Are Muslims to be excused for ignorantly performing acts of Kufr and Shirk?
A Mukallaf (person meeting the conditions to be held legally accountable for their actions) cannot be excused for worshipping other than Allah, or offering sacrifices as a means of drawing closer to other than Allah, or making a vow to other than Allah, and other acts of worship that should be devoted to Allah alone. They may only be excused if they live in a non-Muslim country and Da‘wah (Call to Islam) has not yet reached them. In such a case, they can be excused for not being informed and not just for being ignorant. This is supported by a Hadith
on the authority of
Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) stated,
By Him in Whose Hand is the soul of Muhammad, any Jew or Christian from this Ummah (nation) who hears of me, and then dies without believing in that with which I have been sent, will be among the dwellers of Hellfire.
Thus, the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not excuse anyone who had heard of him. Whoever lives in a Muslim country must have heard of the Messenger (peace be upon him), and therefore cannot be excused for not knowing about the fundamentals of Iman (Faith) due to ignorance.As for the story of those who asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) to assign to them a Dhat Anwat (lote-tree) for them to hang their weapons on (as the disbelievers had one), those people had newly abandoned disbelief and they only requested this, but did not act on it. (Part No. 2; Page No. 52) What they were requesting contradicted the Shari‘ah (Islamic law), and the Prophet’s reply to them indicated that if they had done what they asked for, it would have been an act of Kufr (disbelief).May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.