Giving Sadaqah on behalf of the deceased

Q 2: If a Muslim dies and leaves behind many children and a lot of money, is it permissible for them to slaughter any of their sheep for the dead? Is it permissible that a baker can make bread for him on the seventh or the fortieth day of his death as a gift and gather Muslims to eat?

A: Giving Sadaqah (voluntary charity) on behalf of a deceased person is permissible. Feeding and facilitating matters for the poor and the needy, offering condolence to the neighbors and being generous to Muslims, are all kinds of good deeds that are exhorted by the Shari`ah (Islamic law). As for slaughtering sheep, cows, camels, birds and suchlike for the deceased at the time of his death or on a specific day such as the seventh or fortieth day after his death, (Part No. 9; Page No. 27) this is an act of Bid`ah (innovation in religion). In addition, baking bread on a specific day such as the seventh day, the fortieth day, Thursdays, Fridays or on the same night to give as Sadaqah on behalf of the deceased at that time, these are acts of Bid`ah which were not known at the time of the righteous predecessors (may Allah be pleased with them). We should give up these acts due to the saying of the Prophet: Anyone who introduces anything into this matter of ours (Islam) that is not part of it will have it rejected. And: Beware of newly-introduced matters in (religion), for every newly-introduced matter is a Bid‘ah (innovation in religion), and every Bid‘ah is a Dalalah (deviation from what is right). However, the heirs should give charity on behalf of their deceased without specifying a certain time for it due to the belief that it has a certain benefit or excellence unless it is explained by Shari`ah such as the Sadaqah during Ramadan, and in the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah because of the excellence of these times and multiplication of the rewards therein.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.