Question # 87: Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh, I have a question One teenage kid passed away in our community couple days ago, and some of his friends decided they should do some sadaqa jariah for him and decide to feed iftar in one masajid for one day and then they change their mind to decide to donate for a well in a third world country for him for about $1500-$5000 and thought that they should do this for everyone that passes in our community by collecting funds on go fund me or similar manner . I think it would be a new system being created and wanted to talk to them to just donate for their friend whatever they can but not start a system which is kind of like a bid’ah I am thinking Please advise JazakAllah khair
bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,
Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).
First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.
Shorter Answer: A person after his death continues to receive rewards for the deeds that he had initiated during his life or contributed to them to a certain degree. These deeds, even though performed by others, are count like his own because he caused them, such as his children’s supplication for him, or their performing Hajj, giving sadaqah, or fasting on his behalf – all of which having been established with authentic hadiths. ‘A’ishah (رضي الله عنه) reported that Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Indeed, the best that one eats is that which he earns. And his child is from his earning.” As for the sadaqah from other than one’s child, it is apparent from general Qur’anic texts that it does not help the deceased; also, there is no authentic hadith to support this argument. Lastly, it was not the practice of the Salaf to dedicate the rewards of charitable acts to the dead Muslims.
Long Answer: Before even considering that collecting funds for charitable purpose by the friends / community of the deceased is bid’ah, we need to understand whether any charitable acts performed by the non-offspring benefits the deceased or not.
Abu Hurayrah (رضي الله عنه) narrated that Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “When a man dies all his good deeds come to an end except three: ongoing charity (sadaqah jaariyah), beneficial knowledge and a righteous son who will pray for him.” (Muslim)
The reason that one continues to receive rewards for these deeds, even though they are done by other people, is that he had initiated them during his life or contributed to them to a certain degree, whether little or large. Since Allah does not neglect an atom’s weight of deeds, He records these contributions for a person even after his death.
And Rashid Rida said: “Among the deeds that benefit a person, even though they are done by others, are those that count like his own because he caused them, such as his children’s supplication for him, or their performing Hajj, giving sadaqah, or fasting on his behalf – all of which having been established with authentic hadiths.” (Tafsir ul-Manar 8:247)
Charitable Deeds from a Child
ONE’S CHILD IS FROM HIS EARNING
The above hadith indicate that a righteous child benefits his deceased parents with du’aa. It is further demonstrated here that he can benefit them by spending sadaqah, as well as doing other charitable deeds, on their behalf.
‘A’ishah (رضي الله عنه) reported that Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Indeed, the best that one eats is that which he earns. And his child is from his earning.” (Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and others; Verified as sahih by Al-Albani in Akham ul-Jana’iz, 217)
The reason for this is that a parent benefits himself by rearing his child according to the teachings of Islam, and exerting a consistent effort to raise him as a righteous person. As the child grows into adulthood and does righteous deeds, his parents deserve a merit in that they helped him accomplish that; and his good actions are therefore, at least in part, from his parents’ earning.
