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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.