s spirit has found peace after death.  It is often written on a gravestone.  Let us not talk about anyone in particular here, but to acknowledge that a non-Muslim who had no faith at all has peace after death, do you think it makes sense when we know that all kafirun in their graves will not have peace until the end of the world?

Sister Mahira Khairia: I actually do not mind praying for anybody regardless of their religion when it comes for peace and for their Judgement in the afterlife too.  No harm in hoping the best for anyone’s sake too actually.

Brother Abang Fuad Temasek: I hope we will not be invited to read ud’iyyah or Surah YaSin in the future, if RIP seems to be okay for a non-Muslim.  Islam has to be different.  If all understanding of a religion are the same, then I do not see why Islam needs to exist.

Sister Mahira Khairia: That is taking your theory a bit too far.  No, non-Muslims would want that in the first place since they have their own faiths for prayers.  Islam is different but that does not mean we should not be a part of society and limit our speech just for the sake of being different.  People will take that as Islam being a cold-hearted, distant and unfriendly religion, which creates more tension and less harmony in society.  To make a mountain out of a molehill is what Muslims do best nowadays.

Brother AbdRohim Sinwan: It is as if this island city state had its very own Ataturk.

Brother Tariq Hussain: It is haram to say peace upon one who died in a state of disbelief.  But we should always respect the dead for they are human beings.

Sister Mahira Khairia: Why is it haram?

Brother Tariq Hussain: Because the person died upon falsehood and Allah (s.w.t.) does not grant His Mercy upon a disbeliever.  If one died upon Islam, Allah’s (s.w.t.) Mercy is especially for them.

Sister Mahira Khairia: So then we cannot wish them condolences?  Because it is up to Allah (s.w.t.) to Decide whether He may Give Mercy to them or not, but why cannot we say it in respect for the dead?

Brother Ishaq Mohammed: I suppose by that line of reasoning, Allah (s.w.t.) Grants Mercy to the Murdering ISIS cult but would not grant Mercy to the Pope.  I will tell you what is haram: to say that Allah (s.w.t.) can or cannot do something.  Dare I say that is a form of shirk, so beware.

Brother Tariq Hussain: No, we cannot.  It is because if Allah (s.w.t.) Himself is not Merciful towards them, then we have no right to go against Allah (s.w.t.).  It is like saying to Allah (s.w.t.), we know better.

Brother Ishaq Mohammed: My head hurts.  To say that the Most Merciful cannot grant Mercy, astaghfirullah, what an abhorrent statement.

Brother Sadali Ami: Brother Tariq Hussain, do try to read your own reasoning.  You would laugh.  First, you say, “If Allah (s.w.t.) is not Merciful towards them,” then you say, “It is like saying to Allah (s.w.t.) we know better”.  It sure seems like you know as much as Allah (s.w.t.).

Brother Tariq Hussain: First of all, we agree as Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah that ISIS are astray.  And second, Brother Ishaq Mohammed, before getting your shirk card out without studying Diyn, be prepared, and it is you who should beware before stating that I am committing an act of shirk.

Verily, those who disbelieve and did wrong [by concealing the truth about Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) and his message of true Islamic Monotheism written in the Taurat (Torah) and the Injil (Gospel) with them], Allah will not Forgive them, nor will He Guide them to any way, - (Tafsir al-Qurthubi).  Except the way of Hell, to dwell therein forever, and this is ever easy for Allah. (Surah an-Nisa’:168-169)

Verily Allah has Cursed the unbelievers and prepared for them a Blazing Fire ― (Surah al-Ahzab:64)

Study the Diyn of Allah (s.w.t.).  The Qur’an is there.  The ahadits are there.  And the masajid and scholars are many, so there is no excuse, my dear brothers.  I am a student of knowledge so, yes, I study.

Sister Mahira Khairia: But why can we not wish them condolences?  That question is still left unanswered.  It is beyond logic to say it is haram for us to wish them condolences.

