As-Salamu alaykum. What act should I do that will benefit my dead parents?
Wa `alaykum As-Salamu waRahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
Answering your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a Senior Lecturer and an Islamic Scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:
We read in a number of traditions that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) told the children whose parents had passed away to give charities or perform pilgrimages, etc. on their behalf.
Based on such traditions, most of the scholars are of the opinion that children may do all kinds of charitable or good deeds on behalf of their parents; once they are performed with the intention of sending their rewards to them, Allah, out of His sheer mercy, will convey rewards to them.
Many scholars include reading of the Quran in this category of permissible good works that one may do on behalf of one’s deceased parents or relatives.
They have done so based on their reasoning that there is no reason to exclude such an act from the above general permissions granted by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).
Thus it has become an almost a widely accepted practice in the Muslim community; the Muslims throughout the centuries have been practicing the same; so one should never object to it.
But having said this I must add a word of caution: one must not do this by setting a fixed date such as the seventh day, the fortieth day or the death anniversaries, etc. for by setting such dates for specific rituals we incur the sin of making innovations in religion.
Allah Almighty knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.