Q: A disagreement arose among religious scholars of the Congo Republic
over the final destiny of a Muslim who dies while never performing Salah (Prayer) all his life
and only (Part No. 8; Page No. 411) believing that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.Some scholars, myself included, are of the view that the body of this person has to be washed, covered with a shroud and buried, but no Funeral Prayer should be offered for him as he used to abandon the most important pillar of Islam next to Shahadah (Testimony of Faith).Other scholars maintain the view that whoever professes that there is no god worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah can not be branded as a Kafir (disbeliever) even if he dies while it is known to have abandoned Salah all his life. He falls under the category of those who die while committing one of the major sins. They quote the following Qur'anic Ayah (verse) in support of their view:
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
They also cite the Hadith in which the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) is reported to have said:
"Verily he who died among my Ummah (Community) without associating anything with Allah would enter Paradise'. It was said: 'Even if he commits adultery and theft'? He (peace be upon him) said: '(Yes), even if he commits adultery and theft'.
What is the correct view?
Texts of the Qur'an and Sunnah (whatever is reported from the Prophet) indicate that a person who abandons Salah out of negligence is considered a Kafir (disbeliever) even if they profess the Shahadah and believe Salah to be an obligatory duty. This is the most appropriate of the two views held by scholars. Accordingly, they should not be treated as Muslims in terms of preparing their burial which includes washing their bodies after death, covering them with a shroud or offering a Funeral Prayer for them. They are to be buried in the same way that rotten carrion is buried only to prevent a foul odor. It is authentically reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) ordered
`Aly (may Allah be pleased with him), whose father
Abu Talib died while following the religion of his people, to bury his body in the ground. He did not order him to wash his body or to cover him with a shroud nor did the Prophet (peace be upon him) offer the Funeral Prayer for him. The Prophet (peace be upon him) only said to `Aly:
Go and bury him.
`Aly (may Allah be pleased with him) said:
Your old and astray uncle has died.
Narrated by Imam (Part No. 8; Page No. 412)
Ahmad and others.
May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and Companions.