Question 516: Can I as a Shia Muslim pray for my dead parent who is a non-Muslim? They were Ahl al-Kitab. If so, can you provide sources and scholarly opinions? Thank you.
Answer 516: We have already sent a similar question to the office of grand maraja’, whether it is permissible to solace to non-Muslims who have passed away and send salawat, recite surah al-Fatiha and pray for them?
Our maraja’ have different opinions about it. Some say, it is permissible if they have not fought Muslims on the account of Religion and have not driven us out of our Homeland. Others say, it is permissible to solace, though asking Allah, the Almighty for His forgiveness and pray for them is not permissible.
Ayatollah Khameneni: There is no problem in it per se if they have not fought Muslims on the account of Religion.
Ayatollah Sistani: It is impermissible to ask Allah, the Almighty for their forgiveness and pray for them.
Ayatollah Safi Golpayegani: Sending Salawat and praying to Allah (SWT) to forgive them are not permissible.
According to the verses of the Holy Quran, if those non-Muslim who have not fought Muslims on the account of Religion and have not driven us out of our Homeland, Allah (SWT), the Almighty does not forbid us from doing good and regarding justice to them. Therefore, we can visit their graves and ask Allah, the Almighty for His forgiveness and pray for them. However, Allah (SWT) forbids us only from having Friendship with those who fought us on the account of Religion and Drove us out of our homeland; and helped one another in driving us out; We are forbidden to have friendly Relation with them; and whoever among us does so, then he is regarded as One of the disbelievers. Because, in the Holy Quran Allah (SWT) says: “The Prophet and the faithful may not plead for the forgiveness of the polytheists, even if they should be [their] relatives, after it has become clear to them that they will be the inmates of hell”.
It should be noted that the loss of a family member is a difficult challenge to overcome. However, one can overcome this situation by doing the following points:
A: Having patience: Patience is mans’ greatest friend in life. Patience in the face of calamities is one type of patience. The ahadith speak of a great reward for patience in such situations. To pay attention to its results and rewards which are mentioned in the Quran and ahadith is one of the ways to overcome a loss. We will mention some of these Quranic verses and ahadith below:
1- In the Quran, God says: “Peace be to you, for your patience.” How excellent is the reward of the [ultimate] abode!” “We will surely test you with a measure of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth, lives, and fruits; and give good news to the patient. Those who, when an affliction visits them, say,” Indeed we belong to Allah, and to Him do we indeed return. It is they who receive the blessings of their Lord and [His] mercy, and it is they who are the [rightly] guided”
2- Imam Ali says “Having patience when calamities strike stems from one’s wisdom.”
“Amongst the treasures of belief is having patience when calamities befall one.” “Having patience at the time of catastrophes elevates one to lofty spiritual levels.”
B: We must understand that death will take place for all of us: “Every soul shall taste death. Then you shall be brought back to us.” Because all creatures are manifestations of Go Godl’s existence and attributes and they have come from him, they will all go back to him “Indeed we belong to Allah, and to Him do we indeed return.”
One of the results of having belief in God is that when catastrophes strike, a believer reminds himself of the above mentioned verse. The better and deeper one understands the truth mentioned in the verse, the easier he will be able to overcome such issues.
C: The ahadith have mentioned certain acts to be carried out for the dead. Some of them are wajib and some are mustahab. We will mention some examples of these ahadith below:
First: Paying charity; A man from the tribe of Bani Saedah came to the Prophet after his mother passed away and said: “My mother passed away during my absence. If I pay charity on behalf of her, will her soul be rewarded?” The Prophet replied: “Yes.”
Second: Reciting Quran; The Prophet stated: “Whoever passes by a graveyard and recites surah Ikhlas eleven times and sends the reward for the dead, he will be rewarded by the number of people that are buried there.”
Third: Doing good deeds; Imam Sadiq said: “The reward of charity, supplicating and good deeds will reach the dead as well as the one who carried them out.” “Whenever a Muslim does good deeds on behalf of the dead, God will multiply his reward and also give the dead the reward of the good deed.”
Fourth: Performing Wahshat prayer; It is mustahab to pray two raka’ats on the first night of burial. The details of this prayer are mentioned in the law books of the maraji’. Therefore, it is musthab to perform this prayer only on the first night and not all nights. For the other nights, one may perform other acts for his mother to send her the reward and make her soul calm and happy in the other world.
For further information in this regards, please refer to the following answers:
Index: Visiting non-Muslim graves and Praying for them, answer 103.
 . Adopted from answer 35827.
 Surah Mumtahina, verses 8 & 9; Surah Tawbah, verse 113; Adopted from Index: Visiting non-Muslim graves and Praying for them.
 For further information, refer to the topic “Increasing Patience”, Question 8418 (site: 9091).
 Daylami, Shaykh Hasan, Irshad al-Qulub ila al-Sawab, vol. 1, p. 126, Sharif Radhiyy Press, Qum, first edition, 1412 AH.
 Tamimi Amidi, Abd al-Wahid ibn Muhammad, Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, p. 283, hadith 6299, Islamic Propagation Office Press, Qum, 1366 (solar).
 Ibid, p. 282, hadith 6298.
 Ibid, p. 262, hadith 6269.
 Ankabut:57 “كُلُّ نَفْسٍ ذائِقَةُ الْمَوْتِ ثُمَّ إِلَيْنا تُرْجَعُون”.
 Baqarah:156 “إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَ إِنَّا إِلَيْهِ راجِعُونَ”.
 MullaHavish Aal Ghazi, Abd al-Qadir, Bayan al-Ma’ani, vol. 1, p. 203, Taraqi Press, Damascus, first edition, 1382 AH; Qurtubi, Muhammad ibn Ahmad, Al-Jami’ li Ahkam al-Quran, Nasir Khosro Press, Tehran, first edition, 1364 (solar).
 Majlisi, Muhammad Baqir, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 10, p. 368, al-Wafa Institute, Beirut, 1404 AH.
 Amili, Shaykh Hurr, Wasa’il al-Shia, vol. 8, p. 279, Aal al-Bayt Institute, Qum, 1409 AH.
 Hilli, Ibn Fahd, Uddat al-Da’i, p. 146, Daar al-Kutub al-Islamiyy, Qum, 1407 AH.
 Amili (Kaf’ami), Ibrahim ibn Ali, Al-Misbah, p. 411, Daar al-Radhiyy Press, Qum, second edition, 1405 AH, Wasa’il al-Shia, vol. 8, p. 168.
 Musawi (Imam Khumayni), Sayyid Ruhullah, Tawdhih al-Masa’il, vol. 1, p. 348, researched/edited by: Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Bani Hashimi Khumayni, Islamic Publications Office, Qum, eighth edition, 1424 AH.