Question:

Is it permissible for people of the town to partake of meals prepared at a funeral house?

Answer:

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

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

The Fuqahā have stated that it is Mustahabb (preferable) for neighbors and relatives to prepare food for the family of the deceased. Upon the martyrdom of Ja’far Radhiyallāh Anhu, Rasūlullāh Sallallāhu Alaihi Wa Sallam advised his family with the following statement:

اصْنَعُوا لِأَهْلِ جَعْفَرٍ طَعَامًا، فَإِنَّهُ قَدْ جَاءَهُمْ مَا يَشْغَلُهُمْ (سنن الترمذى، بَابُ مَا جَاءَ فِي الطَّعَامِ يُصْنَعُ لِأَهْلِ المَيِّتِ)

Prepare food for the family of Ja’far (Radhiyallāhu Anhu). Indeed they are occupied (with worry and grief). (Sunan al-Tirmidhi)

The wisdom behind this was to relieve the family of Ja’far Radhiyallāhu Anhu from the burden of preparing food in such a grief-stricken and mournful situation.[1] 

Your query is with regards to the Sharī position of consuming food offered by the household of the deceased. There are two points of consideration in this:

  • Invite extended by the household of the deceased
  • Rights of the heirs in the estate

Sayyidunā Jarīr Radhiyallāhu Anhū says:

 

كُنَّا نَعُدُّ الِاجْتِمَاعَ إِلَى أَهْلِ الْمَيِّتِ وَصَنِيعَةَ الطَّعَامِ بَعْدَ دَفْنِهِ مِنَ النِّيَاحَةِ (مسند أحمد، رقم الحديث 6905،  مؤسسة الرسالة)

We used to consider gathering at the deceased’s house and their preparation of meals after the burial as Niyāhah (something impermissible). (Musnad Ahmad)

 

Based on this Hadīth, the Fuqahā have deduced that it is reprehensible for the deceased’s family to invite others for food.[2] It is against the temperament of Sharīah to burden the family to organize meals for guests.

The second issue is regarding the estate of the deceased. Often, the money left behind by the deceased is utilized in preparing meals for guests. This is an incorrect practice.

After death, the heir’s rights are established in the estate. No money from the estate may be utilized without consent of all the heirs. If there is a child among the heirs who has not reached puberty, it is impermissible to utilize the estate to prepare meals in all conditions, whether the child consents to its spending or not. [3] This is because Sharīah has not granted validity to a child’s consent to spend.[4]

Based on the above, one should not eat from meals prepared by the household of the deceased. [5]  We do understand that relatives from far and wide come to attend the funeral services. It is advisable that local relatives and neighbors make arrangements to feed such guests. In a diplomatic manner, the guests should be assured that the meals are not prepared from the estate of the deceased.[6]

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mufti Abdul Azīm bin Abdur Rahman,

U.S.A.

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

 

 



[1] تحفة الألمعى، ج 3، ص 402، زمزم

 

[2] وَظَاهِرُهُ الْإِطْلَاقُ وَيُؤَيِّدُهُ مَا فِي آخِرِ الْجَنَائِزِ مِنْ فَتْحِ الْقَدِيرِ حَيْثُ قَالَ: وَيُكْرَهُ اتِّخَاذُ الضِّيَافَةِ مِنْ الطَّعَامِ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْمَيِّتِ لِأَنَّهُ شُرِعَ فِي السُّرُورِ لَا فِي الشُّرُورِ وَهِيَ بِدْعَةٌ مُسْتَقْبَحَةٌ رَوَى الْإِمَامُ أَحْمَدُ عَنْ جَرِيرِ بْنِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ قَالَ كُنَّا نَعُدُّ الِاجْتِمَاعَ إلَى أَهْلِ الْمَيِّتِ، وَصُنْعَهُمْ الطَّعَامَ مِنْ النِّيَاحَةِ (رد المحتار، ج 6، ص 665، سعيد)

إمداد الأحكام، ج 1، ص 189-193، مكتبه دار العلوم كراتشى

 

[3]  وَلَا سِيَّمَا إذَا كَانَ فِي الْوَرَثَةِ صِغَارٌ أَوْ غَائِبٌ (رد المحتار، ج 2، ص 241، سعيد)

إمداد الأحكام، ج 1، ص 189-193، مكتبه دار العلوم كراتشى

 

[4]  فتاوى محمودية، ج 20، ص 325، فاروقية

 

[5] ويكره اتخاذ الضيافة ثلاثة أيام وأكلها لأنه مشروعه للسرور (الفتاوى البزازية)

خير الفتاوى، ج 1، ص 574-575، مكتبه إمداديه

[6] تحفة الألمعى، ج 3، ص 403، زمزم

 

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