Brother Tariq Hussain: Because one is wishing peace in Allah’s (s.w.t.) Name upon a disbeliever when Allah (s.w.t.) Himself Says they will face the Fire forever.

Brother Ishaq Mohammed: Brother, you will be the third person I block here because I do not need some guy who thinks he knows what Allah (s.w.t.) can and cannot do try to lecture me about ‘Diyn’, and I certainly do not fear you.  So should you tell me what to beware since you are a ‘student’?  Do not even come at me that way when you do not know me.  And the way you quote those ayat shows your utter lack of understanding.  Perhaps you should go back to your studies before trying to lecture me, young man.

Sister Mahira Khairia: But we are not wishing them peace in Allah’s (s.w.t.) Name!  The wish is only ‘Rest in Peace’.  Allah (s.w.t.) Showing them Mercy in the afterlife is Allah’s Will but should we not act like good Muslims by giving condolences?  It is up to Allah (s.w.t.) on how to Judge the disbelievers but that does not mean we cannot simply wish them.  How is wishing even related to us making shirk of Allah (s.w.t.)?

Brother Tariq Hussain: Actually, I am a Sufi sayyid from the Shadzili thariqa’.  And I see Rasulullah (s.a.w.) in my dreams regularly, and twice whilst awake.  So may Allah (s.w.t.) Guide us all, including myself.  My apologies for a straight answer.  I am sorry, but I do not lie.

Brother Sadali Ami: I think you are just confused, Brother Tariq Hussain.  When you say ‘if’, it means you do not know whether Allah (s.w.t.) has Granted Mercy to that soul, and rightly so, because that is His Will.  But then, you decided that Allah has not granted the soul Mercy, as though that is your domain, and thereafter forbade others to wish peace upon a soul.  You do not have to counter what I am saying.  Just try to understand that neither of us are masters of any domain.  But if you feel free to decide for The Most Merciful what He can or cannot do, that is your prerogative.

Sister Mahira Khairia: I cannot believe you actually bragged about meeting the Prophet (s.a.w.).  Riya’ is not good, brother.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Born Muslims should not come to a convert group and tell us we cannot pray for our non-Muslim family.  I did not come to Islam to worship the tribal god of the Malays or the Arabs or the Pakistanis.  I reject such a limited ethnic Islam.  I read YaSin for my grandmother, and I mention their names in tahlil.

Also, Brother Tariq Hussain, you used the Muhsin Khan translation, which is a Wahhabi translation, with added words which are not found in the actual Arabic of the Qur’an.  The better, Muhammad Yusuf ‘Ali translation is given below:

Those who reject faith and do wrong Allah; ― will not Forgive them, nor Guide them to any way. ― except the way of Hell, to dwell therein forever: and this, to Allah, is Easy. (Surah an-Nisa’:168-169)

Brother Tariq Hussain: Okay then, if you want to wish peace upon them, why even ask?  Allah (s.w.t.) has Stated the Truth in His Book, by His Rules.  If people want to make things up, go ahead.  It seems anyone who speaks the truth here is a Wahhabi.

Sister Mahira Khairia: I am sorry in behalf on the born-Muslims here, Brother Terence.  Not all of us see things in black and white.

I asked because I wanted to know your reason, Brother Tariq.  There is no need to get defensive when you yourself added into the conversation.  Is it wrong that I asked?  And do not go telling people they made things up when you yourself bragged to people about how pious you are, brother.  I have met too many of your kind, who have their nose up in the air until they have forgotten to be humble and kind.

Brother Tariq Hussain: I am not pious, but calling me a Wahhabi is bang out of order.  Being humble is to be in a low state of oneself.  For example, in my heart, you are better than I.  Your deeds are doubled and Allah (s.w.t.) has Granted you Islam.  Subhanallah.  But I cannot tell a lie.  To make Islam sound good or bad, it is what it is.

Brother Ishaq Mohammed: And here we have a perfect example of one who worships the religion instead of Allah (s.w.t.).  Subhanallah!  My only regret is that this riled me up far more than it needed to.  This is exactly the problem with the Muslims and not Islam itself: saying a person wishing peace upon a soul is haram.  I got worked up because it is utterly offensive to read such an abhorrent statement.  Praises to Allah (s.w.t.) that contrary to a certain person’s belief, I do know the Qur'an well enough to know saying such a statement, be it ‘Rest in Peace’, ‘Vaya con Dios’, ‘Inna lillahi wa inna ‘ilayhi raji’un’ or whatever is not haram.

Sister Mahira Khairia: First off, I did not call you a Wahhabi.  Secondly, “To make Islam sound good or bad, it is what it is” - that sentence makes it sound like Islam is not a good thing when it is.  And it is our duty as Muslim to install friendships and relationships to non-Muslims as a form of da’wah to them.  Islam correlates with logic, so by logic wishing non-Muslims condolences shows that we care for them despite the differences in faith.  It shows that we too acknowledge their loss and suffering and wish the best for them.  What goes on in the afterlife is solely up to Allah (s.w.t.) to Decide but that does not mean we should not at least be polite and show that we care through what we say to them.

Brother Tariq Hussain: Imam Ahmad (r.a.) reported that Abu Musa al-Ash’ari (r.a.) said, “I said to ‘Umar (r.a.), ‘I have a Christian scribe.’

He said, ‘What is wrong with you, may Allah Strike you dead!  Have you not heard the words of Allah, ‘O you who believe!  Take not the Jews and the Christians as awliya’, they are but awliya’ to one another…” [al-Ma’idah 5:51]’?  Why do you not employ a hanif?’

I said, ‘O Amir al-Mu’minin, I benefit from his work and he keeps his religion to himself.’

He said, ‘I will never honour them when Allah has Humiliated them, and I will never bring them close to me when Allah has Expelled them from His Mercy.’”

I am sure ‘Umar (r.a.) knows better than all of us.  When I spoke, I spoke from the ‘ulama and people of haqq.  I once asked this very same question and around 30 ‘ulama showed me the truth, and laid it out as it is.  So I have been here before.

Brother Isa Johansson: In the Majmu’ of Imam an-Nawawi (r.a.), it is mentioned that there is a consensus, ijma’, on the impermissibility of praying for those who died as non-Muslims.  If a person wants to dispute the ijma’ academically, that is fine, although they will not really come up with much, nor will it change anything in terms of the ruling.  If a person on a personal level chooses to reject this ruling, there is nothing we can do but advise them.  With that said, it is a whole other things for people to speak hastily without knowledge, saying, “No, it is not haram.”  Speaking about the Diyn of Allah without knowledge is a great sin.

I too have non-Muslim family that I love very dearly, but that does not mean that we change the religion based on our desires.  In fact, as the hadits hasan says, “You are not a believer until your desires are what I came with.”  Fi amanillah.

Sister Asmaa Mahmud: I am just curious, why is it that we cannot pray peace for the non-Muslims when in fact they are spirits as well; they are humans.  Although they are non-Muslims, in the end we, do not know whether they died as disbelievers or not.  I do not understand why some would say we cannot pray for a disbeliever when, in the first place, we do not and will not know whether they died as one.  In fact, we do not even know if we will die as believers.  So why can we not just pray for them, whatever their fate may be.  Who knows they are believers at the end of their lives?  Also, I do not believe that Islam would teach something as disrespectful as to not allow Muslims to say a simple “Rest in peace” to a non-Muslim who has passed on.  Please note that I am not referring to Lee Kuan Yew, but just in general.

Brother Ishaq Mohammed: The fact that we are arguing about being able to say, “Rest in peace” to someone is ridiculous and utterly stupid.  And to say someone is or is not a “complete Muslim” or they are “lacking in the Diyn” because they said it is not haram?  Astaghfirullah.  Worshiping the religion over the One Who Created all things.  All I can say is, may Allah (s.w.t.) Guide us all.

