Q 3: If someone recites a Surah (chapter) of the Qur'an and then gives its reward as a gift to a dead person, will the reward be credited to that dead person?
What did the Prophet (peace be upon him) say when he passed by graves?
Did he recite Ayahs (Qur'anic verses) of the Qur'an or just pray Allah to forgive the dead?
If someone recites Ayahs of the Qur'an and then gives their reward for a dead person, the most correct opinion is that no reward will be credited to that dead person as the recitation is not considered as part of his actions. Allah (Exalted be He) states that man benefits only from actions for which he has endeavored. Reward for the recitation is credited only to the alive reciters who do not have the right to give the reward of their recitation to others. A detailed Fatwa (legal opinion issued by a qualified Muslim scholar) has been issued in this regard by the Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta'. The Fatwa is as follows:Q 1: Is it permissible to recite Al-Fatihah (the opening chapter of the Qur'an) or a group of Ayahs for the benefit of a dead person?
It is authentically reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to visit the graves and pray Allah to grant forgiveness to the dead. He used to teach his Sahabah (Companions) what to say upon visiting the graves. Among the many formulas of Du`a' (supplication) which the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to say upon visiting the graves of Muslims is the following Du`a':
Peace be upon you, inhabitants of the abode of the believers and Muslims and we, if Allah so wills, are about to (Part No. 9; Page No. 45) join you. I pray Allah to protect us and you.
No authentic report is narrated from the Prophet (peace be upon him) to the effect that he used to recite Surahs from the Qur'an or a group of Ayahs despite his repeated visits to graves. Had this been permissible, the Prophet would have clarified it to his Sahabah for the sake of attaining reward and as a means of mercy to his Ummah (nation) and fulfillment of the duty to convey the Message of Islam. In this respect Allah describes His Prophet saying:
Verily, there has come unto you a Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) from amongst yourselves (i.e. whom you know well). It grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty. He (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) is anxious over you (to be rightly guided, to repent to Allâh, and beg Him to pardon and forgive your sins in order that you may enter Paradise and be saved from the punishment of the Hell-fire); for the believers (he صلى الله عليه وسلم is) full of pity, kind, and merciful.
Despite the ability to do this, the Prophet (peace be upon him) is not reported to have done this. His Sahabah (may Allah be pleased with them all) also followed the Prophet's example and would only pray that Allah forgive the dead when they visited the graves. The Sahabah are not reported to have practiced the custom of reciting Qur'an upon visiting the graves. Accordingly, this present day practice is regarded as Bid`ah (innovation in religion). It is authentically reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
Anyone who introduces anything into this matter of ours (Islam) that is not part of it will have it rejected.