Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Assalam alaikum.
Is the prayer of parents (salat al-walidayn) authentically established?
Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
I’m unaware of an authentic tradition regarding the “prayer of parents” (salat al-walidayn).
There is a tradition related by Abu Huraira and found in Ghazali’s Ihya’ and elsewhere which mentions a specific form of prayer for parents. However, `Iraqi points out that this is reported from Daylami’s Musnad al-Firdaws with a very weak chain of transmission.
It is also reported in an alternative manner from some of the righteous by Lacknawi in his al-Athar al-Marfu`ah fi al-Akhbar al-Mawdu`ah. Nevertheless, the meaning is sound, in that showing excellence to parents is a tremendous action, coupled with a mighty reward.
Praying in the manner stated in that tradition wouldn’t be in and of itself problematic as long as you don’t deem it to be specifically a sunna or legislated because this is simply a specific manner of carrying out a general duty.
Further, Ibn `Abidin, as did others before him, relates in both his major marginal glosses, of al-Durr al-Mukhtar and al-Bahr al-Ra’iq, the inclusion of this prayer within those which are recommended, and without further comment, indicating that there is sufficient leeway for general practice.
As for the validity of donating the reward of an action for another, please see: Donating Reward to the Dead: A Detailed Answer
And Allah alone knows best.
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani