Fatihah: Traditions after death

Q219 :On third, seventh, [tenth] fifteenth or fortieth days of the death of a person, some sort of gathering is held and passages of the Qur'an are recited and meals served. When you explain to the people that such gatherings are not part of the teachings of Islam, they ask why should it be against Islam when only the Qur'an is being recited there.

A219 : There is nothing special that happens to the deceased or his relatives on these days. If you examine the origins of such practices, you will find that they date to pre-Islamic days, especially that of the fortieth day. Moreover, they have been borrowed from the traditions of people whose view of death is totally different from that of Islam. While most philosophies consider death to be the end of human life, Islam considers death a prelude to a different type of life. Hence, if the deceased was a good believer, his death is not something that we should be sorry for. In Islam, the proper practice is to offer condolences to the relatives of the deceased and to pray for the deceased's forgiveness. Why a practice which relies on the reading of the Qur'an be against Islam is very simple. Islam is a religion that has been revealed by Allah. The Prophet conveyed it to us complete. Nothing can be added to what the Prophet has taught us, especially in matters of worship. Therefore, when we introduce something into Islamic practices, especially one that relates to worship, we are putting ourselves in a position to complement what the Prophet has done. This is totally unacceptable.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )