Ihda', Donating the Rewards of the Recitation of the Qur'an

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Ihda’ is the act of donating the Reward of reciting the Qur’an, or any form of recitation, including that of swalawat and litanies, to another, particularly the deceased.  This is an accepted practice within Sunni Islam, and until the advent of the Wahhabi sect, there was no controversy in it.  The Wahhabi condemnation of ihda’ as a bid’ah and shirk, is a gross misrepresentation and echoes the earlier Mu’tazilah contention that the living cannot benefit the deceased.

The Wahhabi scholar, Naswir ad-Din al-Albani, in his Mukhtaswar Ahkam al-Jana’iz, objected to, among other practices, the recitation of the Qur’an for the deceased and over them, the recitation of Surah al-Fatihah for the deceased, the recitation of Surah YaSin over the graves, and the donation of the Reward of acts of ‘ibadah to the deceased.

Within Sunni Islam, we believe that the donation of all kinds of acts of worship, among them recitation of the Qur’an, can and does benefit the deceased, just as the simple supplication of any Muslim does.  The Salaf believed, just as we do, that the deceased were helped and relieved by the living.  An example is the du’a of Sayyidina Abu Hurayrah (r.a.): “Allahumma in kana muhsinan fa zid fi ihsanihi wa in kana musi’an fa tajawaz ‘an sayyi’atihi”, “O Allah, if he did good, then Increase his good deeds, and if he did evil, then Forgive his evil deeds.”  This was reported by Imam Malik ibn Anas (r.a.).

The Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “Iqra’u ‘ala mawtakum YaSin”, “Recite YaSin over your deceased.”  This is recorded by Imam Abu Dawud Sulayman ibn al-Ash‘ats (r.a.), in his Sunan, Imam ‘Abd ar-Rahman Ahmad ibn Shu’ayb an-Nasa’i (r.a.), in his Sunan al-Kubra’; Imam Abu ʻAbdillah Muhammad ibn Yazid ibn Majah (r.a.), in his Sunan; and Imam Abu Hatim Muhammad ibn Fayswal ibn Hibban (r.a.), in his Swahih.

Imam ‘Abd al-Haqq ibn al-Kharrat al-Ishbili (r.a.) wrote, in his al-‘Aqibah, “The meaning of this hadits may be that the recitation is done over the person at the time the person is dying; or that it be done at his grave.”

According to Imam Abu al-Fadhl ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr as-Suyuthi (q.s.), in his Sharh asw-Swudur bi Sharh Hal al-Mawta wa al-Qubur, Imam Abu ‘Abdullah Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Qurthubi (r.a.) said the same thing as Imam al-Ishbili (r.a.), in his Kitab al-Ruh, and he added. “I say: the vast majority of the scholars take the former meaning, while ibn ‘Abd al-Wahid al-Maqdisi al-Hanbali take the latter in the monograph he compiled on the topic.  Both apply.”

Imam Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Hanbal (r.a.) recorded, in his Musnad, that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “YaSin is the heart of the Qur’an; no man reads it desiring Allah and the afterlife except he is Forgiven.  Read it over your deceased.”  This was part of a longer narration whose chain contains two unnamed narrators.

Sayyidina ‘Atha’ ibn Abi Rabah (r.a.) reported that he heard Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (r.a.) say, “I heard the Prophet (s.a.w.) say, ‘When one of you dies, do not tarry, but make haste and take him to his grave, and let someone read at his head the opening of Surah al-Baqarah; and at his feet, its closure; when he lies in the grave.”  Imam Abu al-Qasim Sulayman ibn Ayyub ath-Thabarani (r.a.) recorded it, in his al-Mu’jam al-Kabir.  Imam Nur ad-Din ‘Ali ibn Abi Bakr al-Haytsami (r.a.) said, in Majma’ az-Zawa’id, that Imam ath-Thabarani’s (r.a.) chain contains Shaykh Yahya ibn ‘Abdullah ad-Dahhak al-Babalti (r.a.), who is weak.  However, it is noted that the hadits is confirmed by the practice of Sayyidina ibn ‘Umar (r.a.) as narrated through sound chains.  Imam Abu Bakr Ahmad bin Muhammad al-Khallal (r.a.) also recorded this hadits, in his al-Amr bi al-Ma’ruf.

