Citing the Quran, Turkish scholar says Muslims can say ‘RIP’ for non-Muslims
Published on: Tuesday, September 20, 2022
By: FMT, Sean Augustin
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Citing the Quran, Turkish scholar says Muslims can say ‘RIP’ for non-Muslims
Mustafa Akyol says his view is based on two almost identical Quranic verses, 2:62 and 5:69, which state that all good people who believe in God will be saved.
PETALING JAYA: Turkish scholar Mustafa Akyol says Muslims can say “rest in peace” when offering their condolences to deceased non-Muslims, adding that God’s mercy is not limited to Muslims.

Akyol said his view, which was shared by other leading theologians, was based on two almost identical Quranic verses – 2:62 and 5:69 – which state that all good people who believe in God will be saved.

These verses explicitly state that “believers (Muslims), Jews, Christians and the Sabians (an extinct religious group)” will be saved in the afterlife, he said.

Verse 2:62 says: “All those who believe in God and the Last Day and do good, will have their rewards with their Lord. No fear for them, nor will they grieve.”

“So, according to the Quran, God’s mercy is not limited to Muslims,” Akyol told FMT.

“Muslims, therefore, can say ‘rest in peace’ for non-Muslims, and pray for their souls, if they are good people.”

Akyol was referring to a statement from the office of federal territories mufti Luqman Abdullah prohibiting Muslims from saying “rest in peace” as Muslims were not allowed to pray for forgiveness for non-Muslims as prescribed in several hadiths.

According to the office, “rest in peace” or “RIP” is a form of prayer and Muslims are forbidden from uttering it.

Akyol said the statement by the mufti’s office reiterates the common view among Muslims today about the afterlife – that non-Muslims will go to hell, and it is not allowed for Muslims to pray for their souls.

He argued that this view exists because mainstream Islamic tradition, created in an age of religious conflict and supremacism, could not accept a “tolerant, universalist message of the Quran”. Therefore, the aforementioned verses, he said, were explained in a way that non-Muslims would be saved only if they converted to Islam.

He also said the all-prominent Imam al-Ghazali had argued that non-Muslims could be saved, if they did not get a proper sense of what Islam is.

Another Islamic scholar from the 9th century, Al-Jahiz, even argued that Jews, Christians and others who learned about Islam but were not persuaded by it, would be “excused” by God, he said.

“I believe this all means that the true Islamic promise for salvation is much wider than what many Muslims believe today.”

Akyol called on fellow Muslims to ponder on what he calls “religious exclusivism”.

Muslims who insist that all non-Muslims are destined to go to hell, he said, should ask themselves this: Are they driven by an effort to praise God, whose mercy is unlimited, encompassing all human kind? Or, are they driven by a religious tribalism which wants to limit God’s mercy to its own group alone, just to satisfy the egos of the members of that group?

“I believe the latter is the case.”

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