Bid'ahs committed in funerals


What is the ruling on some of the traditions observed in funerals such as holding banquets, reciting the Ever-Glorious Qur’an, and marking the passage of forty days or a year after the death of a person?


Such traditions are baseless in the purified Shari’ah (Islamic law). Rather, they are Bid’ahs (innovations in religion) related to Jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic time of ignorance). Holding a banquet for the death of someone and inviting the neighbors and the relatives to it is a Bid’ah which is not permissible. Likewise, observing such matters every week or at the passage of a year is an act of Jahiliyyah. It is prescribed for the family of the deceased to practice patience seeking the reward from Allah and to say as the patient people say “To Allah We belong, and to Him we shall return” and Allah promises them a lot of good things.

Allah (Glorified be He) says: “They are those on whom are the Salawât (i.e. who are blessed and will be forgiven) from their Lord, and (they are those who) receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided ones.” [al-Baqarah: 157]

There is nothing wrong with their preparing the usual food for themselves or when a guest visits them, based upon the generality of such evidences. It is prescribed for their relatives and neighbors to make food for them and deliver it to them, for it is authentically reported that when the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was informed of the killing of Ja’far ibn Abu Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) in Mu’tah in the Levant (the region covering Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine), he said to his family: “Make food for the family of Ja’far, for there has come unto them something that is distracting them.1

This indicates the permissibility of sending food to the family of the deceased on the days of mourning by the relatives or others.

  1. Narrated by Al-Tirmidhi, Book on funerals, no. 919; Abu Dawud, Book on funerals, no. 2725; Ibn Majah, Book on funerals, no. 1599, and the wording is his; and Ahmad, Section on Hadiths of the members of the Prophet*s family, no. 1660. 

  • Date: Muharram 6, 1442 AH
  • Source: Majmu' Fatawa wa Maqalat 9/318
  • Muftis: Shaykh Ibn Baz