Transfer of Reward to the Deceased
God and Monotheism
Question asked by .
Answered by Tariq Haashmi

Can you please enlighten me on the question of Chehlum ceremony which is commonly held some 40 days after a person dies. Is it allowed by the Sharī‘ah? I am told that this thing is Bid‘ah and that there is no Hadīth in support of this, nor was it practiced by the Companions (rta) of the Prophet (sws).


The concept of Chehlum and recitation of the Holy Qur’ān to transfer its reward to the dead is an activity not supported by the Qur’ān and the Sunnah of the Prophet (sws). People had been dying during the Prophet’s (sws) time and never did he organize such a gathering. The reason for the absence of this activity is that the Holy Qur’ān makes it clear that everybody will be held accountable only for the deeds he himself does during his life. It says:

 That no one shall bear the burden of another. And that man shall have only that which he strived for, and that his striving shall soon be examined [and] then he shall be rewarded with a complete reward. (53:38-41)

 The above quoted verses fully negate the possibility of transfer of bad as well as good deeds to another person. The Prophet (sws) is reported to have said:

 When a person dies, the reward of his deeds ceases except in the case of three things: in the case of something the benefit of which is reaped [even after his death] for a long time; in the case of some knowledge that he leaves behind, which benefits the world [even after his death] for a long time; and in the case of a righteous child who prays for his forgiveness. (Muslim, No: 3084)

 In the light of the above verses of the Qur’ān and the saying of the Prophet (sws), we see that it is not possible to transfer reward of good deeds to another person. The only things one can get benefits from are prayer and his own acts which continue to benefit the world after his departure.


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