#482: Supplicating Guidance for Non-Muslims


Assalamualaikum w.b.t. Is it permissible for us to supplicate guidance for non-Muslims from Allah SWT? Hope for an explanation.



Waalaikumussalam w.b.t.

Alhamdulillah, praise and gratitude to Allah SWT for His countless blessings for us all. Praise and salutations to our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions and all those who follow his footsteps until the Last Day.

Definition of supplication

Supplication according to Imam al-Khattabi is a request of a slave to his Lor hoping for His help and aid. [1]

Allah SWT states:

وَقَالَ رَبُّكُمُ ادْعُونِي أَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ

And your Lord says, “Call upon Me; I will respond to you.” [2]

According to Imam al-Qurtubi, the above verse shows that Allah SWT not only commanded His slaves to worship Him but also guarantees that the supplication will be granted. Khalid al-Rib’ie said: The miraculous thing about this ummah is that it is said to them: “Call upon Me; I will respond to you.” Allah SWT commanded them to supplicate and promised that He will respond without any conditions being out between the two. [3]

Then Allah SWT further states in the same verse:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ عَنْ عِبَادَتِي سَيَدْخُلُونَ جَهَنَّمَ دَاخِرِينَ

“Indeed, those who disdain My worship will enter Hell [rendered] contemptible.” [4]

Ibn ‘Asyur in his commentary stated that this verse is evidence that Allah SWT commanded His slaves to supplicate to Him related to any and all of his needs and it is evidence of the sanctioning of this matter where there isn’t any khilaf of this matter in the Muslim ummah. [5]

Supplicating is a worship that is highly encouraged in Islam. There are numerous sahih evidences in the Quran and Sunnah that explain the importance of supplication to Allah SWT. Among them is a hadith narrated by al-Nu’man bin Basyir RA where Rasullullah PBUH said:

‏ الدُّعَاءُ هُوَ الْعِبَادَةُ

“Verily supplication is worship.”

Then the Prophet PBUH continue to recite the statement of Allah SWT:

 إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ عَنْ عِبَادَتِي سَيَدْخُلُونَ جَهَنَّمَ دَاخِرِينَ

“Indeed, those who disdain My worship will enter Hell [rendered] contemptible.” [6]

According to the above hadith and verse supplication is not just worship, but it is a commandment from Allah SWT for all of His slaves to pray to Him. Not only that, but Allah SWT also guarantees that He will respond to any requests from His slaves. This clearly shows the importance of the worship of supplication that it is made into a commandment for a slave to do it.

 Ibnu Kathir said this verse shows the honour and mercy of the Most Beneficent Allah SWT where He encourages His slaves and concurrently promises that He will respond to the supplications. This is as stated by Sufyan al-Thauri:

يَا مَنْ أَحَبُّ عِبَادِهِ إِلَيْهِ مَنْ سَأَلَهُ فَأَكْثَرَ سُؤَالَهُ وَيَا مَنْ أَبْغَضُ عِبَاده إِلَيْهِ مَنْ لَمْ يَسْأَلْهُ وَلَيْسَ أَحَد كَذَلِكَ غَيْرك يَا رَبِّ

“O most beloved slaves, they are those who ask the most to Him. And the most disliked are those who don’t ask anything from Him. None is like You O Lord.” [7]

Furthermore, Allah SWT loves His slaves who supplicate to Him as stated in the divine revelation. Among them is a statement of Allah SWT:

وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ ۖ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ ۖ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُوا لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُوا بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ

“And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided.” [8]

Definition of Guidance

Al-Raghib al-Asfahani stated that there are four levels for the word guidance, which are:

  • General guidance, guidance granted by Allah SWT to every mukallaf that is intellect and a sum of basic knowledge.
  • Guidance in terms of the call of Allah SWT for people through the message sent to His Messengers.
  • Taufik is a form of guidance that Allah SWT grants to all people that leads them towards happiness.
  • Allah SWT’s guidance that is given for His slaves in the hereafter and they will attain paradise. [9]

While Ibn al-Qayyim divided guidance into four forms, which are:

  • The general guidance given to all creations, whether it is animals or humans for a certain maslahat.
  • Guidance in dilalah (sign), bayan (explanation) and ta’rif (giving meaning).
  • Taufiq, that is a heart’s inclination towards something valuable accompanied by the physical capacity to attain it.
  • Guidance given by Allah SWT in the hereafter for those who worship and obey Him. [10]

Whereas Syeikh Muhammad Mustafa al-Maraghi divided Allah SWT’s guidance for people into four types which are:

  • Hidayah al-Ilham (inspiration guidance) is in the form of an instinct ingrained in every human since he is born, such as a newborn that even without any teaching knows how to suckle.
  • Hidayah al-Hawas (senses guidance) which are hearing, sight and others. However, this type of guidance has yet to bring people to the truth for its ability is limited. Due to this, Allah SWT completes this hidayah with the guidance of intellect.
  • Hidayah al-‘Aql (intellect guidance) is the ability to think, understand and comprehend something that can lead him towards the truth and safety in life. Al-Quran encourages people to observe their surroundings and reflect and understand the creations of Allah SWT to strengthen their faith. However, it still needs hidayah al-din which is the greatest blessing of Allah SWT.
  • Hidayah al-Din wa al-Syara’i’ (religion and shariah guidance) is the revelation of Allah SWT conveyed to His Messenger to be spread to all mankind as the guidance in life to attain happiness in this world and the hereafter.

Other than the above general guidance, there is also specific guidance granted by Allah SWT to certain people that will make his faith and taqwa stronger. This type of guidance can exist in the form of taufiq, ma’unah (Allah’s help for believers) and others. [11]

Allah SWT states:

إِنَّكَ لَا تَهْدِي مَنْ أَحْبَبْتَ وَلَـٰكِنَّ اللَّـهَ يَهْدِي مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ

“Indeed, [O Muhammad], you do not guide whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills. And He is most knowing of the [rightly] guided.” [12]

Ibn Kathir said: “Allah SWT states to His Messenger PBUH: “Indeed, you have no authority to guide whom you love,” which means it is not your affair. However, your obligation is only to convey and Allah who will grant hidayah (guidance) to whoever He wishes. [13]

In defining guidance (hidayah), taufik should also be understood, where both have similar meanings, however, with slight differences between the two.

Our teacher, Fadilatu al-Syeikh Muhammad bin Muhammad al-Mukhtar al-Syanqiti said: “Hidayatu al-Taufiq is specific for Allah, not given to the prophets sent or angels who are near. Thus, the Prophet Noah himself couldn’t give guidance to his son, nor did Prophet Abraham able to guide his father – not even for their son or father.”

Imam Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali divided hidayah into two:

  • Hidayah is mujmal that is guidance to the religion of Islam and faith, this is granted by Him to every Muslim.
  • Hidayah is specific and detailed which is guidance to know the details of the branches of faith and Islam as well as His help to practise all of them. Hidayah is crucial and needed by every mukmin day and night.[14]

In another verse, Allah SWT recorded the words of the Prophet Syu’aib AS:

وَمَا تَوْفِيقِي إِلَّا بِاللَّـهِ

“And my success is not but through Allah.” [15]

Syeikh al-Maraghi said: “Taufik means attaining success in performing all his deeds and good efforts. This can happen when a person puts his effort and seek the road that could bear the results he wishes, concurrently, he prepares the reasons that can ease him to reach it. All of this is only from Allah SWT.” [16]

Ibn al-Qayyim stated that taufiq is the iradat of Allah that came from He Himself for His slaves to do good, He permits him to do the acts that He please, encouraged by the love for Him.

According to the book of Jauharah Tauhid, the meaning of taufiq is something created by Allah SWT to encourage or induce a person to do good if it is in him.

In other words, hidayah al-taufiq means Allah gives guidance in his heart that ultimately results in the form of good deeds and obedience. Thus, we say, hidayah is general while taufiq is specific according to the Divine revelation that taufiq and hidayah is Allah’s.

Supplicating for the Non-Muslims to be Grant Hidayah

Supplicating for non-Muslims so that they are granted guidance and hidayah is permissible. Among the evidences for this is a hadith narrated from Abu Hurairah RA, he said: Tufail bin Amir once came to Rasullullah PBUH and complained about the disobedience of his people. Tufail said:

إِنَّ دَوْسًا قَدْ عَصَتْ وَأَبَتْ ، فَادْعُ اللَّهَ عَلَيْهِمْ

“Messenger of Allah, Daws have rebelled and rejected, so ask Allah to curse them.”

The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, faced the qibla and raised his hands and the people thought that he was going to curse them. He said,

اللَّهُمَّ اهْدِ دَوْسًا وَأْتِ بِهِمْ

“O Allah, guide Daws and lead them.” [17]

Imam al-Bukhari has placed the title in a chapter for this hadith in his sahih book: “بَابُ الدُّعَاءِ لِلْمُشْرِكِينَ بِالْهُدَى لِيَتَأَلَّفَهُمْ” (The chapter of supplicating good for the idolators in the form of asking guidance to soften their hearts).

