Assalamualaikum SS Mufti, I want to ask, what is the ruling of saying that tahlil is the same as the funeral of non-Muslims?
Waalaikumussalam wrt. wbt.
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
When a Muslims passes away, then his deeds will come to an end except for three deeds. The three deeds are stated as explained in the hadith of the Prophet PBUH:
إِذَا مَاتَ الإِنْسَانُ انْقَطَعَ عَنْهُ عَمَلُهُ إِلاَّ مِنْ ثَلاَثَةٍ إِلاَّ مِنْ صَدَقَةٍ جَارِيَةٍ أَوْ عِلْمٍ يُنْتَفَعُ بِهِ أَوْ وَلَدٍ صَالِحٍ يَدْعُو لَهُ
“When a man dies, his acts come to an end, but three, recurring charity, or knowledge (by which people) benefit, or a pious son, who prays for him (for the deceased).”
Sahih Muslim (1631)
Thus, the common practise in the Muslim community is that family members, friends and neighbours would assemble and recite the Quran, Yasin, dhikr and tahlil and others, gifting the rewards to the deceased. Usually, the assembly is named as the tahlil ceremony.
Tahlil means the word recited repeatedly to praise Allah SWT. In the context of the Muslim society in Malaysia, if a tahlil ceremony is mentioned, surely, it would give the impression of a ceremony of which supplication and dhikr are performed to ask for forgiveness and blessings of Allah SWT for the deceased.
In answering the question asked, is it permissible to say that tahlil is the same with the funeral ceremony of non-Muslims? Then, the answer is it is impermissible to do so and it is sinful because tahlil ceremony is held to gift the rewards of supplication and dhikr to a deceased Muslim.
Furthermore, it is clear that every Muslim is prohibited from praying for a non-Muslim to be forgiven for his sins even if the non-Muslim is a family member:
Allah SWT states:
مَا كَانَ لِلنَّبِيِّ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَنْ يَسْتَغْفِرُوا لِلْمُشْرِكِينَ وَلَوْ كَانُوا أُولِي قُرْبَى مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُمْ أَنَّهُمْ أَصْحَابُ الْجَحِيمِ
“It is not for the Prophet and those who have believed to ask forgiveness for the polytheists, even if they were relatives, after it has become clear to them that they are companions of Hellfire.”
Surah al-Taubah (113)