IRSYAD AL-FATWA SERIES 261: REPLACING THE WORSHIP OF PRAYER AND FASTING OF THE DECEASED

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Question:

My mom passed away without telling anyone the number of prayers or fasting that she neglected while she was alive. How do I replace (qada’) her worships?

 

Answer:

Bismillah. Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the many countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.

Death is a certainty in life. Thus, Islam taught us three main things that we need to take care of when any of our relatives passed away:

By that, according to the above, we will detail the second obligation that is mentioned to answer the question asked.

This problem first needs the understanding of several things:

First, prayer is a type of worship that is sanctioned for each individual and cannot be done by someone else. The same goes to the people that has passed away, the prayer neglected cannot be replaced. This is the opinion of the majority of Islamic scholars. Refer Hasyiah Rad al-Mukhtar (2/79), I’anah al-Thalibin (1/33)

Allah SWT states:

وَأَن لَّيْسَ لِلْإِنسَانِ إِلَّا مَا سَعَىٰ﴿٣٩﴾ وَأَنَّ سَعْيَهُ سَوْفَ يُرَىٰ ﴿٤٠﴾ ثُمَّ يُجْزَاهُ الْجَزَاءَ الْأَوْفَىٰ

“And that there is not for man except that [good] for which he strives. And that his effort is going to be seen - then he will be recompensed for it with the fullest recompense.”

Surah al-Najm (39-41)

Imam al-Qurtubi in commenting on this verse said, on the side of ta’wil of the verse, the verse is muhkam, someone cannot perform worships for someone else and they hold the opinion that someone cannot perform prayer for someone else. See al-Jami’ li Ahkam Al-Quran (17/114)

Second, fast that is neglected by the person that has passed away falls into two categories as stated in Mughni al-Muhtaj (1/438) and Bidayah al-Mujtahid (1/290):

 ‏ مَنْ مَاتَ وَعَلَيْهِ صِيَامٌ صَامَ عَنْهُ وَلِيُّهُ ‏

Allah's Messenger PBUH said, "Whoever died, and he ought to have fasted (the missed days of Ramadan) then his guardians must fast on his behalf."

 

Sahih Bukhari (1952) Sahih Muslim (1147)

However, it is not obligatory for his heirs to fast on his behalf. See al-Majmu’ (6/ 418).

  1. ii) If the heirs do not fast on his behalf then the missed fasting days must be replaced using the wealth left by him and the compensation is based on the days of fast that needs to be replaced. The compensation is one mudd of food in place of each day neglected. This is obligatory according to a narration by Ibn Abbas:

جَاءَ رَجُلٌ إِلَى النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَقَالَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ إِنَّ أُمِّي مَاتَتْ وَعَلَيْهَا صَوْمُ شَهْرٍ أَفَأَقْضِيهِ عَنْهَا فَقَالَ ‏"‏ لَوْ كَانَ عَلَى أُمِّكَ دَيْنٌ أَكُنْتَ قَاضِيَهُ عَنْهَا ‏"‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ نَعَمْ ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏"‏ فَدَيْنُ اللَّهِ أَحَقُّ أَنْ يُقْضَى ‏"‏

A man came to the Messenger of Allah PBUH and said: “Messenger of Allah, my mother has died and there is due from her a fast of vow; should I fast on her behalf?” Thereupon he said: “You see that if your mother had died in debt, would it not have been paid on her behalf?” He said: “Yes”. He (the Holy Prophet) said: “The debt to Allah is a greater debt to settle.”

Sahih Muslim (1148)

Third, the manner of counting the days that need to be replaced when the person that passed away didn’t tell the number of days he didn’t fast.

الأَصْلُ بَرَاءَةُ الذِّمَّةِ

“Origin (of something) is free from accountability”

 

Conclusion

A few conclusions can be drawn from the above statements:

May Allah SWT gives us understanding in fulfilling all of His commandments. Amin.

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