What Is Riya (Ostentation)?

Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

Question: Assalam alaykum,

Our neighbor died as a christian. My grandmother really liked him for some reason and cried a lot because he died. I’m pretty sure that she knew that he was a non muslim, but nevertheless she said things like ‘may his place be Paradise’. I was arguing with her and then I told my grandmother that non muslims won’t enter paradise. Then I think She said that Allah knows this. I responded with ‘no’ but I didn’t intend to deny that Allah is All-Knowing. What’s the ruling on that? Is it disbelief?

Answer: Wa alaykum al-Salam

Thank you for your question

There are two aspects regarding your question that I would like to address:

1. Praying for non-Muslims

The ruling of praying for Non-Muslims differs from before and after death. Prior to his or her death, it is permissible to pray for them in terms of guidance or any worldly benefit. As for after death, it is not permitted for a Muslim to pray for a non-Muslim as far as forgiveness of shirk (ascribing partners unto Allah) or entry into paradise is concerned [Fatawa al-Nawawi]. It is however permissible for a Muslim to pray that Allah forgives a non-Muslim for sins, other than shirk [Hashiyah al-Shabramallisi].

2. Pronouncement of disbelief unintentionally

Someone who unintentionally makes a pronouncement of disbelief is not considered a disbeliever. RasuluLlah sallaLlahu alayhi wasallam said, “The liability of three things has been lifted from my ummah: forgetfulness, mistake and duress.”

Accordingly, you are not guilty of disbelief.
May Allah grant us steadfastness in all thats good, and protect us from all evil, Amin.

And Allah knows best.

Wassalam
[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan

Shaykh Abdurragmaan
received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.

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