Previously Asked Questions
Funeral Services Questions:

Most of your questions about this topic will be answered by reviewing the Explanatory Notes for Song 24.

> What is the Islamic view of visiting the graves of a relative?

It is allowed for both men and women (however women may not wail,
cry loudly).

  The Prophet (May Allah bless him and give him peace) said, "I used to
  forbid you from visiting graves, but now you may freely visit them
  as they make one lose desires for the material world and remind of
  the next life."

  [{Ibn Majah, Funeral Processions, Visiting Graves, Hadith #1560}]

  Footnote 1459 of the Explanatory Notes of the Guiding Helper
  and associated entries in the Notes of Sources.

> -)What is the Islamic view of "Quran Khuwanee"?
> On third (soyem), tenth (daswaan) & fortieth (chehlum) days of the
> death of a person, a gathering is held --which is called "Quran Khuwanee"-- and 30 books
> (of the Quran) are Recited (with sound) or Read (in heart, without sound) and meals served.
> When you explain to the people that such gatherings are un-Islamic...they say, "only the
> Qur'an is being recited how it is un-Islamic".

The view of the learned scholars of Jurisprudence is
that the practice of gathering to read the entire Qur'an after
someone's death is not traceable back to the practice/sunnah
of the Prophet (May Allah bless him and give him peace).
This is regardless of which day it occurs on (e.g., the
tenth day, fortieth day, one year after death, etc.)

The proof for this is that the Qur'an was not compiled in
book form until the time of Abu Bakr as-Siddiq and the
number of companions that had memorized the entire
Qur'an were few.  Additionally, many of the early companions
did not know the proper order of the surahs and sometimes
they did not know which surah the ayahs they had memorized
belonged to; thus, it would have been very difficult for them
to coordinate finishing the entire Qur'an in one sitting working
collectively as the Pakistanis do.

   Al-Zarkashi's Burhan fi `Ulum al-Qur'an, compilation of the
   Qur'an by Zaid ibn Thabit in Abu Bakr's time

The practice of a Qur'an Khuwanee was enacted by some
Hanafi scholars a few hundred years ago based upon a hadith
which praised people who gather to recite the Qur'an.

Thus, the practice of a Qur'an Khuwanee is a "new act"
in our din untraceable back to the exact practice
of the Prophet (May Allah bless him and give him peace).

Footnote 295 of the Explanatory Notes of Guiding Helper mentions
the general method in which expert scholars deal with
new issues.

Thus, using those methods, we would label a Qur'an Khuwanee
as a mandub "new act" for which one gets reward for

However this is only until most of the people in the
society still remember that this is an *optional* (not
mandatory fard/wajib) act.  If most of the people start
believing or treating a new mandub act as a wajib/fard
which must be done at all costs, then it is *makruh* and
disliked to perform this act.  The reason for this is
that we are not allowed (as common Muslims or scholars) to
introduce new wajib acts into our din (please refer to the
Notes of Sources for lines 159-160 of the Guiding Helper
for proofs for this statement).

What this means is if people start treating a Qur'an
Khuwanee as a mandatory fard/wajib act (like is the case
in some places in the sub-continent), then one is
actually *rewarded* for not performing it -as one will
be preserving the original sunnah of the Prophet (May Allah
bless him and give him peace) in such a case.

> Do righteous acts such as reading Quran, giving
> sadaqa, praying nafl, etc. by a living person benefit the dead?

This issue has two parts:

  a) Doing a mandub act of worship and donating its reward
      to a dead person.
   b) Trying to somehow make up for a missed wajib act that
       a dead person did not perform

About part (a), the Maliki scholars state that good acts that
are donated to the dead are of three types:

   i) Voluntary charity of some form given on behalf of the
       dead person.
   ii) Supplication for the dead person (that is praying for their
   iii) Donating a verbal or physical act of worship for the
         benefit of the dead person (e.g., reading Qur'an on their
         behalf or praying on their behalf).

About (i) and (ii), almost all authentic scholars (even outside
the Maliki school) agree that voluntary charity and supplication
for the dead do benefit the dead person.  They base this on
many ahadith which speak of these two acts as actually
benefiting the dead person.  For example, the Prophet
(May Allah bless him and give him peace) taught us to
supplicate for the dead person in the Funeral prayer and
approved the giving charity on the behalf of dead people
(see below).

About (iii), there is disagreement within the Maliki school
(and also outside the Maliki school) about whether or not
such verbal/physical acts benefit the dead person.

We are narrating the view that such *mandub* physical/verbal
acts *can* indeed benefit the dead person.  The Maliki scholars
that hold this view are backed by many ahadith which
speak of donating reward of physical acts of worship to the
dead person, such as:

  "A woman came to the Prophet (May Allah bless him and give him
   peace) and said, 'I have given charity on behalf of my dead mother
   by giving away her female servant.' The Prophet answered, 'You will
   have its reward [and so will she] but return the female servant so that
  the inheritance [may be properly divided].'  The woman then said, 'She
  used to owe fasts, can I fast [mandub fasts ]on her behalf?'  He
  answered, 'You may fast  on her behalf.'  The woman then said, 'She did
  not perform Hajj, can I perform [a mandub Hajj] on her behalf?'  The
  Prophet answered, 'Yes.  You may perform Hajj on her behalf."

  [{Tirmidhi, Zakat, giving charity from the estate of the deceased, hadith #603}]

  Now the Maliki scholars state that the above hadith does not indicate that
  a wajib act of worship ((b) above) can be done for a dead person who missed
  this act.  Rather, they state that the Prophet simply was acceding to the fact that
  physical acts of worship can indeed *benefit* the dead person giving them
  mandub credit.

  They have reached this conclusion by an encyclopedic study of the statements
  of the Prophet including those in which he indicated that missed wajib acts of
  worship cannot be made up after death, such as:

   The Prophet (May Allah bless him and give him peace) said, "Whoever has
   died and did not perform Hajj let him die if he wanted as a Jew or a Christian
   [for that matter]."

  [AM: volume 1: page 319: line(s) 5-6: {Hafiz Ibn Hajr; Dar Qutni}]

Imam Malik who knew many authentic hadith such as the above which did not
make it to the popular hadith collectors (due to their distance from the Prophet)
came to the conclusion that we have just narrated above, namely:

   a) All types of mandub acts of worship can be donated to benefit a dead
      person; but, there is no real way to make up a wajib act that a dead person

   [KF: volume 1: page 112: line(s) 25-26: {communal obligations, funeral services,
    very last question (#22)}]
    Footnote 1747 of the Guiding Helper Explanatory Notes and Associated
    Entries in the Notes of Sources.


> Is it a sunnah (or other type of mandub) to hold specific gatherings
> on the 3rd, 7th ,40th,day after death to make these offerings to the deceased?

We have no knowledge of the authenticity of such acts and have been unable
to find references encouraging their practice in the traditional books of
Maliki law.

At best such acts (depending on the circumstances) would be labeled as
mubah or a nafilah (very weak mandub).  However if people start believing
that such acts were commanded or recommended by the Prophet, then practicing
such acts is makruh.

   Footnotes 1463 of the Explanatory Notes and Associated Entries in the
   Notes of Sources.
  Also footnote 257 section (d) of Explanatory Notes.

> Is it permissable to build structure's over graves(tombs etc)
> of ordinary muslims or the salihun?

The popular opinion in the Maliki school states that building such structures
over a dead person is usually makruh unless the structure is built for
purposes of aggrandizing and self-arrogance, in which case building the structure is

  [KF: volume 1: page 111: line(s) 13-14: {communal obligations, question 15, section 18}]

There are many hadith that back up this discouragement to build over the grave of any
person.  See primary text proofs for line 910 of the Guiding Helper.