Sister Nim Hanim: Sister Asmaa Mahmud, yes that would be the gist of it.  Who is to know but Allah (s.w.t.) if we die, we are Accepted as believers or disbelievers.  It is up to the Almighty.  Thus for me, my heart is filled with only respect and out of courtesy, I would wish upon the non-Muslims who pass on, ‘RIP’.  I would not tell them, for example, “May you rot in hell,” with a sad smile and the supposed knowledge that they will suffer in the Hereafter.  We live in a world filled with many races and religions.  It would be prudent to be respectful of other religions, cultures and ways of life.  As long as we are not out to harm anyone, I leave the judgment to Allah (s.w.t.).

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: We have had this discussion already: A Muslim Convert Once More: The Sharing Group Discussion - Is Salvation Exclusive?  The position in the books of fiqh is that it is haram to pray for the kafirun, not the ghayr muslimin.  My contention then is that a non-Muslim is not automatically a kafir.  When we take the fatawa and ahkam from the books of fiqh, we must also note the zaman and makan of a ruling.  Otherwise, we will have the same position that we arrive at with ahadits: the religion seems untenable.  A fatwa is a legal opinion.  And like all legal opinions, it is dependent on the circumstances.  When those circumstances change, that fatwa might not be applicable.  A hukm is a legal ruling.  In terms of taqlid, it may be binding.  But again, there is still room for personal ijtihad in these areas.  No one can state, for example, that this is definitively an ijma’ since there is no ijma’ on what an ijma’ actually is.  But this is the realm of theoretical fiqh and speculative ‘aqidah.

Bringing it down to a level that we can understand, unless a person is confirmed the be a kafir, as in, such a person knew the reality of Islam and actively covered it and worked against it, such as the Quraysh, who were the family of the Prophet (s.a.w.), then we cannot assume they are kafirun.  As such, there is nothing definitive in the religion that states that one cannot pray for a non-Muslim in the Qur’an or the ahadits.  What is explicit is the Divine Prohibition against those who were kafirun.  The classic examples are the son of Noah (a.s.) and the wife of Lot (a.s.). None of us are prophets and exemplars of the religion.

And Brother Tariq Hussain, you again used a Wahhabi translation of a hadits without the sharh, the context.  The actual story is far different.

Sister Asmaa Mahmud: Sister Nim Hanim, that is why, for these kinds of questions I seek answers that are wise.  And for those that give their answer as haram, I respect their opinion, but I will never ever accept that.  As much as we discuss, their answer will maintain that way.  So I ignore them.  You should not waste our energy on things that are insignificant.  I have learnt to ignore those that does not make sense 

Brother AbdRohim Sinwan: Whilst I can understand why someone would want to wish ‘RIP’ upon a kind hearted non-Muslim, I find it a little too generous to wish ‘RIP’ to people like Harold Lee Kuan Yew, or for that matter, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, both of which seem to have a cult of personality forming around them.  It is like they were some kind of saviour who could do no wrong.

Brother Zain Aly Trook: I kind of feel like the quote below, from my murshid, is relevant somehow.  Verily, he had far greater knowledge than I.  Shaykh Nazhim (q.s.) said, “Allah Almighty Rewards people according to their intentions.  If a person is sincere and has good intentions, he will be Rewarded by his Lord no matter what his religion maybe.  Do not hold your Lord’s Mercy to be any less than this.”

Allah (s.w.t.) Created us out of Love.  Surely He Loves those who are not Muslim as well.  It would seem rather tyrannical to create majority of human beings only to condemn them to Jahannam.

Sister Lisa Absher: I think some born Muslims do not understand the pain converts endure to see their family die as non-Muslims.  I remember when my dad died last year, a Muslim told me if I cried, it would cause him to be punished in his grave for my tears.  We were Created to have emotions and love for people.  It is so frustrating.

Sister Amanda Grace: I would like to mention to Brother Tariq Hussain, how do you know who was a believer and who was not?  How do you know that Allah (s.w.t.) may not have Forgiven them their sins and Granted them peace?  It is not for us to say who is a believer in Allah (s.w.t.) and who is not just because they are not Muslims.  That sounds a whole lot like judging to me.

Sister Lisa Absher, just because your father, my grandfather, or any of our family members who passed away as non-Muslims, it does not mean they are going to Hell.  May Allah (s.w.t.) Bless your tears and Forgive your father and Grant him Jannah.  May Allah (s.w.t.) Forgive us all, those whom are alive and those whom have passed; Grant us His Mercy and upon those whom have passed.  Amin.

Brother Tariq Hussain: Sister Lisa Absher, do not change Islam, because it feels bad.  One of my good friends recently died of cancer.  He was not Muslim.  Yes, I attended his funeral.  But I never gave peace upon him.  He was cremated.  If one wants to make things up go ahead, it is our own grave we go to.  Sorry.  Yes, I feel for all people.  But I cannot change the religion to make myself feel better.

Sister Amanda Grace: Please stop spreading misinformation, dear brother.  It is an extreme way of thinking you have here.

Sister Lisa Absher: How am I changing the religion by what I said?  Did I say I said, “Peace upon him”?  No.  I said I shed tears for the death of my father.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Brother Tariq Hussain, if that is what you believe, fine.  But do not impose your limited understanding of the religion on others, especially converts.  You are not a convert.  You are not one of us, and you do not understand.

If a convert want to pray for their departed relatives, their parents, their children, their friends, I think they should.  Who is anybody to limit God’s Mercy?  The passed away as non-Muslims perhaps.  But they did not leave this world as lesser beings.  Any Muslim who does not have mercy, is lower than a pious non-Muslim.

Sister Lisa Absher did what any normal person would, and to tell her not to cry is heartless and against the religion.  It is because of fools like these that there are non-Muslims.  The Muslims are terrible examples of the religion.  They have no moral authority expecting non-Muslims to follow them.

Sister Mahira Khairia: “Who is anybody to limit God’s Mercy?”  Spot on.

Sister Nim Hanim: And why should we not pray, wish well, send love and peace, especially so for our very own family, Muslims or otherwise.  It is far more inhumane and dispassionate not to.  That is being human.  At least one with EQ and compassion.

Brother Tariq Hussain: Actually I do understand.  You think because you are converts, we do not understand?  Well, many real young Muslims like myself do understand.  For Islam, I left my friends, my lifestyle, my girlfriend, and may parents even turned against me for over two years.  No, my family are not religious.  So do not use being a convert as an excuse.  Only now, after two years, does my father even speak to me better.  And I know many young brothers like this, born into non-practicing Muslim households.  And I am sorry for your loss, Sister Lisa Absher.  May Allah Help through your struggle.

Brother Isa Johansson: Brother Ishaq Mohammed, I did not comment on anyone’s iman, but the fact remains, that rejecting things which the ‘ulama have agreed upon based on the Qur’an and the authentic sunnah, without having an academic objection, but rather because one ‘feels’, is an issue connected to the readiness to accept and submit to the authority of the religion.  If when the position of more or less the entirety of Islamic scholarship is mentioned, one gets upset, that is a personal, spiritual issue.  If you do not like what I am saying, simply ignore it then.  You can make that choice.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis, you said, “The position in the books of fiqh is that it is haram to pray for the kafirun, not the ghayr muslimin.  My contention then is that a non-Muslim is not automatically a kafir.”  You are making your own distinction and then projecting it onto the books of fiqh.  For sure, what the books of fiqh mention is to pray for anyone who passed away while not being outwardly on Islam.

