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Q&A: Gathering at the Home of the Deceased

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When a person passes away, many people gather at the home of the deceased for days after the funeral. Those who are present are made to read tasbeehs or recite from the Qur’an, etc., for the deceased. The family of the deceased also serve them with various things to eat. Is this correct?

 

When a person passes away, it is Sunnat to go to the house of the deceased and console his family members. Words of encouragement and solace should be said to them. To console the bereaved in this way is called ta’ziyat. Great rewards have been mentioned in the Hadith for such ta’ziyat.

CONSOLE

It is reported in a narration of Ibne Majah that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “The Believer who consoles his Muslim brother at the time of some calamity or hardship, Allah Ta’ala will clothe him with garments of honour on the Day of Qiyamat.” Another Hadith declares: “He who consoles a person afflicted with some calamity will receive the same reward that the afflicted person received for the sabr (patience) that he exercised upon the calamity” (Tirmizi).

It is Sunnat to go for ta’ziyat up to the third day. However, if any person was away at the time of the funeral and only returned many days later, he may go for ta’ziyat upon his return, whenever that may be. The rewards of ta’ziyat can also be earned by writing a letter of condolence to somebody who may be far away. This is the Sunnat procedure of ta’ziyat.

UTMOST SINCERITY

To recite the Qur’an Shareef, or tasbeehs, etc., or to give Sadaqah with the intention that the thawaab of that good action may be passed on to the deceased is known as isaale thawaab. This is also a very rewarding action. In order that the maximum amount of thawaab reaches the mayyit (deceased), one should do much good actions with utmost sincerity. It should not be done merely to “show one’s face at the funeral house” or any other such reason. Generally the greatest amount of sincerity will be acquired when one does these good actions privately and pass on the thawaab to the deceased.

NO FORMALITIES

Therefore there is no need to gather at the house of the mayyit specifically “to read for the mayyit.” However, those who go to the house of the deceased for ta’ziyat may on their own accord also read whatever they may know from the Qur’an Shareef or any tasbeehs, etc. and pass the thawaab to the mayyit, rather than engage in idle talk and gossip. There should be no formalities involved in this, nor should anyone be invited to the house of the mayyit for this purpose, nor should any person coming for ta’ziyat be given any tasbeeh or Qur’an in the hand and be imposed upon to read something. Apart from the immediate family and relatives who may remain with the bereaved in order to provide some solace and comfort, others should briefly make ta’ziyat and then make as much isaale thawaab as possible daily to the mayyit in their own homes.

          As for eating at the home of the deceased, this opposes the beautiful and  natural procedure explained by Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). When the news of the martyrdom of Hazrath Ja’far (R.A.) was received, Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) instructed the Sahaaba (R.A.) to serve food for his family, since due to their grief they would not be able to pay attention to the preparation of food, etc. (Tirmizi). To send food for the family of the deceased eases their difficulty. To gather at their home and place the burden of serving food to everybody adds to their grief. This practice should therefore be refrained from.

 

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