I would like to inquire the following: Is it permissible for a widow whose Iddah is finished to read nafl salah, fast and give Zakat on behalf of one’s deceased husband? So that the deceased husband may recieve that reward/blessing.
In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
When a person near and dear to one passes away, it is natural to grieve at the loss of such a person. However, as Muslims, the death of a person is not death in terms of expressing love for the deceased and benefiting the deceased. Rather, Shariah has created an avenue for us to maintain and express our love for the deceased through Isaal-e-Thawaab.
Isaal-e-Thawaab is to perform a virtuous act and grant the reward to any person, alive or deceased. It is the consensus of all four Imams that the deceased receive the Thawaab of virtuous actions passed on to them by others. Isaal-e-Thawaab is (Mustahab) meritorious.
One may perform a virtuous act and grant the Thawaab to whomsoever he/she wishes.[i] Each person will get the complete reward of the virtuous act. This may be done in the form of performing Salah, fasting, Zikr, Du’a, charity or recitation of the Qur’an etc. and make intention to give the reward of the virtuous deed to the deceased.[ii]
Rasulullah (SallallaahuAlaihiWasallam) advised the Sahabah (RadhiyallahuAnhum) to give charity on behalf of the deceased. See the following hadith:
أَنَّ سَعْدَ بْنَ عُبَادَةَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ تُوُفِّيَتْ أُمُّهُ وَهْوَ غَائِبٌ عَنْهَا، فَقَالَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ إِنَّ أُمِّي تُوُفِّيَتْ وَأَنَا غَائِبٌ عَنْهَا، أَيَنْفَعُهَا شَىْءٌ إِنْ تَصَدَّقْتُ بِهِ عَنْهَا قَالَ “ نَعَمْ ”. قَالَ فَإِنِّي أُشْهِدُكَ أَنَّ حَائِطِي الْمِخْرَافَ صَدَقَةٌ عَلَيْهَا. (صحيح البخارى: 2756)
Translation: On one occasion, when the mother of Sa’d bin Ubada (RadhiyallahuAnhu) passed away in his absence, he said: “O Allah’s Messenger (SallallahuAlaihiWasallam). My mother passed away in my absence; will it be of any benefit for her if I give Sadaqah on her behalf?” The Prophet (SallallahuAlaihiWasallam) said, “Yes,” Sa’d (RadhiyallahuAnhu) said, “I make you a witness that I gave my garden called, Al Makhraf in charity on her behalf.”[iii] (Sahih Al-Bukhari: 2756)
Sending the reward of other virtuous actions such as recitation of the Quran, fasting, Hajj, etc. have also been proven through numerous Ahadith:
عَنْ عَمْرِو بْنِ شُعَيْبٍ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، عَنْ جَدِّهِ، أَنَّ الْعَاصَ بْنَ وَائِلٍ، أَوْصَى أَنْ يُعْتَقَ، عَنْهُ مِائَةُ رَقَبَةٍ فَأَعْتَقَ ابْنُهُ هِشَامٌ خَمْسِينَ رَقَبَةً فَأَرَادَ ابْنُهُ عَمْرٌو أَنْ يَعْتِقَ عَنْهُ الْخَمْسِينَ الْبَاقِيَةَ فَقَالَ حَتَّى أَسْأَلَ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَأَتَى النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَقَالَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ إِنَّ أَبِي أَوْصَى بِعِتْقِ مِائَةِ رَقَبَةٍ وَإِنَّ هِشَامًا أَعْتَقَ عَنْهُ خَمْسِينَ وَبَقِيَتْ عَلَيْهِ خَمْسُونَ رَقَبَةً أَفَأُعْتِقُ عَنْهُ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم “ إِنَّهُ لَوْ كَانَ مُسْلِمًا فَأَعْتَقْتُمْ عَنْهُ أَوْ تَصَدَّقْتُمْ عَنْهُ أَوْ حَجَجْتُمْ عَنْهُ بَلَغَهُ ذَلِكَ ” (سنن ابى داود:2883)
Translation: Narrated ‘Amr b. Suh’aib: On his father’s authority, said that his grandfather told that Al-‘As ibn Wa’il left his will that a hundred slaves should be emancipated on his behalf. His son Hisham emancipated fifty slaves and his son Amr intended to emancipate the remaining fifty on his behalf, but he said: I should ask first the Messenger of Allah (SallallahuAlaihiWasallam). He, therefore, came to the Prophet (SallallahuAlaihiWasallam) and said: Messenger of Allah, my father left in his will that a hundred slaves should be emancipated on his behalf and Hisham has emancipated fifty on his behalf and fifty remain. Shall I emancipate them on his behalf? The Messenger of Allah (SallallahuAlaihiWasallam) said: Had he been a Muslim and you had emancipated slaves on his behalf, or given Sadaqah on his behalf, or performed the pilgrimage, that would have reached him. (Sunan Abi Dawood:2883)
عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ بُرَيْدَةَ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، – رضى الله عنه – قَالَ بَيْنَا أَنَا جَالِسٌ، عِنْدَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم إِذْ أَتَتْهُ امْرَأَةٌ فَقَالَتْ إِنِّي تَصَدَّقْتُ عَلَى أُمِّي بِجَارِيَةٍ وَإِنَّهَا مَاتَتْ – قَالَ – فَقَالَ ” وَجَبَ أَجْرُكِ وَرَدَّهَا عَلَيْكِ الْمِيرَاثُ ” . قَالَتْ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ إِنَّهُ كَانَ عَلَيْهَا صَوْمُ شَهْرٍ أَفَأَصُومُ عَنْهَا قَالَ ” صُومِي عَنْهَا ” . قَالَتْ إِنَّهَا لَمْ تَحُجَّ قَطُّ أَفَأَحُجُّ عَنْهَا قَالَ ” حُجِّي عَنْهَا ” (صحيح مسلم:1149)
Translation: Abdullah b. Buraida (RadhiyallahuAnhu) reported on the authority of his father: When we were sitting with the Messenger of Allah (SallallahuAlaihiWasallam), a woman came to him and said: I had gifted to my mother a maid-servant, and now she (the mother) has died. Thereupon he (the Holy Prophet SallallahuAlaihiWasallam) said: There is a definite reward for you and she (the maid-servant) has been returned to you as an inheritance. She (that woman) again said: Fasts of a month (of Ramadan) are due upon her; should I observe them on her behalf? He (the Holy Prophet SallallahuAlaihiWasallam) said: Observe fasts on her behalf. She (again) said: She did not perform Hajj, should I perform it on her behalf? He (the Holy Prophet (SallallahuAlaihiWasallam) said: Perform Hajj on her behalf. (Sahih Muslim:1149)
An ongoing source of SadaqahJaariyah and reward for the deceased may also be achieved by building and financing such projects that will continuously benefit the Muslim community such as: building Masajid, digging wells etc. This can be understood from the following Ahadith:
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ “ إِنَّ مِمَّا يَلْحَقُ الْمُؤْمِنَ مِنْ عَمَلِهِ وَحَسَنَاتِهِ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهِ عِلْمًا عَلَّمَهُ وَنَشَرَهُ وَوَلَدًا صَالِحًا تَرَكَهُ وَمُصْحَفًا وَرَّثَهُ أَوْ مَسْجِدًا بَنَاهُ أَوْ بَيْتًا لاِبْنِ السَّبِيلِ بَنَاهُ أَوْ نَهْرًا أَجْرَاهُ أَوْ صَدَقَةً أَخْرَجَهَا مِنْ مَالِهِ فِي صِحَّتِهِ وَحَيَاتِهِ يَلْحَقُهُ مِنْ بَعْدِ مَوْتِهِ ”
(سنن ابن ماجه:242)
