Ruling on reciting Qur'an over the dead

Question:

Some people recite the Qur’an by the grave for/over the dead in return for certain rewards. Do the dead avail of this recitation? When a person dies, people here are accustomed to recite the Qur’an, slaughter animals, and make banquets. Is this permissible?

Answer:

Reciting the Qur’an over or for the sake of the dead is Bid’ah (innovation in religion) and taking rewards for that is impermissible, for there is no legal foundation in this regard. Acts of worship may only be established by means of legal evidence and no act is permissible unless prescribed by Allah. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever introduces things extraneous to our affair i.e. religion, will have them rejected.” Agreed upon its authenticity i.e. reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim 1.

Similarly, slaughtering animals and preparing food for the sake of the dead, are all unacceptable Bid`ahs, which are impermissible to observe at any time, for there is no legal text of the pure Shari’ah to lend it support. It is an act of the period of ignorance. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Among my people there are four characteristics belonging to pre-Islamic period which they do not abandon: Boasting of forefathers, reviling other peoples’ genealogies, seeking rain by stars, and lamentation.” 2

He (peace be upon him) also said, “If the wailing woman does not repent before she dies, she will be made to stand on the Day of Resurrection wearing a garment of pitch and a chemise of mange.” Reported by Muslim in his Sahih Book. 3

It is also reported from Jarir Ibn ‘Abdullah Al-Bajaly (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said, “We used to consider sitting with the family of the deceased and making food for mourners after burial as sort of wailing.” Reported by Imam Ahmad through a reliable chain of narrator. 4

It was not of the conduct of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his Companions to recite the Qur’an, slaughter animals, and make banquets upon the death of any of them. This a heinous Bid’ah. So, it is obligatory to avoid and warn people against it. Scholars, especially, should forbid people from committing unlawful acts that Allah (Exalted be He) prohibits and they have to reprimand the ignorant and the fool to come back to the straight path that Allah (Exalted be He) enacted for His servants.

Thus, their states and societies will be reformed. The rites of Islam are manifested and the signs of ignorance have disappeared. It is recommended for neighbors and relatives to prepare food for the family of the dead. When the news of the death of Ja’far ibn Abu Talib reached the Prophet (peace be upon him), he said, “Prepare food for the family of Ja’far for they are occupied with this affliction.” Reported by Imam Ahmad and the Compiler of Sunan (Abu Dawud, Al-Tirmidhy, Al-Nasa’i and Ibn Majah) through an authentic chain of transmission 5.

May Allah guide us and all Muslim and grant us all success. He is Generous and Gracious.


  1. Al-Bukhari, Sahih, Book on reconciliation, no. 2697; Muslim, Sahih, Book on judicial decisions, no. 1718; Abu Dawud, Sunan, Book on Al-Sunnah, no. 4606; Ibn Majah, Sunan, Introduction, no. 14; and Ahmad, Musnad, vol. 6, p. 240. 

  2. Muslim, Sahih, Book on funerals, no. 934; and Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 5, p. 343. 

  3. Narrated by Muslim, Book on funerals, no. 1550. 

  4. Ibn Majah, Sunan, Book on funerals, no. 1612; Book on remembrance of Allah, supplication, repentance, and seeking forgiveness, 2, p. 204. 

  5. 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 9/321
  • Muftis: Shaykh Ibn Baz