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Importance of Fatiha and Isal al-Thawab

Question

What do the scholars and experts of shariah say about the gathering of khatam. Recently my wife’s uncle died. The family arranged a ‘khatam’ every Thursday at the mosque until the 40th day. In these gathering, they have recitations of naat and distribution of fruits, mithai and then food is served. I haven’t found any proof that this is an act of the Prophet ﷺ advised or recommended? Please can you explain what this Khatam is based on?

Arsalan Zahid

Answer:

It is a tradition of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, His companions and the scholars of Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama’a, who have written about the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ  in their works, with regards to this issue.

ذهب جمهور الفقهاء من الحنفية والمالكية والحنابلة و الشافعية، أن إهداء ثواب العمل الصالح للأموات جائز، وأنه يصل إليهم بإذن الله تعالى، ويشهد لذلك قول الله تعالى: (وَالَّذِينَ جَاؤُوا مِن بَعْدِهِمْ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ لَنَا وَلِإِخْوَانِنَا الَّذِينَ سَبَقُونَا بِالْإِيمَانِ وَلَا تَجْعَلْ فِي قُلُوبِنَا غِلّاً لِّلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا رَبَّنَا إِنَّكَ رَؤُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ) الحشر/10، وقول النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم: (استغفروا لأخيكم؛ فإنه الآن يُسأل) رواه أبو داود

All fuqaha from the different schools of thought (Hanafi, Maliki, Hanbali and Shafi’i) have agreed that the gifting of the reward of recitation of the Holy Qur’an and other good deeds does benefit the soul of the deceased. It is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an:

People who come afterwards will pray for them: Our Lord, forgive us and our brothers in faith who passed away, and don’t leave any hatred in our hearts of the believers. Our Lord, you are the Compassioante, the Kind.” (Al-Hashr: 10)

Similarly, the beloved Prophet ﷺ mentioned, “Seek forgiveness for your deceased brother, for now he will be questioned.” (Abu Dawud)

Any gathering which takes place to recite the Holy Qur’an, and naat sharif etc., be it on a specified day such as the 3rd or the 40th, will be permissible. Such events where people come together and remember Allah ﷻ to gift reward to the deceased, is a practice found all over the Muslim ummah and has always been encouraged as something praiseworthy.

Evidence from the Holy Qur’an:

The following verses of the Holy Qur’an all show how good deeds can help others.

  1. “The believers whose children followed them in faith will be united with them in Paradise without their parents’ good deeds being diminished in value. Each person is answerable for his deeds.” (Surah Tur: 21) The good deeds of the parents will be a cause of their children and descendants also being elevated to their level.
  2. “People who come afterwards will pray for them: “Our Lord, forgive us and our brothers in faith who passed away, and don’t leave any hatred in our hearts of the believers. Our Lord, you are the Compassionate, the Kind.” (Al-Hashr: 10) The verse highlights the beautiful practice of the Companions of praying for those who had passed away. This was so loved by Allah ﷻ that it is a part of the Holy Qur’an. Why would the Companions pray for those who had passed away if their prayer was of no benefit?
  3. “And be kind; lower your wings with humility for them and pray: “My Lord, be kind to them, as they cared for me in childhood.” (Al-Isra: 24) This verse is a command from Allah ﷻ for all the believers to seek mercy and pray for their parents in this world and on the day of judgement.

Evidence from the ahadith of the Prophet

The blessed ahadith of the Prophet also highlight the importance of gifting good deeds to those who have left us.