SADAQAH FROM A CHILD
‘A’ishah (رضي الله عنه) reported that a man asked Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم). “My mother had a sudden death, and did not have chance to bequeath anything. Had she been able to do, I think that she would have given sadaqah. Would she or I get any rewards if I give Sadaqah on her behalf?” He (صلى الله عليه و سلم) replied, “Yes! So give Sadaqah on her behalf.” (Al-Bukhari, Muslim and others)
lbn ‘Abbas (رضي الله عنه) reported that Sa’d Bin ‘Ubadah’s mother died during his absence on a trip. He came to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and asked him, “O Allah’s Messenger! My mother has passed away during my absence. Would it be of benefit to her if I give Sadaqah on her behalf?” He (صلى الله عليه و سلم) replied, “Yes!” He said, “Be my witness then that I give my fruitful garden as Sadaqah on her behalf.” (Al-Bukhari, Ahmad, and others)
Abu Hurayrah (رضي الله عنه) reported that a man asked the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم), “My father has died, leaving behind a wealth; but he did not bequeath anything. Would it help him if I give sadaqah on his behalf?” He (صلى الله عليه و سلم) replied, “Yes!” (Muslim, Ahmad, and others)
‘Abdullah Bin ‘Amr (رضي الله عنه) reported that al-‘As Bin Wa’il as-Sahmi (his grandfather) bequeathed that one hundred slaves be freed on his behalf. His son Hisham freed fifty; and ‘Amr wanted to free the other fifty, but decided to ask Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) first. He came to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and said, “O Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم)! My father has bequeathed that one hundred slaves be freed on his behalf. Hisham has freed fifty, and fifty are left. Should I free them for him?” He replied: “Had he been a Muslim, your freeing slaves, giving sadaqah, or performing Hajj on his behalf would all have reached (in rewards) and benefited him.” (Recorded by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, al-Bayhaqi, verified as hasan by al-Albani in Akham ul-Jana’iz, 218)
Commenting on these ahadith, ash-ShawkanI said: “This indicates that the rewards for a sadaqah from a child reach the parents after their death – even if they had not bequeathed it. These ahadith restrict the general meaning of Allah’s (صلى الله عليه و سلم) saying: “And that the human being can have nothing but what he has earned.” (Soorah An-Najm, 53:39)
But there is no indication in these ahadith that the sadaqah, except from one’s own child, helps. Since it is established that a person’s child is his own earning, it is not possible to claim that the meaning (of these ahadith) needs to be restricted.
As for the sadaqah from other than one’s child, it is apparent from general Qur’anic texts that it does not help the deceased. This should then be maintained unless additional evidence can be brought to restrict it.” (Nayl al-Awtar 4:97)
CHARITABLE DEEDS FROM A NON-CHILD
Some scholars, such as an-Nawawi, hold the opinion that all charitable deeds on behalf of a deceased person benefit him, whether done by his children or other people. This is refuted by ash-Shawkani’s above strong argument. Similarly, al-Albani says in this regard: “Some scholars have treated a non-child as a child (in this matter). This analogy is invalid for various reasons:
- It conflicts with general Qur’anic texts that make a person’s good deeds a condition for entering Jannah. There is no doubt that a parent benefits himself by raising his child and nurturing him. Thus, unlike other people, he deserves a reward for this.
- The difference between the two cases inhibits such an analogy. As in ‘A’ishah’s hadith, Allah has made a child part of his parents’ earnings – but not of other people’s earnings. Al-‘Izz Bin ‘Abd us Salam said: ‘If one does an act of obedience and dedicates its reward to a living or dead person, the reward will not reach that person. And if he starts an act of worship intending it on behalf of a dead person, it would not be as intended – except for things excluded in Islam such as sadaqah, fasting, and Hajj.’ (Al-Fatawa 24:2)
- Had this analogy been possible, it would have implied that it is recommended to dedicate rewards to the dead. In such a case, the Salaf would have done this, because they surely used to had more concern than us about doing good. But they did not do it. Ibn Taymiyyah said: “It was not the practice of the Salaf, when they performed a voluntary prayer, fasting, Hajj, or Qur’anic recitation, to dedicate the rewards of that to the dead Muslims. Thus, one should not abandon the way of the Salaf, because it is better and more complete.’ (Al-Ikhtiyarat ul-‘Ilmiyah, 54) (Note that Ibn Taymiyyah has another opinion contradicting this one, which was advocated by his student, Ibn al-Qayyim in ar-Ruh. That opinion conflicts with Ibn Taymiyyah’s known position of rejected qiyas in matters of worship; and it was refuted in a strong and sound manner by Rashid Rida’ in Tafsir ul-Manar 8:254-270)
A DANGEROUS BELIEF
The danger of holding a wrong belief in regard to this issue has been clarified and emphasized by al-Albani: “We do not doubt this wrong belief’s evil effects upon one who adopts it. He would rely upon others for acquiring rewards and high ranks (in the hereafter), because he knows that the Muslims dedicate hundreds of good deeds everyday to all of the living and dead Muslims, and he is one of them; that would then relieve him from having to work hard when others are striving on his behalf! …” (Ahkam ul-Jana’iz, 222-223)
(The above is an excerpt from the book ‘Life in Al-Barzakh’, Chapter ‘Things That Benefit the Dead’ by Muhammad Al-Jibali)
Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.