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Practices to Benefit the Deceased

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Albalagh.net

Practices to Benefit the Deceased

By Mufti Ebrahim Desai

Q.) It is a very common tradition to have Khatam-e-Qur’an and food on the 40th day after a person’s death with the intention of Isal-e-sawab for the deceased. However, I am also told that such a thing is an innovation (bid`ah), and should not be done. What is the correct thing?

How best can we help the deceased’s close family member (parents or wife/husband) in order to make him/her enter Jannah? [Syed]

A.) Upon the death of a person, it is a common practice to make fateha. Contextually, fateha is the recitation of a few ayats of the Qur’an followed by a dua for the deceased.

There are innumerable number of ahadith expounding the virtues of reciting the Qur’an and making dua. There are also many ahadith on Isal-e-Sawab (sending reward to the deceased). Surely, the deceased eagerly waits for rewards from his beloved wife, parents and friends by them making dua for his forgiveness, and giving charity, etc. on his behalf.

However, in order for the deceased to benefit from the gifts of his beloved, they must be channeled to him in the correct way; the way of our beloved Prophet (Sall-Allahu Alayhi wa Sallam). During the time of the Prophet Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, many deaths occurred. It was his noble habit to comfort the bereaved families and widows. Many Sahaba, Radi-Allahu anhu, enquired from the Prophet Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam about Isal-e-Sawab. It is not proven on any one occasion that the Prophet himself practiced or ordered the customary practice of fateha (7 days, 40 days, and 100 days). Had the customary practice of fateha been of any significance, he surely would have at least practiced it or ordered its practice at least once in his lifetime.

To emphasize and carry out a particular practice not proven in Shari’ah, for example fateha, leads to distortion of deen. Many people may regard the practice as necessary and an integral part of deen as is the case among many unwary people today. Any practice that leads to a possible distortion of deen is prohibited and a major sin. Obviously, such a practice leading to sin invokes the anger of Allah. How can such a practice benefit the deceased?

The only way to benefit the deceased is to send sawab to him by carrying out acts of virtue, for example, reciting Qur’an, making dua for him, giving charity, etc. as advised by our beloved Rasul Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. May Allah bless all our Marhooms and grant them Jannatul Firdaws.

Isaal-e-Sawaab (to perform a virtuous act and grant the reward to any person, alive or deceased) is permissible.

On numerous occasions, Nabi Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam advised the Sahaba (Radhiyallaahu Anhum) to give charity on behalf of the deceased. One specific incident is of Syedna Abu Talha (Radhiallaahy Anhu) when the verse, ‘You cannot attain virtue until you spend what is beloved to you…’ (Nisaa 4) was revealed. Abu Talha gave his most valuable well and garden, Bi’r Haa as charity on behalf of his deceased mother. In fact, Rasulullah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam slaughtered 100 sheep during his farewell Hajj and made intention for himself and all those (alive, deceased and to come) who bring faith on his prophethood. (Nasbur Raaya, Allama Zailee)

Syedna Anas, Radi-Allahu anhu, reports that Rasulullah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, ‘Whosoever reads Yaseen at anybody’s grave, Allah will decrease their punishment.’ This proves that reading the Qur’an and conveying the rewards to the deceased, benefits the deceased. (Umdatul Qaari; Ahsanul Fataawa vol.4 pg.206)

And Allah Ta’ala Knows Best

This answer was collected from Albalagh.net, which is an Islamic site with Q&A and articles authored by many world renowned scholars from the Muslim world. Many of Mufti Taqi Uthmani’s fatawa in English are found exclusively on this site.

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