Praise be to Allaah.
The scholars differed as to whether it is permissible to give
reward to the dead and whether that reaches them. There are two views:
1 – That any righteous deed may be given to the dead and that
(the reward) reaches them – such as reading Qur’aan, fasting, praying and
other acts of worship.
2 – That no righteous deed reaches the dead except those for
which there is evidence that it reaches them. This is the more correct view.
The evidence for that is the verse in which Allaah says (interpretation of
“And that man can have nothing but what he does”
And the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) 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.”
Narrated by Muslim, 1631,
from the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him).
The paternal uncle of the Prophet (peace and blessings
of Allaah be upon him) – Hamzah (may Allaah be pleased with him) – died, as
did his wife Khadeejah and three of his daughters, but it is not narrated
that he read Qur’aan for any of them, or offered a sacrifice or fasted or
prayed on their behalf. No such thing has been narrated from any of the
Sahaabah either. If it were prescribed, then they would have done it before
The exceptions for which there is evidence that the reward
does reach the deceased are: Hajj, ‘Umrah, obligatory fasts, charity and
Al-Haafiz Ibn Katheer (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “
‘And that man can have nothing but what he does’:
From this verse al-Shaafa’i and those who followed him
understood that the reward for reading Qur’aan does not reach the deceased,
because it is not something that they did or earned. Hence the Messenger of
Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not recommend or
encourage his ummah to do that, and he did not tell them to do that through
any statement or gesture. Nor is it narrated that any of the Sahaabah (may
Allaah be pleased with them) did that. If it were good they would have done
that before us. So the acts of worship are restricted to those mentioned in
the texts, and there is no room for analogy or personal opinions. With
regard to du’aa’ and charity, there is scholarly consensus that the reward
for them reaches the deceased and that they are mentioned in sharee’ah.
Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 4/258.
If we assume that the
reward for all righteous deeds reaches the deceased, then the best thing
that can benefit the deceased is du’aa’. So why should we ignore that which
the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) has encouraged
us to do, and turn to other things that he did not do and that none of his
companions did? All goodness is to be found in the guidance of the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and his companions.
Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked
about giving the reward for reading Qur’aan and charity to one's mother,
whether she is alive or dead.
With regard to reading Qur’aan, the scholars differed as to
whether the reward for that will reach the deceased. There are two scholarly
views, the more correct of which is that it does not reach the deceased
because there is no evidence to that effect. The Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not do that for his deceased Muslim
loved ones such as his daughters who died during his lifetime, and the
Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them) did not do that or approve of it,
as far as we know. It is better for the believer not to do that and not
to read Qur’aan for the dead or the living, or to pray on their behalf,
or to observe voluntary fasts on their behalf, because there is no evidence
for any of that. The basic principle concerning acts of worship is that we
do not do anything except that which is proven to be prescribed by Allaah or
His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).
Charity benefits both the living and the dead, according to
Muslim consensus. Similarly du’aa’ benefits both the living and the dead
according to Muslim consensus. Undoubtedly the living benefit from charity
given by them and by others, and they benefit from du’aa’. If a person makes
du’aa’ for his parents when they are alive, they benefit from his du’aa’, as
they also benefit from charity given on their behalf when they are still
alive, and from Hajj done on their behalf if they are unable to do it
themselves because of old age or incurable sickness. So a person may benefit
them by doing that. Hence it is narrated that a woman said to the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “O Messenger of Allaah,
Allaah’s command to perform Hajj has come when my father is an old man and
cannot sit firmly in the saddle. Shall I perform Hajj on his behalf?” He
said: “Perform Hajj on his behalf.” Another man came to him and said: “O
Messenger of Allaah, my father is an old man and cannot perform Hajj or
travel; shall I perform Hajj and ‘Umrah on his behalf?” He said: “Perform
Hajj and ‘Umrah on behalf of your father.” This indicates that it is
permissible to perform Hajj on behalf of one who has died or on behalf of a
living man or woman who is unable to do it because of old age. So giving
charity, making du’aa’ and performing Hajj on behalf of one who has died or
one who is unable to do it will benefit him, according to all the scholars.
Similarly one may fast on behalf of a deceased person, if he owed an
obligatory fast – whether as the result of a vow, as an expiation or to make
up for a Ramadaan fast – because of the general meaning of the words of the
Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “Whoever dies
owing a fast, his heir must observe the fast on his behalf.” Saheeh – agreed
upon. And there are other ahaadeeth which say the same thing. But whoever
delays Ramadaan fasts for a legitimate reason, such as sickness or travel,
then dies before he is able to make them up, there is no need to fast them
on his behalf or feed the poor, because he is excused.
Majmoo’ Fataawa wa Maqaalaat al-Shaykh Ibn Baaz,
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen
(may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked: Is it permissible for a man to
give money in charity and to share the reward for it with someone else? He
replied: It is permissible for a person to give money in charity and intend
for it to be on behalf of his father, his mother or his brother or anyone
else he wants among the Muslims, because the reward is great. If charity is
given sincerely for the sake of Allaah and from wealth that is acquired in a
halaal manner, then the reward will be multiplied greatly, as Allaah says
(interpretation of the meaning):
“The likeness of those who spend their wealth in the way
of Allaah, is as the likeness of a grain (of corn); it grows seven ears, and
each ear has a hundred grains. Allaah gives manifold increase to whom He
wills. And Allaah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knower”
And the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to slaughter a single sheep
on behalf of himself and the members of his household.
Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen,
From the above it is
clear that what you have mentioned about giving the reward of dhikr to your
parents is not correct according to the more correct of the two scholarly
opinions, whether they are alive or deceased. Rather what we advise you to
do is to make a great deal of du’aa’ for them and give charity on their
behalf, for all goodness is in following the guidance of the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and his noble companions.
And Allaah knows best.