Nelson Mandela’s Death, How Should the Muslim Respond?

The death of Nelson Mandela has been the centre of world attention in the last 20 hours. It has drawn varying responses from Muslims and as many issues in the past, delineated them in two opposing spectrums. Proposition Revival has a look at some prominent comments from Muslim activists across the world in regards to the issue.

Mandela’s death: how should Muslims respond?

Alomgir Ali:


When the Prophet’s uncle Abu Talib was on his death bed the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم pleaded with him to pronounce the testimony of faith. His uncle was very supportive of him when he was alive and provided him a high level or protection.

The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: I shall ask Allah to forgive you unless He prohibits me to do so. He eventually died but upon polytheism. Thereafter Allah (swt) revealed:

“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)

Saying R.I.P (Rest in peace) is not simply a statement of a reality since we do not know what the state of the deceased is unless we are informed by revelation, rather it is a form of supplication where a person wishes or asks God to make the person rest in peace.

It is therefore not permissable for a believer to mention R.I.P after hearing the death of someone who died in a state other than Islam.

Some people might find my words distasteful or extreme, especially after the death of Mandela, however it’s important that we do not allow our emotions to contravene our faith and it’s rulings.

A believer always connects his thoughts and emotions to the afterlife, and so when he views the worldly life he looks through the lens of the afterlife and realises that true success lies in the success in the Afterlife. There is no true success unless that success leads to success with Allah. Anything less is only transient and will only have its benefit last for as long as the earth remains, which are only passing moments that will soon pass us by.

“Say, [O Muhammad], “Shall we [believers] inform you of the greatest losers as to [their] deeds? [They are] those whose effort is lost in worldly life, while they think that they are doing well in work.” Those are the ones who disbelieve in the verses of their Lord and in [their] meeting Him, so their deeds have become worthless; and We will not assign to them on the Day of Resurrection any importance.” (18:103-105)

“And We will regard what they have done of deeds and make them as dust dispersed” (25:23)

The biggest lesson we can learn from Mandela’s life is that no much how much good you may do and achieve in this life, it will be to no avail if you choose not to believe in the greatest good; to dedicate your life to your Creator and spend your life in submission to Him.

There can be no doubt though that he was a man that stood up against racism and apartheid and played a part in bringing and end to great tyranny and he is to be acknowledged for that.

May Allah guide us all to the straight path and make our good deeds count when we really need it.


Shaykh Ahmad Musa Jibril:

Alhamdullah, Wasalatu Wasalamu ‘Alaa Rasool Allah

**Mandela & Tawheed**

1. (We shall turn whatever good deeds the disbelievers did into dust) 25:23

No matter what one achieves (without Tawheed) they failed and lost!

One can loose everything in this life, yet win the akhira with his Tawheed and he ends up being an ultimate winner!

Another can gain and achieve everything in this life, yet lose the Akhira with Kufr and he is an ultimate loser.

(Shall We tell you the greatest losers in respect of (their) deeds?
Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life while they thought that they were acquiring good by their deeds.
They are the Kuffar… ) 18:103-105

That’s from the ABC’s of Tawheed.

2. Purposely making duaa for (Rahmah) mercy on one who we know died as a Kafir is a sin and transgression in Duaa!

a) Allah subhanu watala said:

(those who disbelieve in the Ayat of Allah and the Meeting with Him, it is they who have (((no hope of My Mercy))): and it is they who will have a painful torment)29:23

-Allah subhanu watala who we say by fard, 17 times a day is the {most merciful}….

He bestowed 1 portion of his 99 mercies on this entire universe, saving 99 for the judgement day, said they have {no hope of mercy}!

Making Duaa for their mercy implies one has more mercy than ALLAH subhanu watala who denied them His mercy!!

b) Allah subhanu watala said:
(It is not (proper) for the Prophet and those who believe to ask Allah’s Forgiveness for the Mushrikun (polytheists, idolaters, pagans, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah), even though they be of kin, after it has become clear to them that they are the dwellers of the Fire (because they died in a state of disbelief) 9:113

c) ALLAH subhanu watala cursed the Kuffar in Quran several times:

(So let the Curse of Allah be on the disbelievers)2:89

La’nah = Curse: means expulsion from mercy!

Allah subanu Watala expelled them from mercy and some want to override the order and decision of Allah subhanu watala and include them!?!

d) The Jews used to go near the Prophet Sallah Allahu alieh wasalam and fake their sneezing so he can make duaa of Rahmah (mercy) on them.

He would ask Allah subhanu watala to guide them instead!

[sunan Abu Dawood, al-Tirmithy, al-nisaaei, al-Hakim, Musnad Ahmad, al-Tahaway, al-Baihaqy, al-Tabarany and others]

That’s the man that Allah subhanu Watala said he was sent as a mercy:

(And We have sent you not but as a mercy for the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinn and all that exists)21:107

-He refused to make duaa of Rahama for them while they were living even though there was the possibility that they may be guided, imagine after their death on Kufer when the books are sealed!

e) In Saheeh Muslim the Prophet Sallah Allahu alieh wasalam said : I sought permission of Allah to make istighfar for my mother and it is not allowed. And I sought permission of Allah to visited her grave, and it is allowed!

*There is more proof and more to say, however this was quickly written based on the the request of many brothers and sisters.

*It very sad to see the level of ignorance many have in basic matters of Tawheed that surface with such incidents.

May Allah always guide us to the straight path.

Ahmad Musa Jibril

Faraz Nomani:

Some of the comments surrounding Mandela’s death in the mass media and by prominent figures display the same paternalistic attitude that led to the system he had to struggle against. Too much “positive” emphasis on “the way Mandela adopted the peaceful way after earlier resorting to violence” for it to be a coincidence. Even here, the white establishment pertains to determine what the right way to engage in struggle against what was essentially a very violent and coercive system should be. So the whites of south Africa physically separated, killed, massacred at times and universally oppressed the blacks but if they responded with violence they were wrong to do so? Hypocritical garbage. This is not to say that violence is the way to be adopted, but the last one to be deciding on right and wrong are those who are the inheritors to that oppression today and distant cousins to similar treatment of indigenous populations.

Sahar Gumkhor:

I can’t help but think that those who continue Mandela’s struggle against racism and imperialism and those who are its victims are currently being dehumanised (boat people, terrorist, extremists, religious fundamentalists, etc), detained, renditioned, tortured, droned and rendered as human waste by the same governments and politicians now celebrating and exalting his legacy. Let’s not for even a moment forget the violence of this moment.

Abu Zakariya:

Nelson Mandela as far as we know, for all extents and purposes dies on Kufr. All I am seeing is the Western Du’aa (and I call them Western Du’aa because their Da’wah (call) is tailored to suit the West) praising his life and acts, etc.

It is very astonishing on how much effort they have put to recognize him, yet the Mujahideen whom are 1000000+ times better than this man are shunned and put down by these same people.

This is the reality of the Western Du’aa that many find hard to accept…

Soft with the kuffar and harsh on the believers.

Published by TheMuslimIndependent

The Muslim Independent was created with the aim of providing unique insights in Islamic discourse, trends & philosophies relevant to the Islamicate & Muslim intellectual space in the 21st century context & arena. It is managed by Tarek 'Abdur-Rahman, who is currently a teacher of Qur'an at a school in Sydney. He studied recitation & memorisation with the esteemed Qari Fedaur-Rahman for 2.5 years. He studied Arts/Education at UNSW. Completing his undergraduate Arts degree with a Major in History & Minor in English. He has an avid interest & enjoys reading 7 studying a wide variety of topics including the Islamic sciences, Arabic, Philosophy, History, Ethics, Politics, Orientalism, Psychoanalysis, Critical Theory, Critical Race Theory & other topics.

One thought on “Nelson Mandela’s Death, How Should the Muslim Respond?

  1. Brother/sister who posted this, jazakAllahu khair! Living in South Africa, it’s sad to see so many Muslims wishing Mandela “RIP”. Yes I know he did a lot to free this country from Apartheid and Islam has thrived since then, but at the end of the day he died a kafir (from what we know).
    Most people just don’t get why you can’t say RIP for him since he did a lot work as in charity and struggling against oppression..but we need to understand it’s a matter of kufr and Iman…

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