Consoling next of kin and reciting ...

Egypt's Dar Al-Ifta

Consoling next of kin and reciting Qur`an over a dead body


Consoling next of kin and reciting Qur`an over a dead body


Ta’ziyah (consoling next of kin) means enjoining and encouraging those who experience a calamity to remain steadfast. This is the meaning used by jurists. Al-Nawawi said, “It is the command to console those bearing the misfortune of having a death in the family by encouraging them to remain steadfast, mentioning to them the promise of a reward in the hereafter for losing their beloved, warning them against overburdening themselves with sorrow, and reminding them to pray for forgiveness for the deceased and mitigating the burden of their loss.”

There is no difference of opinion among the jurists concerning the meritoriousness of of ta’ziya. The evidence for this are the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) who said, “Whoever consoles a person who has been afflicted [with a misfortune] earns a reward similar to theirs” and “There is not a believer who consoles his brother in his affliction but that God clothes him in the finery of generosity on the Day of Resurrection.”

Jurists have differed over the ruling for the deceased’s family gathering in one place to receive consolers. Some deemed it disliked because it reminds people of their sorrow while others deemed it permissible. Sheikh Muhammad ibn Muhammad known as al-Hutab, one of the imams of the Maliki school, said, “…Sanad said, ‘It is permissible for a man to sit to receive consolers.’” ‘A`isha said, ‘When Zayd ibn Harithah, Ja’far ibn Abi Talib, and ‘Abdullah ibn Rawahah were killed, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) sat in the mosque and grief was apparent on his face.’”

Some scholars used the above hadith as evidence for the permissibility of sitting to receive consolers whether in a mosque or in another place.
Ibn ‘Abdin, the Hanafi verifier, said, “(His words, ‘By sitting here’) mean in mourning. It’s use in its actual meaning here is acceptable. In Al-Ahkam ‘an Khazanah Al-Fatawa [it says], ‘Men are licensed [to receive consolers] for three days due to an affliction, but not women.’ Then it said, ‘But in Al-Dhahiriyah it says, ‘It is acceptable for the family of the deceased [to do so] in their home or in the mosque.’”

Based on the above, it is our opinion that there is nothing wrong in gathering and waiting for people to come and offer their condolences and have the Qur`an recited, regardless of whether this is done at home or in a mosque. It is a condition however that this does not promote grief, annoy neighbors with the volume of the recitation, or infringe on public pathways by erecting tents that obstruct people’s paths. All of these things are impermissible since they encroach upon the rights of others. Otherwise, it is permissible and not blameworthy. And God is Most High and Knows best.

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