Q. 1. What is the ruling regarding charity on behalf of the dead if it comes from one other than the spouse or children?
2. If charity is given on behalf of grandparents from grandchildren, will the blessing be conveyed upon them once it is accepted by Allah, or should it rightfully come from the direct children.
3. Is it a bid’ah to do Quran reading for the deceased, such as is done with yearly functions or if when I remember my relative and decide to sit and read some Quran then make supplication that it be accepted and the blessing be conveyed upon them?
A. 1) Charity given on behalf of the deceased is permissible and acceptable in Islam even if it comes from one other than the spouse or children.
2) The blessings of charity given on behalf of the grandparents will be conveyed and bestowed to them even though it may come from the grandchildren. There is no requirement that it must come from the direct children.
3) The customary yearly functions/Quran readings and forty days reading functions etc. are all bid’ah and has no source in Islamic teachings. The act of reading Quran or doing any other acts of goodness for the deceased is meritous and the deceased will get the benefits from it. In this regard, Hafiz ibn Qayyim has written, ‘If a Muslim recites Quran, performs Hajj, offers duas, gives in charity on behalf of the deceased, then the deceased gets the benefits of it’. (Kitabur Rooh – Ibn Qayyim).
However, while this is acceptable, it is not allowed for one to identify it with a fixed day/date and then hold on to the significance of it as if it was ordained in the shariah.
There is no doubt that there are many people who view 3 days, 40 days and yearly functions as things that have special significance in Islam, while it is not so. These have become customary among Muslims to the extent that they believe it is a part of their duty in Islam to host these functions. This is a grave misunderstanding which is opposed to Islamic teachings. These are not evident from the Prophet (S.A.S), the illustrious sahabahs, the second generation nor the third generations of Muslims.
It will be permissible for you to read Quran at anytime and then make supplication to Allah. This is acceptable in Islam and the blessings will be conveyed to the deceased.
Besides supplications, other acts of goodness, charity etc. benefits the deceased and have been allowed and encouraged in Islam.
In Sahih Bukhari and Muslim, it is recorded that a man came to the Prophet (S.A.S) and said, ‘My Mother has suddenly died and she did not leave any will, but I suspect that if she did that then she would have told me to give something in charity. Now if I offer something in charity on her behalf, will she get the rewards’? The Prophet (S.A.S) said, ‘Yes’. Then the man said that I make you, O Prophet, as my witness, that I offer my garden full of fruits in charity’. (Bukhari, Muslim).
This hadith clearly proves that to offer charity on behalf of the deceased will result in the deceased obtaining a benefit.
There are other traditions which speak about other actions being approved by the Prophet (S.A.S) where the deceased may benefit from.
It is in this regard, Hafiz Ibn Taimiyah writes, ‘From the authentic hadith, there is evidence pointing out that the deceased person will gain rewards from all the good deeds carried out on her/ his behalf by others. (Majmoo’a Al Fatawa).
Similarly, Qazi Shawkani has written, ‘According to the Sunni faith, a deceased receives rewards from others praying, performing hajj, offering alms, but the ‘Mutazila’ refuse to accept this’. (Nailul Awtaar).
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan