Question # 450: Based on your answer to question # 449 pertaining to permissibility of ruqyah for non-muslims, is it permissible to pray for better health or recovery of a sick non-Muslim?
bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,
Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).
First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.
Shorter Answer: It is permissible to supplicate for a non-Muslim/ disbeliever for guidance, good health, wellbeing, and the like, provided that he/she is at peace with the Muslims. Moreover, it is preferred to do this for a person about whom it is expected to soften his heart towards Islam. What is impermissible, is praying for mercy and forgiveness for them.
Long Answer: The …scholars are unanimously agreed… that supplication (du‘aa’) may be made for guidance for a kafir who is still alive, but not for mercy or forgiveness… Among the evidence that this is more correct is the report narrated by al-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawood from Abu Moosa (رضي الله عنه) who said: The Jews would pretend to sneeze in the presence of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) hoping that he would say to them, “May Allah have mercy on you,” but he used to say: “May Allah guide you and set your affairs straight.”
[As for visiting a sick non-Muslim,] Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah [said], “…visiting [a disbeliever] when he is sick is fine, because this may serve an interest, namely opening his heart to Islam…” The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) visited a Jewish boy and called him to Islam, and he became Muslim. (Narrated by al-Bukhari) And the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) was present when his paternal uncle Abu Taalib was dying, and he called him to Islam but he refused. (Agreed upon) The purpose in that case may be to call the person to Islam, or to restrain his evil, or to soften his heart, and so on. (Fath al-Baari)
[Further,] an-Nawawi said in Kitaab Al-Athkaar (Chapter: What a Muslim says to a Dhimmi [Jew or Christian living under the care of the Muslim state] if the latter does an act of goodness to him), “You should know that it is not permissible to supplicate for him with forgiveness and other things that are not said to the non-Muslims, but it is permissible to supplicate for him for guidance, good health, wellbeing, and the like.”
It was reported in the book of Ibn As-Sunni from Anas that he said, “The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) sought water to drink, and a Jew gave him water, and the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said to him, ‘May Allah beautify you.’ This man never got gray hair until he died.” This hadith was considered to be weak by some scholars. But …the hadith by Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri (رضي الله عنه) about the person who was bitten that says that the Companions performed ruqyah [Refer Question # 449: Performing Ruqyah (incantations) for Non-Muslim Sick Person] on the leader of the [tribe], who was a disbeliever. [In fact,] ruqyah is a kind of supplication.
[In conclusion,] it is permissible to supplicate and seek blessings for a non-Muslim who is at peace with the Muslims (not hostile towards them and fighting them). However, it is preferred to do this for a person about whom it is expected to soften his heart towards Islam.
(The above reply is based on the following resources:
- Islamweb.net, a web site belonging to the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in the State of Qatar
- Various answers provided by Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid on similar topics)
Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.