Translation: It was narrated that Abu Hurairah (RadhiyallahuAnhu) said: “The Messenger of Allah (SallalahuAlaihiWasallam) said: ‘The rewards of the good deeds that will reach a believer after his death are: Knowledge which he taught and spread; a righteous son whom he leaves behind; a copy of the Qur’an that he leaves as a legacy; a mosque that he built; a house that he built for wayfarers; a canal that he dug; or charity that he gave during his lifetime when he was in good health. These deeds will reach him after his death.” (Sunan Ibn Majah:242)
عَنْ سَعْدِ بْنِ عُبَادَةَ، أَنَّهُ قَالَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ إِنَّ أُمَّ سَعْدٍ مَاتَتْ فَأَىُّ الصَّدَقَةِ أَفْضَلُ قَالَ “ الْمَاءُ ” . قَالَ فَحَفَر بِئْرًا وَقَالَ هَذِهِ لأُمِّ سَعْدٍ
(سنن ابى داود:1681)
Translation: Narrated Sa’d ibn Ubadah (RadhiyallahuAnhu): Sa’d asked: Messenger of Allah (SallallahuAlaihiWasallam), Umm Sa’d (RadhiyallahuAnha) has died; what form of Sadaqah is best? He replied: Water (is best). He dug a well and said: It is for Umm Sa’d (RadhiyallahuAnhu).
(Sunan Abi Dawood:1681)
Making Du’a and Istighfaar for the deceased is also very beneficial. The Quran itself orders us to seek forgiveness for the believers that came before us:
وَالَّذِينَ جَاءُوا مِنْ بَعْدِهِمْ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ لَنَا وَلِإِخْوَانِنَا الَّذِينَ سَبَقُونَا بِالْإِيمَانِ وَلَا تَجْعَلْ فِي قُلُوبِنَا غِلًّا لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا رَبَّنَا إِنَّكَ رَءُوفٌ رَحِيمٌ
Translation: “And those who came after them say: ‘Our Lord! Forgive us and our brethren who have preceded us in Faith, and put not in our hearts any hatred against those who have believed. Our Lord! You are indeed full of kindness, Most Merciful.” (Surah Al-Hashr:10)
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: ” إِنَّ اللهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ لَيَرْفَعُ الدَّرَجَةَ لِلْعَبْدِ الصَّالِحِ فِي الْجَنَّةِ، فَيَقُولُ: يَا رَبِّ، أَنَّى لِي هَذِهِ؟ فَيَقُولُ: بِاسْتِغْفَارِ وَلَدِكَ لَكَ” (مسند احمد:10610)[iv]
Translation: Abu Hurairah (RadhiyallahuAnhu) narrates that Rasulullah (SalallahuAlaihiWasallam) said: “Verily, Allah Ta’ala shall elevate the grade of a righteous servant in Paradise, who will ask, ‘O Lord! How did I earn this?’ Allah Ta’ala will reply, ‘Through your son’s Istighfaar for you.”
True love for near and dear ones is to benefit the beloved when he/she needs it the most, after death when in the Qabr. If we make Isaal-e-Thawaab for others and teach our children and family to make Isaal-e-Thawaab, they will make Isaal-e-Thawaab for us when we leave the world.
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ “ إِذَا مَاتَ الإِنْسَانُ انْقَطَعَ عَنْهُ عَمَلُهُ إِلاَّ مِنْ ثَلاَثَةٍ إِلاَّ مِنْ صَدَقَةٍ جَارِيَةٍ أَوْ عِلْمٍ يُنْتَفَعُ بِهِ أَوْ وَلَدٍ صَالِحٍ يَدْعُو لَهُ ” . (صحيح مسلم:1631)
Translation: Abu Huraira (RadhiyallahuAnhu) reported Allah’s Messenger (SallallahuAlayhiWasallam) as saying: When a man dies, his acts come to an end, but three, recurring charity, or knowledge (by which people) benefit, or a pious son, who prays for him (for the deceased). (Sahih Muslim:1631)