I am a Muslim convert and my mother died recently and she was not a Muslim but she had noble manners. Can I ask God to have mercy on her?
God the Almighty is more merciful to His worshippers than they are to their own selves. He described His chosen Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) as a mercy to all creatures and as having a superior moral character. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) liked noble manners and praised whoever cultivates them, Muslims or otherwise. When the captives of Tai` were brought to him, the daughter of Hatim Al-Ta`i was among them. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Free her for her father loved noble manners and God the Almighty loves noble manners.” One of the Companions asked: “O Messenger of God! Does God love noble manners?” The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) replied: “By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, no person will enter Paradise except with noble manners.” [Recorded by Al-Bayhaqi from the hadith of Ali Ibn Abu Talib]
Rulings pertaining to this worldly life differ from those pertaining to the Hereafter. A person may be deemed a disbeliever simply because he is not a Muslim though he may not have denied Islam in the first place. It does not necessarily mean that a person who is deemed a disbeliever based on his outwards actions will be a dweller of Hellfire, especially one who will remain therein for eternity. God the Almighty may pardon such a person either because he has not heard about Islam or because he did not discover compelling evidence on the soundness of Islam. Consequently, he will be from amongst those who will be tested on the Day of Judgment.
God the Almighty says: “It is not for the Prophet and those who have believed to ask forgiveness for the polytheists, even if they were relatives, after it has become clear to them that they are companions of Hellfire” [9: 113]. It is only prohibited to ask God to forgive a non-Muslim if it is evident to the supplicant that the person he is praying for is among the companions of hellfire. However, it is permissible to supplicate with what may be said is allowed for such a person such as reducing his torture if he is among the inhabitants of Hellfire. It was reported that God will reduce the torture of some of the dwellers of Hellfire by virtue of the blessings of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Consequently, we are not to delimit our aspirations for God’s mercy since this is a sanctioned matter. There is therefore no objection to supplicating God for the sake of your deceased mother for He may accept your intercession on her behalf and forgive her.
And God the Almighty knows best.
Shaykh Ali Gomaa
Former Grand Mufti of Egypt