Abu Talib was the beloved uncle of prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) and the father of Ali(p.b.u.h.). It is well known that how he protected and acted as a care-taker of the prophet from Quraysh . However, I heard that sunni Muslims consider him to be died as a non-muslim while shia muslims do not hold such and venerate him. ( Please correct/edit if any of what said above was wrong)


What are the sunni sources regarding their view and how reliable are these sources ?

Similarly, What are the shia sources regarding their view and how reliable are these sources ?


3 Answers 3


Sunni View

Prophet Muhammad's (SAW) uncle, Abu Talib, did not die as a Muslim. You can find this information in the hadiths.

It is reported by Sa'id b. Musayyib who narrated it on the authority of his father (Musayyib b. Hazm) that when Abu Talib was about to die, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) came to him and found with him Abu Jahl ('Amr b. Hisham) and 'Abdullah b. Abi Umayya ibn al-Mughirah. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

My uncle, you just make a profession that there is no god but Allah, and I will bear testimony before Allah (of your being a believer), Abu Jahl and 'Abdullah b. Abi Umayya addressing him said: Abu Talib, would you abandon the religion of 'Abdul-Muttalib? The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) constantly requested him (to accept his offer), and (on the other hand) was repeated the same statement (of Abu Jahl and 'Abdullah b. Abi Umayya) till Abu Talib gave his final decision and be stuck to the religion of 'Abdul-Muttalib and refused to profess that there is no god but Allah. Upon this the Messenger of Allah remarked: By Allah, I will persistently beg pardon for you till I am forbidden to do so (by God), It was then that Allah, the Magnificent and the Glorious, revealed this verse: " It is not meet for the Prophet and for those who believe that they should beg pardon for the polytheists, even though they were their kith and kin, after it had been made known to them that they were the denizens of Hell" (ix. 113) And it was said to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ): " Verily thou canst not guide to the right path whom thou lovest. And it is Allah Who guideth whom He will, and He knoweth best who are the guided" (xxviii, 56).

Sahih Muslim 24a

Shia View

The Imamiyah scholars are unanimous about the fact that Abu Talib died as a Muslim. Due to his massive support of Prophet Muhammad and certain accounts they believe in, they believed that he was a Muslim but disguised himself as a polytheist.

  • Imam Muhammad Baqir says: "The faith of Abu Talib was superior to the faith of many people and Ali, the Commander of the Faithful ordered that Haj should be performed on his behalf."
  • Imam Ja'far Sadiq says: "Abu Talib was like the People of the Cave. They had faith in their hearts but pretended to be polytheists. For this reason they will be rewarded twice".

Source: Chapter 21: Death of Abu Talib

  • But What is the authenticity about the sources related to Imam Jafar sadiq? Please add it too in your answer. Thanks Feb 28, 2023 at 10:37
  • Aren't the sunni view mentioned by you and @UmH contradictory ? Feb 28, 2023 at 10:40
  • There is no contradiciton, UmH and I said the same thing for the Sunni view, that Abu Talib didn't die as a Muslim. For the Shia view, I got it from the popular Shia website, al-islam.org, and they got Imam Jafar Sadiq's statement form Usulul Kafi, page 244.
    – YoMango
    Feb 28, 2023 at 19:30
  • Oh sorry I read it opposite ! Mar 1, 2023 at 5:26

The sunnis generally hold that he died as a disbeliever, disagreement on this among them is uncommon. The reports on this are reliable according to the criterion of the sunnis.

The following three hadith are collected together by Bukhari in the chapter on Abu Talib:

حتى قال أبو طالب آخر ما كلمهم على ملة عبد المطلب، وأبى أن يقول لا إله إلا الله‏.‏ قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏والله لأستغفرن لك ما لم أنه عنك ‏"‏‏.‏ فأنزل الله ‏{‏ما كان للنبي والذين آمنوا أن يستغفروا للمشركين‏}‏ وأنزل الله في أبي طالب، فقال لرسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏{‏إنك لا تهدي من أحببت ولكن الله يهدي من يشاء‏}‏‏

Till Abu Talib said as the last thing he said to them, "I am on the religion of `Abdul Muttalib," and refused to say: None has the right to be worshipped except Allah. On that Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said, "By Allah, I will keep on asking Allah's forgiveness for you unless I am forbidden (by Allah) to do so." So Allah revealed:--

'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.' (9:113)

And then Allah revealed especially about Abu Talib:--

'Verily! You (O, Muhammad) guide not whom you like, but Allah guides whom He will.' (28:56)


This report states that Abu Talib refused to say the shahadah and that the above verses in the Quran were revealed about him, which declare him to be a Mushrik and not guided.

حدثنا العباس بن عبد المطلب ـ رضى الله عنه ـ قال للنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ما أغنيت عن عمك فإنه كان يحوطك ويغضب لك‏.‏ قال ‏ ‏ هو في ضحضاح من نار، ولولا أنا لكان في الدرك الأسفل من النار ‏

Narrated Al-Abbas bin `Abdul Muttalib:

That he said to the Prophet (ﷺ) "You have not been of any avail to your uncle (Abu Talib) (though) by Allah, he used to protect you and used to become angry on your behalf." The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "He is in a shallow fire, and had It not been for me, he would have been in the bottom of the (Hell) Fire."


عن أبي سعيد الخدري ـ رضى الله عنه ـ أنه سمع النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم وذكر عنده عمه فقال ‏ لعله تنفعه شفاعتي يوم القيامة، فيجعل في ضحضاح من النار، يبلغ كعبيه، يغلي منه دماغه

Narrated Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri:

That he heard the Prophet (ﷺ) when somebody mentioned his uncle (i.e. Abu Talib), saying, "Perhaps my intercession will be helpful to him on the Day of Resurrection so that he may be put in a shallow fire reaching only up to his ankles. His brain will boil from it."


Being in hell is an indicator that he died on disbelief.

The following hadith is also used:

عن أسامة بن زيد، أنه قال زمن الفتح يا رسول الله، أين تنزل غدا قال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏‏ وهل ترك لنا عقيل من منزل ‏.‏ ثم قال ‏ لا يرث المؤمن الكافر، ولا يرث الكافر المؤمن

Usama bin Zaid said during the Conquest (of Mecca), "O Allah's Messenger (ﷺ)! Where will we encamp tomorrow?" The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "But has `Aqil left for us any house to lodge in?" He then added, "No believer will inherit an infidel's property, and no infidel will inherit the property of a believer."

Bukhari and Muslim

If Abu Talib was a Muslim then by Islamic law his property would have gone to Ali and Jaffar (who were Muslims) and not to Aqeel (who was not Muslim at that time).

  • Thanks. I think this answers nicely the sunni view. Though I'd be waiting for others also. Feb 28, 2023 at 10:32

As for Ahlussunnah view , he was not a Muslim. How ever rarely some Ahlussunnah have opined that he accepted Islam. But this is a weak opinion and a deviation from the mainstream of Ahlussunnah. This view is not included in Ahlussunnah. How ever one may not exclude a person from Ahlussunnah if he holds such a view. It is not a view of Ahlussunnah , yet a person cannot be excluded from Ahlussunnah if he holds this video.A monorail heresy.

  • correct answer but you did not quote any evidences . also minority views exist in everything, it is important to explain why they are rejected. And depending on the reason for rejecting the mainstream view (i.e the person rejects any hadiths that contradict him, or he rejects them because he believes the sahaba who reported them lied) such a person could be excluded from ahlussunnah.
    – Hisham
    Mar 3, 2023 at 17:50

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