Question: Assalamu Alaikum, Someone claims shirk can never be forgiven even if one repents, such as if someone who was a Muslim and commits shirk as an act of apostasy. He says that Allah said ” Verily Allah does not forgive joining partners with Him but he forgives less than that ” ( surah an nisa verse 48)
I read this verse means only in the hereafter if one dies unrepentant. Do all the ulama agree shirk can be forgiven if one does tawbah in this life?
Secondly it says if one apostates he must repeat hajj what’s the reason for this I am confused why?
Answer: Assalamu Alaikum, The verse means that if one dies in the state of Shirk, then Allah will not forgive him, and if he dies in a state committing other sins besides shirk, then Allah, out of his mercy, can forgive him on the condition that he dies as a believer.
Hence, if one committed shirk and then repented to Allah and re accepted Islam, Allah will forgive him, Insha Allah for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. This is accepted by the Ulama of the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah.
Some scholars have stated that one who apostates and then returned to Islam, will not have to repeat his hajj. This is the opinion of Imam Shafi and others. Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik and others have stated that this person will be required to repeat his hajj. The reason for this is that with apostasy, his hajj has been made futile. In this regard, the Holy Quran states, “ And whosever of you turns back from his religion and dies as a disbeliever, then his deeds will be lost in this life and in the hereafter, and they will be dwellers of the fire. They will abide therein forever.” (2:217). In another verse, Allah says, “And it was already revealed to you and to those before you that if you should associate [anything] with Allah, your deeds would surely become worthless, and you would surely be among the losers.” (Surah Az Zumar Verse 65).
The teaching is very clear in these verses that with apostasy one’s deeds are lost. With apostasy a person becomes like that unbeliever who never accepted Islam, hence, when he re-enters Islam and he possesses wealth, he will have to perform hajj. (Raddul Mukhtar Ala Ad Durr Al Mukhtar Vol. 4 Pgs. 251,252 – H.M Saeed Company Karachi Pakistan; Hashiya Al Tahtawi Ala Ad Durr Al Mukhtaar vol. 2 pgs. 478,479 – Maktaba Rasheediya Queta Oakistan; Tafseer Al Qurtubi vol. 3 pg. 48 – Maktaba Rasheediya Queta Pakistan.)
And Allah Knows Best.
Mufti Waseem Khan.