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  • Transfer Of Reward To The Dead(Hajj-i-Badal, Isal-i-Sawab, Sadqa-i-Jariya)

    Posted by Umer on June 25, 2020 at 2:13 pm

    As a principle, the Almighty has made it clear in the Qur’an that each person is responsible for his deeds. No one else can be held accountable for what a person does; nor can a person himself take responsibility of some other person’s deeds. Similarly, the Qur’an has also made it clear that on the Day of Judgement whatever a person will earn will be as a result of his own deeds:

    اَلَّا تَزِرُ وَازِرَۃٌ وِّزۡرَ اُخۡرٰی.وَ اَنۡ لَّیۡسَ لِلۡاِنۡسَانِ اِلَّا مَا سَعٰی.وَ اَنَّ سَعۡیَہٗ سَوۡفَ یُرٰی.ثُمَّ یُجۡزٰىہُ الۡجَزَآءَ الۡاَوۡفٰی.(53: 38-41)

    That no soul shall bear another’s burden and that [in the Hereafter] a man shall only receive that which he strove [for in this world] and that what he has earned shall soon be shown to him; he shall then be fully rewarded. (53:38-41)

    It is also is a fact that it is not the form of a person’s deeds which reaches the Almighty and makes that person eligible to reward; on the contrary, it is the piety of the heart which makes him eligible to this reward. This piety obviously is not something transferable. It resides in the heart of a person. It cannot be acquired from there and transferred to some other place so that a person is able to benefit from its blessings. Animal sacrifice is a great worship ritual. While sacrificing an animal, we offer it to God by placing it in the direction of the Baytullah and by turning our own selves in its direction with the sentiment that it is in fact we who are offering ourselves to God. The Qur’an states:

    لَنۡ یَّنَالَ اللّٰہَ لُحُوۡمُہَا وَ لَا دِمَآؤُہَا وَ لٰکِنۡ یَّنَالُہُ التَّقۡوٰی مِنۡکُمۡ ؕ (37:22)

    The flesh and blood [of] these [sacrificed animals] does not reach God; it is only your piety that reaches Him. (22:37)

    If both these verses of the Qur’an are considered, then only one option remains: viz a viz a person benefiting or being penalized for a good or evil deed done by someone else: his intention or efforts directly or indirectly affect the other person’s good or evil deeds. This can have many forms. For example, he instructed and educated someone in goodness and piety or set a practical example of some virtuous act or played a role in providing resources for the virtuous deed. On this very basis, the Prophet (sws) is reported to have said:

    إذا مَاتَ الْإِنْسَانُ انْقَطَعَ عنه عَمَلُهُ إلا من ثَلَاثَةٍ إلا من صَدَقَةٍ جَارِيَةٍ أو عِلْمٍ يُنْتَفَعُ بِهِ أو وَلَدٍ صَالِحٍيَدْعُو له

    When a person dies his deeds too end with his death. However, three things are an exception to this: Sadaqah-i jariyah , knowledge which is beneficial and pious children who pray for their parents.[1]

    The mention of children in this narrative should not be a cause for surprise. The fact is that children are nothing but the effort of their parents. This is because if the parents are true believers, then they will be the first ones to teach and instruct their children about praying to God, keeping fasts, offering the hajj, paying zakah as well as other virtuous deeds. Thus if because of some reason they are unable to do a virtuous deed, then there is no harm if their children complete their good intention about a virtuous deed by practically carrying it out. In fact, it is evident from various sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (sws) that it is in accordance with obedience and decency that children should do so. By having an intention to do such a virtuous deed the parents will also be rewarded for its practical completion by their children. It is reported that a lady from the tribe of Kath‘am asked: “O Messenger of God! The hajj is obligatory upon my father but he is so old that he cannot even sit on an animal of conveyance; can I offer the hajj for him.” The Prophet (sws) replied: “Yes.”[2]Similarly, a lady from the tribe of Juhaynah inquired from the Prophet (sws): “My mother had vowed to offer the hajj; now she has died; can I offer it for her.” He replied: “You should certainly offer it; would you not have paid back a loan she had borrowed? This is a loan taken from God; so pay it back and the obligation to pay back the loan to God is more [than any other].”[3]

