Ahmad on Rulers: The Imam prays for Allah to guide his persecutors

‘Ismah ibn ‘Isam reported: Imam Ahmad, may Allah have mercy on him, said, “Verily, I supplicate for the ruler to have right direction, guidance, and support, by night and day. I view that as an obligation upon me.”

Source: al-Sunnah li-Abī Bakr al-Khallal 1/83

Ibn Taymiyyah said, “Imam Ahmad supplicated for mercy and forgiveness them as he knew that it was not clear to them that they were denying the Messenger or rejecting what he brought. Rather, they had misinterpretations and were mistaken.”

Source: Majmū’ al-Fatāwá 23/349

عن عِصْمَةُ بْنُ عِصَامٍ قال الإِمامُ أحمدُ رَحِمَه اللَّهُ وَإِنِّي لَأَدْعُو لِلسُّلْطَانِ بِالتَّسْدِيدِ وَالتَّوْفِيقِ فِي اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ وَالتَّأْيِيدِ وَأَرَى لَهُ ذَلِكَ وَاجِبًا عَلَيَّ

1/83 السنة لأبي بكر بن الخلال

قال ابن تيمية فَالْإِمَامُ أَحْمَد رَحِمَهُ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى تَرَحَّمَ عَلَيْهِمْ وَاسْتَغْفَرَ لَهُمْ لِعِلْمِهِ بِأَنَّهُمْ لِمَنْ يُبَيِّنُ لَهُمْ أَنَّهُمْ مُكَذِّبُونَ لِلرَّسُولِ وَلَا جَاحِدُونَ لِمَا جَاءَ بِهِ وَلَكِنْ تَأَوَّلُوا فَأَخْطَئُوا

23/349 مجموع الفتاوى