Imam Nawawi said: “If a person greets or pays a word of respect to a zimmi kafir with words other than salam, then al-Mutawalli and al-Rafi’I permit this matter. For example, if a person said to a non-Muslim ‘may Allah guide you’ and ‘may Allah bless you with good this morning, then this isn’t an issue.[18]

In another hadith, it is narrated from Abi Musa al-Asy’ari R.A, he said:

كَانَ الْيَهُودُ يَتَعَاطَسُونَ عِنْدَ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَرْجُونَ أَنْ يَقُولَ لَهُمْ : يَرْحَمُكُمْ اللَّهُ ، فَيَقُولُ : يَهْدِيكُمُ اللَّهُ ، وَيُصْلِحُ بَالَكُمْ

The Jews used to sneeze in the presence of the Prophet (ﷺ) hoping that he would say: ‘Yarhamukumullah (May Allah have mercy upon you).’ So, he said: ‘Yahdikumullahu Wa Yuslihu Balakum (May Allah guide you and rectify your affairs).'” [19]

Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani said: As for in terms of syarak, then the hadith of Abi Musa shows that they are included in the absolute commandment to answer a sneezing person. However, for them (non-Muslims), the specific supplication asks for guidance and good for them. Hence, this is not prohibited. Different from answering the sneezing of a Muslim. The reason is they deserve to get the supplication and blessing. [20]

The same opinion is presented by Syeikh al-Mubarakfuri and at the end, he said: “And don’t any of you Muslims say to them ‘’. The reason is rahmah is specific for only the believers. Rather, you should supplicate good for them such as hidayah, taufiq and iman.” [21]

Al-Imam al-Qarafi said: “As for the commandment to do good to them (non-Muslims) on the basis there isn’t any love in our hearts, being compassionate towards the weak, helping the needy, feeding the hungry, provide clothing to those who don’t have any clothing, speaking politely and kindly on the basis of mercy and love and not through fear and insults, being patient with the disturbances they may cause living as neighbours and try to resolve it as a form of tolerance with them and not because of fear or a form of reverence, supplicating for guidance for them or asking for their happiness, advising them in all matters regardless of religious or worldly matters, protecting wealth, family, their dignity and their rights and maslahah, striving to prevent them from oppression, fulfilling their rights, all goodness from the up and down, for all of these are included as a noble character.

All that we do for them must be based on this and not in the form of us honouring or revering them. And also not so that we are insulting ourselves to honour them.” [22]


According to the above discussion, supplicating for non-Muslims is permissible but there are guidelines and asbab that we have detailed.

We have issued our opinion in a similar issue in several of our previous writings related to Fiqh al-Ta’ayush. The reason is so that people can live in a society built by both Muslims and non-Muslims where the display of harmony and peace without any prejudice that can fan the flames of enmity and discord among Muslims and non-Muslims. This will only be a loss to the nation and country that will ultimately lead to chaos and disharmony without any peace.

We pray to Allah so that we’ll be able to live in peace and harmony that will result in happiness. Amin.

Wallahu a’lam.

[1] See Sya’n al-Du’a, 1/4

[2] Surah Ghafir (60)

[3] See al-Jami’ li Ahkam al-Quran, 15/292

[4] Surah Ghafir (60)

[5] See Tafsir Ibn ‘Asyur, 24/183

[6] Narrated by Abu Daud (1479)

[7] See Tafsir al-Quran al-‘Azim, 14/366

[8] Surah al-Baqarah: 186

[9] See al-Mufradat fi Gharib al-Quran, pg. 536

[10] See Miftah Dar al-Sa’adah, 1/85

[11] See Tafsir al-Maraghi, 1/29

[12] Surah al-Qasas (56)

[13] See Tafsir al-Quran al-‘Azim, 10/473

[14] See Jami’ al-‘Ulum wa al-Hikam, pg. 225

[15] Surah Hud (88)

[16] See Tafsir al-Maraghi, 6/3250

[17] Narrated by al-Bukhari (2937) and Muslim (2524)

[18] See al-Majmu’, 4/607-608

[19] Narrated by Ahmad (15986), al-Tirmizi (2739), al-Bukhari in al-Adab al-Mufrad (940) and al-Baihaqi in Syu’ab al-Iman (8908).

[20] See Fath al-Bari, 10/604

[21] See Tuhfah al-Ahwazi, 8/10

[22]  See al-Furuq, 3/15