For the commentary by Shaykh Muhammad Afifi al-Akiti, I have extracted "relevant excerpts" (my take only) from his long discussion. Do visit http://baalawi.com/articles/fiqh/318-shaykh-muhammad-afifi-al-akiti-the-amal-of-the-living-for-the-dead.html for the whole article.
This is just for sharing only. I would appreciate no further discussions / arguments on the matter. :)
“Rabbi zidni ilma.” (“O my Rabb! Increase me in knowledge.” ) (20:114).
Reading Surah Ya Sin for the dead
Answered by Shaykh Amjad Rasheed
What is the ruling for reciting the chapter of Ya Sin for a dead person? Some people have said that is wrong, because it is based on hadiths that were fabricated.
Our imams and others have said that the recitation of Koran at someone�s death is recommended, especially the chapter of Ya Sin. The majority of the scholars of Ahl al-Sunna agree that the recital of Koran at someone�s death does benefit them, whether it is the chapter of Ya Sin or any other, for all of it contains blessings and benefit. Actually, the recitation of Ya Sin has been specifically commanded in what has been narrated by Imam Ahmad and al-Nasai� and Ibn Majah that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, �Read Ya Sin for your dead.�
Daraqutni and Ibn Qattan determined this hadith to be weak. But Abu Dawud also narrated this hadith and did not consider it weak, his rule being that what he narrates and does not consider weak, he considers well authenticated. And Ibn Hibban rigorously authenticated this hadith. And al-Hafiz Suyuti considered it well authenticated in his al-Jami al-Saghir.
And al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar, when discussing this hadith in al-Talkhis al-Habir, mentioned that Imam Ahmad (may Allah have mercy on him) said in his Musnad, �Abul-Mughira informed us that Safwan informed us that the scholars used to say: If it, meaning Ya Sin, is read for the dying, his [death] will be lightened by it.�
This is proof that reciting Ya Sin for the dead was well known amongst the Salaf (righteous predecessors) from what has been transmitted from Imam Ahmad � and he is sufficient as Imam in transmitting. This is also proof that Imam Ahmad himself approved acting upon this hadith, because he transmitted it from the scholars, and did not reject it, for had he not approved it, he would have said so and would not have been quiet about it. And this will be emphasized later on.
After relaying what Imam Ahmad said, al-Hafiz [Ibn Hajar] went on to say, �The author of al-Firdaus attributed this hadith to a chain of transmission from Marwan ibn Salim, from Safwan ibn �Amr, from Shuraih, from Abu Darda�, from Abu Dharr, who said: �The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said, �There is not a person who dies and Ya Sin is read for him, but that Allah makes it easy upon him.� And Abu al-Sheikh in Fada�il al-Quran has transmitted another variant of this hadith from Abu Dharr alone.�
Thus, it can be seen from all of this that the hadith of reading Ya Sin for the dead has an irrefutable basis, even if it is weak, as some of the abovementioned have said, who were, in turn, contradicted by others mentioned. And the weak hadith can be applied in matters of virtue, according to the consensus of the scholars. Imam Nawawi mentions this in the preface to al-Adhkar. And the scholars have acted upon this hadith, amongst them Imam Ahmad, as mentioned by the Imam of the Hanbalis in fiqh, Imam Ibn Qudama, in his book al-Mughni, which is their greatest book. His text reads, �Ahmad said: And they recite for the person dying; so he will be relieved by the recitation. Let Ya Sin be recited. And he commanded the recitation of al-Fatiha.�
I said: So you see how he [Ahmad] recommended reciting Ya Sin and even added to it the recitation of al-Fatiha, even though nothing has been mentioned specifically about reciting al-Fatiha for the dying. However, Imam Ahmad recommended it and commanded it, and this is proof that this matter is broad and cannot be refuted. And this is corroborated by what has been transmitted from al-Nawawi that: Some of the Tabi�in (first generation after the Sahaba) recommended reciting Surat al-Ra�d for the dying.
Then Ibn Qudama said, �And Said narrated that Faraj ibn Fadala said that Asad ibn Wada�ah said: When Ghadif ibn Harith was dying, his brothers came to him. He said: Is there any amongst you who will read Surat Ya Sin? A man from amongst the people said: yes. He said: read and read slowly; and listen to him. So he read slowly and made the people listen to him, and when he reached �So glory to Him in Whose hands is the dominion of all things, and to Him will ye be all brought back,� his soul departed. Asad ibn Wada�ah said: Whosoever of you goes to the dying, and death is severe for him, let him read Surat Ya Sin so that death will be lightened for him.�
And Imam Nawawi has said in his al-Majmu�: �It is recommended to read Surat Ya Sin for the dying, as has been told to us by our companions. And some of the Tabi�in also recommended Surat al-Ra�d.�
And the conclusion is that the expert Imams from the hadith scholars and the jurisprudents are agreed that reciting Ya Sin and other chapters from the Koran for the dying is recommended. And the one who rejects this is wrong and ignorant of the way of the Salaf and the Imams who are considered for the explanation of laws. And Allah guides to what is right.
All that is left is for me to point out that the scholars have differed in the meaning of �the dead� in the hadith �Read Ya Sin for your dead.� Ibn Hibban said in his Sahih: the meaning of this is whoever is on the verge of death; it is not recited over the person who has already died. But al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar mentioned in al-Talkhis al-Habir that Imam al-Hafiz al-Tabari refuted that; meaning, he said that the definition of �the dead� in the hadith is what is obvious, and that is the person who has departed life.
