Seeking forgiveness for a Mushrik

The second question of Fatwa no. 18456:

Q 2: Is it permissible for a Muslim to ask Allah’s forgiveness for his dead parents who used to visit the graves and cook and eat food there at the graves of their family? They believed that this food is Sadaqah (voluntary charity) in behalf of the dead and they sought blessings through the Waliy (a pious person) buried in the shrine. My parents used to view Sufi leaders as Awliya’ (pious people)

( Part No : 1, Page No: 347)

and might go to sorcerers and believe their myths. In fact, they did so thinking that these actions pertain to Islam because they never knew that these actions are prohibited. Thus, these actions were done out of ignorance and negligence, not out of stubbornness. What is the ruling of Islam on the person who commits Shirk (associating others with Allah in His Divinity or worship) out of ignorance and negligence and dies before knowing this reality? Will they abide in Hell forever? Is it permissible to ask Allah’s forgiveness for them?

A: In their visits to the graves, if your parents seek relief from and invoke the dead apart from Allah, believe the sorcerers and die in such a state, it will not be permissible for you to ask Allah’s forgiveness for them. Allah (may He be Exalted) says,Having food at the graves and going to sorcerers without believing them, however, are misdeeds that do not prevent the Muslim to ask Allah’s forgiveness for their doers. On the other hand, anyone who supplicates to other than Allah and dies in such a state has died in Shirk and will be treated like a Mushrik (one who associates others with Allah in His Divinity or worship). If a Muslim commits such actions out of ignorance, his affairs will be left to the Will of Allah, and we only judge him according to the acts of Shirk he openly commits.

( Part No : 1, Page No: 348)

May Allah grant us success! May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and Companions!

Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta’