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Donating the Reward of Khatm al-Qur’an

Ustadh Tabraze Azam is asked about donating the rewards for Qur’an recitation to the deceased.

I pray this note finds you in the best of spirits, insha Allah

My beloved mother passed away this year in March. May Allah grant her the highest station of Jannah, amin. As a tradition, all my siblings started a monthly Qur’an khatm to dedicate to her. One of my cousins is requesting that we donate this Qur’an khatm to her mother as well, i.e., adding two beneficiaries to one Qur’an khatm. I am totally willing to do this as long as this does not diminish my mom’s reward.

Question:

  1. Does adding another person’s name to the Qur’an khatm dedication list diminish the reward of my mother?
  2. What is the Hanafi ruling on donating one Qur’an khatm to multiple deceased members ?

Appreciate your guidance in this regard.

Jazak Allah khayr.

May Allah Most High grant your mother a tremendous forgiveness, and enter her into the gardens of the righteous forever.

It is permitted and praiseworthy to donate the reward of your recitation to your mother, to your cousin’s mother, and to any other Muslim likewise. Doing so will not diminish your reward, nor the reward of any of them.

Ibn Hajar al-Haytami was asked whether the reward of a recitation of the Fatiha at a graveyard would be shared between its inhabitants, or if each person would get the full benefit. He responded that a great number of scholars held the latter.

This entire matter is quite expansive by the Grace of Allah Most High.

(Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar ‘ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar)

Please also see Donating Reward to the Dead: A Detailed Answer.

And Allah Most High knows best.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Can the Dead Hear Us?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaikum,

Can those buried in their grave hear us when we visit their grave, speak to them, or make du’a for them? Does it differ if they died Muslim or non-Muslim?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.

Yes, the deceased can hear the living when addressed by them, by the enablement of Allah Most High, as affirmed by numerous traditions (hadiths) of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).

Muslim recorded that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said upon visiting a graveyard, “Peace be upon you abode of a believing people, we, if Allah wills, will surely catch up to you.”

And it is reported that he said (Allah bless him and give him peace), “There is not a person who passes by the grave of his fellow believer whom he used to know in this life, and sends greetings (i.e. salam) upon him, except that he recognises him and returns his greetings.” [Ibn `Abd al-Barr, al-Istidhkar, as related by al-`Iraqi in his Takhrij al-Ihya’]

This understanding is affirmed by numerous scholars such as Suyuti in his al-Hawi li’l Fatawa, Ibn al-Qayyim in his Kitab al-Ruh, Mulla `Ali al-Qari in his Mirqat al-Mafatih, Ibn Hajar al-Haytami in his al-Fatawa al-Fiqhiyya al-Kubra, and many others.

As for supplicating for non-Muslims after they have died, please see the following: Can We Pray for Non-Muslims Who Passed Away?

And see also: Donating Reward to the Dead: A Detailed Answer and: What Is the Proper Etiquette in Giving Condolences to the Family of a Deceased Who Is Non-Muslim? and: Dealing with Death: Inward & Outward Manners

And Allah alone gives success

wassalam,
Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Is Donating the Reward of a Recitation to Prophets Permissible?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: I have the habit after making a supplication to send salam to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and afterwards ask Allah to accept my reciting of Fatiha and let the reward go to all the Prophets. Is it permissible?

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

Yes, it is permissible to donate reward in such a manner. For a detailed answer on this, please refer to the following:

Donating Reward to the Dead: A Detailed Answer

Salman

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Dealing with Death: Inward & Outward Manners

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: My grandmother is about to die, it seems. How does one deal with death? What can I do for her?

Answer: Walaikum assalam,

Inwardly:

1. Patience,

2. Submission to the Divine Will,

3. Reflection on the fleetingness of live,

4. Taking admonition for one’s own situation.

Shaddad ibn Aws reported that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The intelligent is one who controls his lower self and works for that which comes after death. The stupid is one who follows his caprice and vainly hopes that his desires will be fulfilled by Allah.” [al-Tirmidhi, Sunan]

Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Race to good deeds! What do you await but delayed poverty, overbearing wealth, debilitating illness, senility, unexpected death or the Dajjal? Or are you waiting for unseen evil, or the Final Hour? And the Final Hour will be bitter indeed and terrible.” [ibid]

Outwardly:

1. Making sure the dead person’s estate is correctly divided according to the Shariah AFTER all debts have been cleared.

2. If the person is expected to have missed fard fasts or prayers, their family (or friends) should make expiatory payments (fidya) to compensate for this, according to the rules of fiqh. [Can be explained upon request.]

3. Reciting a lot of Qur’an oneself (and family and friends) and donating the reward to the deceased. One may not pay Qur’an reciters for this; it would be sinful and without reward.

4. Making a lot of dua for them.

There is agreement among the 4 Sunni schools that one may donate the reward of some or all one’s actions to some or all believers, living or dead. [Ibn al-Humam, Fath al-Qadir]

Malik ibn Rabi’a al-Sa`idi said, “Once as we sat with the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace), a man from the Bani Salama came and asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah, is there any goodness I can show my parents after they die?’ He said, ‘Yes . Praying for them, seeking forgiveness for them, fulfilling the pledges they made, keeping ties with their relatives, and honouring their friends.” [Abu Dawud, Sunan]

Finally, we should learn the manners and ways of the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) and live them:

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessing & peace) said, “My entire community will enter Janna except those who refuse.”

He was asked, “O Messenger of Allah, who are those who refuse?

