Is it permitted to go to churches to give condolences?

Before asking my question, I would like to introduce myself. I have converted into Islam 5 years ago and have been trying to live accordingly since then. I was a German Christian. By Allah’s permission, I have chosen the right path. I write this question with a friend of mine who knows German and Turkish. The father of a very close pal passed away, a short while ago. I wanted to attend the funeral of this helping and gracious person. This family has respected and supported me after I converted into Islam, too. But, I have been told that I cannot attend the funerals of non-Muslims and cannot visit their graves. The 84th verse of Surat At-Tawbah was shown as evidence, though I know no other limits than presented in the 8th and 9th verses of Surah Al-Mumtahanah. I could not reach a consequence from my research. A Muslim sister recommended your page. My question is as follows: As you may guess, my household is Christian. If my mother, father, brothers, sisters, uncles or aunts pass away before I do, is it wrong for me to attend their funerals? Because, thir funerals will not be Islamic, unless they choose Islam. How shall I behave? My aim is not transgressing the Islamic limits.I would like to practice what Islam requires.

You can attend funerals of the deceased from your household, relatives or friends. You can go to church for this reason and give condolences there. However, you should not pray for them, because it is not permitted to ask for mercy for people who passed away as non-Muslims. This is forbidden according to the following verses. The Glorified Allah commands:

“And do not perform the funeral prayer (salat) for any of them who has died – ever – or stand at his grave. Indeed, they disbelieved in Allah and His Messenger and died while they were sinners.” (At-Tawbah/ The Repentance 9:84)

“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.”  (At-Tawbah/ The Repentance 9:113)

Continue behaving your family and friends well. Characteristics of the people banned from making friends with, are below:

1. Battling against Muslims due to their religion
2. Driving Muslims out of their homes
3. Supporting the ones driving Muslims out

We cannot make friends with or exhibit sympathy to the ones that cross these lines. Since the people you mention are not from these, it is legitimate for you to get on well with them.

For further information on this topic, please follow the link below:
http://www.islamandquran.org/fatwas/relations-with-nonmuslims.html

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Date: Mar 1, 2012