Author [EN] [PL] [ES] [PT] [IT] [DE] [FR] [NL] [TR] [SR] [AR] [RU] Topic: Can the dead continue to benefit from their deeds?

Offline 8pider

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 55
    • View Profile
Can the dead continue to benefit from their deeds?
« on: July 17, 2014, 09:09:53 AM »
Common belief for Muslims is that the dead can continue to benefit from deeds they did while still alive or from deeds others do because of them. Hadith such as these are commonly quoted:

The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) says " When a person dies, all his deeds come to an end except three: sadaqah jaariyah (ongoing charity, e.g. a waqf or endowment), beneficial knowledge (which he has left behind), or a righteous child who will pray for him."
[Ref: Reported by al-Tirmidhi, no 1376; he said this is a saheeh hasan hadeeth, Sahih Muslim 1631]

However, some Quran verses seem not to support this idea
53:39 "And that there is not for man except that for which he strives",

45:15 "Whoever does a good deed - it is for himself; and whoever does evil - it is against the self. Then to your Lord you will be returned".

6:164 "And nobody does anything but to his own account, and no bearer of burden shall bear the burden of another".

And other Quran verses seem to support it
36:12 "We record that (deeds) which they have put forward and their traces (that which they have left behind)."

Can the footprints "waāthārahum" in 36:12 refer to the deeds such as sadaqah jaariyah as described in hadiths? Thanks

Offline 8pider

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 55
    • View Profile
Re: Can the dead continue to benefit from their deeds?
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2014, 09:13:00 AM »
Some examples commonly quoted include:
  • Planting a tree; you are rewarded for whoever eats from eat or enjoys its shed
  • teaching children Quran/Deen; rewards obtained from righteous children etc etc

Does the Quran state that our deeds are sealed on death?

Offline Joseph Islam

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1816
    • View Profile
    • The Quran and its Message
Re: Can the dead continue to benefit from their deeds?
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2014, 03:53:35 PM »
Dear 8pider,

As-salam alaykum

Please allow me to share some humble perspectives on this quite important question that you have asked.

The verses that you have shared are neither mutually exclusive nor contradictory.

Indeed one will only reap benefits of what they themselves have sown. No one else can benefit them (53:39; 45:15; 6:164). In other words, if someone plants a tree with a view to do good, only they will reap the reward, not some other abstract individual.  As far as the Hadith you have quoted and in particular, 'or a righteous child who will pray for him', the Quran makes it clear that one cannot guide another no matter how much one cares or loves them (28:56). Yes, we can part with good advice and counsel as Luqman did (31:13), but ultimately, the responsibility remains with an individual whether to heed guidance or to reject it.

For example, even a prophet's son remained of evil conduct (11:46) and a disbeliever (11:42-43) despite his father being an appointed agent of God (Noah). No one would dare accuse a noble prophet of God such as 'Noah' not to have parted good counsel to his son. Therefore, the hadith narrative finds difficultly from a Quran's perspective which insinuates that a righteous child is the result of righteous parents and good parenting. The condition of a child’s spiritual state can often have little or no relationship with the good intent of their parents. Similarly, bad parenting does not always yield spiritually deficient children if the intention of God is to guide them.

Doing good is fundamentally a matter of 'intent'. For example, two people plant a tree with equal good intent. However, far more people enjoy the fruits of one tree, and the other tree does not see as many people coming to take fruit from it. Should the person who planted a tree which saw less fruit bearers be rewarded any less? After all, both individuals planted the tree in equal measure with equal good intent to benefit future generations. It was not up to them, nor in their knowledge as to how many people would come to visit their respective trees.

Similar is the case for other forms of charity. For example, two individuals make wells for people to drink water from. One well sees more people coming to drink from it as opposed to the other. Does the individual whose well is not so well frequented deserve any less reward that the other individual, given that they both had equal good intent and did not have knowledge of the extent of utility that their respective wells would bare? Once again, it is ultimately a matter of intent and you are arguably not responsible for matters outside your control.

Therefore, as far as verse 36:12 is concerned, individuals will only be rewarded for the good they have done and the intent they had for the good of future generations. This indeed would be taken into account and verse 36:12 confirms that. However, there is no warrant to limit its interpretation to a superficial count of 'how many' people benefit, especially when this is outside the realms of knowledge of those who intended only to do good.

So yes, our ability to accumulate deeds for ourselves cease at death. No one can 'add' to our account or 'subtract' from it. However, any good that is done in one's life, it will be taken account,  including any long term benefits (traces / mark / effects that they have left behind: 'athar') - ), that the doer of good intended.