If you propose that due to change in time, place, and hence circumstances, this ruling needs to change, then I ask you the following:

Have you acquired the tools to make this change yourself, and if not, who, who has acquired these tools, have stated what you state?  This requires not only a person qualified to transmit fatwa, but a person of a certain level of ijtihad.  Not to keep in mind that they still have the claim of ijma’ against them, and the Qur’anic ayat and the sunnah.

If you want to reject there being an ijma’ on this particular issue, then you are free to do so academically, not based on emotions.  Have you even considered Imam an-Nawawi (r.a.) and others’ statement and done an academic research on whether there actually is an ijma’ on this issue?  Or are you just rejecting it because it does not sit well with your emotions?

If you take a stance against the validity of ijma’ based on the reason of there being ‘no ijma’ on ijma’’, then this is a circular argument which the ‘ulama of the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah have rejected throughout the centuries.  Nevertheless, is it still worth to ask the question, why did all who studied the religion and acquired at least some of the tools, consider it forbidden?  What has our ‘time and place’ contributed to you and I knowing that which they were ignorant of?  If so, what are those factors?

You said, Bringing it down to a level that we can understand, unless a person is confirmed the be a kafir, as in, such a person knew the reality of Islam and actively covered it and worked against it, such as the Quraysh, who were the family of the Prophet (s.a.w.), then we cannot assume they are kafirun.”  Everyone who is not born into a Muslim household, and who has not openly embraced Islam, and dies upon other than Islam outwardly, is considered a kafir by the law.  This is regulated by things such as the person having openly declared Islam by means of the shahadah, or as in the case of the Hanafis, he or she prays regularly in congregation, which will be taken as a sign that the person is a Muslim.

As for their outcome in the akhirah, that relates to taklif, accountability, and whether a person was mukallaf, accountable, or not.  That we will not, and cannot judge with certainty.  But if a person was not a mukallaf, there is an agreement by the theologians that our prayers for them are of no consequence.  So your assertion is based on faulty reading and understanding of the fiqh texts, which I am not sure that you have actually studied.  By projecting your apparent misunderstanding of taklif, and mixing a concept relating to theology with the jurisprudential ruling.

Sister Lisa Absher: Brother Tariq, I am not using a convert status as an ‘excuse’.  I am saying it is hard to see your relatives and friends die as non-Muslims.  As for tears being wrong, what you told me is wrong.  It is not changing Islam to have tears for a non-Muslim relative.  Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) cried after the martyrdom of several people including his uncle Hamzah (r.a.), his son Ibrahim (r.a.), Ja’far ibn Abi Thalib (r.a.), Zayd ibn Haritsah (r.a.), ‘Utsman ibn Madz’un and others.  As for his crying after the martyrdom of Hamzah (r.a.), mention could be made of following reports.

ibn Mas’ud (r.a.) narrated “Prophet Muhammad cried over Hamzah so much so that it was unprecedented ... and he was nearly unconscious ...”  This is mentioned in Dzakha’ir al-‘Uqbah.

Imam al-Halabi (r.a.), in his Sirah, wrote, “When Prophet Muhammad found Hamzah martyred, he cried and when he realised that he had been mutilated, he cried out loud.”  In addition to this, some other companions of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.), such as ‘Ali (k.w.) and ‘Umar ibn al-Khaththab (r.a.) have been reported as crying over dead people.  Therefore, refraining from crying cannot be regarded as a sign of iman.  And Allah Knows best!

Brother Tariq Hussain: All the people you mentioned here are Muslim.

Sister Lisa Absher: His uncle was a Muslim?

Brother Isa Johansson: Hamzah (r.a.) was from the kibar of the swahabah.

Brother Tariq Hussain: Yes, my dear sister.  Hamzah ibn Muthalib (r.a.) who was known as the Lion of Allah, and the greatest martyr.  His other uncle, Abu Jahl was a non-Muslim and Allah (s.w.t.) Cursed him in the Qur’an.  Crying over one’s beloved mother and father is honest and true, and I would even say let the tears flow.  But we cannot send peace upon a person unless he has accepted Islam with his lips and the heart confirms it in this life.

Sister Lisa Absher: ibn ‘Umar (r.a.) reported that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) visited Sa’d ibn ‘Ubadah (r.a.) during his illness.  He was accompanied by ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn ‘Awf (r.a.), Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqasw (r.a.) and ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (r.a.).  The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) began to weep.  When his companions saw this, their tears also started flowing.  He said, “Do you not hear, Allah does not punish for the shedding of tears or the grief of the heart, but Punishes or Bestows Mercy for the utterances of this [and he pointed to his tongue].”  This is found in the Shaykhayn.

The commentary states that under the stress of grief, man becomes heavy-hearted and tears flow out from his eyes.  This is something natural and beyond human control.  Rather the outflow of tears results from Divine Compassion.  This is neither forbidden nor subject to accountability.  It is only wailing which is haram, and is punishable.  Yet, man is Blessed with Divine Mercy if he gives expression to patience and gratefulness by his tongue.  Moreover, to mention the merits and excellence of a departed soul is in itself a good thing because others may be stimulated to adopt them.  But to recount them by way of wailing is disliked.  A hadits says that a dead person is tormented because of the weeping of his household.  Here, weeping means lamenting and wailing.  Otherwise, to weep is human instinct and no curbs can be put over it.  Besides, this warning is meant for such a person who might have been accustomed to wailing during his lifetime.  Or he might have left a will to his family for wailing over his death.  May be he consciously avoided giving a predeath warning to his kith and kin against wailing.  In all the three situations, he will be equally held accountable with his soul being tormented for the wailing of his relatives.  In case, he is uninvolved in any of the situations, he will remain free from hellish torments.  Instead the wailers will have to bear the brunt of their sin.  As the Qur’an Says:

… no bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another ... (Surah al-Isra’:15)

Brother Isa Johansson: I find that people are interested in these discussions and have questions, but they do not want to study theology and relevant fiqh chapters as to understand the position of the scholars.

Sister Lisa Absher: And are we not supposed to love our parents?  This is such rubbish.

Brother Sadali Ami: This afternoon, a friend posted the following: “Do not deify man.  Do not humanise God.”  Sadly I see many Muslims doing both today.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Brother Isa Johansson, these fatawa came in a different time and place.  The methodology of fiqh is for all time.  The rulings are not.  And whilst I do know the fiqh, I reject its primacy in all matters regardless.  That is far too legalistic an approach to the religion and is obsolete.  Also, you are assuming that your understanding is the only and correct understanding.  Who made you that authority?

I am not rejecting the ahkam. I am rejecting their contention that anyone who dies a non-Muslim is automatically a kafir since it is outdated.  We do not live in an Islamic state or even an Islamic society.  We do not even have a majority of good Muslims.  The ummah is dust and Islam is in the books, as my good friend said.  We cannot regurgitate old fatawa and claim that is the position.  This is fiqh, not ‘aqidah.  We are not slaves to old rulings of a dead age.  That caliphate is dust.  We live in a world known as Zaman al-Fitan and Zaman Jahiliyyah ats-Tsani.  When you were a non-Muslim, did you look at the Muslims and say to yourself, “They are the best example, and I want to be like them”?  That was the case in the time of the Salaf.  That is not the case now.

Look at the disgraceful state of the Muslims?  Look at the remnants of Islamic civilisation in the wasteland of Muslim countries?  Are people clamouring to leave the West to stay in Pakistan, or Iran or Indonesia, for example?  Look at ISIS, and Boko Haram and the myriad ‘Muslim’ groups.  It is a wonder that we do not have an exodus out of Islam.  We cannot, then, use the fiqh to condemn non-Muslims for not wanting to become Muslim.  The fundamental premise of those fatawa are no longer valid.  Even if it were an ijma’, that ijma’ is for a different age.

