9979: Ruling on reading Qur’aan over the grave of a dead person


Some people in our village bring together some shaykhs who know how to read Qur’aan well, and they read Qur’aan on the grounds that this Qur’aan will benefit the deceased and bring mercy to him. Some others invite one or two shaykhs to read at the grave of a particular person, and others organize big gatherings where they invite one of the famous readers to read over loudspeakers, to commemorate the anniversary of a loved one’s death. What is the Islamic ruling on that? Does reading Qur’aan at the graveside or elsewhere benefit the deceased? What is the best way to benefit the dead? Please advise us, may Allaah reward you greatly on our behalf, and we thank you very much.

Praise be to Allaah. 

This action is bid’ah (reprehensible innovation) and is not permissible, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Whoever innovates anything in this matter of ours (i.e., Islam) that is not a part of it, will have it rejected.” (Saheeh – agreed upon). And he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever does anything that is not a part of this matter of ours (i.e., Islam) will have it rejected.” (Narrated by Muslim in his Saheeh). And there are many similar ahaadeeth.  

It is not the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or the way of his rightly-guided successors (the Khulafaa’ al-Raashideen – may Allaah be pleased with them) to read Qur’aan over graves or to have gatherings to commemorate the anniversary of a person’s death. All goodness is to be found in following the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and his rightly-guided successors, and those who followed their path, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And the foremost to embrace Islam of the Muhaajiroon and the Ansaar and also those who followed them exactly (in Faith). Allaah is well-pleased with them as they are well-pleased with Him. He has prepared for them Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise), to dwell therein forever. That is the supreme success” [al-Tawbah 9:100]  

And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “I urge you to adhere to my way (Sunnah) and the way of the rightly-guided Khulafaa’ who come after me. Adhere to it and bite onto it with your eyeteeth (i.e. cling firmly to it). Beware of newly-invented matters, for every newly-invented matter is an innovation and every innovation is a going-astray.” And it was reported in a saheeh hadeeth that he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said in a Friday khutbah: “The best of speech is the Book of Allaah and the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). The most evil of things are those which are newly-invented, and every innovation is a going-astray.” And there are many similar ahaadeeth. 

According to the saheeh ahaadeeth, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) explained the things that will benefit the Muslim after he dies. He (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When a man dies, all his good deeds come to a halt, apart from three: ongoing charity (sadaqah jaariyah); beneficial knowledge; or a righteous child who will pray for him.” (Narrated by Muslim in his Saheeh). A man asked the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), “O Messenger of Allaah, is there anything that I can do to continue honouring my parents after they die?” He (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Yes: pray for them, ask for forgiveness for them, fulfil their last wishes (wasiyah or will), honour their friends and uphold the ties of kinship which you would not have were it not for them.” The last wishes (wasiyah or will) expressed by the person before he or she died should be fulfilled so long as they are in accordance with sharee’ah. Other ways of honouring one’s parents is to give in charity on their behalf, to make du’aa’ for them and to perform Hajj and ‘Umrah on their behalf. And Allaah is the Source of strength. 

Kitaab Majmoo’ Fataawa wa Maqaalaat Mutanawwi’ah li Samaahat al-Shaykh al-‘Allaamah ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him), vol. 9, p. 319
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