I hope this helps, God willing

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

Offline Ahmad

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 187
    • View Profile
Re: Can the dead continue to benefit from their deeds?
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2014, 04:48:09 PM »
As salam Alaykum,

The following verses talk about parents being the cause of misleading their children. I just wanted to know how does this fit with what you have shared above. Thank you

[71:26]
And Noah said, "My Lord, do not leave upon the earth from among the disbelievers an inhabitant.
[71:27]
Indeed, if You leave them, they will mislead Your servants and not beget except [every] wicked one and [confirmed] disbeliever.

Offline Joseph Islam

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1816
    • View Profile
    • The Quran and its Message
Re: Can the dead continue to benefit from their deeds?
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2014, 05:02:45 PM »
Dear Ahmad,

As-salam alaykum

With respect, I am not quite sure I follow your question. In what you have shared, where do the verses speak explicitly of "...parents being the cause of misleading their children."?

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

Offline Ahmad

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 187
    • View Profile
Re: Can the dead continue to benefit from their deeds?
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2014, 09:08:05 PM »
Dear Br Joseph,

I was referring to the part in Bold, where it says " not beget except [every] wicked one and [confirmed] disbeliever". Maybe its not explicitly stated. But my reasoning was that it implied that the disbelievers will mislead their children making them disbelievers as well.

Sorry for not being clear enough.

Offline Joseph Islam

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1816
    • View Profile
    • The Quran and its Message
Re: Can the dead continue to benefit from their deeds?
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2014, 06:02:55 PM »
Dear Ahmad,

As-salam alaykum

The verses you have kindly shared only allay Prophet Noah's concerns. This is not a statement made by God nor is it ratified by God (as fact) that every individual born from evildoers would remain wicked and of disbelieving folk.

Prophet Noah had no knowledge of the unseen and no soul is ever justified in assuming that all the offspring of miscreants will remain evil like their forefathers. This is even supported by a narrative concerning Prophet Abraham who did not have any prior knowledge of the unseen as to how his own progeny would fare.

002.124
And remember that Abraham was tried by his Lord with certain commands, which he fulfilled: He said: "I will make thee a leader (Arabic: Imama) to the nations." He pleaded: "And also from my offspring?" He answered: "My covenant is not within the reach of evil-doers."

From a Quran's perspective, the human 'fitrat' / nature (30:30) is formed upright and intrinsically 'balanced'(91:7-10)

091.007
"And the Soul, and (He) who proportioned it (gave it proportion, balance and order - Arabic: sawwaha)"
 
091.008
And inspired it (with conscience of) what is wrong for it and (what is) right for it.
 
Human souls are inherently cognizant of right and wrong, an internal barometer which understands balance. Yet by volition it can be corrupted and often to an extent where the ability to distinguish between the two becomes severely compromised.
 
091:009-10
"Indeed, he succeeds who purifies it and indeed, he fails who buries / corrupts it"

030:030 (part)
"...nature made by God upon which he has created mankind. There is no altering of God's creation..."

Furthermore, it is important to remember that Noah's life span was immensely extended (29:14) and by inference, his experience equally deep seated and seasoned.

His concerns appear to stem from the assumption (personal experience) that children that are bred in an evil environment will learn and emulate wayward behaviours of their forefathers and those around them. Albeit this concern may have some basis in practice where it is acknowledged that environments do influence human beings, this cannot be said of all. However, this does not mean that wayward parents give birth to intrinsically ‘evil’ children as this would conflict with the upright, balanced nature in which all souls are created. (30:30; 91:7-10).

This is supported by prophet Noah's complete statement which implies that wicked people will breed 'fajara' (wickedness, lewdness, transgression) and 'kaffar' (impiety, ingrate, unbeliever) implying the attitudes of individuals of a particular wayward society. Children are not 'born evil' but can be heavily influenced by the scripting of their forefathers and their immediate society.

Therefore, Prophet Noah's statement is arguably better understood with the innate implication that the 'majority' (and not necessarily all) will be led astray by wayward actions and teachings of a corrupt society. This is the main crux of the sentiment which is captured.

This 'majority' (wayward) aspect shared in the previous paragraph is also seen in other verses. For example, in verse 7:17, Iblis claims that most of Adam's descendants will come under his sway.  This is again seen resonated in verse 17:62. In verse 34:20, God confirms that Satan's calculation (assumption) was correct regarding a particular people. (i.e. with the implication, that most of the people were led astray and remained ingrates).  Satan had no knowledge of the unseen but based his view on his assumption (proven correct in a particular situation regarding the majority) which is no different to what Prophet Noah shared in a particular context. i.e. his assumption / concern.

Therefore, 'the breeding' of evil offspring is better understood in the context of wider societal grooming which entices one to wayward beliefs and practices, which form behaviours which the young learn and subsequently emulate. This is not a fantastic thought for this can even be evidenced in modern societies.

Ultimately, if it is God's intention to guide one, they will be guided regardless of their influences. After all, Prophet Lot and other messengers remained righteous amidst wanton evil of their societies. Pharaoh's wife was righteous despite being the spouse of arguably one of the most notorious of tyrants (66:11). Prophet Abraham was born of a disbelieving father, Azar (6:74) but become one of the greatest patriarchs of true religion.

I hope that clarifies, God willing
Joseph



RELATED ARTICLE:

[1]  APPEAL TO RIGHTEOUSNESS BASED ON LINEAGE, RELATIONSHIP, COMPANIONSHIP AND PROXIMITY
http://quransmessage.com/articles/righteousness%20based%20on%20lineage%20FM3.htm
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline Ahmad

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 187
    • View Profile
Re: Can the dead continue to benefit from their deeds?
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2014, 11:39:54 PM »
Dear Br Joseph,

Thank you so much for answer, I find it quite significant the point you made. That some statements in the Quran are not ratified by God (if I understand correctly). I mean they can be assumptions (like you said) or opinions. But some "opinions" or statements made by people in the Quran such as the "Hekma" that prophet Lukman gave to his child are implicitly ratified by God I think. They should be followed as an example. But I am aware that the example of prophet Noah is different than the case of Lukman in what was being said.

[31:13] Yusuf Ali
Behold, Luqman said to his son by way of instruction: "O my son! join not in worship (others) with Allah: for false worship is indeed the highest wrong-doing."

Untill 31:19


Other statements like the following one made by the people of Karoun.

[28:76]
Qarun was doubtless, of the people of Moses; but he acted insolently towards them: such were the treasures We had bestowed on him that their very keys would have been a burden to a body of strong men, behold, his people said to him: "Exult not, for Allah loveth not those who exult (in riches).

[28:77]
"But seek, with the (wealth) which Allah has bestowed on thee, the Home of the Hereafter, nor forget thy portion in this world: but do thou good, as Allah has been good to thee, and seek not (occasions for) mischief in the land: for Allah loves not those who do mischief."


But when should an opinion in the Quran made by people taken as an absolute truth ?


Thanks again for you answer, I really appreciate the time you take to answer questions on the Forum.

Offline Joseph Islam

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1816
    • View Profile
    • The Quran and its Message
Re: Can the dead continue to benefit from their deeds?
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2014, 12:17:35 AM »
But when should an opinion in the Quran made by people taken as an absolute truth ?

Dear Ahmad,

As-salam alaykum

I have always taken commentary captured by the Quran by those of 'wisdom' that are meant to be 'instructional' as a cue for truth and best guidance for believers.

For example, Luqman's comment in verse 31:13 that you kindly share, was not intended to be a mere 'concern'. Rather, it was intended to be 'instructional', 'a warning', 'an exhortation' to be taken as best practice; hence, truthful.

'Concerns' or 'personal opinions' arguably remain distinguished from those comments which are intended to be 'instructional' and to be followed as best practice.

For example, Luqman makes the following comment in verse 31:19:

"And be modest / moderate in your bearing, and lower your voice. Indeed, the harshest of all sounds is surely the voice of the donkeys"

The comment 'And be modest / moderate in your bearing, and lower your voice' is arguably instructional, an exhortation, and should be taken as good wisdom / best practice by believers. On the other hand, the comment that 'the harshest of all sounds is surely the voice of the donkeys' is Luqman's comparative opinion given his own experiences. This does not mean that this is necessarily God's view, or that there is no creature in the entire universe and in God's knowledge that does not have a harsher voice than that of the donkey. This is a human perspective and what remains most important, is the 'instructional' wisdom that Luqman imparts of subduing one's voice and to remain moderate in one's bearing.

In the end, believers are expected to be governed by the following verses which instruct them to take the best from what they hear.

039:018
"Those who listen to the Word (the Quran) and follow the best meaning in it / best of it (Arabic: fayattabi'una ahsanahu) those are the ones whom God has guided and those are the one's endowed with understanding (Arabic: Albabi)
 
039.055
"And follow the best of what is revealed to you from your Lord, before the penalty comes to you suddenly while you do not perceive!”

I trust this clarifies further, God willing.
Joseph
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline Ahmad

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 187
    • View Profile
Re: Can the dead continue to benefit from their deeds?
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2014, 01:27:49 AM »
Dear Br Joseph,

Thank you for clarifying.