Now there is disagreement about one small point:

  a) If the person was a pious man of great barakah (e.g., Abu Bakr and
      `Umar ibn al-Khattab) from which people will benefit after
      his death.  Then, it is permissible to bury such a person along-side a
     masjid (or other frequented place) or in a specific room within a masjid.

The proof for this is that none of the Companions found any fault with
burying Abu Bakr and `Umar next to the Prophet in a room adjacent to
the masjid.

> Is calling on other than Allah for help and benefit permissible
> (i.e. prophets, awliya)?

It is permissible to ask a dead person to supplicate for one.  However,
one should be sure in one's mind and heart that it is only because *Allah*
hears and answers the supplication of some people more than others
that calling upon the dead is allowed.

However any person who calls upon a dead person (or live person for that
matter) thinking that that person can benefit him is far from the tawhid left
to us by the Prophet (May Allah bless him and give him peace).  No one
can bring you benefit besides Allah (regardless of whether they are dead
or living).  The Prophet said, "If all people were to gather together to bring
you some benefit, they would not be able to benefit you except with what Allah
had already written for you [{Tirmidhi, description of the day of resurrection,
hadith #2440}]

We have discussed this subject further in footnote 2073 of the Guiding Helper
and have narrated some proofs in the Notes of Sources for line 1320 of
the Guiding Helper.

> Is it permissable to attend a funeral of a Christian,
> especially one who may not have recieved proper Dawa?

As it is permissible for a Muslim to inter his non-Muslim
relatives [or past friends] in the Maliki school, we would
say that it is permissible to attend the funeral services
of a non-Muslim.

Obviously though, one should not take an *active* part in any
of the services that directly conflict with our din (such as crossing
one's heart and declaring that Jesus is the son of the Holy Father).

  [QF: volume 1: page 84: line(s) 11: {book 3, chapter 3, issue two}]
  '... and there is nothing wrong that a Muslim bury his non-Muslim

> I want to pray for this person, but don't know how. I'm not sure
> that she had heard the truth of Islam properly explained or not. I can
> only hope that she is excused on the Ghazalian clause (i.e. one who
> does not properly understand Islam due to all the misrepresentations
> in the media etc.)

For Christians, you may pray with the prayer of `Isa himself (which he will
make on Judgement Day for the Christians) as mentioned in the Qur'an,
chapter 5, verse 118:

   "If you punish them; indeed, they are your servants; but if you forgive
    them, then indeed You are the Mighty, the Wise"

As for where they will end up in the next world, the case is left to Allah;
but, the opinion we are narrating is that if they did not openly reject Islam
after learning about it, there is a good chance they will end up in Paradise
(there are qualifications of course).

   Guiding Helper Explanatory Notes, footnote 80, and associated
   Entries on the Notes of Sources

> What are some proofs for the notion that people in the Barzakh
> can still communicate with living people. For example, seeing the
> Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in a dream
> (or in a waking state as I heard Imam Suyuti had seem him
> (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.)

One proof is narrated in the Notes of Sources for Song 32, line 1320 of the
Guiding Helper. Also, we have the commonly known hadith:

The Prophet said, "Use my common-name to name [your children] but do not use my
kunyah-name [e.g., Abu l-Qasim] to name yourselves. And whoever sees me in a
dream, verily he has seen me since Shaytan cannot take my form. And whoever lies
about me purposely, let him take his sitting place in the Hellfire."

[{Bukhari, `Ilm, wrong deed of he who lies about the Prophet, hadith #107}]

You can search for other primary text proofs for such claims and statements.
Please note though that not every person can have such sensations and experiences -
only those with developed ruhs usually have such experiences and sensations. It is
usually those with undeveloped/immature/infantile ruhs that argue that such
spiritual experiences contradict our belief system.

It is commonly known that the ruh can see unseen/hidden things while the person's
body is still in this world. The foremost and most important thing which the ruh can
perceive is Allah's Entity.

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