  1. Abu Hurayra reported that Allah’s messenger said: When a man dies, his actions come to an end except for three; ongoing charity, knowledge which benefits, and a pious child who prays for him. (Muslim) This Hadith shows us how certain good deeds we do in this life will continue to benefit us after we have passed away. Also, the good deeds of a living person can be a means of reward and mercy for someone who has passed away.
  2. The Holy Prophet ﷺ said: “What is credited to a believer of his action and good deeds after his death is any useful knowledge he might have taught or spread, a God-fearing child he might have left behind, a copy of the Qur’an he might have left to a heir, a mosque he might have built, a house he might have dedicated for use by travellers, a stream or river he might have caused to run and a donation to charity (Sadaqa) he might have set aside when he was enjoying good All that catches up with him after his death’ (Ibn Majah).
  3. Abdullah ibn ‘Amr al-As narrated: Al-As ibn Wa’il left his will that a hundred slaves should be emancipated on his His son Hisham emancipated fifty slaves and his son Amr intended to emancipate the remaining fifty on his behalf, but he said: ‘I should first ask the Messenger of Allah.’ He therefore, came to the Holy Prophet ﷺ and said: ‘Messenger of Allah, my father left in his will that a hundred slaves should be emancipated on his behalf and Hisham has emancipated fifty on his behalf and fifty remain. Shall I emancipate them on his behalf?’ The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: ‘Had he been a Muslim and you had emancipated slaves on his behalf, or given Sadaqa on his behalf, or performed the pilgrimage, that would have reached him.’ (Abu Dawud)

    When a Muslim dies, it is a duty on the community to offer a special prayer for him during which they pray to Allah ﷻ for his forgiveness and entry into paradise. The funeral prayer is a Fardh Kifaya (communal obligation) for the living Muslim brothers. In other words, if just one person offers it, the entire community is absolved of this duty. But note the importance attached to more and more people joining the prayer. And the benefit reaching the deceased person is obvious.

  1. Sayyida A’isha reported Allah’s Messengerﷺ said: ‘If a company of Muslims numbering one hundred pray over a dead person, all of them interceding for him, their intercession for him will be accepted’ (Sahih Muslim).

 

All these narrations indicate the importance and benefit prayers, and good deeds have for the departed soul. How they will benefit the deceased and be a means for their forgiveness.

Naat sharif’ is the recitation of durud and salawat upon the beloved Messenger ﷺ. Poetry and odes in honour of the Prophet ﷺ can be found in numerous languages and are sung throughout the world. Sending blessing to the Prophet ﷺ, is also a means of gifting reward to the deceased. It has been mentioned in the Holy Qur’an:

“Allah and His angels continually bless the Messenger, so believers, you too bless and greet him with peace. (Al-Ahzab v.56)

The sitting for Khatam on 3rd, 10th or 40th day

  1. The third day signifies the end of the permitted mourning period (except for widows) after which the family and friends are encouraged to return their duties as members of society. It is also the last day for people to pay Therefore, it is a moment where everyone can gather and pray for the deceased prior to the mourning period ending.
  2. The tenth day gathering is held as a week has passed since the end of the mourning It is therefore chosen and is known that people can come together and pray for the recently deceased.
  3. The number forty occurs in the Qur’an and Hadith in many It is an important number to indicate change from one state to another. According to some ahadith, the fetus in the womb of a mother changes from one state to another every forty days. Allah ﷻ mentions the fourty nights in the following verse: “Remember when we invited Musa for forty nights, but you began worshipping the golden calf, becoming wrongdoers.” (Al-Baqarah: v.51)

 

The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was bestowed with revelation of the Holy Qur’an at the age of forty. If forty Muslims attend a funeral and pray for the deceased’s salvation, their intercession will be accepted by Allah ﷻ. There are also many other important events in history associated with the number forty. The fortieth day also means that a month has passed by since the last gathering.

We must also remember that:

  1. These are occasions of solemnity, and not ostentation or
  2. The purpose should be seeking Allah’s ﷻ pleasure, of conveying reward to the departed soul and praying for their
  3. These occasions should serve as reminders of our own deaths and the
  4. Giving charity to the needy & deserving, along with such recitations on behalf of the deceased is
  5. The conveyance of reward not only benefits the deceased but also has immense reward for the agents of the good, as well as reminding us of the The person performing the good deed gets the reward multiplied by the number of people to whom the reward was conveyed!

Allah ﷻ knows the best.

Signed on behalf of BFC

Dr. Musharraf Hussain Al-Azhari

Dr. Hafiz M Munir Al-Azhari