Gathering at the house of the deceased to invoke blessings on the Prophet and make supplications.
A few days after a person dies, his family invites scholars and others to his house where they gather to invoke peace and blessings upon the Prophet and make supplications for the sake of the deceased and all Muslims—the living and dead. The family serves food to the attendees out of gratitude for having accepted the invitation and for comforting them. Is there anything prohibited in such a ceremony? Is it permissible for the guests to eat from the food they are served?
There is no legal objection to holding such a gathering provided:
It does not renew the grief of the deceased's family, in which case it is disliked. The money used in preparing this gathering must not belong to minors, in which case it is prohibited.
Although a group of latter scholars from the Hanafi School considered it legally disliked to hold such a gathering, the prominent Hanafi, Al-Tahtawi, said that such a gathering is permissible and there is no objection to it, transmitting this position from luminaries of the school. In his meta-commentary on Maraqi Al-Falah Sharh Noor Al-Idah (339-340), he conveyed the following scholarly opinions:
Ash-Shurunbulali: "It is disliked to host guests at the house of the deceased …."
Al-Bazazi in Fatawa Al-Bazaziya: "It is disliked to serve food to guests on the first, third and seventh day after the death of the deceased; take food to the graveyard on the different occasions; invite others over to recite the Qur`an; invite righteous people and Qur'an reciters to complete reciting the entire Qur'an or recite Surat Al-An'am or Al-Ikhlas."
Al-Burhan al-Halabi: "The opinion [of those scholars who maintain that such gathering is disliked] needs to be reviewed because they based their opinion on the hadith narrated by Jarir Ibn 'Abdullah who said, 'We (the Companions) used to consider it a form of niyaha to assemble at the house of the deceased and eat from the food they have prepared” [Recorded by Imam Ahmed and Ibn Majah with a sound chain of transmission]. This hadith proves that such a gathering is only disliked at the time of death. This opinion was contradicted by the report of 'Asem Ibn Kulaib through his father who narrated it from a man from among the Ansar who said, "We went out with the Messenger of Allah to attend a funeral. Upon his return, the Prophet was met by a messenger from the wife of the deceased inviting him to the house. Food was served and the Messenger of Allah and the rest of the people ate from it" [Recorded by Imam Ahmed with a sound chain of transmission and by Abu Dawud]. This hadith proves that it is permissible for the deceased's family to prepare food and invite people to eat from it.
From Fatawa Al-Bazaziya in the chapter on Istihsan: "It is commendable if the family of the deceased prepares food and invites the poor to eat from it."
From the collection of Fatawa Al-Khaniya in the chapter on Istihsan: "It is recommended for the family of the deceased to prepare food and invite the poor to eat from it. Nothing is to be deducted from the estate for such a gathering if the heirs include a minor."
Abu al-Layth As-Samarqandi in Shir'at Al-Islam wa As-Sunnah: "It is recommended for the family of the deceased to give out in charity, with whatever is possible, before the end of the first night after his death. If they have nothing to give in charity, they are to offer two rak'as (units of prayer) and dedicate their reward to the deceased." He also said: "It is desirable to give out something, whatever is possible, in charity on behalf of the deceased for seven days after his burial."
There is no objection to holding such gatherings and there is no harm in eating from the food served therein.
Allah Most high knows best.
 Lamenting and mourning: a pre-Islamic practice.
People of Medina.