Sometimes we make certain choices in life based merely on the fact that ‘if my father/mother/child/wife/beloved was alive, he/she would do the same’ or we do it “for old time’s sake”. This stems from the love that we possess for each other.
When one loves someone dearly, then that love extends to everything that is connected to the beloved, especially in their absence. A mother will cherish the clothes of her child more after the child’s demise.
A Connection with the deceased
Strangely, when one does this, one actually feels a sense of satisfaction that cannot be explained neither substituted by anything. One actually feels a closeness to the deceased.
To keep up ‘old ties’ is a concept that is deep rooted in Islam. In one Hadith Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said,
‘To maintain (old) relationships is certainly a part of Iman.’
(Mustadrak – Hakim, vol.1 pg.16).
It was the noble habit of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) that when he used to slaughter a sheep for his household, he would send portions of it to the friends of his first and most cherished wife, Sayyidatuna Khadijah (radiyallahu’anha).
Sayyiduna Anas (radiyallahu’anhu) reported that when Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would receive any gift, he would say, ‘Take it to so and so. She was a friend of Khadijah (radiyallahu’anha), she used to love Khadijah (radiyallahu’anha).’
Sayyidatuna Aishah (radiyallahu’anha) says that, ‘He (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would do this so often that I would sometimes tell him, ‘As if there was none other than Khadijah (radiyallahu’anha) in the world?’ At this Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would affectionately go on extolling her praises.’
(Sahih Bukhari, hadith: 6004 & Sahih Muslim, hadith: 2435)
An amazing incident
Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (radiyallahu’anhuma) was once on his way to Makkah for ‘Umrah. On the way, he met a shabbily dressed, disheveled Bedouin who was on foot. Upon seeing him, the noble Companion of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) alighted his conveyance, went up to the beouin and inquired, ‘Are you the son of so and so?’
‘Yes’ replied the Bedouin.
Hearing this, Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (radiyallahu’anhuma) greeted him with full zeal, then he removed his turban and gave it to the delighted Bedouin. After doing so, Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (radiyallahu’anhu) thought to himself that this was not enough. So, he then offered him the comfortable conveyance that he had chosen for his journey. The Bedouin delightfully accepted it and continued on his way.
At this the colleagues of Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar (radiyallahu’anhu) expressed their amazement by saying: ‘This person is a bedouin, who would have been pleased even if you offered him a simple gift.’
To this he replied, “Indeed his father was a friend of my father and I have certainly heard our beloved Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) say,
‘Verily from the greatest forms of loyalty to ones parents after their demise, is for one to keep up ties with their friends.’
(Sahih Muslim, hadith: 6460)
In this incident, Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (radiyallahu’anhuma) -who was renown for his strict adherence to the Sunnah-, had actually extended his kindness to the son of his father’s friend and not just the friend himself.
Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) had on numerous occasions exhorted the Ummah towards adopting this sublime practice that brings satisfaction to all; the one who does so, the one to whom it is done, as well as the one on whose behalf it is done. According to several Hadiths, the news of the deeds of the living are conveyed to their deceased relatives and friends. They even rejoice at the good that their relative or friend may have done.
(See full details in Ahwalul Qubur- Ibn Rajab, pg.150-157 and Sharhus-Sudur, pg.342-344)
Their rights after demise
A man once enquired from Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) as to what rights do his parents have on him after their demise. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) replied:
- To make dua for them.
- To seek forgiveness on their behalf.
- To execute their orders and bequests.
- To maintain ties with those relatives of yours who are linked to you via them.
- To pay respect to their surviving friends. (Sunan Abi Dawud, hadith: 5099 & Sahih Ibn Hibban; Al Ihsan, hadith: 498)
According to the narration of Bayhaqi, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) then said, ‘They (the parents) will be made aware of whatever he (the child) does on their behalf’.
Let’s do this!
Lets take out the time, to firstly, enlist the names of the relatives and friends of our deceased close family. Then we could gradually tick off the list by visiting, or making cordial contact with them.
This will -insha Allah- be a source of satisfaction for multiple people, especially our deceased family members.
Let’s do it, for the sake of our beloveds!
By us practicing this noble sunnah, we would be leading our children by example. When we are deceased, they too would do the same, insha Allahu Ta’ala.
Caution: It is extremely important to ensure that no unlawful intermingling takes place while practicing the above sunnah.