CONVEYING REWARDS TO THE DECEASED
At the outset please know, that in Islam, death is not perceived as an end of life. It is just the end of the worldly existence as we witness it, and the beginning of a new existence, in which the soul experiences a new world called “Barzakh.” The soul may experience this new life with or without its original body, according to its own rank allotted to it by Allah the Almighty, the Supreme. There are too many proofs from the Holy Quran and Hadeeth (Holy Prophet’s traditions) regarding the above, and warrant an extensive article on the same. But that is not the question here.
The question that some people ask is that if a person is dead, can we increase its status or decrease its torment by conveying rewards of OUR deeds ??
It is the consensus of the Sahaba (may Allah be well pleased with them), the earlier Ulema, and the latter ones that the above is (a) Effective and that (b) it is certainly permissible, in fact meritorious, to do so.
If one wants to convey the reward of one’s recital of Holy Quran, charity, Nafl Salaat (Non Obligatory), fasts and good deeds, Hajj, Umrah etc., then one should convey it to the virtuous soul of our beloved Holy Prophet , one’s relatives, and all the Muslim men and women. All of them will receive the same reward without any deduction; the one who has carried this out will also receive the same reward without any loss. It is also valid to convey the reward to the living persons. (Fatawa Shami).
Before we back up the above statements with several proofs from the Holy Quran and Hadeeth, we should, as a matter of justice, look into the objections brought against the above belief.
Those who object to this act, cite the following verse from the Holy Quran: “And that man will not obtain anything except what he strove for ??” (Najm 53:39)
They allege that the above verse clarifies that none of our deeds can benefit one who has passed away. Such a view is incorrect. Firstly, this Ayah exhorts people to remember that good deeds will bring good results and evil deeds, an evil result. So they must always persist is seeking good. And that they must not simply depend on other people’s prayers. Secondly, most scholars are of the opinion that the message in this verse is abrogated by the verse: “And those who believe and whose families follow them in Faith, — to them We shall join their families: nor shall We deprive them of the fruit of anything of their works: yet each individual is in pledge for his deeds” (Toor 52:21).” This verse enters the children into Paradise because of the righteousness of the parents.
They also cite a famous Hadeeth from Muslim Shareef:
Abu Huraira (may Allah be well pleased with him) reported Allah’s Messenger 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).
Please closely examine the above Hadeeth. The words say “his acts” (except three) come to an end. What comes to an end, then, is the deceased person’s own actions. This does not mean that a dead person does not benefit from anything else. He cannot increase his own reward by any new act (even if he prays or does Zikr in the grave, as proven from various Hadeeth). But his reward can go on increasing because of the prayers of his son.
The above Hadeeth therefore cannot be quoted in support of the argument that our actions cannot benefit those who are dead. In fact, it supports the case for conveying rewards to the dead !!
Also note that the actions and beliefs of none else than the beloved Holy Prophet are proof of their wrong opinion. And also against their narrow minded opinion are the actions and beliefs of none else than the great Sahaba (may Allah be well pleased with them).
Having negated the objections, we bring forth for your perusal several proofs from the Holy Quran and Hadeeth supporting the act of conveying rewards to those who passed away before us.