Monday, 20 July 2020

Transfer of Good Deeds and Benefit to the Deceased ايصال الثواب (Part 2)

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In a prior entry, I made a brief outline of my position on the practice of ايصال الثواب or the offering of good deeds on behalf of someone else. It should be clarified that this is for both the living and the deceased, in other words, a Muslim may offer certain acts of worship and goodness and intend to transfer its reward and benefit to another Believer who is either alive or deceased.

Concerning the worship of animal sacrifice and transferring its reward for the deceased, this is proven from the act of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم:

عَنْ عَائِشَةَ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَمَرَ بِكَبْشٍ أَقْرَنَ يَطَأُ فِي سَوَادٍ وَيَبْرُكُ فِي سَوَادٍ وَيَنْظُرُ فِي سَوَادٍ فَأُتِيَ بِهِ لِيُضَحِّيَ بِهِ فَقَالَ لَهَا ‏‏ يَا عَائِشَةُ هَلُمِّي الْمُدْيَةَ ‏ ‏.‏ ثُمَّ قَالَ ‏‏ اشْحَذِيهَا بِحَجَرٍ ‏ ‏.‏ فَفَعَلَتْ ثُمَّ أَخَذَهَا وَأَخَذَ الْكَبْشَ فَأَضْجَعَهُ ثُمَّ ذَبَحَهُ ثُمَّ قَالَ ‏ بِاسْمِ اللَّهِ اللَّهُمَّ تَقَبَّلْ مِنْ مُحَمَّدٍ وَآلِ مُحَمَّدٍ وَمِنْ أُمَّةِ مُحَمَّدٍ ‏ ‏.‏ ثُمَّ ضَحَّى بِهِ
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم ordered a ram be brought to him, and he sacrificed it, praying “In the Name of Allah, Allahumma! Accept it from Muhammad, the Family of Muhammad and the Ummah of Muhammad.” (Sahih Muslim)

The Ummah of Muhammad includes both the living and the deceased until Judgment Day.

Imam Abi Dawud as-Sijistani has related a Hadith in his Sunan (#2790), under the chapter heading باب الأُضْحِيَةِ عَنِ الْمَيِّتِ (Book of Sacrifice on Behalf of the Deceased) from Hanash that Amir al-Mu’minin Ali bin Abi Talib رضى الله عنه sacrificed two rams on behalf of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم.

According to the Hanbali madhhab, Ibn Qudamah has written:

وأي قربة فعلها وجعل ثوابها للميت المسلم نفعه ذلك إن شاء الله أما الدعاء والاستغفار والصدقة وأداء الواجبات فلا أعلم فيه خلافا
Any act of worship a person does, gifting the reward of it to a deceased Muslim, the deceased will benefit from it; God willing. Now, as for supplication, seeking forgiveness and giving charity [for others], or those acts that can be fulfilled on someone else’s behalf, I know of no difference concerning their permissibility. (al-Mughni; v.3 p.519)

And he reaffirmed:

وهذه أحاديث صحاح , وفيها دلالة على انتفاع الميت بسائر القرب ؛ لأن الصوم والحج والدعاء والاستغفار عبادات بدنية, وقد أوصل الله نفعها إلى الميت فكذلك ما سواها
In these sound hadiths is a proof that the deceased benefits by any act of worship. Now as fasting, pilgrimage and supplicating are also bodily acts of worship, and God has allowed their benefits to reach the deceased, then such is the case with every other act of worship. (ibid, p.521)

Imam Ahmad himself is reported to have said:

الميت يصل إليه كل شي من الخير من صدقة أو صلاة أو غيرهما
Any good deed, like charity, prayer, or other than that reaches the deceased; as per the reports about it (Sharh Muntaha al-Iradat; v.2 p.165)

Ibn Abi al-Izz has written:

واختلف في العبادات البدنية ، كالصوم والصلاة وقراءة القرآن والذكر : فذهب أبو حنيفة وأحمد وجمهور السلف إلى وصولها
There is a disagreement about bodily acts of worship such as fasting, prayer, reciting Qur’an and dhikr. The view of Abu Hanifah, Ahmad and the majority of the salaf is that the reward of these acts reach the deceased. (Sharh Aqidat at-Tahawiyyah; v.2 p.664)

Therefore, it is my madhhab that the offering of all supererogatory acts of worship with the intention of transferring the reward to the deceased Believers does indeed reach and benefit them, such as supplication, charity, animal sacrifice, pilgrimage, reading the Qur’an, and Salat.

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