We live in An-Nabq 48. My father passed away in 1981 and he did not observe prayer. He did not reject the obligation of prayer but he abandoned it out of ignorance. We did not have mosques or callers to Allaah The Almighty in our neighborhood and only a few people observed prayer at that time. My father used to observe fast and offer charity. Is it permissible for me to offer charity and perform Hajj on his behalf? Does my Du‘aa' benefit him? Advise me, may Allaah The Almighty Have mercy upon you.
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, is His slave and Messenger.
Since your father abandoned the prayer out of ignorance without denying its obligation, there is no harm in offering charity and performing Hajj on his behalf or in supplicating for him as well, as he is excused for his ignorance.
Ibn Qudaamah said in Al-Mughni and An-Nawawi said in Al-Majmoo‘, "He who abandons the prayer out of ignorance of its obligation such as a new Muslim convert and one who lives in a non-Muslim country or a remote area is not considered a disbeliever."
Having said that, your father is excused for his ignorance and does not fall into the category concerning the difference of opinion among scholars of considering he who abandons the prayer a disbeliever.
Hence, you are allowed to offer Hajj and charity on his behalf and to supplicate for him as well. We implore Allaah The Almighty to Benefit him with this. The prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: "When a man dies, all his acts cease but three; a recurring charity, knowledge (by which people) benefit or a pious son who prays for him." [Muslim]
We urge the seekers of knowledge to show diligence in teaching Muslims the general and subsidiary rules and teachings of Islam according to the best of their abilities. We advise them to utilize the available means to accomplish this task as due.
Allaah Knows best.
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