    In the life of a person, this status of the parents can also be held by some other individual. For example, his teacher or some elderly person. Thus such individuals too must be included in the sphere of application of this issue. All narratives on this topic must be interpreted in the light of this principle. Without its existence, if a person does a deed for someone, then he alone will receive its reward because it is he who did it. It is reported about the Prophet (sws) that a lady raised her child towards him and said: “Can he also offer the hajj?” The Prophet (sws) replied: “Yes, but the reward of this hajj shall go to you.”[4]What at best can be inferred from this narrative of the Prophet (sws) is that even if there is no possibility of transferring the reward of a virtuous deed to the individual for whom it is done, there is no harm in doing such a deed; its reward shall be reaped by its doer at all cost. However, this does not mean that this saying in any way provides a basis to allow gatherings which are so rampant among the Muslims today by the name of isal-i thawab (transfer of reward to the dead). All such gatherings indeed come under the label of religious innovation (bid‘ah). No basis can be found for them in the Qur’an and Sunnah.

    However, this much should remain clear in this issue that the style adopted in لَیۡسَ لِلۡاِنۡسَانِ اِلَّا مَا سَعٰی (39:53) is meant to negate entitlement to reward and the principle stated in it relates to the occasion when the decision of Paradise or Hell is to be made for a person. This principle does not relate to the situation in which a person has already become entitled to Paradise on the basis of his faith and deeds. In such cases, a person can receive many favours and gifts of God. Thus the Qur’an has specified that if children become worthy of the lowest level of Paradise because of the extent of their faith, then the Almighty in order to complete His favour on their parents will increase the level of the children and unite them with their parents residing at a higher level. The Qur’an states:

    وَ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَ اتَّبَعَتۡہُمۡ ذُرِّیَّتُہُمۡ بِاِیۡمَانٍ اَلۡحَقۡنَا بِہِمۡ ذُرِّیَّتَہُمۡ وَ مَاۤ اَلَتۡنٰہُمۡ مِّنۡ عَمَلِہِمۡ مِّنۡ شَیۡءٍ ؕ (21:52)

    And those who had accepted faith, and their children had followed them in their faith, We shall unite their children with them [with the status they are in] and not even slightly diminish their deeds. (52:21)

    It emanates from this verse that same should be the case when parents reside at a lower level in Paradise. The reason for this is that the affection which is becoming the cause for lifting the children to the level of parents is present in this case as well.

    (Javed Ahmed Ghamidi)

    (Translated by Dr Shehzad Saleemr)


    [1]. Muslim, Al-Jami‘ al-sahih, vol. 3, 1255, (no. 1631).

    [2]. Al-Bukhari, Al-Jami‘ al-sahih, vol. 2, 657, (no. 1756); Muslim, Al-Jami‘ al-sahih, vol. 2, 973, (no. 3251).

    [3]. Al-Bukhari, Al-Jami‘ al-sahih, vol. 2, 656, (no. 1334).

    [4]. Muslim, Al-Jami‘ al-sahih, vol. 2, 974, (no. 1336). It is this principle which the Prophet (sws) explained regarding doing some virtuous deed on behalf of someone viz. the reward is for the person who does that particular deed. All narratives which discuss this subject should be understood in the light of this principle.

    Ayema Zahoor replied 3 years, 7 months ago 4 Members · 10 Replies
  • 10 Replies
  • Transfer Of Reward To The Dead(Hajj-i-Badal, Isal-i-Sawab, Sadqa-i-Jariya)

    Ayema Zahoor updated 3 years, 7 months ago 4 Members · 10 Replies
  • Umer

    Moderator June 30, 2020 at 10:56 pm


    I have heard that we can offer Hajj on behalf of our dead parents. Is this not isal-i-thawab (transfer of reward to the dead), a concept you have strongly refuted in your journal many times?