What is the point of learning all those fatawa, and memorising texts and collecting ijazat, if Muslims do not understand what they are learning?  It does not take a scholar to cut and paste and regurgitate what they have learned.  We have few scholars.  We only have a lot of memorisers with titles.  And you are just another one of them.

What is this Islam?  The Muslims?  What past scholars have said?  Shaykh Nazhim al-Haqqani (q.s.) said that we could pray for the non-Muslims.  And he was of this age.  Imam an-Nawawi (r.a.), and even Imam ash-Shafi’i (r.a.) are not.  The Shafi’i fiqh states that we cannot even consider the Christians as Ahl al-Kitab unless they could trace their silsilah to the Christians before the Prophet (s.a.w.).  I absolutely reject this as well.  Imam ash-Shafi’i (r.a.) was mistaken.  He is not a scholar of Christian theology.  Christian theology was established 300 years before the Prophet (s.a.w.) at Nicaea, with its Trinitarian doctrine and Vicarious Sacrifice.  Allah (s.w.t.) still Named them Ahl al-Kitab.

So yes, I will pray for my non-Muslim family.  We err on the side of Rahmah, as the Sufis say.  And for those who claim that God Told them not to, we leave it to God to Decide on the Day of Judgement.

Brother Isa Johansson: People come to our classes with these questions and emotions, when they take our course in theology they leave without doubts or painful emotions.  Seeking knowledge is very important.

Sister Lisa Absher: And for the second time, Brother Tariq Hussain, I did not pray for him.  I cried when he died.  You said that is changing Islam?

Sister Annee See: If any of my Chinese family passes away, I will go to the funeral, pay my respects and do what needs to be done including offering burnt incense and burning hell banknotes.  It does not affect my belief in God.  It is a custom and belief of the deceased which I will honour and respect.

Brother Haidar Ali: Brother Terence, whilst I agree with much of what you say regarding the pitiful state of the Muslims today, I find that has no real relevance to the topic of praying for the deceased non-Muslims.  So please explain to us, using the primary texts, rationale and the works of the theologians, and without mentioning the state of Muslims today, how the legal ruling of old changes in today's time?  Thank you.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Brother Haidar Ali, I did.  Please read again.  I said the understanding of the primary texts of fiqh are obsolete.  And I explained it from the Qur’an earlier in the thread.

Brother William Voller: Brother Isa Johansson, forgive me, but I fear you have made a category error.  A more careful reading of Imam an-Nawawi’s (r.a.) work would ask the question what does he mean by ‘kafir’ and does he mean absolutely?  Or just in public?  And ultimately, why?  If we do not do this sort of analysis, then we are claiming something on the authority of Imam an-Nawawi (r.a.) for which may not be true; in other words we are at risk of backbiting him.

I can have a little read around my library and find a little more.  But when this has come up before I have found that it is prohibited to pray for Pharaoh or Abu Lahab because to ask for Mercy when they have been Commanded Wrath is contradicting God, kufr.  It is Prohibited to pray in public for those of an enemy, a body politic kuffar since there is jihad against them as they wish to destroy Islam, bordering on kufr and certainly treason.  Kufr is a conscience decision and is generally unknown to us.  It cannot be haram to pray for non-Muslims other than these former two categories since the Prophet (s.a.w.) did and although we may argue he was told not to, to say it is haram is unthinkable!  Since he is free from sin.  Praying in public out loud for non-Muslims may also be prohibited due to blocking the means.  To pray for non-Muslims may indeed cause confusion in the community.  So can one pray for one’s non-Muslim relatives by oneself?  Well, I cannot see any prohibition.  Probably, it is wise to say do not pray for them through their beliefs, but God’s Mercy and Grace for that is how Salvation is found.  God in His Infinite Wisdom Know best

Brother Hajj Ahmad: Haram or halal, it is silly, because we know as Muslims with a bit of understanding of Qur’an that not everyone rests in peace.

Brother Ishaq Mohammed: Well, I certainly had no peaceful rest after this thread.


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