A Muslim Mourns the Death of a Christian
When Don died on August 17, 2006 Sohrab wept. Don was one of four middle-aged mildly-schizophrenic impoverished Christian men whom he cooked for and looked after in a rundown house in the Ottawa French enclave of Vanier. The house was the property of a Pentecostal Minister. In return for looking after the men, Sohrab was given free room and board and a small stipend.
Muslims are not expected to mourn, let alone associate with unbelievers the way Sohrab did (read Can We Be Friends?), or look after their welfare.
An Islamic Tradition maintains that when Allah saw His Messenger weeping over the tomb of His mother (she died when the Prophet was just a child) after a vision where he saw her burning in Hell, Allah told His Prophet that He did not want to see him weeping for an unbeliever ever again.
Allah would show, what non-Muslims would consider compassion for dead unbelievers this one and only this one time — he resurrected the Prophet’s parents, Abdullah and Amina, long enough for them to pronounce the Shahadah, the Muslim declaration of faith, and be admitted into Heaven.
On another occasion when the Prophet was again seen by Allah weeping and praying for an unbeliever, a recently deceased uncle who had sheltered him, protected him from his enemies, who had been the father he had never known (the Prophet's father died before he was born), He sent the angel Gabriel to reprimand him.
The Prophet's uncle and protector Abu Talib had died an unbeliever. Gabriel, in no uncertain terms reminded the Messenger about Allah's warning about not weeping for an unbeliever.
God's right-hand angel may also have told God's Messenger that it was pointless to pray for unbelievers since they automatically go to Hell, and the sentence is unappealable, for only believers are entitled to any compassion or mercy from Allah.
I do not know if Sohrab also prayed for his departed friend. If he did, in the eyes of Allah, he is doubly guilty.
Bernard Payeur, November 11, 2006