Calling a deceased 'Al-Marhum' and 'Al-Maghfur Lahu'

Q : I often hear people say some words about which I would like to know the Islamic viewpoint. For example, when a person dies some people call him "Al-Marhum" (The person upon whom Allah's mercy is bestowed). And if the person is of a high rank, they say, "Al-Maghfur Lahu (The Forgiven) such and such." Have they looked into Al-Lawh Al-Mahfuzh (The Preserved Tablet) to know that someone is forgiven or has been granted Allah's Mercy? This is why I am inquiring about this issue. Allah (Exalted be He) stated in His Glorious Book: (And remember) when Allâh took a covenant from those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) to make it (the news of the coming of Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم and the religious knowledge) known and clear to mankind, and not to hide it I would appreciate your guidance in this matter.


A: Confirming Allah's Mercy or Forgiveness (Glorified be He) for a deceased person is of the Ghayb (unseen) affairs which no one knows except Allah (Exalted be He), and those informed by Allah (Part No. 2; Page No. 160) from amongst His angels, messengers, or prophets. Thus, it is impermissible for anyone other than those previously mentioned to declare that Allah has bestowed forgiveness or mercy upon a deceased person unless there is a clear text from the infallible one (Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him). Otherwise, this will be mere guessing about the unseen. Allah (Exalted be He) stated: Say: “None in the heavens and the earth knows the Ghaib (Unseen) except Allâh” [Surah Al-Naml, 27:65] and "(He Alone is) the All-Knower of the Ghaib (Unseen), and He reveals to none His Ghaib (Unseen)." Except to a Messenger (from mankind) whom He has chosen (He informs him of unseen as much as He likes) [Surah Al-Jinn, 72:26-27]. However, it is permissible to hope for Allah's Mercy, Forgiveness, and entering Jannah (Paradise) for a Muslim. We should invoke Allah's Mercy and Forgiveness for a deceased Muslim instead of declaring it as a fact. Allah (Exalted be He) stated: Verily, Allâh forgives not that partners should be set up with Him (in worship), but He forgives except that (anything else) to whom He wills [Surah Al-Nisa, 4:48, 116] and it is narrated in Sahih Al-Bukhari on the authority of Kharijah ibn Zayd ibn Thabit that Um Al-`Ala' - an Ansari woman who had pledged allegiance to the Prophet (peace be upon him) - told him that: `Uthman ibn Mazh`un was assigned to us when the Ansar drew lots to distribute the Immigrants (to dwell) among themselves. He became ill and we looked after (nursed) him till he died, then we shrouded him in his clothes. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) came to us, and I (addressing the dead body) said, “May Allah’s Mercy be on you, O Abu Al-Sa'ib! I testify that Allah has honored you." The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, ‘How do you know that?’ I replied, ‘I do not know, by Allah.’ He said, ‘As for him, death has come to him and I wish him all good from Allah. By Allah, though I am the Messenger of Allah, I neither know what will happen to me nor to you.’” Um Al-‘Ala said, “By Allah, I will never attest the righteousness of anyone after that. (Part No. 2; Page No. 161) Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) also stated: By Allah, though I am the Messenger of Allah, I do not know what will happen to me. This was before the revelation of Allah's statement (Exalted be He): Verily, We have given you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) a manifest victory. That Allâh may forgive you your sins of the past and the future [Surah Al-Fath, 48:1-2] and before Allah (Exalted be He) had informed him (peace be upon him) that he would be of the inhabitants of Jannah (Paradise).May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.

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