    As a principle, it should be borne in mind that a person gets the reward of something which he had intended but was not able to accomplish due to certain unavoidable circumstances. Consequently, if a person is not able to perform Hajj in spite of having an intense desire of doing so, he shall be given its reward. Now, if someone offers Hajj for a dead parent who has or had an intense desire of doing Hajj but is or was unable to do so due to some reason, then while the person himself will definitely be rewarded for this deed, the parent will also receive some reward since pious children themselves become a source of reward for their parents. This is not isal-i-thawab. It is in the words of the Prophet (sws) Sadqah-i-Jariyah (the charitable act of a person that continues to afford him reward even after he dies):

    When a person dies, his record is sealed except [for the credit he continues to receive] from three deeds: philanthropic acts that continue to benefit others after his death, scholarly works that continue to enlighten others, and the prayers of pious children for the deceased. (Darmi)

    However, the person should not think that it is only if he does Hajj on behalf of his father or mother will they be rewarded for Hajj — they have already received their reward of Hajj because of their intention.

    I will give you an example to explain my point: Imagine a person’s mother who had a great desire to build a hospital for the poor, but due to certain circumstances she was not able to. Now if the son gets the chance to fulfil his mother’s wish, then this will indeed be a rewarding deed for the son while her mother has already got the reward of this because of her intention. Of course! she may get a further reward because, as mentioned earlier, pious children themselves are a source of reward for the parents.

    Thus, Hajj-i-Badal must not be confused with some form of isal-i-thawab.

    (Dr. Shehzad Saleem)

  • Umer

    Moderator June 30, 2020 at 10:58 pm
  • Sheharbano Ali

    Member July 4, 2020 at 6:41 pm

    Salam, in this context, what about the duas sanctioned by the holy prophet (saw) regarding forgiveness of the deceased? Will they benefit the deceased and if yes, then how do we reconcile it with the fact that only a person’s own deeds will be accounted for and either be a source of reward and punishment for him?

    • Umer

      Moderator July 5, 2020 at 12:45 am


      Dua shouldn’t be seen from the perspective of the deceased, but rather from the perspective of the person initiating it. It is an expression of association of a Muslim with the Almighty and of our good faith for our Muslim brothers as well. It also serves as a reminder for us that we will be facing Almighty one day. It is actually the right of the deceased on us that we hope for their forgiveness and seek forgiveness from the Almighty and bury them with dignity. It comes naturally that we should all hope for their forgiveness and seek it from ALLAH. However, the criteria for forgiveness remains the same.

      Look at the dua of Prophet Muhammad (sws) for the deceased of His time; how beautifully it covers every aspect of our social and religious association with the deceased as well as our association with ALLAH:

      أبي هريرة أن رسول اللهأتى المقبرة فقال السلام عليكم دار قوم مؤمنين وإنا إن شاء الله بكم لاحقون

      Abu Hurairah narrates: The Holy Prophet (sws) once came to a graveyard and said, ‘Peace on you! [Oh] dwellers of the house of the believers. We will join you InshaAllah. {Muslim:No:249}

      Ibn Habban has added the following words:

      أنتم لنا فرط ونحن لكم تبع نسأل الله لنا ولكم العافية

      You preceded us and we will follow you. We seek Allah’s forgiveness both for you and for ourselves.[ Ibn-e Habban No: 3173]

  • Sheharbano Ali

    Member July 5, 2020 at 10:35 am

    Well explained.


  • Talha Abbas

    Member July 22, 2020 at 9:18 am

    Actually I want to know more. If someone’s parents or parent is dead can he offer Hajj-i-badal from their side. This condition is just normal. Kindly guide us.

    • Umer

      Moderator July 25, 2020 at 4:37 am

      This is exactly what these articles above are trying to answer. I humbly request you to please give them another read.

  • Ayema Zahoor

    Member July 24, 2020 at 11:12 am

    While I was listening the answersf a scholar he said that we can perform hajj and do fasting on the behalf of our deceased parents and the children should do it for their parents that’s why I asked can we give fiddyah or should fast on their behalf

    • Umer

      Moderator July 25, 2020 at 4:35 am

      Scholars do believe that, you are absolutely right. But when you collect all those narrations and analyze them within framework of Quran and Sunnah, only then you can understand the rationale behind those narrations. Otherwise, if you take any such Hadith in isolation, you’ll be reaching the same conclusion as those scholars and it would appear as if those narrations are in conflict with Quran and overall framework of religion.

  • Ayema Zahoor

    Member July 25, 2020 at 6:52 am

    Jazak Allah

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