Question 77 : Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullah sheikhs,
Got a question regarding giving charity for the deceased.
I know that when a believer passes away, there are only 3 acts that continue to be beneficial to him.
As for us, if we give in on going charity (e.g. maybe to the building of a mosque) in the name of the deceased, would that still benefit the deceased?
JazakAllahu khairum in advance 🙂
p.s. sorry I couldn’t spend more time with you all on the last trip back. Know that even the short time seeing you was very special to me 🙂 and barakAllah to all the recent graduates!
Answer : Walaikumussalam Brother,
This issue is not a straight forward one!
Scholars of the highest calibre from early times differed on this issue.
It has been said that scholars including Imams Abu Hanfiah and Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal understood the available texts of Quran and Hadith and concluded that you can do ANY good deeds generally and send its reward to a deceased person. Since some deeds were specifically mentioned in various hadith, they understood thus that all good deeds are similar likewise and since Allah is kind He will do it.
Whereas other equally great scholars including Imam Malik ibn Anas and Imam Shafiee examined the same body of texts from the Quran and Hadith and understood that we cannot do good deeds to send reward of our actions for the deceased with exception of those things that the Prophet (s a w) mentioned, i.e. a child doing prayer for the parents reaches them since the parents’ efforts contributed to the child being pious enough to pray for the parents. Likewise, if a parent had a compulsory Hajj or fast owing then the child (or their beneficient inheritor) can settle the account for the deceased parent. Also if we were sacrificing for ourselves an animal then we can pray that its reward also reaches all Muslims alive and dead, as the Prophet did also in his sacrifice that was intended for himself but others were included as an extension. Exceptions aside, we were placed in this life for the sole purpose of being tested and thus rewarded for what WE did OUSELVES or contributed to, and hence it is inconsistent to consider that others can do good deeds aftee our death and send us their deeds’ rewards if we had nothing to do with their actions. And since the Prophet (s.a.w) himself said that “when the son of Adam dies all his deeds come to an end except a continuing charity, knowledge that is benefitted from, and a pious child who prays for him.” These three actions have direct contribution from the deceased while he was alive and thus makes sense to benefit after their death.
These are two opinions. My heart and my mind feels more comfortable with the second saying, ie of Imams Malik & Shafie as they seem closer to the letter and spirit of the related texts from the Quran and Hadith.
Allah knows best