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In the Name of Allah, the Most Gra­cious, the Most Mer­ci­ful.

As-salā­mu ‘alaykum wa-rah­mat­ul­lāhi wa-barakā­tuh

Mufti Amjad Mohammed (The Olive Foun­da­tion Telegram)

وَبِتَعْزِيَةِ أَهْلِهِ وَتَرْغِيبِهِمْ فِي الصَّبْرِ وَبِاِتِّخَاذِ طَعَامٍ لَهُمْ وَبِالْجُلُوسِ لَهَا فِي غَيْرِ مَسْجِدٍ ثَلَاثَةَ أَيَّامٍ، وَأَوَّلُهَا أَفْضَلُ. وَتُكْرَهُ بَعْدَهَا إلَّا لِغَائِبٍ. وَتُكْرَهُ التَّعْزِيَةُ ثَانِيًا، وَعِنْدَ الْقَبْرِ، وَعِنْدَ بَابِ الدَّارِ؛ وَيَقُولُ عَظَّمَ اللَّهُ أَجْرَك، وَأَحْسَنَ عَزَاءَك، وَغَفَرَ لِمَيِّتِك

(قَوْلُهُ: وَبِتَعْزِيَةِ أَهْلِهِ) أَيْ تَصْبِيرِهِمْ وَالدُّعَاءِ لَهُمْ بِهِ. قَالَ فِي الْقَامُوسِ: الْعَزَاءُ الصَّبْرُ أَوْ حُسْنُهُ. وَتَعَزَّى: انْتَسَبَ. اهـ. فَالْمُرَادُ هُنَا الْأَوَّلُ، وَفِيمَا قَبْلَهُ الثَّانِي فَافْهَمْ. قَالَ فِي شَرْحِ الْمُنْيَةِ: وَتُسْتَحَبُّ التَّعْزِيَةُ لِلرِّجَالِ وَالنِّسَاءِ اللَّاتِي لَا يَفْتِنَّ، لِقَوْلِهِ — عَلَيْهِ الصَّلَاةُ وَالسَّلَامُ — «مَنْ عَزَّى أَخَاهُ بِمُصِيبَةٍ كَسَاهُ اللَّهُ مِنْ حُلَلِ الْكَرَامَةِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ» رَوَاهُ ابْنُ مَاجَهْ وَقَوْلُهُ — عَلَيْهِ الصَّلَاةُ وَالسَّلَامُ — «مَنْ عَزَّى مُصَابًا فَلَهُ مِثْلُ أَجْرِهِ» رَوَاهُ التِّرْمِذِيُّ وَابْنُ مَاجَهْ. وَالتَّعْزِيَةُ أَنْ يَقُولَ: أَعْظَمَ اللَّهُ أَجْرَك، وَأَحْسَنَ عَزَاءَك، وَغَفَرَ لِمَيِّتِك. اهـ.

(To offer ta’ziya to the deceased’s fam­i­ly) in oth­er words to encour­age patience and to sup­pli­cate for the bereaved due to it. Sharḥ al-Mun­ya it is mus­ta­hab for men and those women to do not cause fit­na (act­ing con­trary to the sun­na) based on his state­ment upon him be salu­ta­tions and peace, “Whom­so­ev­er con­soles a per­son afflict­ed with some mis­for­tune then he will get sim­i­lar reward.” Ta’ziya is that one says,

أَعْظَمَ اللَّهُ أَجْرَك، وَأَحْسَنَ عَزَاءَك، وَغَفَرَ لِمَيِّتِك

May Allāh ven­er­ate your reward and make bet­ter your mourn­ing and for­give your deceased.”

