Remembrances for deceased father and younger brother
Fatwa No: 85657

Question

My father and younger brother expired within a span of 10 days. Can I visit their graves often? What is the correct way of praying Fatiha for them? What should I recite when I visit them? I need to know our Islamic way of doing it. Please pray for them.

Answer

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds; and may His blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his Family and Companions.

Visiting graves is Sunnah. Islamic Shariah urges Muslims to visit graves. In fact, it is a good remedy to the hard hearts since it reminds them of death and the Hereafter and both of these matters limit the desires of people and put an end to their interest in worldly matters.
There are many etiquettes that should be followed at the time of visiting graves. Some of them are as follows:
1- Greeting the buried Muslims and making Du'a for them. Buraidah reported from the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) that he used to teach his companions to supplicate with this Du'a whenever they visit the graves: "Peace be upon you all! O inhabitants of the graves, amongst the believers and the Muslims. Verily, we will, Allah willing, be united with you, we ask Allah for well-being for us and you." [Muslim].
2- Abstaining from sitting on graves. Abu Hurairah reported from the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) that the Prophet said: "It is better for you to sit on a glowing coal that burns through your clothes to your skin than to sit on a grave." [ Muslim ]
3- Taking off footwear while walking between graves. Bashair Ibn al-Khusasiyah reported that once the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) noticed a man wearing shoes while walking in the cemetery. He said to him: "O you who are wearing the sibtiyah (shoes), take off your sibtiyah (shoes)." [ Abu Dawood ] Imam Ahmad said, the chain of this Hadith is good so, I act according to this Hadith.
Know that there is no fixed time for visiting graves. It is Bid'ah to visit graves only in particular times. A Muslim should follow the above-mentioned manners at the time of visiting graves and should leave Bid'ah.
Moreover, it is better for one whose father died to be faithful to him as much as possible. Being thankful to him means acknowledging his previous favors and being grateful for his kind acts. Here are some deeds one can practice in recognition of the favors of his father.
1- Making Du'a for him. Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) said: "when a man dies, his deeds come to an end, except for three: a continuous charity, knowledge by which people derive benefits, pious child who prays for him" [ Muslim ]
2- Being kind with his friends and beloved persons. Ibn Umar reported from the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) that he said: "The noblest deed is that a person should be benevolent towards his father's friends after his death." [ Muslim ]
3- Paying the rights of Allah that were due on him such as al-Zakah, fasting etc. and settling the rights of public that were due on him such as debts, deposits etc. Ibn Abbas reported that 'a man, in another narration a woman, came to the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) and said: 'O Allah's Prophet my mother died and she ought to have fasted one month. Shall I fast on her behalf? The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) replied in the affirmative and said, Allah's debts have more right to be paid.'
4- One may also do the deeds that are mentioned in the following Hadith. Abu Usayd al-Sa'idi reported that while we were with the Prophet of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) a man of Banu Salamah came to him and said: 'O Apostle of Allah! Is there any kindness left that I can do to my parents after their death? He replied: Yes, you can invoke blessings on them, ask forgiveness for them, carry out their final instructions after their death, join ties of relationship which are dependent on them, and honor their friends' [ Abu Dawood & Ibn Majah ]
5- Giving charity on behalf of dead parents as much as one can, especially the continuous charity i.e. making an endowment.
The reward of the recitation of the Qur'an reaches the dead person. But, reciting Surah al-Fatiha on/near a grave is not proved.
What is proved from the Prophet is reciting the Du'a al-Salaam Alaikum as mentioned above.
There is another Du'a reported from the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) and that could be also said at the time of visiting graves. The Du'a is: (Peace be upon you all! O inhabitants of the graves, may Allah forgive us and you, you have preceded us and we will follow you).
If one visits a particular grave such as the grave of his father, relative, etc., one should greet them as one greets living people. Asking forgiveness and mercy for them is also permissible.
Allah knows best.

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