Did the Prophet (peace be upon

Q: In our town, Pattani, in south of Thailand, big problems aroused concerning (Part No. 9; Page No. 144) the issue of preparing food by the family of the dead for the condolers. I hope, Your Eminence, will clarify this issue and the following issues:The rules of religious obligations are: Wajib (obligatory), Mandub (commendable), Ja’iz (permissible), Makruh (disliked) and Mahdhur (prohibited). What is the ruling on a person who denies one of the mentioned rules by saying about a matter that is1- Obligatory, it is commendable, permissible, reprehensible or prohibited;2- about the commendable, it is obligatory, permissible, reprehensible or prohibited;3- about the permissible, it is obligatory, commendable, reprehensible or prohibited;4- about the reprehensible, it is obligatory, commendable, permissible or prohibited;5- or about the prohibited, it is obligatory, commendable, permissible or reprehensible.For instance, the knowledgeable scholars said, “It is Makruh that people should be entertained with food served by the family of the deceased, because this is prescribed in the time of happiness, not sorrow; it is a loathsome Bid‘ah (innovation in religion)”. They also said, “It is Makruh to serve food on the first, second and third days, until a week passes”. They also said, “The four Imams (Abu Hanifah, Malik, Al-Shafi‘y, and Ahmad) agree that it is Makruh that the family of the deceased should make food for the people to gather and eat,” and similar scholarly opinions. However, in our town, Pattaya, most of the scholars stated the opposite of that; some of them said it is Sunnah; others said it is permissible; and a few of them said it is obligatory. Hajj `Abdullah Al-Haj Muhammad Salih, `Abdul-Rahman Jafakiya and I hold the same opinion of the former knowledgeable scholars.Upon this dispute, they accuse one another of Kufr (disbelief) and do not eat from one another’s sacrificed animals or do they marry from one another’s families. I wish (Part No. 9; Page No. 145) your Eminence would send us a written Fatwa so that we can print and distribute it freely among all the people, In sha’a-Allah (if Allah wills).

A: First: The authentic Sunnah indicates that the family of the deceased are not the ones who should make food but it is their Muslim brothers who should make food for them as a form of support and showing condolences, as they might be too grieved to think of food. Abu Dawud narrated in his Sunan (Hadith compilations classified by jurisprudential themes), on the authority of `Abdullah ibn Ja`far that he said, “When the death of Ja`far (may Allah be pleased with him) was announced, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, "Make food for the family of Ja‘far, for there has come to them what is preoccupying them". Narrated by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Al-Tirmidhy and Ibn Majah. Al-Tirmidhy classed it as Hasan (a Hadith whose chain of narration contains a narrator with weak exactitude, but is free from eccentricity or blemish). As for making food by the family of the deceased for the people and adopting this as a custom, it is something that was never known to be done by the Prophet (peace be upon him) or the Rightly-Guided Caliphs. It is a Bid‘ah that must be renounced, as it adds more burden to the family of deceased and involves imitation of the people of Jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic time of ignorance) and turning away from the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Rightly-Guided Caliphs (may Allah be pleased with them). Imam Ahmad narrated on the authority of Jarir ibn `Abdullah Al-Bajaly that the Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet, may Allah be pleased with them) considered gathering at the bereaved family's home after burial and their cooking food for them a form of wailing (over the dead). It is also (Part No. 9; Page No. 146) not permissible to slaughter an animal by the grave, at the time of death, or when the corpse is taken out of the house, according to the Hadith narrated by Ahmad and Abu Dawud, on the authority of Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, There is no slaughtering (at the grave) in Islam. Second: If a Muslim contradicts an explicit textual ruling or injunction of the Qur’an or the Sunnah, which is not open to interpretation or Ijtihad (juristic effort to infer expert legal rulings), or goes against the absolute established Ijma‘ (consensus) of the Ummah, the correct ruling should be pointed out to them. If they accept it, thank Allah! But if they insist on changing the Ruling of Allah, even after clarifying the ruling to them and establishing evidence, they would be declared as Kafirs (disbelievers) and treated as apostates from Islam such as those who deny the Five Obligatory Daily Prayers or one of them, or the obligation of Sawm (fasting), Zakah, or Hajj, and allegorically interpret their respective textual-evidence in the Qur’an and the Sunnah giving no importance to the unanimous consensus of the Ummah.However, if a Muslim contradicts a ruling established by controversial evidence, or open to different interpretations and opposite rulings, it is regarded as a difference in opinion over a discretionary issue that is subject to Ijtihad. In this case, the contradictor is not considered a Kafir, but will be excused if their opinion is wrong and will be rewarded for Ijtihad. If their opinion is right, they will be given due credit and will have two rewards: one for Ijtihad and another for being right. Examples of this include those who deny the obligation of reciting (Part No. 9; Page No. 147) Al-Fatihah by the Ma’mum (a person being led by an Imam in Prayer) in opposition to those who confirm it and those who contradict the ruling on the bereaved family making food and invite people to that judging such an act to be Mustahab (desirable), Mubah (permissible), or Makruh (disliked) but not Haram (unlawful or forbidden). Such people should not be declared as Kafirs nor should people abstain from offering Salah behind them or prohibit marriage from their families or eating from their sacrificed animals. They should be advised and reminded of the precepts of Shari‘ah, because they are Muslim brothers who have the same rights as the rest of the Muslims. Controversy over such issues is considered as a difference in opinion over a subsidiary speculative issue open to Ijtihad. It took place in the era of the Sahabah (may Allah be pleased with them) and the Imams of the Salaf (righteous predecessors). However, they did not declare one another to be disbelievers or stop socializing with one another.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.