My neighbour's mother died on the 15th of Shawwal. Every year, on the 15th of Shawwal, she gathers family and friends who come and read Qur'an for the dead. After that a lot of food is served. What is the ruling on this? Is it Haram to do this? If it is, then is it OK to eat the food that is made for this occasion? She is my neighbour some of the food is also brought to me.
Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds; and blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his Family and Companions. The practices of this woman is an innovation and against the Sunnah. There is no benefit in doing so, neither for the one who practices nor for the one for whom it has been done. The Prophet said: "If somebody tries to introduce into this faith of ours (Islam) something which is not a part of it, is to be rejected (and that person is) condemned". [Reported by Imams Bukhari and Muslim] Moreover, gathering in the house of a dead person and preparing food are considered lamentation, which is prohibited in Sharia. Jareer Bin Abdullah (May Allah pleased with him) said: "We used to look upon the gathering for the people of dead person and making foods for them after his death as wailing over him. Hence, you should exhort that woman not to gather people for the purpose of reciting Qur'an and preparing food for them. What is proved from Sharia is sufficient and enough to practice. It is legitimated in Sharia to make Du'a and ask forgiveness of Allah for a dead person from the Hadith of the Prophet where he said: "Ask forgiveness for your brother and ask Allah to keep him firm since he will be questioned now". It is also permissible to make Hajj, Umrah and give alms on behalf of a dead person. Allah will convey the reward of the mentioned acts to the dead person. Many Muslim scholars also hold the opinion that presenting the reward of reciting Qur'an to a dead person is also permissible provided one recites individually, i.e. without gatherings for it. They say that everyone who does a good act deserves its reward and possesses it like any other property and then he may present his reward to others. Anyway, gathering for the recitation of the Qur'an in such manner as described in the question and preparing food is not permissible. On the other hand Muslim scholars dislike eating from this food since eating it means supporting such innovated gatherings, cooperating in spreading their innovation and approving of them. If they send that food to your home we think that there is no harm in accepting it and using it, especially if you have made clear to them what should be practiced according to Sunnah. Allah knows best.
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