The Ruling On Reciting the Qur’an For the Dead…

[Q]: Respected Shaykh, I hope you will explain the ruling on reciting the Qur’an for the dead. Is it permissible or not? How authentic are the Hadiths reported in this regard?

[A]: The act of reading the Qur’an for the dead has NO legal foundation in the Shari‘ah (Islamic law).

It is permissible for a Muslim to read the Qur’an among living people in order for them to benefit and reflect on the Book of Allah.

However, we do not know any basis in the Shari‘ah that sanctions reading the Qur’an for the dead at their grave, before their burial, or anywhere to gift them the reward of reading.

Scholars have written many books on this issue; some scholars held it permissible and encouraged Muslims to read the Qur’an completely many times for the dead, making it analogous to giving Sadaqah (voluntary charity) on behalf of the dead.

Other scholars said that these matters are Tawqifiy (bound by a religious text and not amenable to personal opinion), i.e. they are acts of worship that a Muslim is not permitted to offer except in the way approved by the Shari‘ah.

The Prophet (ﷺ) stated: Anyone who does an action which is not stated in this matter of ours (Islam) will have it rejected. We do not know any evidence on this subject that indicates the permissibility of reading the Qur’an for the dead.

Therefore, we must adhere to the basic ruling, i.e. it is an act of worship that is Tawqifiy (bound by a religious text and not amenable to personal opinion); therefore, it should not be performed on behalf of the dead.

Unlike giving Sadaqah on their behalf, supplicating for them, performing Hajj or `Umrah (lesser pilgrimage), or repaying their debts. These matters benefit the dead because Shar‘y (Islamic legal) texts support this.

It is authentically narrated that the Prophet (ﷺ) stated: “When a person dies, their works (righteous acts) come to an end, apart from three: Sadaqah Jariyah (ongoing charity), beneficial knowledge, or a pious son who supplicates for them.”

Allah (Glorified be He) states: And those who came after them meaning after the Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet), …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. Allah (Exalted be He) praised this later generation due to their supplication for those who died before them.

This proves the permissibility of supplicating to Allah for the sake of the dead Muslims and the fact that it is beneficial to them.

The same applies to giving Sadaqah; it will benefit the dead, based on the Hadith mentioned above.

A Muslim may give the poor and the needy the sum of money allocated for hiring someone to read the Qur’an for the dead. If this money is given in charity on behalf of the deceased, they will benefit from it and the giver will be safe from committing Bid‘ah (innovation in Islam). It is reported in an authentic Hadith that a man said: “O Messenger of Allah! My mother died suddenly without having made any will. I think she would have definitely given Sadaqah if she had been able to speak. Would she have a reward if I give Sadaqah on her behalf?” He (ﷺ) said, “Yes.”

The Messenger (ﷺ) clarified that giving Sadaqah (voluntary charity) or performing Hajj or ‘Umrah on behalf of the dead person benefits them. So does settling their debts.

However, reading the Qur’an to gift its reward to the dead or offering voluntary Salah (Prayer) or fasting on their behalf do not benefit them.

The correct opinion is that this is not Mashru‘ (Islamically permissible).

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Ibn Baz (رَحِمَهُ اللهُ) said: “The act of reading the Qur’an for the dead has no legal foundation in the Shari’ah (Islamic Law).”

[Fatwas of Ibn Baz, (4/340) | Alifta]

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E M A A N L I B R A R Y . C O M ............ ا لسلف ا لصا لح

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