Forgiveness for Shirk
Fatwa No: 84765

  • Fatwa Date:3-9-2002 - Jumaadaa Al-Aakhir 26, 1423
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I would like to know what happens if a Muslim does commit Shirk intentionally or unintentionally. What does the Ayah of the Qur'an mean God will never forgive the sin of associating Him with other gods? Does this mean that God will never forgive after death if a person has done Shirk or does it mean that Shirk has no repentance at all?


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

Shirk (polytheism) is the greatest sin that a person could commit because "it is describing one of the creations of Allah as having some of His Rights". This is why Allah Says (what means): {Indeed, Allah does not forgive association with Him, but He forgives what is less than that for whom He wills.} [Quran 4: 48]

The meaning of the verse is that whoever dies while being a Mushrik (polytheist), Allah will not forgive him and he will surely be punished for this sin; i.e., he will remain in Hellfire forever.

As for the person who repents, Allah forgives his previous Shirk. Allah Says (what means): {Say to those who have disbelieved, if they cease (from disbelief) their past will be forgiven…} [Quran 8: 38]

The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “Islam (i.e. converting to Islam) wipes out all the previous (misdeeds).” [Muslim]

As for the person who commits some Kufr acts after becoming a Muslim, there is a disagreement among the scholars about his ruling.

The most preponderant opinion is that we should not describe him as a Kaafir (disbeliever) before all conditions for that description are met while there are no impediments for not declaring him as such. He might, for instance, be ignorant. He might have acted under pressure and constraints. So, we must first talk to him and explain to him the right thing to do and we should not hasten to describe him as Kaafir. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “If a man says to his brother (i.e. his fellow Muslim): 'O kaafir (disbeliever)' and he is not as such, then it returns back to him.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

For more benefit on declaring someone as a non-Muslim, please refer to Fataawa 91677, 91777, 91372 and 133655.

Allah knows best.

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