Answered by: Shaykh Shafiur Rahman
How can a convert ‘pray’ or make dua for their deceased non-Muslim parents? My understanding is that we’re unable to pray for their maghfirah, but is there a way to find the connection to your deceased non-Muslim parent?
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
There is a consensus amongst scholars that Muslims are not permitted to pray for the one who dies upon disbelief based on the following ayahs and other evidence.
وَلَا تُصَلِّ عَلَى أَحَدٍ مِنْهُمْ مَاتَ أَبَدًا وَلَا تَقُمْ عَلَى قَبْرِهِ إِنَّهُمْ كَفَرُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَمَاتُوا وَهُمْ فَاسِقُونَ
“And never offer a prayer on any one of them (disbelievers) who dies, and do not stand by his grave. They disbelieved in Allah and His Messenger and died while they were sinners.” (Surah Tawbah, V: 84)
مَا كَانَ لِلنَّبِيِّ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَنْ يَسْتَغْفِرُوا لِلْمُشْرِكِينَ وَلَوْ كَانُوا أُولِي قُرْبَى مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُمْ أَنَّهُمْ أَصْحَابُ الْجَحِيمِ
“It is not permissible for the Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and those who believe to pray for the forgiveness of those who ascribe partners unto Allah even though they may be near of kin after it has become clear that they are people of the hell-fire.” (Surah Tawbah, V: 113)
Although it will be difficult sometimes to follow this when it concerns one’s parents or close family members, we must always remind ourselves that being a Muslim is about surrendering to the guidance of Allah subhana wa ta’ala and His infinite wisdom on all matters.
There are some permissible ways to keep a connection to such a parent. You may recall the fond memories of their kindness and generosity to you whilst they were alive etc. You may offer condolences and sympathies to their other family members at the time of death. You may also keep a connection by continued good treatment of the deceased’s family members and friends.
Also bear in mind Allah will judge each person according to their situation and whether the true message of Islam reached them and what belief they died upon. Whilst we are strictly prohibited from making dua of forgiveness after such a person’s death in general, we cannot judge on an individual basis what will happen to them on the day of judgment as we are not aware of all their inner beliefs or realities.
Only Allah knows best
Written by Shaykh Shafiur Rahman
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham