Passing reward to others , living or deceased (Isaal-e-Thawab)

pay it forward

{jb_quote} There is nothing wrong with passing the reward of good deeds to family, friends and other Muslims whether they are dead or alive and it is hoped in the Mercy of Allah (SWT) that they will Insha'Allah be benefitted.{/jb_quote}


Three specific scenarios which benefit:

Rasul-ullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) has specifically spoken about three specific scenarios by which the dead can benefit after their death.

حدثنا يحيى بن أيوب وقتيبة يعني ابن سعيد وابن حجر قالوا حدثنا إسمعيل هو ابن جعفر عن العلاء عن أبيه عن أبي هريرة أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال إذا مات الإنسان انقطع عنه عمله إلا من ثلاثة إلا من صدقة جارية أو علم ينتفع به أو ولد صالح يدعو له

{jb_purplebox}Sayyidina Abu Huraira (RA) reported Allah's Messenger (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) as saying: When a man dies, his acts come to an end, but three, recurring charity, or knowledge (by which people) benefit, or a pious son, who prays for him (for the deceased). [Muslim]{/jb_purplebox}

Donating a garden in charity to the mother:

حَدَّثَنَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ بْنُ مُوسَى أَخْبَرَنَا هِشَامُ بْنُ يُوسُفَ أَنَّ ابْنَ جُرَيْجٍ أَخْبَرَهُمْ قَالَ أَخْبَرَنِي يَعْلَى أَنَّهُ سَمِعَ عِكْرِمَةَ مَوْلَى ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ يَقُولُ أَنْبَأَنَا ابْنُ عَبَّاسٍ أَنَّ سَعْدَ بْنَ عُبَادَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ أَخَا بَنِي سَاعِدَةَ تُوُفِّيَتْ أُمُّهُ وَهُوَ غَائِبٌ عَنْهَا فَأَتَى النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقَالَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ إِنَّ أُمِّي تُوُفِّيَتْ وَأَنَا غَائِبٌ عَنْهَا فَهَلْ يَنْفَعُهَا شَيْءٌ إِنْ تَصَدَّقْتُ بِهِ عَنْهَا قَالَ نَعَمْ قَالَ فَإِنِّي أُشْهِدُكَ أَنَّ حَائِطِيَ الْمِخْرَافَ صَدَقَةٌ عَلَيْهَا

{jb_purplebox}Sayyidina Ibn 'Abbas (RA) narrated that mother of Sad bin 'Ubada (RA) died in his absence. He (RA) said, "O Allah's Apostle (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam)! My mother died in my absence; will it be of any benefit for her if I give Sadaqa on her behalf?" The Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said, "Yes," Sad said, "I make you a witness that I gave my garden called Al Makhraf in charity on her behalf." [Bukhari]{/jb_purplebox}

Charity by children relieves the burden of sin of parents:

The earth is forbidden from decomposing the bodies of the prophets of Allah (AS).

حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى بْنُ أَيُّوبَ وَقُتَيْبَةُ بْنُ سَعِيدٍ وَعَلِيُّ بْنُ حُجْرٍ قَالُوا حَدَّثَنَا إِسْمَعِيلُ وَهُوَ ابْنُ جَعْفَرٍ عَنْ الْعَلَاءِ عَنْ أَبِيهِ عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ أَنَّ رَجُلًا قَالَ لِلنَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِنَّ أَبِي مَاتَ وَتَرَكَ مَالًا وَلَمْ يُوصِ فَهَلْ يُكَفِّرُ عَنْهُ أَنْ أَتَصَدَّقَ عَنْهُ قَالَ نَعَمْ

{jb_purplebox}Sayyidina Abu Huraira (RA) reported that a person said to Allah's Apostle (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam): My father died and left behind property without making any will regarding it. Would he be relieved of the burden of his sin if I give sadaqa on his behalf? He Allah's Apostle (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) said: Yes.[Muslim]{jb_purplebox}

Performing Hajj on behalf of old Father :

حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى بْنُ يَحْيَى قَالَ قَرَأْتُ عَلَى مَالِكٍ عَنْ ابْنِ شِهَابٍ عَنْ سُلَيْمَانَ بْنِ يَسَارٍ عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عَبَّاسٍ أَنَّهُ قَالَ كَانَ الْفَضْلُ بْنُ عَبَّاسٍ رَدِيفَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَجَاءَتْهُ امْرَأَةٌ مِنْ خَثْعَمَ تَسْتَفْتِيهِ فَجَعَلَ الْفَضْلُ يَنْظُرُ إِلَيْهَا وَتَنْظُرُ إِلَيْهِ فَجَعَلَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَصْرِفُ وَجْهَ الْفَضْلِ إِلَى الشِّقِّ الْآخَرِ قَالَتْ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ إِنَّ فَرِيضَةَ اللَّهِ عَلَى عِبَادِهِ فِي الْحَجِّ أَدْرَكَتْ أَبِي شَيْخًا كَبِيرًا لَا يَسْتَطِيعُ أَنْ يَثْبُتَ عَلَى الرَّاحِلَةِ أَفَأَحُجُّ عَنْهُ قَالَ نَعَمْ وَذَلِكَ فِي حَجَّةِ الْوَدَاعِ

{jb_purplebox}Sayyidina Abdullah bin Abbas (RA) narrated that Al-Fadl (his brother) was riding behind Allah's Apostle (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) and a woman from the tribe of Khath'am came and Al-Fadl started looking at her and she started looking at him. The Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) turned Al-Fadl's face to the other side. The woman said, "O Allah's Apostle (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam)! The obligation of Hajj enjoined by Allah on His devotees has become due on my father and he is old and weak, and he cannot sit firm on the Mount; may I perform Hajj on his behalf?" The Prophet (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) replied, "Yes, you may." That happened during the Hajj-al-Wida (of the Prophet ). [Muslim]{/jb_purplebox}

Reward of all beneficial and good deeds:

From the cross-section of Ahadeeth of Rasul-ullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) Scholars have concluded that there is no restriction on the nature, type and number of optional good deeds which can be performed with the intention of passing the reward to other Muslims and the reward of the doer is not diminished in the least. There is no restriction because no specific restriction has been placed by Allah (SWT) or by Rasul-ullah (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam).



Passing reward to others (Isaal-e-Thawab)

Shaykh (Mufti) Ebrahim Desai (HA)


Q) I am urgently in need of any articles regarding Esaalu Thwaab and the Virtues of Quran Recitation at graves. I was directed to your website and was informed i will find all the necessay information however to no avail. Therefore would be extremely grateful if i can be forwarded the articles or sent the links as a matter of urgency.

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Assalaamu `alaykum waRahmatullahi Wabarakatoh

Attached is a response to a similar query.

And Allah knows best
Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Darul Iftaa, Madrassah In'aamiyyah

Q: Is there a narration, which documents that Rasulullah Sallallaahu Alayhi wasallam ever performed an Ibadat like reciting Qur'an, and asking Allah to forward the reward to any of his deceased relatives?

A: Isaal-e-Sawaab (to perform a virtuous act and grant the reward to any person, alive or deceased) is permissible and in fact (Mustahabb) meritorious.

There are basically 2 forms of Isaal-e-Sawaab:

{jb_bluedisc}1{/jb_bluedisc} The conveying of the reward of charitable deeds.


{jb_bluedisc}2{/jb_bluedisc} The conveying of the reward of physical deeds that do not entail wealth, e.g. Salaat, fasting, Dhikr, recitation of the holy Qur'an, Tawaaf of the Ka'abah, etc.


The first form is unanimously acceptable by the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama'ah. The second form is correct according to the Hanafi and Hanbali Madhab and several Shaafi'ee and Maaliki scholars as well.

As for the reward of Du'aa (which is separate from the above), there is also unanimity of the scholars in its reward reaching and benefiting the deceased. (refer al-Azkaar of Imaam Nawawi)

{jb_bluebox}Hafiz ibnul Qayyim (RA) states that if one accepts the charitable form of Isaal-e-Sawaab and refutes the physical form, it would be said to him: 'What is the proof to show that the recitation of the holy Qur'aan does not reach the deceased?'{/jb_bluebox}

{jb_bluebox}And Allamah Qurtubi states, 'Just as the reward of charitable deeds benefit the deceased, similarly, the recitation of the holy Qur'aan, Du'aa and Isghtifaar also do the same, because all of these are regarded as Sadaqah (charity) in Shari'ah.' (al-Tazkirah pg.71) {/jb_bluebox}

He, thereafter, mentioned 2 narrations recorded in Sahih Muslim which prove that even Salaat and Dhikr of Allah (Tasbeeh, Takbeer and Tahleel) were all classified as Sadaqah by Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam). Hence, there remains no dispute in whether the reward of Qur'aanic recital benefits and deceased or not.

Besides the above, we will now for academic reasons, mention some proofs that substantiate both forms of Isaal-e-Sawaab.



{jb_bluedisc}1{/jb_bluedisc} Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) slaughtered sheep during his farewell Hajj and made intention for himself and all those (alive, deceased and to come) who bring faith on his prophethood. (SahihBukhari)



{jb_bluedisc}2{/jb_bluedisc} Imaam Bukhari has reported on the authority of Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Abbaas (Radhiallaahu Anhu) that Sayyiduna Sa'ad ibn Ubaadah (Radhiallaahu Anhu) was away when his mother passed away. When he returned, he asked Rasulullah, 'Will it be of any benefit if I give charity on her behalf?' Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) replied in the affirmative. (Sahih Bukhari Hadith2762). Hafiz ibn Hajar al-Asqalaani (RA) states in his monumental commentary of Sahih Bukhari entitled, 'Fath al-Bari', 'This Hadith proves the permissibility of charity on behalf of the deceased and that the reward will reach him.' (Fath al-Baari vol.5 pg.477 Hadith2761)



{jb_bluedisc}3{/jb_bluedisc} Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Abbaas (Radhiallaahu Anhu) reports a man once asked Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam), 'O Prophet of Allah! My father has passed away and he did not perform Hajj, can I perform Hajj on his behalf?' Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) enquired of him, 'If your father had any debt, would you have paid it.?' The man replied, 'Yes.' Upon this, Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, 'In that case, the Deen of Allah has more right.' (Sunan Nasaaie Hadith26331)



{jb_bluedisc}4{/jb_bluedisc} A separate incident of a similar nature has been recorded by Imaam Bukhari in his Sahih (Hadith6698). Hafiz ibn Qayyim (RA), the famous student of Hafiz ibn Taymiyah (RA), after quoting the above Ahaadith, states: 'These quotations all concur with the fact that when the living carry out any deed on behalf of the deceased, the reward will reach him (benefit him).' (Kitaab Ruh pg.161)



{jb_bluedisc}5{/jb_bluedisc} Sayyiduna al-Lajlaaj (Radhiallaahu Anhu), a companion of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam), had bequested his son that after he leaves this world, he should recite the beginning and end of Surah al-Baqarah at the head side of his grave. Sayyiduna al-Lajlaaj (Radhiallaahu Anhu) then mentioned that he heard this from Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam). (al-Mu'jamul Kabeer of Imaam Tabrani; Hafiz Haythami has regarded the narrators of this tradition as reliable - refer Majmauz-zawaaid vol.3 pg.44)