(قَوْلُهُ وَبِاِتِّخَاذِ طَعَامٍ لَهُمْ) قَالَ فِي الْفَتْحِ وَيُسْتَحَبُّ لِجِيرَانِ أَهْلِ الْمَيِّتِ وَالْأَقْرِبَاءِ الْأَبَاعِدِ تَهْيِئَةُ طَعَامٍ لَهُمْ يُشْبِعُهُمْ يَوْمَهُمْ وَلَيْلَتَهُمْ، لِقَوْلِهِ — صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ — «اصْنَعُوا لِآلِ جَعْفَرٍ طَعَامًا فَقَدْ جَاءَهُمْ مَا يَشْغَلُهُمْ» حَسَّنَهُ التِّرْمِذِيُّ وَصَحَّحَهُ الْحَاكِمُ وَلِأَنَّهُ بِرٌّ وَمَعْرُوفٌ، وَيُلِحُّ عَلَيْهِمْ فِي الْأَكْلِ لِأَنَّ الْحُزْنَ يَمْنَعُهُمْ مِنْ ذَلِكَ فَيَضْعُفُونَ.

اهـ. مَطْلَبٌ فِي كَرَاهَةِ الضِّيَافَةِ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْمَيِّتِ
وَقَالَ أَيْضًا: وَيُكْرَهُ اتِّخَاذُ الضِّيَافَةِ مِنْ الطَّعَامِ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْمَيِّتِ لِأَنَّهُ شُرِعَ فِي السُّرُورِ لَا فِي الشُّرُورِ، وَهِيَ بِدْعَةٌ مُسْتَقْبَحَةٌ: وَرَوَى الْإِمَامُ أَحْمَدُ وَابْنُ مَاجَهْ بِإِسْنَادٍ صَحِيحٍ عَنْ جَرِيرِ بْنِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ قَالَ ” كُنَّا نَعُدُّ الِاجْتِمَاعَ إلَى أَهْلِ الْمَيِّتِ وَصُنْعَهُمْ الطَّعَامَ مِنْ النِّيَاحَةِ “. اهـ. وَفِي الْبَزَّازِيَّةِ: وَيُكْرَهُ اتِّخَاذُ الطَّعَامِ فِي الْيَوْمِ الْأَوَّلِ وَالثَّالِثِ وَبَعْدَ الْأُسْبُوعِ وَنَقْلُ الطَّعَامِ إلَى الْقَبْرِ فِي الْمَوَاسِمِ، وَاِتِّخَاذُ الدَّعْوَةِ لِقِرَاءَةِ الْقُرْآنِ وَجَمْعُ الصُّلَحَاءِ وَالْقُرَّاءِ لِلْخَتْمِ أَوْ لِقِرَاءَةِ سُورَةِ الْأَنْعَامِ أَوْ الْإِخْلَاصِ. وَالْحَاصِلُ أَنَّ اتِّخَاذَ الطَّعَامِ عِنْدَ قِرَاءَةِ الْقُرْآنِ لِأَجْلِ الْأَكْلِ يُكْرَهُ. وَفِيهَا مِنْ كِتَابِ الِاسْتِحْسَانِ: وَإِنْ اتَّخَذَ طَعَامًا لِلْفُقَرَاءِ كَانَ حَسَنًا اهـ وَأَطَالَ فِي ذَلِكَ فِي الْمِعْرَاجِ. وَقَالَ: وَهَذِهِ الْأَفْعَالُ كُلُّهَا لِلسُّمْعَةِ وَالرِّيَاءِ فَيُحْتَرَزُ عَنْهَا لِأَنَّهُمْ لَا يُرِيدُونَ بِهَا وَجْهَ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى. اهـ. وَبَحَثَ هُنَا فِي شَرْحِ الْمُنْيَةِ بِمُعَارَضَةِ حَدِيثِ جَرِيرٍ الْمَارِّ بِحَدِيثٍ آخَرَ فِيهِ «أَنَّهُ — عَلَيْهِ الصَّلَاةُ وَالسَّلَامُ — دَعَتْهُ امْرَأَةُ رَجُلٍ مَيِّتٍ لَمَّا رَجَعَ مِنْ دَفْنِهِ فَجَاءَ وَجِيءَ بِالطَّعَامِ» . أَقُولُ: وَفِيهِ نَظَرٌ، فَإِنَّهُ وَاقِعَةُ حَالٍ لَا عُمُومَ لَهَا مَعَ احْتِمَالِ سَبَبٍ خَاصٍّ، بِخِلَافِ مَا فِي حَدِيثِ جَرِيرٍ. عَلَى أَنَّهُ بَحَثَ فِي الْمَنْقُولِ فِي مَذْهَبِنَا وَمَذْهَبِ غَيْرِنَا كَالشَّافِعِيَّةِ وَالْحَنَابِلَةِ اسْتِدْلَالًا بِحَدِيثِ جَرِيرٍ الْمَذْكُورِ عَلَى الْكَرَاهَةِ، وَلَا سِيَّمَا إذَا كَانَ فِي الْوَرَثَةِ صِغَارٌ أَوْ غَائِبٌ، مَعَ قَطْعِ النَّظَرِ عَمَّا يَحْصُلُ عِنْدَ ذَلِكَ غَالِبًا مِنْ الْمُنْكَرَاتِ الْكَثِيرَةِ كَإِيقَادِ الشُّمُوعِ وَالْقَنَادِيلِ الَّتِي تُوجَدُ فِي الْأَفْرَاحِ، وَكَدَقِّ الطُّبُولِ، وَالْغِنَاءِ بِالْأَصْوَاتِ الْحِسَانِ، وَاجْتِمَاعِ النِّسَاءِ وَالْمُرْدَانِ، وَأَخْذِ الْأُجْرَةِ عَلَى الذِّكْرِ وَقِرَاءَةِ الْقُرْآنِ، وَغَيْرِ ذَلِكَ مِمَّا هُوَ مُشَاهَدٌ فِي هَذِهِ الْأَزْمَانِ، وَمَا كَانَ كَذَلِكَ فَلَا شَكَّ فِي حُرْمَتِهِ وَبُطْلَانِ الْوَصِيَّةِ بِهِ، وَلَا حَوْلَ وَلَا قُوَّةَ إلَّا بِاَللَّهِ الْعَلِيِّ الْعَظِيمِ

