Making Dua for a deceased non-Muslim

Q. A group of Muslims are part of a community group along with other non-Muslims. One of the members who is a non-Muslim passed away and the Muslims in the group were making Dua for him. They were saying, “May Almighty grant …… (non-Muslim member) peace and may his family attain the strength and courage during this difficult period.”  Is this correct to do for a Muslim?

A. It is not permissible to make Dua of forgiveness, mercy or peace for any person who has passed away as a non-Muslim. This is clearly prohibited by Allah Ta’ala in the Quran:

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)

As such, a Muslim is prohibited from making Dua for a deceased non-Muslim with the words, “May Almighty grant …… (Non-Muslim member) peace”.

However, it goes without saying that a Muslim should display exemplary character especially at such sensitive times. Therefore, a Muslim may extend sympathies and condolences to the non-Muslim family without making Duas of forgiveness, mercy and peace for the deceased non-Muslim.

Duas and messages of strength and courage for the non-Muslim family during this time of difficulty are encouraged and also Islamically acceptable.

Allah Ta’ala Knows Best

Mufti Ismaeel Bassa