He said, “Those who obey me will enter the Garden and those who disobey me refuse.” [al-Bukhari, Sahih]

Wassalam
Faraz Rabbani

Donating Reward to the Dead: A Detailed Answer

Answered by Ustadh Faraz Khan

Question: In a class I attended recently, we were told that reciting Surah Yaseen is a sunnah for the sick and dying (in their presence). However, it is not a sunnah not after a persons death. We were told this was a cultural practice and brings no benefit to the deceased. Is this true?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

Insha’Allah you are well.

The short answer to your question is that reciting the Qur’an, whether Surah Yasin or otherwise, is not merely a cultural practice but does indeed provide benefit to the deceased according to the majority of Sunni scholars. It falls under the more general ruling of donating reward to others.

The Legal Ruling of Donating Reward to Others

With respect to this discussion, actions can be divided into two categories: (1) actions with a monetary component such as charity or pilgrimage, and (2) solely physical actions such as praying, fasting, and reciting Qur’an.

There is scholarly consensus regarding the first type that one may donate its reward to the deceased, based on several clear hadith texts. For example, Imam Muslim actually titled a section of his Sahih Collection “The Reward of Charity on Behalf of the Deceased Reaches Him.” He relates in that section that a man told the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) that his mother died a sudden death and did not have a chance to leave a bequest in her will, and that were she able to speak she would want to donate charity. He then asked if the reward of charity on behalf of his deceased mother would reach her, to which the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, “Yes.”

With regards to the second type of actions, physical actions with no monetary component, the view of some scholars was that one could not donate the reward to the deceased. However the majority of scholars, especially later ones, affirmed that one can indeed perform physical voluntary acts and donate the reward of those acts to the deceased. This is established in all four canonical schools of law, as mentioned by major Imams of each school – such as Ibn Abidin of the Hanafi school, Hattab of the Maliki school, Nawawi of the Shafi`i school, and Ibn Qudama of the Hanbali school – all of whom give the example of specifically reciting Qur’an for the deceased, notwithstanding minor differences such as whether or not one must be at the physical grave-site for the deceased to benefit. [Ibn `Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar; Hattab, Mahawib al-Jalil; Nawawi, al-Minhaj; Ibn Qudama, al-Mughni]

The Hanafis specifically mention that a person may designate the reward of any voluntary good deed to another person, whether the designated recipient is alive or deceased, without it decreasing from the performer’s reward whatsoever. Based on this ruling, some scholars even suggested that when a person gives voluntary charity [and by extension any voluntary work], he should intend it on behalf of all believing men and women, as the reward will reach them and take nothing away from his own personal reward. [Ibn `Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

Evidence from the Sunnah

There is much evidence in the Sunnah for this position, a few examples of which will be presented here.

Imam Bukhari titled a section of his Sahih Collection, “Performing Hajj and Fulfilling Vows on Behalf of the Deceased,” and relates in that section that a woman asked the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) if she could perform hajj on behalf of her deceased mother, who had made a vow to do so, to which he replied, “Yes, perform the hajj on her behalf; if she had a debt, wouldn’t you pay it back for her? Pay off her debt to Allah, for He is more deserving of fulfilling obligations.”

Also, both Bukhari and Muslim relate in their Sahih Collections that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “If someone dies while owing obligatory fasts, his relative can fast on his behalf.”

An Example from a Companion-Scholar, Whose Understanding Reflects the Sunnah

With regards to reciting Qur’an for the deceased, this was the practice of Ibn Umar himself (may Allah be pleased with him), one of the greatest Companions and a scholar among them, who was particularly well-known for being strict in his adherence to the Prophetic Sunnah.

Imam Abu Bakr al-Khallal, an eminent Imam of the Hanbali school, mentions in his work, “Commanding the Good and Forbidding the Evil,” that Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal once entered a graveyard with some of his students and saw a blind man sit at a grave to recite Qur’an. Imam Ahmad told him to stop since he considered it a reprehensible innovation (bid`a). When they left the graveyard, one of his students narrated a hadith with a sound chain of narration that Ibn Umar himself left a bequest that someone should recite Qur’an at his grave after his demise. Upon hearing the narration, Imam Ahmad told the student to return and tell the blind man to go ahead and recite Qur’an. [Muhammad Awwama, Athar al-Hadith al-Sharif, citing Ibn Qayyim, Kitab al-Ruh]

To Summarize

As in all matters of difference of opinion, such issues should not be a source of dispute or animosity among Muslims. The issue is not a central tenet of faith, whereas the unity of Muslims is an obligation and of the utmost priority. One can appreciate that there is sufficient legal precedent to donate the reward of voluntary works to others, including that of solely physical actions like praying, fasting, or reciting Qur’an, and therefore those who wish to do so have every right to and should not be condemned or blamed. At the same time, if one prefers not to, that is his right and there is nothing wrong with that.

May Allah Most High unite our hearts for His sake, and make our entire community the coolness of our Beloved Messenger’s eyes, peace and blessings be upon him. Amin.

wassalam
Faraz Khan

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Women Visiting Graveyards & Donating Reward to the Deceased

Answered by Sidi Salman Younas

Question: [1] Is it permissible under the Hanafi madhab for women to visit the graveyard? [2] Every year on my mothers death anniversary my dad makes some sweet food and he distributes it at our local mosque for people to eat and enjoy and to make dua for my mother. Is this ok? It’s not in any way a celebration but to remember my mother and make and receive duas.

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

I pray you are well.

[1] It is permitted for women to visit a graveyard, provided there is (a) no fear of fitna and (b) no wailing or excessive lamenting. [Ibn `Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

[2] There is nothing wrong with the practice you described. Rather, it is recommended by the vast majority of scholars to donate reward to the deceased as long as there are no blameworthy or prohibited aspects within the gathering itself.  [Ibn Humam, Fath al-Qadir; ibn `Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

Wasalam
Salman

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani