“(Father said): I will (pray to) my Rabb for forgiveness for you. Indeed He it is Who is Oft Forgiving, the Merciful.”
Surah Yousuf (Surah 12), verse 98
I’ve had the understanding that praying for disbelievers, for the sinners is fruitless because it is Allah Who Guides them if He Wills, Who Lets them stray if He Wills.
I’ve also had the understanding that praying for good things, be it forgiveness for loved ones or anything else for that matter, is a way to tell Allah that you Fear Him and will ask only from Him because you admit that He is the Provider, the Merciful Provider, the Entity Who Knows your weaknesses and of those whom you want to salvage in a way that’s possible for you.
That He is to be Feared, to be expected to be Merciful is not a contradiction. I lack the wisdom to elaborate on this and I’ll find that one article I once read that explained this superbly and put it up soon InshaAllah.
Coming back to the verse, I think it’s safe to say that we should ask for forgiveness all the time (not just for ourselves! For everybody!). In these times (actually not really! It has always existed) when immorality is so rampant, I sometimes feel like just living is a sin. I feel like if I stayed in my room all day, I won’t sin… which kind of explains my hermit behavior every once in a while, but that’s going away from the topic at hand. I’ll just stop talking now.