On a habit dated to occur twenty, thirty or forty days after the time of death
We have a custom that whenever any distress like an accident or death befalls a person or any of his family, after a few days people, including the relatives of the one distressed, invite him saying: We owe you. If the distressed person accepts their invitation, he shall pay a visit to everyone of them where one or two sheep shall be slaughtered and offered to him along with the people of the village. This hospitality is offered by all those who invited him. Those who invited him regard it as a duty to entertain the distressed because of the calamity that has befallen him. Is it permissible to do so?
If the invitation is not given on a certain number of days after someone’s death: like twenty or forty days, and the intention is to act generously with him or her to relieve their distress, it is not forbidden. But, if it is a habit that is dated to occur twenty, thirty or forty days after the time of death, it is a Bid`ah (innovation in religion). Yet, providing food for the family of the deceased when they are preparing the funeral and are totally occupied with it is a Sunnah (action following the teachings of the Prophet) as the Prophet (peace be upon him) is reported to have said: “Prepare food for the family of Ja’far as they are busy with their distress.” The Hadith is related by Ahmad, Al-Tirmidhi and Al-Hakim.
May Allah grant us success. May peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and Companions!
Date: Muharram 3, 1442 AH
Source: Fatawa Al-Lajnah Ad-Daimah no. 14247-2
Shaykh Ibn Baz
Shaykh Abdullah ibn Ghudayyan
Shaykh Abdul-Razzaq al-Afify