Pilgrimage: Substitute pilgrimage for a fiancee

Q440 :I was engaged to a lady but she died before we got married. Some people tell me that I could not recite the Qur'an, do the pilgrimage or the Umrah on her behalf or give anything in charity either. Other people say that all this is permissible. Please comment.

A440 : I am not sure how far your relationship with the late lady went. People speak of being engaged, although they may be in different stages of this relationship. In other societies, a long period of time may lapse between making the marriage contract and the wedding. Although the contract is the formal step which makes a man and a woman married, they remain apart, each living with one's own family until the wedding takes place. If you had the marriage contract made, the young lady, may Allah have mercy on her, was your wife, although your marriage was not consummated. In other societies, the marriage contract is made on the wedding night and it constitutes the change of relationship. Prior to it, the man and the woman have no formal relationship. If your relationship with the late young woman was of the first type, i.e. you have your marriage contract made, then the whole question should not arise. Whatever you do on her behalf is simply done by a husband for his late wife. Nothing can be more appropriate. Some people may question your attitude in doing things in memory of her when she is not really related to you. That is a narrow view. You have made a formal agreement with her and her family that you would be married soon. The engagement is a real relationship although it was not formalized by a marriage contract. That was the next stage which you would have reached had she remained alive. You might have spoken about your future life together on several occasions when you visited her at home or spoke to her parents. You might have exchanged ideas about what sort of home you would establish. You might have had dreams of the sort of family you would be starting. All this is left in your memory which cannot be taken away from you. If her death has left you in grief, that is the most natural thing in the world. To think, as a result, of doing something to please Allah on her behalf is highly commendable. If you do the pilgrimage or the Umrah or you give money in charity on her behalf, and if you pray for her to be admitted into heaven, then Allah will reward you for that. All you need is to declare at the beginning of the action you intend to do on her behalf that you want it so. When, say, you want to do the pilgrimage on her behalf, you declare at the moment you are entering in the state of consecration that this is a pilgrimage you are doing on behalf of your late fiancee, mentioning her name. Allah will accept it that way and will give her its reward and reward you for doing it. It is perfectly appropriate to offer the pilgrimage on behalf of someone who is not related to us. At the time when the Prophet went on his pilgrimage, he heard a man declaring that his pilgrimage was intended on behalf of Shibramah. The Prophet asked him who Shibramah was. The man answered: "A brother of mine." The Prophet did not ask him whether Shibramah was his real brother or simply his brother in Islam. The man's answer could be taken either way. Hence, it is appropriate to do the pilgrimage or the Umrah or similar acts of worship on behalf of any Muslim brother. The Prophet only asked the man whether he had done the pilgrimage himself. When he answered in the negative, the Prophet told him to do the pilgrimage for himself first and then do it again on behalf of Shibramah. As I have said, your past engagement with the late young lady makes it appropriate to mention her in your supplication, praying Allah to grant her forgiveness and admit her into heaven, do the pilgrimage or the Umrah on her behalf . But that is as far as it should go. Keep her memory to yourself and do not talk to others about it.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )