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Offline Reader Questions

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Will praying for the dead help them?
« on: November 16, 2011, 04:49:49 PM »

Brother, I have one question. Will praying for the dead and doing charitable deeds in their name benefit them in anyway?Or does God seal their book once they die. I am fully aware that each one of us will be rewarded/punished according to our own deeds and that Allah is most merciful. Nevertheless, will our prayers help the dead?

A sister in faith.

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Will praying for the dead help them?
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2011, 04:50:23 PM »
Salamun Alaikum sister,

I have an article dealing with praying for the dead below which I would like to share. However, I find no warrant from the Quran for the concept of doing charitable deeds on 'behalf' of the dead with a view to benefit them. A soul is responsible only for their own deeds (6:164) and their own earthly efforts rendered (53:39). We can neither benefit them nor harm them once they have passed away.

I often find the question asked, how is it then that one's prayer for the dead can benefit them when they have passed away? Those whose souls have departed (tawaffu) may be considered 'dead' by humans, they are not 'dead' for God.  Souls depart to God, much like when we are asleep (19:42; 6:60) and in death move to a state of 'Barzakh' (23:100) where the human concept of time is lost. Nothing is dead for God who has the ability to resurrect any of His creation that He wills. Even God's other creatures will return back to God (6:38).

We are taught in the case of the righteous that we should not consider them as 'dead'.

002:154
"And do not speak of those who are slain in God's way as dead; nay, (they are) alive, but you do not perceive (Arabic: 'walakin la tash'urun)"

Note the term 'walakin la tash'urun' (but you do not perceive). We simply don't have that perception of their state which is proven by the above verse. Very little information has been given with regards the state of 'Barzakh'. Regardless of the years that are spent in this state, for the deceased this state would appear to pass very quickly all the way to the Day of Judgment (17:52; 30:55-56; 10:45; 46:35; 79:46).

Albeit, this concept has been explained in terms of 'martyrs', there is no reason to conclude that this does not apply to all souls.

I feel at the heart of the question is usually a lack of appreciation that God is NOT dependant on time nor does He exist 'in time' that He Himself has created. We exist in time. God transcends space, time and His creation. He is not dependant on the laws He himself has created. A lot of difficulties in our understandings are resolved if we remove God from our linear perception of time and space which He is not subject to. Many verses in the Quran indicate that He is in the past, present and future simultaneously and governs affairs from outside His universal creation.

So if one prays for a departed soul, God took account of that prayer before he put the Universe together and instituted his master-plan. Another way of looking at it is that our prayers in the present are being dealt with in the past. (God not being dependant on space and time).

So our prayers are not futile but rather, remain very valid.

Please find below the article mentioned.

http://quransmessage.com/articles/praying%20for%20and%20praying%20through%20FM3.htm

I hope this helps, God willing.

Your brother,
Joseph.
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell