Ruling on a person who dies as Kafir

Q: What do you think of the claim of some People that whoever commit themselves to the Message of Muhammad (peace be upon him) and face the Qiblah (Ka`bah-direction faced in Prayer) in Salah (Prayer) is a Muslim and even if they make Sujud (Prostration) to their shaykhs, they will not be considered Kafirs (disbelievers) or be called Mushriks (people who associate others in worship with Allah). These people even claim that Muhammad ibn `Abdul-Wahhab was wrong when he stated that those who commit polytheistic acts will be consigned to eternal punishment unless they repent. They maintain that the Mushriks among Muslims will be tortured (for a while) then will enter Jannah (Paradise). None of the followers of Muhammad i.e. Muslims will remain eternally in Hell."

A: Those who believe in the message of Muhammad (peace be upon him) and in the ordinances of shari`ah (Islamic law), and make Sujud to anyone other than Allah e.g. a Waliy (pious man), a dead person, or a shaykh are considered apostates and Mushriks even if they utter the two testimonies of faith in their Sujud because they act contradictory to their utterances. But they may be excused for their ignorance, and should not be punished until they have been informed. When the evidence is brought forth, they should be given a three-day respite to review the situation in the hope that they may do Tawbah (repentance to Allah). If they insist on offering Sujud to anyone other than Allah after being informed, they should be sentenced to death (Part No. 1; Page No. 335) for apostasy, because the Prophet says: When a Muslim discards his religion, kill him. (Related by Al-Bukhai in his Sahih (authentic) Book of Hadith on the authority of Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with them both) The Information and the establishment of evidence are just to excuse them before applying the punishment not to call them Kafirs only after clarifying the matter for them. Indeed, they are called Kafirs once they make Sujud, vow, or give offerings to anyone other than Allah. Qur'an and Sunnah (whatever is reported from the Prophet) indicated that whoever dies as a Kafir (disbeliever), will not be forgiven and shall abide in Hell forever, because Allah (the Exalted) says: 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 and says: It is not for the Mushrikûn (polytheists, idolaters, pagans, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allâh), to maintain the Mosques of Allâh (i.e. to pray and worship Allâh therein, to look after their cleanliness and their building,), while they witness against their ownselves of disbelief. The works of such are in vain and in Fire shall they abide. May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.