By Amina Salau
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
Abu Hurayrah reported that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “When a person dies, all actions are cut off for him with the exception of three things: Charity which continues, knowledge which benefits, or a righteous child who supplicates for him.” (al-Adab al-Mufrad; sound)
As the hadith mentions, a deceased person – after death – can benefit from a righteous child who prays for his or her parents. So, even though a parent has passed away, there are still some good deeds that we can do on their behalf to benefit them in the grave.
Pray for them
Whether we supplicate specially for them or remember them in our daily duas, deceased parents receive the benefits from our supplications, in whatever form Allah (swt) knows best. Some ways by which we can offer prayer for them includes:
- Attending their funeral prayer.
- Visiting their graves to supplicate for them (this applies to men only).
- Seeking forgiveness from Allah on their behalf. Abu Hurayrah narrated that a person can be raised a degree after his death, if a child asks for forgiveness for him. (al-Adab al-Mufrad; reliable)
- Remembering them in our daily supplications.
Do sadaqah (voluntary charity) on their behalf
Any voluntary act of charity that we do on behalf of a parent who has passed away, counts as good deeds that they will be rewarded for, if Allah wills. Doing charity on their behalf is another way to add to their account of deeds, especially when they do not have the opportunity to do so by themselves. Some acts of charity include:
- Building a mosque for people to pray.
- Building a well or borehole for people to have access to water.
- Donating money to support a good cause, for instance, medical care for orphans, elderly, or disabled.
- Sponsoring a child’s education.
- Donating money towards, or building houses for, the homeless, internally displaced, and refugees.
Fulfil their pledges
If a deceased parent had some outstanding debts to repay, the child that they left behind should pay on their behalf. This is also applicable to unpaid fasts in Ramadan, Hajj (major pilgrimage), or a commitment that they may have made to do an act of worship. During his lifetime, Prophet Muhammad (sa) advised a woman to perform Hajj on behalf of her mother, who died before she could embark on the pilgrimage herself.
Keep ties with their loved ones
As a source of blessing to the deceased parent, we are also encouraged to keep good ties with their family members, people who they were friends with, and anyone who they kept good relations with. This may include their friends, colleagues, neighbours, distant or close relatives, and associates. We can check up on these people if possible, or keep in touch via phone or Internet. We can also do things that our parents used to do for them, but only if we are capable for it. If a deceased parent left behind their spouse, who may or may not be our second parent, looking after their welfare is a good way to keep ties with them for our benefit and as a source of blessing to the departed.
Do righteous deeds
Children are part of the deeds of a person while they were alive, and after death, the parents will get a share of the reward for any good deeds a child does. This does not in any way reduce the rewards of the child. By virtue of this, our good deeds are a source of blessing for a deceased parent, and this should be another motivation for us to increase our worship.
Amina Salau is a freelance writer who is passionate about women’s issues in Islam
© IIPH 2015