Shaykh ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn al-‘Ala (r.a.) narrated that his father, Sayyidina al-‘Ala ibn al-Lajlaj (r.a.) said to him, “When you bury me, say, as you place me in the side-opening of the grave, ‘Bismillah wa ‘ala millati Rasulillah’”, meaning, “In the Name of Allah and according to the way of Allah’s Messenger.”  He continued, “Then flatten the earth over me, and read, at the head of my grave, the beginning of Surah al-Baqarah, and its end, for I have seen that ibn ‘Umar liked it.”  This is recorded by Imam Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn Husayn al-Bayhaqi (r.a.), in Sunan al-Kubra’; Imam Muwaffaq ad-Din Abu Muhammad ‘Abdullah ibn Ahmad ibn Qudamah (r.a.), in al-Mughni’; Imam ath-Thabarani (r.a.), in al-Kabir; and Imam al-Haytsami (r.a.), who said, in Majma’ az-Zawa’id, that the narrators were all declared tsiqah, trustworthy.  Imam Abu Bakr al-Khallal (r.a.) recorded this hadits in al-Amr bi al-Ma’ruf, with the following wording: “Flatten the earth over me, then read, at the head of my grave, the opening of the Book, the beginning of Surat al-Baqarah, and its end, for I have heard ibn ‘Umar instruct it.”  Imam Shams ad-Din Abu ‘Abdullah Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (r.a.) cited this particular version in Kitab ar-Ruh, from Imam al-Khallal’s (r.a.) narration, in al-Jami’, but his matn did not mention Surah al-Fatihah.

Imam Abu Zakariya Yahya ibn Sharaf an-Nawawi (r.a.) wrote, in Kitab al-Adzkar, “We also found it narrated in al-Bayhaqi’s Sunan, with a hasan chain that ibn ‘Umar liked for the beginning and the end of Surah al-Baqarah to be recited over the grave after burial.”

Imam Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ash-Shawkani (r.a.), in his Tuhfat adz-Dzakirin, cited Imam Abu al-Khayr Shams ad-Din Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Jazari’s (r.a.) advise, in al-Hiswn al-Haswin: “Let one recite, over the grave, after burial, the beginning of Surah al-Baqarah, and its end.”  This is also based on Sayyidina ibn ‘Umar (r.a.), as recorded in Imam al-Bayhaqi’s (r.a.) Sunan.  Imam ash-Shawkani (r.a.) commented, “an-Nawawi declared its chain fair, and even if it is only ibn ‘Umar’s saying, such as this is not uttered on the basis of mere opinion.  It is possible that because of what he learned of the benefit of such recitation generally speaking, he then deemed it desirable that it be read over the grave due to its merit, in the hope that the deceased benefit from its recitation.”

Sayyidina Muhammad ibn al-Mujalid (r.a.) reported that Sayyidina ash-Shu’bi (r.a.) said, “If someone died from among the Answar, they would go to his grave and recite the Qur’an there.”  Imam al-Khallal (r.a.) recorded it, in al-Amr bi al-Ma’ruf, with a chain that contains Shaykh Sufyan ibn Waki’ (r.a.).  Imam al-Haytsami (r.a.) considered him weak, but Imam at-Tirmidzi (r.a.), Imam ibn Majah (r.a.), and Imam Ahmad (r.a.) took over eighty narrations from him.  Additionally, Imam ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (r.a.) cited it in Kitab ar-Ruh.

Shaykh Abu al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali az-Zafarani (r.a.) said, “I asked ash-Shafi’i about reciting Qur’an at the graveside and he said, ‘There is no harm in it.’”  Imam al-Khallal (r.a.) recorded this, in al-Amr bi al-Ma’ruf; Imam as-Suyuthi (q.s.), in Sharh asw-Swudur; and Imam ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (r.a.), in Kitab ar-Ruh.

Imam an-Nawawi (r.a.) wrote, in his Minhaj ath-Thalibin, “Whoever visits a grave, let him greet its dweller, recite some Qur’an, and make an invocation for the deceased.”  He also wrote, in al-Majmu’ Sharh al-Muhadzdzab, “It is desirable that one who is visiting the graves recite, from the Qur’an, what is easy for him to recite, after which, that he invoke Allah on their behalf.  ash-Shafi’i stipulated it, and his companions all agreed with him.”  In another place, he also wrote, “If they conclude the recitation of the Qur’an over the grave, it is better.”  Imam as-Suyuthi (q.s.) mentioned both passages in his Sharh asw-Swudur.  Imam an-Nawawi (r.a.) also wrote, in his Sharh Swahih Muslim, “The scholars have declared desirable the recitation of the Qur’an over the grave.”

Imam al-Qurthubi (r.a.) said, “As for reciting over the grave, then our companions,” referring to the Malikis, “are categorical that it is lawful, and others say the same.”  Imam as-Suyuthi (q.s.) mentioned this, in his Sharh asw-Swudur, as well.

Despite all this, al-Albani wrote, in his Talkhis Ahkam al-Jana’iz, that recitation at the graveside is an innovation.  al-Albani’s conclusion that this is a bid’ah is itself a bid’ah since no scholar before the Wahhabi sect ever said that.  He was referring specifically to the practice of reciting, upon throwing the first clod of earth into the grave, “Minha khalaqnakum”, “From the earth did We Create you”; and upon throwing the second, “wa fiha nu’idukum,” “and into it shall We Return you”; and upon throwing the third, “Wa minha nukhrijukum taratan ukhra’,” “and from it, shall We Bring you out once again”:

سُوۡرَةُ طٰه
۞ مِنۡہَا خَلَقۡنَـٰكُمۡ وَفِيہَا نُعِيدُكُمۡ وَمِنۡہَا نُخۡرِجُكُمۡ تَارَةً أُخۡرَىٰ (٥٥)

From the (earth) did We Create you, and into it shall We Return you, and from it, shall We Bring you out once again. (Surah ThaHa:55)

Imam Abu ‘Abdullah Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah al-Hakim (r.a.) recorded this hadits, in his Mustadrak; as did his student, Imam al-Bayhaqi (r.a.).  Imam Shihab ad-Din Abu al-Fadhl Ahmad ibn Nur ad-Din ‘Ali ibn Hajr al-‘Asqalani (r.a.) considered it weak, and this is the reason why al-Albani discounted it.  Imam ash-Shawkani (r.a.) recorded it, in his Tuhfat adz-Dzakirin, and Nayl al-Awthar, although he did report Imam ibn Hajr’s (r.a.) grading.

Imam an-Nawawi (r.a.) wrote, in Kitab al-Adzkar, “The sunnah for whoever is at the graveside,” meaning at the time of burial, “is to throw earth with his hand three times into the grave at the side of the head.  A large group of our companions,” referring to the Shafi’i school, “said, ‘It is desirable that one recite upon throwing the first earth into the grave, ‘minha khalaqnakum,’ and upon throwing the second, ‘wa fiha nu’idukum,’ and upon throwing the third, ‘wa minha nukhrijukum taratan ukhra’.’

Imam an-Nawawi (r.a.) also wrote, in Swahih Muslim, from Sayyidina ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aasw (r.a.), that he said, “After you bury me, stay around my grave for the duration of slaughtering a camel and distributing its meat, so that I may share your familiar company and examine what I should reply to my Lord’s envoys.”

It is recorded, in Sunan Abu Dawud; in Imam al-Bayhaqi’s (r.a.) Sunan al-Kubra’; and Imam al-Hakim’s (r.a.) Mustadrak; from Sayyidina ‘Utsman (r.a.), that the Prophet (s.a.w.) would stand over the deceased and say, “Ask forgiveness for your brother, and ask for him to be made firm, for he is presently being questioned,” after the burial.

Imam ibn Kamal ad-Din Muhammad ibn Humam ad-Din al-Hanafi (r.a.) wrote, in his Fath al-Qadir, that every single act of worship, including recitation of the Qur’an, can be donated to the deceased.  Further to this, Imam ‘Utsman ibn ‘Ali az-Zayla’i (r.a.) said, “There is nothing rationally far-fetched in someone else’s Reward reaching the deceased because it is nothing more than the placing of what he possesses of Reward at someone else’s disposal, and it is Allah Who is the One Who Conveys it, and He is Able to do that.  Nor is this specific to one type of act at the exclusion of another.”

Imam Muhammad Amin ibn ‘Abidin (r.a.) wrote, in his Hashiyat ad-Durr al-Mukhtar, that in visiting the graves one may recite Surah al-Fatihah; the beginning of Surah al-Baqarah, Ayat al-Kursi, and Amana ar-Rasul; Surah YaSin; Surah al-Mulk; Surah at-Takatsur; and finally, Surah al-Ikhlasw 3, 7, 11 or12 times.

Imam as-Suyuthi (q.s.) wrote, in his Sharh asw-Swudur, that there is disagreement as to the Reward of recitation reaching to the deceased.  The vast majority of the Salaf; as well as the three a’immah, meaning Imam Malik (r.a.), Imam Abu Hanifah an-Nuʿman ibn Tsabit (r.a.), and Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (r.a.); consider that it does reach them.  Imam Abu ‘Abdullah Muhammad ibn Idris ash-Shafi’i (r.a.) differed.  His basis was this verse:

سُوۡرَةُ النّجْم
وَأَن لَّيۡسَ لِلۡإِنسَـٰنِ إِلَّا مَا سَعَىٰ (٣٩)

That man can have nothing but what he strives for; (Surah an-Najm:39)

In refutation, we must consider that the verse is abrogated by another:

سُوۡرَةُ الطُّور
وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَٱتَّبَعَتۡہُمۡ ذُرِّيَّتُہُم بِإِيمَـٰنٍ أَلۡحَقۡنَا بِہِمۡ ذُرِّيَّتَہُمۡ وَمَآ أَلَتۡنَـٰهُم مِّنۡ عَمَلِهِم مِّن شَىۡءٍ۬‌ۚ كُلُّ ٱمۡرِىِٕۭ بِمَا كَسَبَ رَهِينٌ۬ (٢١)

And those who believe and whose families follow them in faith ― to them shall We Join their families: nor shall We deprive them (of the fruit) of aught of their works: (Yet) is each individual in pledge for his deeds. (Surah ath-Thur:21)

By this verse, children can enter Paradise because of the righteousness of the parents. Parents because of their children, spouses because their husbands or wives; and so forth.

Imam as-Suyuthi (q.s.) also wrote that we must also remember that Surah an-Najm:39 is specific to the umam of Ibrahim (a.s.) and Musa (a.s.).  Our ummah has been Granted both what it strives for and what is striven for on our behalf by virtue of our Prophet (s.a.w.).  Imam ar-Rabi’ ibn Anas (a.s.) said that “man”, in that verse, is the disbeliever.  But as for the believer, then he has both what he strives for and what is striven for on his behalf.

Imam al-Husayn ibn al-Fadhl al-Bajali (a.s.), one of the shuyukh of Imam al-Bayhaqi (a.s.). said, “Man can have nothing but what he strives for according to Divine Justice; as for what comes through Divine Munificence, then it is permissible for him that Allah (s.w.t.) Increase him in anything whatsoever.”  Imam al-Qurthubi (a.s.) actually cited him often him, in his Tafsir.

As recorded in Swahih al-Bukhari and Swahih Muslim, Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.) narrated that the Prophet (s.a.w.) once passed by two graves and said, “These two persons are being tortured, but not for any major sin.  One of them never saved himself from being soiled with his urine, while the other used to spread calumnies.”  The Prophet (s.a.w.) then took a green date-palm stalk, split it into two pieces, and fixed one on each grave.

They asked, “O Messenger of Allah!  Why have you done so?”

He replied, “I hope that their punishment might be lessened until these two pieces become dry.”

Imam an-Nawawi (r.a.) commenting on the above hadits, wrote, in his Sharh Swahih Muslim, “The scholars have declared desirable, the recitation of the Qur’an over the grave due to the above hadits, because if relief from punishment is hoped for through the glorification of date-palm stalks, then the recitation of the Qur’an is more deserving yet, and Allah Knows best.”

Imam al-Qurthubi (r.a.) wrote. “It is also said that the Reward of recitation goes to the reciter while the Reward of listening goes to the deceased, whence Mercy reaches him.  Allah Says:

سُوۡرَةُ الاٴعرَاف
وَإِذَا قُرِئَ ٱلۡقُرۡءَانُ فَٱسۡتَمِعُواْ لَهُ ۥ وَأَنصِتُواْ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تُرۡحَمُونَ (٢٠٤)

When the Qur’an is read, listen to it with attention, and hold your peace: that ye may receive Mercy. (Surah al-A’araf:204)

It is not unlikely that, in Allah’s Munificence, the Reward of both the recitation and the audition reach him, and, added to that, the Reward of whatever is donated to him from the recitation even what is not heard, such as charity and supplication.”  He continued, “Some of our scholars have inferred a proof for the deceased’s benefit in the recitation of Qur’an at the grave, from the hadits, of the date-palm stalk, which the Prophet (s.a.w.) split and fixed, saying, ‘Perhaps their punishment might be lessened until these two pieces become dry.’”

Imam Abu Sulayman Hamad ibn Muhammad al-Khaththabi (r.a.) said, “Among the ‘ulama, this is understood on the basis that all things make glorification as long as they are in their original state, or their verdancy and freshness; until they lose their moistness or greenness, or they are cut off from their root.”

Imam ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn ‘Ali ibn al-Jawzy (r.a.) said, as reported by Imam Ahmad ibn Qudamah al-Maqdisi (r.a.), in his Mukhtaswar Minhaj al-Qaswidin, “Let whoever visits the graves face towards the deceased in his grave, recite something from the Qur’an, and donate it to him, and let the visit be on the Day of Juma’ah.”

Imam an-Nawawi (r.a.) wrote, in his al-Adzkar, “There is consensus among the scholars that du’a for the deceased benefits them, and that its Reward reaches them.  They have adduced Allah’s Saying:

سُوۡرَةُ الحَشر
وَٱلَّذِينَ جَآءُو مِنۢ بَعۡدِهِمۡ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا ٱغۡفِرۡ لَنَا وَلِإِخۡوَٲنِنَا ٱلَّذِينَ سَبَقُونَا بِٱلۡإِيمَـٰنِ (١٠)

And those who came after them say, “Our Lord!  Forgive us, and our brethren who came before us into the faith ...” (Surah al-Hashr:10)

And other well-known verses with the same import, as well as the well-known narrations such as the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) saying, ‘O Allah, Forgive the people of Baqi’ al-Gharqad and others.’  There is disagreement among the scholars as to whether the reward of Reciting Qur’an reaches the deceased.  It is well-known that ash-Shafi’i, and some Shafi’i scholars said it did not, while Ahmad ibn Hanbal and another group of scholars, among whom are Shafi’iyyah, said that it did reach the deceased.  It is up to the reciter to say, at the end of his recitation, ‘O Allah, Bring the Reward of what I have recited to So-and-so.’  And Allah Knows best.”  Here, Imam an-Nawawi (r.a.) made it patently clear that he did not consider ihda’ ats-tsawab to be an innovation; rather, he declared it permissible.  Baqi’ al-Gharqad, mentioned above, is the cemetery where many of the companions were buried.

Shaykh Taqi ad-Din Ahmad ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.) wrote, in his Majmu’ al-Fatawa, “The sound position is that the deceased gets the benefit of all kinds of bodily worship whether prayer, fasting, or recitation, just as he gets the benefit of acts of monetary worship such as swadaqah, and its like and just as if one supplicated on his behalf.”

Mulla Nur ad-Din Abu al-Hasan ‘Ali ibn Sulthan Muhammad al-Qari (r.a.) in his commentary of Imam Abu Hanifah’s (r.a.) Fiqh al-Akbar, Sharh al-Fiqh al-Akbar, said, “Among them,” referring to the rulings that pertain to barzakh, “is the ruling that the supplication of the living and the donations on their behalf benefits the deceased and raises their positions, contrary to the Mu’tazilah, who said that the qadha’ does not change for the deceased and that every soul has only what she gained, and cannot acquire what someone else does.  The answer to this is that the immutability of qadha’ for the deceased does not preclude the benefit of the supplication of the living on their behalf, for such benefit may well be part of the qadha’ in the first place.  Furthermore, it may be that the benefit of the living in making the du’a is itself for an action they did in the world and for which they get the reward in the hereafter.

In addition to all the above, the supplication for the deceased is established in sound hadits, especially in swalah al-janazah, and the Salaf transmitted it, and the Khalaf agreed upon it, and if there was no benefit in it for the deceased, it would be in vain, whereas many verses of the Qur’an comprise invocation for the deceased such as:

سُوۡرَةُ بنیٓ اسرآئیل / الإسرَاء
رَّبِّ ٱرۡحَمۡهُمَا كَمَا رَبَّيَانِى صَغِيرً۬ا (٢٤)

… “My Lord!  Bestow on them Thy Mercy even as they cherished me in childhood.” (Surah al-Isra’:24)

سُوۡرَةُ نُوح
رَّبِّ ٱغۡفِرۡ لِى وَلِوَٲلِدَىَّ وَلِمَن دَخَلَ بَيۡتِىَ مُؤۡمِنً۬ا وَلِلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ وَٱلۡمُؤۡمِنَـٰتِ (٢٨)

“O my Lord!  Forgive me, my parents, all who enter my house in Faith, and (all) believing men and believing women …” (Surah Nuh:28)

سُوۡرَةُ الحَشر
رَبَّنَا ٱغۡفِرۡ لَنَا وَلِإِخۡوَٲنِنَا ٱلَّذِينَ سَبَقُونَا بِٱلۡإِيمَـٰنِ (١٠)

… “Our Lord!  Forgive us, and our brethren who came before us into the faith ...” (Surah al-Hashr:10)

It is related that Sayyidina Sa’d ibn ‘Ubadah (r.a.) said, “O Messenger of Allah!  Umm Sa’d has passed away.  What is the best donation?”

The Prophet (s.a.w.) replied, “Water.”

Sayyidina Sa’d (r.a.) dug a well and said, “This is for Umm Sa’d.”

This is recorded by Imam Abu Dawud (r.a.), Imam ibn Majah (r.a.), Imam Ahmad (r.a.) and Imam an-Nasa’i (r.a.); all with a sound chain.  However, Imam an-Nasa’i’s (r.a.) matn had “my mother”, instead of “Umm Sa’d”.

Imam Swadr ad-Din Muhammad ibn Ishaq al-Qunawi (r.a.) said, “The principle inferred from this, among the Ahl as-Sunnah, is that any person can donate the reward of their work to another, whether prayer, fasting, pilgrimage, charity, or other than that.”  He also said that Imam ash-Shafi’i (r.a.) permitted this in charity and acts of monetary worship, ‘ibadah maliyyah, as well as pilgrimage; and if someone recites over the grave, then the deceased obtains the Reward of listening to the Qur’an, but he objected to the bestowability of the Reward of the recitation of the Qur’an to the deceased, as well as that of prayer, fasting, and all non-monetary acts of obedience and worship. The position of Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.) and his companions. On the other hand, is that donation is permitted and that the Reward of the recitation does go to the deceased.

Sayyidina Abu Umamah al-Bahili (r.a.) reported that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “When one of you dies and you have settled the earth over him, let one of you stand at the head of his grave and then say, ‘O So-and-so, son of So-and-so,’” here meaning the name of the mother, “for he will hear him, even if he does not reply.  Then let him say a second time, ‘O So-and-so, son of So-and-so’, whereupon he will sit up.  Then let him say, ‘O So-and-so, son of So-and-so’.  At this, the other one will say, ‘Instruct me, and may Allah Grant you mercy,’ even if you cannot hear it.”

The matn in most narrations is “wa lakin la tasma’un,” “even if you cannot hear it”.  However, Imam ibn Hajr al-‘Asqalani’s (r.a.) version had “wa lakin la tash’urun”, “ even if you cannot notice it.”  The hadits continues, and the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “Then, let him say: ‘Remember the state in which you left this world, which is your witnessing that there is no god except Allah, and that Muhammad is His servant and messenger; that you are pleased with Allah as your Lord, Islam as your religion, Muhammad as your prophet, and the Qur’an as your book.’

At that, Munkar and Nakir,” referring to the angels of the questioning in the grave, “hold each other back, saying, ‘Let us go; there is no need for us to tarry here, for he has been instructed his argument.”  Imam ath-Thabarani’s (r.a.) and Imam ibn Qudamah’s (r.a.) narration had the words, “And Allah will Accept his argument without the two of them.”

A man among them said, “O Messenger of Allah, what if his mother’s name is not known?”

The Prophet (s.a.w.) replied, “Then let him say, ‘Son of Eve’.”

This hadits is well-known.  It is recorded by Imam ibn Qudamah (r.a.), in al-Mughni’, who mentioned that Imam ‘Imran ibn Shahin (r.a.) reported it in Kitab Dzikr al-Mawt, with his chain.  Imam ibn Hajr (r.a.) wrote, in Talkhisw al-Habir, said that Imam ath-Thabarani (r.a.) recorded it, bi isnaduhu swalih, with an adequate chain, which, despite its weakness, is consolidated by the witnessing of sound ahadits, and that Imam Dhiy’a ad-Din ‘Ali ibn Muhammad (r.a.) declared it qawwah, strong, in his Ahkam.  Imam ash-Shawkani (r.a.) also recorded it, in Nayl al-Awthar.  However, Imam ash-Shawkani’s (r.a.) version is an atsar, not a hadits.

In summary, the Hanafi madzhab considered talqin al-amwat to be lawful, whereas the Shafi’i and Hanbali consider it preferred.  Imam ath-Thabarani (r.a.) wrote, in his Mu’jam, “Although this hadits has not been established, the continuity of its practice in every country and time without objection is sufficient warrant for its performance.  For Allah (s.w.t.) certainly never caused a custom to persist so that a people who encompass the eastern and western parts of the Earth, and who are the most perfect of peoples in intelligence, and the most comprehensive of them in sciences, should agree to address one who neither hears nor reasons, and approve of that, without some mistrustful one of that people disapproving it.  But, the first established it for the last, and the last imitates the first therein.  And were it not that the one who is addressed hears, this act would have the status of address to earth and wood and stone and the non-existent - and this, even if one person might approve of it, the learned would unanimously abhor it and condemn it.”

Imam Abu Dawud (r.a.) recorded, in his Sunan, the Prophet (s.a.w.) attended the funeral of a man, and when he was buried he said, “Ask confirmation for your brother, for he is now being questioned.”  So, he gave information that he was being questioned at that time.  And since he was being asked, then he could hear the dictation.  And it is valid on the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) authority that the deceased one hears the beating of their sandals when they turn to leave.

Shaykh Shabib ibn Shaybah (r.a.) said, “My mother enjoined me, at her death, saying, ‘O my son, when you bury me, stand at my grave and say, ‘O mother of Shabib, repeat, ‘Laa ilaha illa Allah.’’  So, when I buried her, I stood at her grave and said, ‘O mother of Shabib, repeat, ‘Laa ilaha illa Allah.’’  Then, I departed.  When night came, I saw her in my sleep and she said, ‘O my son, I was on the point of perishing but for the expression, ‘Laa ilaha illa Allah’ overtaking me.  So, you have observed my last wish, O my son.’”

In summary, based on these few out of hundreds of narrations and commentary, there is no controversy in ihda’, and talqin al-amwat, which is part of it.


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