If a person does not pronounce the Shahaadatayn and enter Islam, we cannot say that he is a Muslim, even if he admired Islam and recognized that it the best religion, a great religion, and so on. Abu Taalib, the uncle of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) died a kaafir, and Allah forbade His Prophet to pray for forgiveness for him, even though he used to defend the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and said in his poems: "I do know that the religion of Muhammad is better than all other religions of mankind; were it not for fear of blame or slander, you would find me accepting it completely." If a person accepts Islam out of conviction, and begins to practise it, then he is a Muslim, even if he does not register his Islam officially, or go to a court or Islamic centre to obtain documentation, or announce it to others. If such a person dies, then we hope for Paradise for him and pray for mercy for him. And Allah is the One Who sees all that His slaves do.
One who dies believing in Islaam without converting
Question : 65525/03/1998
Non-muslim dies, and I know him/her. As far as I know this person beleived and accepted Islam, but died before they could convert. What does Islam say about such a person, is he/she forgiven by Allah or still considered as one of the "kaffar"?
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid