When there is a funeral, lines of lamps are hung, chairs are brought and reciters of the Qur'an are hired to recite the Qur'an
It can be noticed in Makkah Al-Mukarramah known as Allah’s Sacred City, Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah and Jeddah that when there is a funeral, lines of lamps are hung, chairs are brought and reciters of the Qur’an are hired to recite the Qur’an using loudspeakers. Then, a ceremonial dinner and a big banquette are provided. It is worth mentioning that this happens before the very eyes and ears of people. These things are done sometimes in the streets, sometimes in the houses and sometimes in places especially prepared for condolences, pursuant to an old Bid`ah (innovation in religion). There is no doubt that this question requires a Fatwa from Your Eminence that warns the people doing such things so that they may give up these practices, hoping that Your Eminence will give them a piece of advice on this question, may Allah safeguard you!
After the death of any person, the Sunnah (action following the teachings of the Prophet) is to give solace to the family of the deceased person and advise them to remain patient, sacrifice the dead person for Allah’s Reward and invoke Allah for the deceased person. It is desirable for the relatives and neighbors of the family of the deceased to make food for the afflicted family. This is because the dead person’s family are busy with their affliction. It was authentically reported that when the Prophet (peace be upon him) was informed of the death of Ja’far (may Allah be pleased with him), he said: “Make food for the family of Ja’far as they are busy with their affliction.”
As for the other practices such as holding funeral ceremony, hanging lines of lamps, brining chairs, hiring reciters of the Qur’an using loudspeakers, feeding people, etc., they are newly-invented practices in religion, which a Muslim is not permitted to do or approve of. Besides, it is obligatory upon Muslims to disapprove of such practices and advise one another to give up all these practices.
It was authentically reported that Jarir ibn ‘Abdullah Al-Bajaly said: “We used to regard meeting with the dead person’s family and preparing ceremonial banquettes after the burial of the dead person as practices of forbidden mourning.” Therefore, all good can be realized by means of following the Sunnah and giving up all newly-invented practices in religion.
May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.
Date: Muharram 3, 1442 AH
Source: Fatawa Al-Lajnah Ad-Daimah no. 20855
Shaykh Abdul-Aziz Aal Al-Shaykh
Shaykh Salih Fawzan
Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd
Shaykh Abdullah ibn Ghudayyan