{jb_bluedisc}6{/jb_bluedisc} Such has also been recorded to be the practice of Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Umar (Radhiallaahu Anhu). (Sunan al-Kubra of Imaam Bayhaqi vol.4 pg.56). This narration has been classified as Hasan (sound) by Imaam Nawawiy and Hafiz ibn Hajar (RA). (al-Azkaar pg.212 Hadith493; al-Futuhaat al-Rabbaaniyya vol.3 pg.194)



{jb_bluedisc}7{/jb_bluedisc} Allaamah al-Qurtubi [ra] states that, 'Some of our Ulama have based the permissibility of Isaal-e-Sawaab of the recitation of the Qur'aan on the Hadith of Sahih Bukhari (Hadith216, 1361) and Sahih Muslim wherein there is mention of Rasulullah [Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam] placing fresh branches on 2 graves and He [Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam] said, 'Perhaps their punishment will be lightened through it as long as the branches do not dry up.' (The Ulama explain the reason for this to be the Tasbeeh that those fresh branches will recite).



{jb_bluebox}Allaamah al-Qurtubi further states, 'If the Tasbeeh of trees can benefit the deceased, then why not the recitation of the Qur'aan by a believer in Allah?' (Al-Tazkirah pg.70) {/jb_bluebox}

{jb_bluebox}Hafiz ibn Hajar (RA) has mentioned in a reply to a query of whether the reward of recitation of the Qur'aan reaches the deceased, that; it is Mustahabb (meritorious) for one to do this form of (Isaal-e-Sawaab) abundantly. (refer Tawdehul Bayaan li wusooli thawaabil Qur'aan of Shaykh Abdullah Siddique al-Ghumariy pg.2) Besides these there are numerous other narrations of this nature.{/jb_bluebox}

{jb_bluebox}It thus becomes abundantly clear through the abovementioned Ahaadith that Isaal-e-Sawaab is totally permissible in all it's forms and is in fact a very virtuous deed. This is the view of the overwhelming majority of the classical scholars (Muhadditheen and Fuqahaa) of Islam. (refer Kitaab al-Rooh of ibn Qayyim pg.153; Fathul Baari vol.5 pg.477 Hadith2761; Sharhus-Sudoor of Allamah Suyuti pgs.402, 403 Dar ibn Kathir; al-Hidaaya vol.1 pg.296-297; Fathul Qadeer vol.3 pg.65-66; Shaami vol.2 pg.243 - HM Saeed) {/jb_bluebox}

If after understanding the above, one still denies the validity of the physical form of Isaal-e-Sawab, then the following method can in no circumstance be refuted. And that is after one carries out a physical form of worship (i.e. Salat, fasting, recitation of the holy Qur'aan, etc.), he should make a Du'aa to Almighty Allah that Allah, firstly, accepts this noble deed and he should thereafter ask Allah to grant the reward to so and so person. In this way, if Allah accepts the Du'aa, the reward will automatically be conveyed to that specific person alive or deceased.

This method has been prescribed by great scholars like Imaam Nawawi and Hafiz ibn Hajar so as to remove all differences of opinion. We have already mentioned that there is no doubt in the deceased benefiting from the Du'aas of the living. In a narration of Sahih Muslim, Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) has mentioned that one the three things that will benefit the deceased is the Du'aa of his pious children. (Sahih Muslim pg.4199)

Lastly, we would like to mention that this Mas-alah (issue) is not something connect to beliefs, instead it is a Faraaidh (secondary) issue which entails a difference of opinion as well. (Fatawa ibnus salaah vol.1 pg.149). Hence, no one can claim that either part is guilty of perpetrating an act of Bid'ah (innovation), bearing in mind that the majority of the scholars accept all forms of Isaal-e-Sawaab. (refer Kitaab al-Ruh)

{jb_bluebox}The incident of Imaam Ahmad ibn Hanbal has been recorded by Imaam Abu Bakr al-Khallaal in his Kitaabul Jaami as well as in his booklet entitled, 'Amr bil Ma'roof Wa Nahy anil Munkar, and according to this, Imaam Ahmad had approved of the recitation of the beginning and end of Surah al-Baqarah (refer Atharul Hadith of al-Muhaddith Shaykh Muhammad Awwaamah pgs.162-163) {/jb_bluebox}

