Is Hajj-i-Badal a form of Isāl-i-Thawāb?
Question asked by .
Answered by Dr. Shehzad Saleem

I have heard that we can offer Hajj on behalf of our dead parents. Is this not Isāl-i-Thawāb (transfer of reward to the dead), a concept you have strongly refuted in your journal many times?


As a principle, it should be borne in mind that a person gets the reward of something which he had intended but was not able to accomplish due to certain unavoidable circumstances. Consequently, if a person is not able to perform Hajj in spite of having an intense desire of doing so, he shall be given its reward. Now, if someone offers Hajj for a dead parent who has or had an intense desire of doing H~ajj but is or was unable to do so due to some reason, then while the person himself will definitely be rewarded for this deed, the parent will also receive some reward since pious children themselves become a source of reward for their parents. This is not Isāl-i-Thawāb. It is in the words of the Prophet (sws) ‘Sadqah-i- Jāriyah’ (the charitable act of a person that continues to afford him reward even after he dies):

When a person dies, his record is sealed except [for the credit he continues to receive] from three deeds: philanthropic acts that continue to benefit others after his death, scholarly works that continue to enlighten others, and the prayers of pious children for the deceased. (Dārmī)

However, the person should not think that it is only if he does Hajj on behalf of his father or mother will they be rewarded for Hajj -- they have already received their reward of Hajj because of their intention.

I will give you an example to explain my point: Imagine a person’s mother who had a great desire to build a hospital for the poor, but due to certain circumstances she was not able to. Now if the son gets the chance to fulfil his mother’s wish, then this will indeed be a rewarding deed for the son while her mother has already got the reward of this because of her intention. Of course! she may get a further reward because, as mentioned earlier, pious children themselves are a source of reward for the parents.

Thus, Hajj-i-Badal must not be confused with some form of Isāl-i-Thawāb.

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