Following are excerpts from an interview with Saudi cleric Sa'd Bin Al-Shathari which aired on Al-Resala TV on October 8, 2011, and was posted on the Internet.
Interviewer: There is a great deal of interest in the death of Steve Jobs, the founder and owner of Apple and its former CEO. I'd like you to comment on two matters. First, is it permissible to be sad over the death of an infidel? Second, is it permissible to ask for Allah's mercy for an infidel? There was a lot of debate on Twitter and Facebook about this.
Sa'd Bin Al-Shathari: With regard to being sad, it is not something within one's volition. One does not decide to become sad, and therefore, there is no ruling about it in Islamic law.
As for asking for Allah's mercy [upon an infidel], if a person prays for Allah to alleviate the torments of someone close to him, or for Him to ignore some of his sins – that's permissible too. But to pray for Allah to have mercy upon him or place him in Paradise – that is forbidden.