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Is Esaale Sawaab permissible (Sending Reward to the Deceased)


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Question and Answer:
Q. I always knew we can read quran and give the sawab (reward) to the deceased and I do this all the time for my late dad. Recently I was told this is wrong and the dead cant benefit from my reading. Please clarify as I’m now confused
(Query published as received)
A. There are numerous Ahadith to prove that the rewards of the Qur’an and good actions reach and benefit the deceased when performed on their behalf.
Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah (Radiyallahu Anhu) reports that the Prophet of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
When a person passes away, then all his actions cease except for three: a) Sadaqah Jaariyah (perpetuating charity), b) Knowledge which he imparted and is now being benefitted from or c) a pious child who will make Dua for him. (Sahih Muslim, Hadith #: 1631)
In the chapter titled “recitation by the deceased”, Imam Abu Dawood (Rahimahullah) transmitted the Hadith reported by Sayyiduna Ma’qal bin Yasar (Radiyallahu Anhu) that the Prophet of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
“Recite Surah Yaseen upon your dead”(Abu Dawood, Hadith #: 3121)
Allamah Ayni (Rahimahullah) states:
The rewards of all good actions benefit the dead including Salaah, fasting, Hajj, charity, Zikr etc (Ramzul Haqa’iq)
In Sahih al-Bukhari, the narration from Sayyidatuna Aa’ishah (Radiyallahu Anha) is recorded where a man came to the Prophet of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and asked him:
“My mother passed away suddenly and she did not get a chance to make a bequest. I think that if she had a chance, she would have given charity. So if I give charity on her behalf, will she be rewarded and will I also be rewarded?
The Prophet of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) replied in the affirmative. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Hadith #: 2717)
These are just a few narrations from the many that establish that reciting the Qur’an and performing good deeds on behalf of the deceased will benefit them in their graves. You should continue doing good deeds on behalf of your father, be it in the form of charity, keeping optional fasts, optional Salaah, Istighfar, Zikr or the recitation of the Qur’an etc and all of this will benefit him Insha Allah.


And Allah Knows Best
Mufti Suhail Tarmahomed
Fatwa Department

Jamiatul Ulama (KZN) 

Council of Muslim Theologians
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Jazakillilah    khair  sis .  I really  needed  this  fatwa .  I   used  to  recite    Quran   for   my  late  father  but  last  week  2  persons   told  me  it's  Bidat  .  So ,  i got  confused .



May  Allah  reward  u sis for  submitting useful posts  for  us  .

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Aameen!..Allah ta'ala removed your confusion through the post so your respected father continues to receive thawaab...glad to have been the means my sister.


For a number of years, Alhamdulillah,  I have had the practice of consulting Ulama whenever I'm told something and about the practices of our Indo-pak culture. That way InshaAllah there is no misconceptions or misunderstandings and Alhamdulillah we're holding on to the rope of the Qur'an and Sunnah! Many a time I was advised that a certain practice was a Bid'at and so Alhamdulillah we would stop the practice in our family and advise others too....May Allah ta'ala safeguard and elevate our Ulama and keep us on the straight path!

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just  saw   a  related  detailed  discussion  on  facebook  .



The Permissibility of Reciting the Qur'an at the graves of the dead and donating the rewards of its recitation to the deceased


Allah says: "Those who come after them say, 'Our Lord, forgive us and our brothers who came before us in faith...." (Q59:10), meaning those who passed away, who benefit from the supplication of the living, as is clearly seen here. Also: "And ask forgiveness for your faults, and for the believing men and women" (Q47:19), with no specification here of it only applying to the currently living believers and excluding the dead ones.


The Prophet Sallalahualahiwasallaam said, "Read Ya Siin over your deceased."


Recorded by Abu Dawud (#2714), Ibn Majah (1:466 #1438), Hakim (1:565 Sahih), Ibn Hibban (7:269 #3002 Sahih), Imam Ahmad (5:26), Nasa'i ('Amal Yowm.....#1074-75, Sunan Kubra 6:265), Baghawi in Sharh as-Sunna (#1464), Bayhaqi in his Sunan al-Kubra (3:383) and Shu'ab (#2457-58), Ibn Abi Shayba (3:124), Tayalisi (#973), Tabarani (20:219-20, 231). Suyuti said it is Sahih (Jami' Saghir, #8937), while Daraqutni and Nawawi (Adhkar, P.198) said it is Da'if. Cf. 'Ajluni's Kashf al-Khafa' (#709).


Also, Imam Ahmad in his Musnad (4:105 #16355) stated that, "The Shaykhs used to say that if Ya Siin is recited for the dead person, then the torment of the grave is lightened for him by it," and Ibn Hajar 'Asqalani declared this narration (also in Daylami's Firdaws 4:108 #5834) Hasan in his Isaba (3:184). See also his Talkis al-Habr (2:104) and Ibn Kathir's Tafsir (3:563). Imam Shawkani (Nayl al-Awtar, 3:25) and others stated that the primary and preferred meaning is the literal one, namely, the already deceased, and that taking it to mean those in the last moments of their life is a metaphorical extension that is unwarranted but acceptable.


The Prophet Sallalahualahiwasallaam sacrificed two white rams, one for himself and family and the other for his community.

Recorded by Ibn Sa'd (Tabaqat, 1:249), Ibn Majah (#3112), Darimi (#1864), Abu Ya'la (#1792, 2806, 3076, 3118, 3136, 3247-48 Sahih), Daraqutni (Sunan, 4:278, 284-85), 'Abd Ibn Humayd (#1144), Bazzar (Zawa'id, 2:62), Tabarani in Kabir (1:312, 5:111) and Awsat (2:250, 3:319, 6:300), and Ruyani (Musnad, #991).


The evidence here is that the Prophet Sallalahualahiwasallaam offered sacrificed animals and donated the reward to his community, which includes both the living and the dead, whether for those existing at his time or for those coming after.


A person asked the Prophet Sallalahualahiwasallaam, "My mother has passed away, will she benefit if I give charity on her behalf?" And the Prophet Sallalahualahiwasallaam answered: "Yes."


Bukhari (#1299, 2554), Muslim (Kitab al-Wasiyya, chapter "on the rewards of charity reaching the dead" #3082-83), Nasa'i (#3589), Imam Malik (#1255), Imam Ahmad (6:51 #23117), and others.

Someone else asked him, "My mother has passed away, and yet she did not make up a month's worth of fasting, so should I fast on her behalf ?" And he said, "Yes."


Bukhari (#1817), Muslim (#1936-38), Imam Ahmad (1:216, 227, 2:181, 4:405, 5:359), and others.

Similarly, the Prophet Sallalahualahiwasallaam said: "Whoever dies without making up an obligatory fast that he had missed, let his/her patron (wali) fast on his/her behalf." 

Bukhari (#1816), Muslim (#1935), and many others.


And as for Hajj, there are also many such Hadiths.


See for example: Bukhari (#6204-05). Muslim (2:805 #1939), Nasa'i (#2585-87), Abu Dawud (2:162 #1545-46), Tirmidhi (Kitab al-Hajj, #852), Ahmad (5:359), Daraqutni (Sunan, 2:260), Bazzar (Zawa'id, 2:36), Tabarani (M.Al-Kabir 1:258 #748, Hasan according to Haythami in Majma' 3:282; M.Awsat 8:11), etc.



'Ata' Ibn Abi Rabah said: I heard Ibn 'Umar say: I heard the Prophet say: "When one of you dies do not tarry, but make haste and take him to his grave, and let someone read at his head the opening of Surat al-Baqara, and at his feet it's closure when he lies in the grave." 

Bayhaqi in his Shu'ab al-Iman (7:16 #9294), Daylami (Firdaws, 1:350 #1124), and Tabarani in al-Mu'jam al-Kabir (12:444 #13613). Haythami said in Majma' al-Zawa'id (3:44) that the latter's chain contain Yahya Ibn 'Abd Allah al-Dahhak, who Is weak. However, Ibn Hajar said it was Hasan in Fath Al-Bari (1959 ed.3:184).


This is supported by the fact that Ibn Abi Shayba (Musannaf 3:123), Shawkani (Nayl al-Awtar 3:25) and others recorded that the Ansar saw it was desirable to recite al-Baqara and al-Ra'd to the dead. 'Ala' Ibn al-Lajlaj said to his children: "When you bury me, say as you place me in the side-opening (lahd) of the grave: Bismillah wa 'ala millati rasulillah - (in the name of Allah and according to the way of Allah's Messenger) - then flatten the earth over me, and read at the head of my grave the beginning of Surat al-Baqara and its end, for I have heard Abdullah Ibn Umar recommend the same",


Recorded by Bayhaqi in his Sunan (4:56, Hasan - Nawawi's Adhkar P.219), Tabarani (M.Kabir, 19:220 - Haythami said its narrator were declared trustworthy, in Majma' 3:44 #4243), Ibn 'Asakir (Tarikh, 47:230), Abu Bakr al-Khallal's Amr bi'l Ma'ruf (#237) and his "Recitation at the graves", and Dinawari's Mujalasa (#757 Da'if). See also Ibn Hajar's Talkhis al-Habir (2:129-130) and Shawkani's Tuhfat al-Dhakirin (P.229).


And in other narrations, "the messenger of Allah recommend it." It was also related (thru Abu Bakr and Abu Hurayra) that he Sallalahualahiwasallaam said: "Whoever visits the grave of his Parents or the grave of one of them every Friday (and recites Ya Siin), he will be forgiven and his name will be written among the pious."

Recorded by Bayhaqi (Shu'ab al-Iman, 6:201 #7901), Tabarani (M.Awsat 6:175), M.Saghir 2:69 - Da'if: Haythami's Majma' 3:60), Daylami (Firdaws, 4:140 #5945), Hakim Tirmidhi (Asl #15), Ibn Abi Dunya in Makarim al-Akhlaq (#249), Ibn 'Adiyy (Kamil, 5:1801), Ibn Najjar, and others. Hadith Da'if.


Also, we know that the deceased are affected by then actions of their living relatives in a negative sense,

The Prophet Sallalahualahiwasallaam said: "The deceased is bothered in his grave by that which bothers him in his house" (Daylami from A'isha), and "The deceased is bothered by the grieving and wailing of his relatives over him" (Bukhari #1208-10, Muslim #1539-40, Tabarani 25:10), and he Sallalahualahiwasallaam saw someone sitting on a grave (to relieve himself) and told him, "Get off this grave, do not harm the inhabitant of this grave, so he will not harm you" (Ahmad 5:223, Tabarani - Majma' 3:61, Hakim 3:590, Tahawi 1:515, Abu Nu'aym in Ma'rifat Sahaba #1981). For more, see Suyuti's Sharh as-Sudur (Ch.46-48) and 'Ajluni's Kashf (#789).


So there is no reason they would not be affected by the positive actions of their living relatives, such as reciting Qu'ran for them, paying off their debt, etc.


Suyuti (Sharh, Ch. 42) cited 8 narrations to the effect that the souls of the departed are trapped and prevented from reaching their ultimate stations of honor because of unpaid debts, and when payed they are freed; from Tirmidhi (#998-99), Ibn Majah (#2404), Ahmad (2:440, 475, 5:20), Bayhaqi (Sunan 4:61, 6:49, 76, Shu'ab 4:401), Tabarani (Kabir 7:178, Awsat 5:258), Ibn Hibban (7:331 #3061), Abu Ya'la (#6026), and others.


Shaykh Muwaffaq Ibn Qudana al-Maqdisi, the leading scholar of the Hanbali Madhhab during his time, wrote (Mughni 2:426-27) the following: "There is no harm in reciting Qur'an at the graves (of the dead), and it was narrated that Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal said, "If you enter a graveyard, then recite Ayat ul-Kursi and Surat al-Ikhlas 3 times, then say "O Allah, this is on behalf of the occupants of these graves." And Imam Ahmad used to say that reciting Qur'an at the graves is a Bid'a (innovation), but later recanted this view and agreed it was permissible, and did it himself.


This was recorded by Abu Bakr al-Khallal al-Hanbali in his Amr bi'l Ma'ruf (P.122 #240-41), who also recorded that Ishaq Ibn Rahawayh saw no problem in reciting Qur'an at graves (P.123 #245).


It was also narrated that the Prophet Sallalahualahiwasallaam said, 'Whoever enters a graveyard and recites Surat Ya Siin, then their punishment is lightened for them on that day, and he receives rewards equal to the number of people in the grave, and also, 'whoever visits the grave of his parents and reads Ya Siin for them, then he is forgiven." He also wrote: "Any voluntary act of devotion which the Muslim performs, and then gifts its reward to the deceased Muslim, then that deceased Muslim will benefit from it..." And he said (Mughni 2:429): "And it is the consensus of the Muslims, in every time and place, that they meet together to recite the Qur'an and donate its reward to their deceased, without any objection, and because it is authentically narrated that the Prophet Sallalahualahiwasallaam said, 'the dead is bothered by the wailing of the living over him,' and Allah is too generous to deliver punishment to them and not deliver reward."


Similarly, Imam Nawawi commented on the famous Hadith wherein the Prophet Sallalahualahiwasallaam and some Companions passed by two graves, and he said, "They are being punished, but for something minor; as for one of them, he used to carry false tales, and as for the other, he did not used to purify himself from traces of urine," then he called for a green date-palm stalk and split it in two, and placed one part over one grave and another over the other grave, and said, "Their punishments will be lightened as long as these remain green and do not wither up, in sha'allah." 

Recorded by Imam Bukhari (#209, 1273, 1289), Muslim (#439), Nasa'i (#31, 2041), and others.

Then Imam Nawawi said (Sharh Sahih Muslim 3:202): "Due to this Hadith, the 'Ulama have declared it recommended (Mustahabb) to recite Qur'an at the graves, because if the lessening of punishment could be hoped for from the glorification of a palm stalk, then the recitation of Qur'an is more worthy of this special distinction......and Allah knows best."


Imam Suyuti in his book Sharh as-Sudur (P.312-313) also stated that it is authentically established that among the Companions, Abu Barza al-Aslami (as narrated by Ibn 'Asakir 62:100) and Burayda (as narrated by Bukhari in his Sahih - K Jana'iz) asked to be buried together with two fresh stalks! Imam Nawawi also advised in his book Minhaj at-Taliban (chapter on funerals): "Whoever visits a grave, let him greet its dweller, recite some Qur'an, and make an invocation for the deceased." He also said (Adhkar, P.218), "It is desirable (Yustahabb) that one who is visiting the graves recite from the Qur'an what is easy for him to recite, after which, that he invoke Allah on their behalf. Shafi'i stipulated it and his companions all agreed with him."


Imam Suyuti also records Imam Al-Qurtubi, the Maliki scholar and Mufassir, as saying that, "As for reciting over the grave, then our companions (Malikis) are categorical that it is lawful, and others say the same." And Qurtubi wrote in his Tadhkira: "The legal basis for this is the permissibility of Sadaqa on behalf of the dead, which no one disagrees about. And just as its rewards reach the dead, so do the rewards of Qur'an recitation and du'a, for all of that is Sadaqa, and Sadaqa does not only refer to money." Nafrawi al-Maliki states (Fawakih Dawani 1:284): "al-Qarafi said that which is apparent is the obtainment of the blessing of the Qur'an-recital for the dead, just as blessing is obtained by being buried next to the righteous. Therefore, it is not appropriate to abandon the Qur'an-recital and invocations (Tahlil) performed on their behalf, and in all of that one relies on Allah and his bountiful mercy.


The author of the Madkhal (Ibn al-Haj) stated that whoever desires to actualize the blessing and reward of Qur'an-recital for the dead in a way which avoids any difference of opinion between the scholars (satisfying all of their conditions), then he should make it supplication and say, 'O Allah! Cause the reward of what we recite to reach so-and-so', and in this way the dead gets the reward of the recital, and he gets the reward of du'a."


