Splendid Teachings of Islam
Gifting Rewards to the Deceased
Mawlana Abu Muhammad Attari Madani (Owais Yameen)
Just as Islam encourages us to treat others with kindness, care for them, and observe their rights, we are also taught to be good towards Muslims who have departed from this world. In the Islamic worldview, our duty of care towards parents, siblings, friends, and family does not end with their death; rather, we have a duty to pray for their forgiveness and to continue our kindness by conveying rewards to them. Conveying rewards elevates the spiritual rank of the living believer in this world and helps the deceased believer in the hereafter. The Quran explicitly encourages us to do this:
وَ الَّذِیْنَ جَآءُوْ مِنْۢ بَعْدِهِمْ یَقُوْلُوْنَ رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ لَنَا وَ لِاِخْوَانِنَا الَّذِیْنَ سَبَقُوْنَا بِالْاِیْمَانِ
‘And those who came after them submit, ‘O our Lord, forgive us, and our brothers who accepted faith before us,’
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 28, Surah Al-Hashr, Verse 10)
The Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said, ‘The gift of the living to the deceased is to pray for their forgiveness,’ (Shu’ab-ul-Iman, vol. 6, p. 203, Hadith 7905). He صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم also stated that ‘When you give voluntary charity, give it on behalf of your parents, for they will receive its reward and there will be no decrease in [your] reward,’ (Shu’ab-ul-Iman, vol. 6, p. 205, Hadith 7911).
Our sacred scriptures, the Quran and Hadith, not only encourage this practice but describe various ways in which we can convey reward to others, especially the deceased. Since the first generation of believers, Muslims have observed this beautiful practice, generation after generation.
Non-monetary acts for conveying reward
1. Praying for the forgiveness of both the living and deceased
5. Recitation of the Holy Quran in general and specifically Surah Yaseen, Surah al-Mulk, Surah al-Fatihah, Ayat-ul-Kursi, and Surah al-Ikhlas.
6. Dhikr of Allah Almighty
7. Reciting Salat upon the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم
8. Attending Islamic classes
9. Participating in Islamic lectures
10. Spreading the call to righteousness
11. Waking others up for Fajr
12. Reading Islamic books
13. Making individual efforts for religious works.
The reward of every righteous work can be conveyed to others.
Monetary acts of worship for conveying reward
1. Charitable acts and donations
2. Performing Hajj
3. Gifting books to scholars or students of sacred knowledge
4. Purchasing and distributing Islamic books
5. Paying for the treatment of a sick person
6. Giving food to the poor and needy
7. Giving clothes to the poor and needy
8. Fulfilling a permissible need of someone
9. Funding the installation of a water pump or motor
10. Financing the construction of a masjid
11. Supporting the construction of an Islamic seminary or institute
12. Feeding Muslims
When to convey reward
Although reward can be conveyed at any time, you may specify a day and time as per your convenience – but do not consider that day to be religiously binding. It is customary for reward to be conveyed 3, 10, or 40 days after someone’s death and then annually. This practice is also usually observed on 11 Rabi’ al-Aakhir, 12 Rabi’ al-Awwal, and other special occasions such as the days of the Companions and Ahl al-Bayt, for example, the days of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr, Sayyiduna Umar, Sayyiduna Uthman, Sayyiduna Ali, Sayyiduna Hasan, Sayyiduna Husayn and others رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُم, and the death anniversaries (Urs) of pious predecessors.
May Allah Almighty allow us to observe the luminous teachings of Islam by conveying abundant reward to the pious predecessors and our deceased loved ones. اٰمین
(For more information, refer to the book ‘Method of Fatihah’ by Maktaba-tul-Madinah).