As for your specific query of the validity of reciting the Qur'aan from the homes, it will suffice to say that there is no difference - in this instance - between recital in the graveyard and in the homes, just as there is no difference in making Du'aa for the deceased in the graveyard or from the home. And allow us to ask the question, what is the proof for the act of reciting from home and dedicating its reward to the deceased being void and incorrect?

and Allah Ta'ala Knows Best

Moulana Muhammad ibn Moulana Haroon Abassommar


Q.) It is a very common tradition to have Khatam-e-Qur'an and food on the 40th day after a person's death with the intention of Isal-e-sawab for the deceased. However, I am also told that such a thing is an innovation (bid`ah), and should not be done. What is the correct thing? How best can we help the deceased's close family member (parents or wife/husband) in order to make him/her enter Jannah?

A.) Upon the death of a person, it is a common practice to make fateha. Contextually, fateha is the recitation of a few ayats of the Qur'an followed by a dua for the deceased.

There are innumerable number of ahadith expounding the virtues of reciting the Qur'an and making dua. There are also many ahadith on Isal-e-Sawab (sending reward to the deceased). Surely, the deceased eagerly waits for rewards from his beloved wife, parents and friends by them making dua for his forgiveness, and giving charity, etc. on his behalf.

However, in order for the deceased to benefit from the gifts of his beloved, they must be channeled to him in the correct way; the way of our beloved Prophet (Sall-Allahu Alayhi wa Sallam). During the time of the Prophet Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, many deaths occurred. It was his noble habit to comfort the bereaved families and widows. Many Sahaba, Radi-Allahu anhu, enquired from the Prophet Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam about Isal-e-Sawab. It is not proven on any one occasion that the Prophet himself practiced or ordered the customary practice of fateha (7 days, 40 days, and 100 days). Had the customary practice of fateha been of any significance, he surely would have at least practiced it or ordered its practice at least once in his lifetime.

To emphasize and carry out a particular practice not proven in Shari'ah, for example fateha, leads to distortion of deen. Many people may regard the practice as necessary and an integral part of deen as is the case among many unwary people today. Any practice that leads to a possible distortion of deen is prohibited and a major sin. Obviously, such a practice leading to sin invokes the anger of Allah. How can such a practice benefit the deceased?

The only way to benefit the deceased is to send sawab to him by carrying out acts of virtue, for example, reciting Qur'an, making dua for him, giving charity, etc. as advised by our beloved Rasul Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. May Allah bless all our Marhooms and grant them Jannatul Firdaws.

Isaal-e-Sawaab (to perform a virtuous act and grant the reward to any person, alive or deceased) is permissible.

{jb_bluebox}On numerous occasions, Nabi Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam advised the Sahaba (Radhiyallaahu Anhum) to give charity on behalf of the deceased. One specific incident is of Syedna Abu Talha (Radhiallaahy Anhu) when the verse, 'You cannot attain virtue until you spend what is beloved to you…' (Nisaa 4) was revealed. Abu Talha gave his most valuable well and garden, Bi'r Haa as charity on behalf of his deceased mother. In fact, Rasulullah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam slaughtered 100 sheep during his farewell Hajj and made intention for himself and all those (alive, deceased and to come) who bring faith on his prophethood. (Nasbur Raaya, Allama Zailee) {/jb_bluebox}

{jb_bluebox}Syedna Anas, Radi-Allahu anhu, reports that Rasulullah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, 'Whosoever reads Yaseen at anybody's grave, Allah will decrease their punishment.' This proves that reading the Qur'an and conveying the rewards to the deceased, benefits the deceased. (Umdatul Qaari; Ahsanul Fataawa vol.4 pg.206){/jb_bluebox}

And Allah Ta'ala Knows Best
Mufti Ebrahim Desai