Wa `alaykum as-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Dear brother, thank you for your question that shows your real interest of your faith.
If any person commits an act of shirk, he should repent to Allah Almighty asking Him for forgiveness and renew his faith. Allah does not forgiven the shirk of those who insist and die on shrik.
But as anyone who repents, the door of repentance is widely open till the death rattle.
In his response to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states,
If someone has been guilty of shirk, he ought to renew his faith, and ask forgiveness of Allah.
His case is akin to those who have renounced Islam and want to come back to Islam. We learn from the Qur’an that those who have been guilty of apostasy can still come back, if they renew their faith and do good deeds.
There is no doubt shirk is an unforgivable sin. However, a person who has renounced shirk and affirmed the faith in the Oneness of Allah has left it behind and started a clean slate. So, it does not matter that he or she committed shirk in the past.
The testimony of faith or shahadah wipes out the past; this is why all those who had been guilty of the most sins including shirk and bowing and sacrificing to the idols and became Muslims later were forgiven.
Likewise, if a person after having embraced Islam went back to disbelief and shirk, again, God forbids, and then reverted again to Islam sincerely, he or she is also forgiven unless they die in a state of kufr: Let him read carefully the following verses from Surat Aal `Imran:
“How shall Allah guide a people who disbelieved after their belief and (after) they bore witness that the messenger is true and after clear proofs (of Allah’s sovereignty) had come unto them. And Allah guides not wrongdoing folk. As for such, their guerdon is that on them rests the curse of Allah and of angels and of men combined. They will abide therein. Their doom will not be lightened, neither will they be reprieved.” (Aal `Imran 3:86)
Immediately afterwards, Allah says, “Save those who afterward repent and do right. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. Lo! Those who disbelieve after their (profession of) belief, and afterward grow violent in disbelief: their repentance will not be accepted. And such are those who are astray. Lo! Those who disbelieve, and die in disbelief, the (whole) earth full of gold would not be accepted from such a one if it were offered as a ransom (for his soul). Theirs will be a painful doom and they will have no helpers.” (Aal `Imran 3:86-89)
So, if a person did an act of shirk such as bowing down to an idol, he has been guilty of a most heinous sin; he ought to recant.
Allah has opened the door of repentance to the mushriks and even to the apostates as we can read in the above mentioned verses.
Therefore, by despairing of the mercy of Allah, he is falling once again into the Satan. Satan wants to keep him trapped in his sin. He ought to affirm his shahadah, make sincere repentance and start practicing Islam with sincere intention; he can then hope for the mercy of Allah.
Before concluding, let me remind such a person of the following:
- He ought to learn a lesson from this and exercise vigilance and work to safeguard his faith; he can only do so by shunning the company of people who may drag him to shirk and keeping the company of those who are devoted to the worship of Allah.
- He as well as all of us also need to pray to Allah in the manner of our beloved prophet.
Allaahumma yamuqalliba al-qulubi thabbit qalbee ‘alaadeenika
Allaahumma yamuqalliba al-qulubi thabbit qalbee ‘alaa al-haqq
Allaahumma yamuqalliba al-qulubi thabbit qalbee ‘laataa’tika
O Allah! You are the twister and turner of hearts; so, make my heart firm on your religion!
O Allah! You are the twister and turner of hearts; so, make my heart firm on the truth!
O Allah! You are the twister and turner of hearts; so, make my heart firm on obedience to You!)
In conclusion, I would urge the brother never to despair of the mercy of Allah and let not Satan bring this issue to confuse him. I would advise him to focus on enhancing his faith.