Delivering the message of Islam inefficiently to non-Muslims
Fatwa No: 243244

  • Fatwa Date:13-4-2014 - Jumaadaa Al-Aakhir 13, 1435
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Question

As-salaamu 3laikum, My question is about surat at-Tawbah ayat 113. In the interpretation of the meaning of the last part it says 'after it has become clear to them that they are companions of Hellfire'. I would like to know if we have to be with them at the moment they die or hear the testimony of a witness who was with them when they died in order for this to be clear to us. I ask this because a scholar said that some people may conceal their Islam so that everyone thinks they died as a kaafir because they know nothing to the contrary so they judge by what is apparent, or someone becomes a Muslim at the last minute and no-one knows. Obviously in those cases we would not pray for them, but how could we feel sure about their destination in the akhirah if we did not get definite proof that they died on kufr? A related issue is about the message reaching the kuffar, if a Muslim gives them dawah but is not very good at explaining, will it still be considered that the message reached them?Jazaakumu Allahu khairan

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

The matter of the Hereafter is in the Hands of Allaah, He is the All-Knowing, the All-Wise, and He weighs with even and honest scales, which are the scales of justice, and no one is wronged by Him. Allaah says (what means): {And We place the scales of justice for the Day of Resurrection, so no soul will be treated unjustly at all. And if there is [even] the weight — of a mustard seed, We will bring it forth. And sufficient are We as accountant.}[Quran 21:47]

If a person dies as a Muslim and people do not know that he embraced Islam, then Allaah Knows about him and He will forgive him with His Mercy and make him enter His Paradise. Allaah says (what means): {What would Allaah do with [i.e. gain from] your punishment if you are grateful and believe? And ever is Allaah Appreciative and Knowing.}[Quran 4:147]

People, on the other hand, would treat him according to what they know about him: if they do not know that he had uttered the Two Testimonies of Faith and embraced Islam, then they deal with him in this worldly life as a non-Muslim. If he dies, he is not washed or enshrouded and he is not buried in the Muslim graveyards, and it is not permissible to supplicate for him or seek forgiveness for him.

Abu Hurayrah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "By Him in Whose Hand the soul of Muhammad is, there is no Jew or Christian of this Ummah who hears about me and then dies without believing in what I was sent with, except that he will be among the people of Hellfire.” [Muslim]

What it means to 'hear' the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention )  as mentioned in the Hadeeth, was interpreted by some scholars to mean that a person knows about the Prophet’s message and knows that he was sent by Allaah to people.

Al-Qaari  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: “It means: If anyone, who is present or will be present, hears someone else tell about me being sent as a Prophet, or in short, if anyone knows about my message, "from this Ummah," - that is, from 'the Ummah that was preached the message, i.e. that includes all people who heard of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention )]....”

For more benefit, please refer to Fatwa 90888.

Nevertheless, some scholars are of the view that just hearing that he was sent as a prophet is not enough to judge that the person will be eternally in Hellfire even though anyone who does not believe in the Prophet Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is called a non-Muslim and in this world, the legal status of a non-Muslim applies to him; however, if the Message did not reach him in a correct, undistorted and unaltered manner, then he is excused in the sight of Allaah, and his ruling is the ruling of the people whom the message did not reach, and he will be tested on the Day of Judgment.

Shaykh Al-Albaani  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: “If the message of Islam reached the people in a forged manner…altered…changed, especially as relates to its principles and creed, then, I am the first one to say that the message has not reached such people, because what is meant by the message having reached them, is the pure clear message; but if we presume that the message had reached them in a distorted altered manner, then the message did not reach such people, and so, the evidence of Allaah against them is not established.”

Allaah Knows best.

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