Ibn 'Abidin al-Hanafi (Hashiya 2:243) said: "In visiting graves one may recite Fatiha, Baqara, Ya Siin, Mulk, Takathur, and Ikhlas 12,11,7, or 3 times, and then say, 'O Allah, convey the reward of what I have recited to so-and-so (one or many)'"

Perhaps this is from the Hadith which states, "Whoever passes by some graves and recites Surat Ikhlas 11 (or 21) times then gifts the reward of that to the inhabitants of the graveyard, then he will receive a reward according to the number of the dead in the graves." Recorded by Daylami (Firdaws, 4:38), Imam Rafi'i in his Tarikh Qazmin (2:297), Abu Bakr Najjar, and Abu Muhammad Samarqandi (Suyuti's Sharh as-Sudur Ch.51). And the Hadith: "The dead in his grave is like the drowning man calling for help, waiting for du'a from a father or mother or son or trustworthy friend...." (Bayhaqi's Shu'ab 6:203, 7:16, Daylami's Firdaws, 4:391).


He (Hashiya 2:595-96), along with Kamal Ibn al-Humann al-Hanafi in Sharh Fath al-Qadir, also stated that every single act of worship, including Qur'an-recital, could be donated to the deceased. The Hanafi Faqih 'Uthman al-Zayla'i said: "There is nothing rationally far-fetched in the reaching of someone else's reward to the dead because it is nothing more than the placing of what he possess of reward at someone else's disposal, and it is Allah Who is the One Who conveys it, and He is able to do that." So we see the major scholars of all four Madhahib agreeing that it is recommended to recite the Qu'ran at the graves and donate its reward to the deceased.


For more, see (Hanafi): Zayla'i in Tabyin al-Haqa'iq 2:83 ("Hajj on behalf of another person"), Tahtawi's Hashiyat Maraqi al-Falah P.413; (Maliki): Mawahib al-Jalil 2:237-38, Dusuqi's Hashiya 1:423, Ibn Rushd's Nawazil; (Shafi'i): Nawawi's Majmu' 5:294, Rawdat at-Taliban 5:191, and Sharh Muslim 1:89-90, Ibn Hajar's Jawab al-Kafi, Ibn Daqiq al-Eid's Ihkam al-Ahkam 1:106; (Hanbali): Ibn Muflih's Mubdi' 2:281, Mardawi's Insaf 2:557, and Fatawa Ibn Taymiyya (24:306-15, 324, 366-67). Also: al-Jaziri's Fiqh 'ala al-Madhahib al-Arba'a (1:551-52).


As for the Hadith that states that "all of the action of the son of Adam after he dies are cut off except for three...", Recorded by Muslim (#3084), Ibn Majah (#238), Ibn Khuzayma (#2490, 2494-95), and many others.


Then there is no proof in this against what we saying, for this refers to his own actions being cut off, not the actions of the living, nor their rewards reaching him, as the rewards continue to reach the dead even though their own actions are finished. And as for the verse that states, "man can have nothing but what he strives for" (Q53:39), then this also does not constitute a proof against what we are saying here. Firstly, Ibn 'Abbas stated it is abrogated by Q52:21, and 'Ikrima stated it only applies to the people (Qawm) of Ibrahim (Peace be upon him) and Musa (Peace be upon him). Also, Ibn Qayyim said (Kitab ar-Ruh, Ch.16), "The Qur'an did not deny the persons benefitting from the striving of someone else, but rather it denied his possession and ownership of other than his own striving; and between the two the difference is clear." He also wrote in the same book, "As for one who says, 'None of the Salaf have done this,' then these are the words of someone who has no knowledge." Consider these words of Ibn Qayyim, for we see today some people falsely thinking that if the Salaf did not do something, then that constitutes a proof of the prohibition of that thing.


To conclude, it is not only permissible but recommended to recite Quran at the graves of deceased Muslims, and donate the rewards of the recitation to the deceased, and also the rewards of other acts of worship, such as charity, fasting, pilgrimage, Etc.

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