[Translated by Sr. Zaynab Ansari]
_________________________________________________________________Majmoo’ Fataawa wa Maqaalaat Mutanawwi’ah li Samaahat al-Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Baaz
Ruling on reciting al-Faatihah for the deceased
What is the ruling on reciting al-Faatihah and giving the reward for it to the deceased?
Praise be to Allaah.
There is no evidence (daleel) for reciting al-Faatihah or any other part of the Qur’aan and giving (the reward for) it to the deceased. We must not do that, because it was not narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or his companions (may Allaah be pleased with them) did any such thing. It is prescribed to make du’aa’ for the dead Muslims and to give charity on their behalf by giving to the poor and needy. In this way a person may draw closer to Allaah and ask Him to give the reward for that to his father, mother or other people, deceased or alive. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When a man dies, all his deeds come to a halt apart from three: ongoing charity (sadaqah jaariyah), beneficial knowledge or a righteous child who will pray for him.”
And it was reported that a man said to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “O Messenger of Allaah, my mother has died and she did not make a will. I think that if she had spoken she would have given in charity. Will she be rewarded if I give in charity on her behalf?” He said, “Yes.” (Saheeh – agreed upon)
The same applies to Hajj and ‘umrah on behalf of the deceased and paying off his debts. All of these actions will benefit him, as was narrated in the shar’i daleel (evidence). But if the questioner is referring to treating the family of the deceased person kindly by giving them money or meat (i.e., food), there is nothing wrong with that if they are poor.
Majmoo’ Fataawa wa Maqaalaat Mutanawwi’ah li Samaahat al-Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him), vol. 9, p. 324
Shaykh Muhammad Afifi al-Akiti : The ‘Amal of the Living for the Dead
The question posed to the Shaykh:
“Didn’t the Qur’an say: “And that man can have nothing but what he does”? Is there an ahl tafsir who says that one can donate the reward of our worship to the dead? Can you please clarify this for me? Also what is established ruling in the Shafii school regarding donating the Fatihah, for example, to the dead?”
My dear questioner, if I were allowed only to give you a one-line answer, it would have been sufficient for me to say only this: be humble, and learn to trust your scholars! May Allah make it easy for us to open our hearts to make us accept and trust what we have not found “proof” of, what we have not seen and what had been veiled from us; for we have been unworthy of it, Ya Rabb!
.What is more, never did Allah nor His Messenger prohibited the living from giving charity on behalf of the dead. Because if there was such a prohibition (for there is none), even if it be a Hadith which is Da’if and weak, those who prohibit and dislike this practice (such as the Mu’tazila) would have used it by now. (Despite the fact that Da’if Hadiths cannot be used to derive primary rulings in fiqh but can still be used for the fada’ils and illustrations.) Owing to the fact that our Prophet (may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him!) never said anything against this practice (and on the contrary, there are numerous rigorously authenticated Hadiths that encourage it), no one has therefore the right to prohibit and deny others a practice which our jurists have deemed good, and indeed, to which the Umma has recorded a Consensus over the issue.
Is it not sad (and would it not be a tragedy for us all from now on) if those who do not know are unable to trust a living jurist and that he would rather in this case (until someone digs the dead references that will suit his pleasure) deprive himself of the immense benefit that this well known practice, a practice which is accepted by the Umma, brings to both the dead as well as the living amongst us, and especially for the sake of our own departed family members and of our loved ones? We will only know the extent of our folly and how our time have been wasted in the months and years of our arguing about the validity of it when we find ourselves needing that extra help and favour once we pass the point where we cannot anymore do things by ourselves. It is precisely then that we will be wishing those who are still alive to exercise their God given right; but by then it may only be wishful thinking on our part. Worse still, owing to our not thinking about the welfare of our own parents who have passed on to the other world and to our never showing this in front of our children, they might think it unlawful to make sadaqa for us once we are no longer in this world. What goes around comes around, and we ask that Allah save us from such a fate! Let us end with the du’a’ that our Prophet had taught us to say for our Muslim brothers and sisters, always:
Allahumma ghfir li-hayyina wa-mayyitina!
[O Allah, forgive those of us who are alive and those who are dead amongst us!]
++Something extra and a fa’ida for us all at the end of the road++ Imam Ibn Hajar was asked about a man who passed by a graveyard and read one Fatiha and donated its reward to all of the members of the graveyard, whether (a: by subtraction), that one reward will be broken up equally and apportioned to all of them, or whether (b: by addition), every one of them will receive the same whole reward of a single Fatiha each. His answer was for the latter and for the reward to be added together, for it is the one worthy of the immeasurable mercy of Allah the Most High! [Ibn Hajar, Fatawa Kubra, 2:24; cf. Ba'alawi, Bughya, 97]. Subhanallah, so look, my dear questioner, at why we shouldn’t restrict the Rahma of Allah, for we would deprive ourselves of this immense blessing!
Let us all say a Fatiha for the souls of all the scholars mentioned here, al-Fatiha!
al-fAtiHata ilA arwAHi mani jtama’nA hunA bi-sababihim, ajarakumu LlAhu l-fAtiHah!
The one in need of forgiveness,
Muhammad Afifi al-Akiti ©
17 Dhu l-Qa’da I 1424
10 January 2004