(To take food for them) in Fath it men­tions that it is praise­wor­thy for the neigh­bours and rel­a­tives from a far to bring food for them for that day based on his say­ing صلى الله عليه وسلم “Pre­pare food for the fam­i­ly of Ja’far for has occurred what pre­oc­cu­pies them.” They should be encour­aged to eat as grief will take their appetite away and that will weak­en them.

It is dis­liked to be guests of the bereaved. Addi­tion­al­ly it is said that it is makrūh to eat as guests of the deceased’s fam­i­ly, for to be guests is leg­is­lat­ed in times of hap­pi­ness not sad­ness. It is a repug­nant inno­va­tion [which is ḥarām]. It is nar­rat­ed from Jarīr ibn Abdul­lah [the Sahābī] رضي الله عنه, “We would con­sid­er gath­er­ing with the deceased’s fam­i­ly and eat­ing their pre­pared food as acts of al-Niya­ha.”

We find in anoth­er ḥadīth quot­ed in Ṣaḥīḥ Mus­lim

اثنتان في الناس هما بهم كفر: الطعن في الأنساب والنياحة على الميت

Two issues in peo­ple which is con­sid­ered as an act of kufr (not one which brings one out of Islam) — to find fault in people’s lin­eage and al-Nihāya — audi­bly cry­ing over the dead.”

Hence the grav­i­ty and seri­ous­ness of this act can­not be under­es­ti­mat­ed.

(قَوْلُهُ: وَبِالْجُلُوسِ لَهَا) أَيْ لِلتَّعْزِيَةِ، وَاسْتِعْمَالُ لَا بَأْسَ هُنَا عَلَى حَقِيقَتِهِ لِأَنَّهُ خِلَافُ الْأَوْلَى كَمَا صَرَّحَ بِهِ فِي شَرْحِ الْمُنْيَةِ. وَفِي الْأَحْكَامِ عَنْ خِزَانَةِ الْفَتَاوَى: الْجُلُوسُ فِي الْمُصِيبَةِ ثَلَاثَةَ أَيَّامٍ لِلرِّجَالِ جَاءَتْ الرُّخْصَةُ فِيهِ، وَلَا تَجْلِسُ النِّسَاءُ قَطْعًا اهـ (قَوْلُهُ: فِي غَيْرِ مَسْجِدٍ) أَمَّا فِيهِ فَيُكْرَهُ كَمَا فِي الْبَحْرِ عَنْ الْمُجْتَبَى، وَجَزَمَ بِهِ فِي شَرْحِ الْمُنْيَةِ وَالْفَتْحِ، لَكِنْ فِي الظَّهِيرِيَّةِ: لَا بَأْسَ بِهِ لِأَهْلِ الْمَيِّتِ فِي الْبَيْتِ أَوْ الْمَسْجِدِ وَالنَّاسُ يَأْتُونَهُمْ وَيُعَزُّونَهُمْ. اهـ.
قُلْت: وَمَا فِي الْبَحْرِ مِنْ «أَنَّهُ — صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ — جَلَسَ لَمَّا قُتِلَ جَعْفَرٌ وَزَيْدُ بْنُ حَارِثَةَ وَالنَّاسُ يَأْتُونَ وَيُعَزُّونَهُ» اهـ يُجَابُ عَنْهُ بِأَنَّ جُلُوسَهُ — صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ — لَمْ يَكُنْ مَقْصُودًا لِلتَّعْزِيَةِ. وَفِي الْإِمْدَادِ: وَقَالَ كَثِيرٌ مِنْ مُتَأَخِّرِي أَئِمَّتِنَا يُكْرَهُ الِاجْتِمَاعُ عِنْدَ صَاحِبِ الْبَيْتِ وَيُكْرَهُ لَهُ الْجُلُوسُ فِي بَيْتِهِ حَتَّى يَأْتِيَ إلَيْهِ مَنْ يُعَزِّي، بَلْ إذَا فَرَغَ وَرَجَعَ النَّاسُ مِنْ الدَّفْنِ فَلْيَتَفَرَّقُوا وَيَشْتَغِلُ النَّاسُ بِأُمُورِهِمْ وَصَاحِبُ الْبَيْتِ بِأَمْرِهِ اهـ.
قُلْت: وَهَلْ تَنْتَفِي الْكَرَاهَةُ بِالْجُلُوسِ فِي الْمَسْجِدِ وَقِرَاءَةِ الْقُرْآنِ حَتَّى إذَا فَرَغُوا قَامَ وَلِيُّ الْمَيِّتِ وَعَزَّاهُ النَّاسُ كَمَا يُفْعَلُ فِي زَمَانِنَا الظَّاهِرُ؟ لَا لِكَوْنِ الْجُلُوسِ مَقْصُودًا لِلتَّعْزِيَةِ لَا الْقِرَاءَةِ وَلَا سِيَّمَا إذَا كَانَ هَذَا الِاجْتِمَاعُ وَالْجُلُوسُ فِي الْمَقْبَرَةِ فَوْقَ الْقُبُورِ الْمَدْثُورَةِ، وَلَا حَوْلَ وَلَا قُوَّةَ إلَّا بِاَللَّهِ

(To attend a gath­er­ing for it) i.e. ta’ziya, the phrase ‘there’s no harm in attend­ing…’ has been used as it is bet­ter not to as it has been explained in Sharḥ al-Mun­ya. In al-Aḥkām from Khizā­nat al-Fatāwā that there is dis­pen­sa­tion to arrange a gath­er­ing for three days due to a mis­for­tune but not for women at all.

[If women are not required to attend the com­pul­so­ry prayers and Jumua then why would they for three days attend a masjid for some­thing which is not con­sid­ered praise­wor­thy?]
(but not in the masjid) as it is makrūh as has been men­tioned in al-Bahr cit­ing al-Mujtabā.

(قَوْلُهُ وَأَوَّلُهَا أَفْضَلُ) وَهِيَ بَعْدَ الدَّفْنِ أَفْضَلُ مِنْهَا قَبْلَهُ لِأَنَّ أَهْلَ الْمَيِّتِ مَشْغُولُونَ قَبْلَ الدَّفْنِ بِتَجْهِيزِهِ وَلِأَنَّ وَحْشَتَهُمْ بَعْدَ الدَّفْنِ لِفِرَاقِهِ أَكْثَرُ، وَهَذَا إذَا لَمْ يُرَ مِنْهُمْ جَزَعٌ شَدِيدٌ، وَإِلَّا قُدِّمَتْ لِتَسْكِينِهِمْ جَوْهَرَةٌ (قَوْلُهُ وَتُكْرَهُ بَعْدَهَا) لِأَنَّهَا تُجَدِّدُ الْحُزْنَ مِنَحٌ وَالظَّاهِرُ أَنَّهَا تَنْزِيهِيَّةٌ ط (قَوْلُهُ إلَّا لِغَائِبٍ) أَيْ إلَّا أَنْ يَكُونَ الْمُعَزِّي أَوْ الْمُعَزَّى غَائِبًا فَلَا بَأْسَ بِهَا جَوْهَرَةٌ. قُلْت: وَالظَّاهِرُ أَنَّ الْحَاضِرَ الَّذِي لَمْ يَعْلَمْ بِمَنْزِلَةِ الْغَائِبِ كَمَا صَرَّحَ بِهِ الشَّافِعِيَّةُ (قَوْلُهُ وَتُكْرَهُ التَّعْزِيَةُ ثَانِيًا) فِي التَّتَارْخَانِيَّة: لَا يَنْبَغِي لِمَنْ عَزَّى مَرَّةً أَنْ يُعَزِّيَ مَرَّةً أُخْرَى رَوَاهُ الْحَسَنُ عَنْ أَبِي حَنِيفَةَ. اهـ. إمْدَادٌ (قَوْلُهُ وَعِنْدَ الْقَبْرِ) عَزَاهُ فِي الْحِلْيَةِ إلَى الْمُبْتَغَى بَالِغَيْنِ الْمُعْجَمَةِ، وَقَالَ: وَيَشْهَدُ لَهُ مَا أَخْرَجَ ابْنُ شَاهِينَ عَنْ إبْرَاهِيمَ: التَّعْزِيَةُ عِنْدَ الْقَبْرِ بِدْعَةٌ. اهـ. قُلْت: لَعَلَّ وَجْهَهُ أَنَّ الْمَطْلُوبَ هُنَاكَ الْقِرَاءَةُ وَالدُّعَاءُ لِلْمَيِّتِ بِالتَّثْبِيتِ (قَوْلُهُ وَعِنْدَ بَابِ الدَّارِ) فِي الظَّهِيرِيَّةِ: وَيُكْرَهُ الْجُلُوسُ عَلَى بَابِ الدَّارِ لِلتَّعْزِيَةِ لِأَنَّهُ عَمَلُ أَهْلِ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ وَقَدْ نُهِيَ عَنْهُ، وَمَا يُصْنَعُ فِي بِلَادِ الْعَجَمِ مِنْ فَرْشِ الْبُسُطِ، وَالْقِيَامِ عَلَى قَوَارِعِ الطَّرِيقِ مِنْ أَقْبَحِ الْقَبَائِحِ. اهـ. بَحْرٌ (قَوْلُهُ وَيَقُولُ أَعْظَمَ اللَّهُ أَجْرَك) أَيْ جَعَلَهُ عَظِيمًا بِزِيَادَةِ الثَّوَابِ وَالدَّرَجَاتِ، وَأَحْسَنَ عَزَاءَك بِالْمَدِّ: أَيْ جَعَلَ سَلْوَك وَصَبْرَك حَسَنًا ابْنُ حَجَرٍ، وَقَوْلُهُ وَغُفِرَ لِمَيِّتِك بِقَوْلِهِ إنْ كَانَ الْمَيِّتُ مُكَلَّفًا، وَإِلَّا فَلَا كَمَا فِي شَرْحِ الْمُنْيَةِ. وَفِي كُتُبِ الشَّافِعِيَّةِ: وَيُعَزِّي الْمُسْلِمُ بِالْكَافِرِ: أَعْظَمَ اللَّهُ أَجْرَك، وَصَبَّرَك وَالْكَافِرُ بِالْمُسْلِمِ: غَفَرَ اللَّهُ لِمَيِّتِك، وَأَحْسَنَ عَزَاءَك.

(The first day is the best) this is after the bur­ial rather than before it because the bereaved will be pre­oc­cu­pied with the funer­al and bur­ial. That’s if one does not sense deep anx­i­ety. (It is makruh tanzīhī after three) as it renews the grief. (Except the per­son who is absent). (It is makrūh to make ta’ziya twice) nar­rat­ed from Ḥasan from Abū Ḥan­i­fā. (And near the grave, out­side the door of the bereaved). They should make the ta’ziya sup­pli­ca­tio:

أَعْظَمَ اللَّهُ أَجْرَك، وَأَحْسَنَ عَزَاءَك، وَغَفَرَ لِمَيِّتِك

May Allāh ven­er­ate your reward and make bet­ter your mourn­ing and for­give your deceased.”

If it was a child then only this part:

أَعْظَمَ اللَّهُ أَجْرَك، وَأَحْسَنَ عَزَاءَك

One may vis­it a non-Mus­lim rel­a­tive, friend, neigh­bour or col­league at the time of their loss as long as it is free from reli­gious activ­i­ties and those activ­i­ties which Islām con­sid­ers immoral.

There­fore the ta’ziya is made to the imme­di­ate fam­i­ly of the deceased — the ones who are suf­fer­ing and feel­ing the loss. It is not com­pul­so­ry hence there is no require­ment to seek out an extend­ed fam­i­ly mem­ber and sit them in a majid and go through the motions with no feel­ings or sin­cere inten­tions but just to be seen to be there. If peo­ple are doing it so they are seen to be there then any reward would have gone as their inten­tion was not for the sake of Allāh but rather the sake of the peo­ple.

Like many mat­ters with­in our dīn, ta’ziya is a very sim­ple process involv­ing no airs and graces instead a sim­ple pro­ce­dure for a set pur­pose.

Ta’ziya means to offer con­do­lences when some­one has lost a loved one and will be expe­ri­enc­ing great sor­row and grief which could have a long term effect of los­ing hope in life, ques­tion­ing des­tiny and rais­ing the ques­tion — why? It is also a time when a per­son may expe­ri­ence lone­li­ness and not see an imme­di­ate way out of their sit­u­a­tion. There is ample evi­dence with­in the ḥadīth lit­er­a­ture which extols the virtues of con­sol­ing those who are griev­ing after the loss of a loved one.

The du’ā one shares with the bereaved:

أَعْظَمَ اللَّهُ أَجْرَك، وَأَحْسَنَ عَزَاءَك، وَغَفَرَ لِمَيِّتِك

May Allāh ven­er­ate your reward and make bet­ter your mourn­ing and for­give your deceased.”

The max­i­mum dura­tion, not the total dura­tion of ta’ziya is three days unless one is ill or arriv­ing from a dis­tance. One should vis­it once. The aim is that the bereaved get back to their nor­mal lives as soon as pos­si­ble. Sit­ting in one place con­tin­u­ous­ly for three days being remind­ed of their loss will not help them move for­ward. As soon as the deceased has been buried the liv­ing should get liv­ing. Friends and fam­i­ly should pre­pare food espe­cial­ly on the day of loss as the fam­i­ly will be busy with funer­al arrange­ments; this can be extend­ed to three days if it takes a while for the fam­i­ly to get back to nor­mal.

When one vis­its the bereaved they should explain that death is fixed and will take every­one.

Make du’ā for the per­son to give him strength to deal with the loss.

Encour­age patience and demon­strate how the bereaved can ben­e­fit the deceased.

Instead, what fitna and inno­vat­ed prac­tices do we wit­ness now?

Con­stant chat­ting and gos­sip­ing in the masjid and/or con­nect­ed rooms.

The deceased car­ried by men and dis­played in the where women have gath­ered.

Women ask­ing if they should cov­er their faces from the dead but care­free about the liv­ing.

Wail­ing and scream­ing with lit­tle con­trol.

Con­stant jama’ du’ā with one per­son who ini­ti­ates the du’ā and ends it whether some­one leaves, enters or sneezes.

Hard­ly any­one recit­ing any­thing even when mak­ing du’ā.

The mem­bers of the deceased fam­i­ly prepar­ing and pro­vid­ing food for all atten­dees in the after­noon and evening for three days; so the loss is com­pound­ed by funer­al costs and then cater­ing costs.

Eat­ing as guests as though we are cel­e­brat­ing an occa­sion.

Khatam on third, tenth and for­ti­eth days.

Bring­ing stu­dents or reciters to recite Qurʾān for twen­ty four hours or until the next Fri­day to ward off the pun­ish­ment of the grave and to then feed or reward them.

And the list of inno­va­tions and imper­mis­si­ble prac­tices goes on…

Mourn­ing the Dead’ Vig­ils in Islam

There are no sub­stan­ti­at­ed records of these vig­ils in their cur­rent form in Islam his­tor­i­cal­ly, as it is not a reli­gious prac­tice nor any per­mit­ted cul­tur­al prac­tice of the Mus­lims.

One finds that the basis of the con­cept of vig­ils is reli­gious in nature cov­er­ing most reli­gions includ­ing Chris­tian­i­ty and Judaism.

In Chris­tian­i­ty, espe­cial­ly the East­ern Ortho­dox Catholic Church for instance, a vig­il is held when the per­son is ill or when mourn­ing a death. Prayers are made and there are votive offer­ings of can­dles, wine, oil and any per­son­al item of val­ue. As for Roman Catholi­cism votive offer­ings in addi­tion to the above are flow­ers and dona­tions. It is argued by some that these are no longer con­sid­ered by those peo­ple who prac­tice it to be reli­gious in nature as many non-reli­gious peo­ple or peo­ple of oth­er faiths par­take in the activ­i­ty. How­ev­er due to its reli­gious basis, in par­tic­u­lar in Chris­tian­i­ty, and as it is still prac­ticed by Chris­tians, the prac­tice is seri­ous­ly prob­lem­at­ic. Hav­ing said that, one needs to be care­ful to not con­flate these with can­dle­light vig­ils held to make a non-vio­lent, polit­i­cal protest.

Mus­lims already have a ‘vig­il’ (just bor­row­ing the phrase) which is ta’ziya and ‘votive offer­ings’ (again bor­row­ing the praise) which is sadaqa jariya; hence it would be imper­mis­si­ble to engage in those par­tic­u­lar activ­i­ties dis­cussed above.

How­ev­er gath­er­ing togeth­er with non-Mus­lims in mourn­ing the death of mem­bers of the com­mu­ni­ty is not a con­cern and is praise­wor­thy if it reduces ten­sion and sus­pi­cion with­in the broad­er com­mu­ni­ty, espe­cial­ly Mus­lims who live as a minor­i­ty. Obvi­ous­ly, the Mus­lims would pray and recite the Qur’ān and use it as an oppor­tu­ni­ty to share the bless­ings of their faith with oth­ers and build friend­ships with­in the com­mu­ni­ty; it goes with­out say­ing that those activ­i­ties which are con­sid­ered immoral by Islam are to be avoid­ed. Sim­i­lar­ly if minute silences are being observed then Mus­lims, as it is not a form of wor­ship or of any ben­e­fit to the dead, can use that oppor­tu­ni­ty to send durūd on the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلام or raise their hands and sup­pli­cate for for­give­ness and high rank for the deceased Mus­lims.

We are Mus­lims and in all our reli­gious prac­tices we must adhere to Islam­ic prin­ci­ples; in fact that can be achieved in many cir­cum­stances with­out caus­ing offence to non-Mus­lims, make it an oppor­tu­ni­ty to demon­strate the beau­ty of our faith, ben­e­fit the deceased and of course more impor­tant­ly, please Allāh.