Questions answered by Allama Syed Abdullah Tariq on ‘FATEHA’ or ‘DEATH FEAST’
Q.(i) Is the meal or feast on which Fateha (Al-Fateha) is recited is forbidden or not? After death of a person, on the second day, ‘Fateha’ is recited on gram or seeds of the fruits for the benefit of deceased. Please do write about it.
(ii) One of my cousin has forcibly forbidden the members of his family (parents too) for not to eat the meals on which Fateha is recited and warned them,if they take the same, they will eat the flesh of pork.
Mohd. Sadique; Jodhpur
Q. 2. I have a doubt concerning “Death Feast”. When my father died my brothers and sisters arranged on the third day of his death, a feast for the inhabitants of our village. The feast, which is known by the term “Chavadiyandhiram” (death feast) generally and “Duarirakkal” (making Dua) by its supporters has become an inevitable procedure here and in almost all the districts in Kerala. If anyone avoids the feast, he is branded as “irreligious”. They say the reward for the feast reaches to the soul of the deceased. Feasts are also arranged on the 40th day of death and on the day of completion of one year of death. The former is called “Nalpath” (forty) and the latter is known by the term “Ant” means “Year”. I would like to know if it is Wajib or Sunnah, or at lest Mubah to arrange such a feast.
K. Abdul Salam; Calicut
Ans. The custom of reciting Surah Fateha and other Surahs and then donating the Sawab to the deceased is commonly known as ‘Fateha’. There is no sense in reciting Qur’an on eatables for this purpose. The distribution of meals, and other raw or cooked eatables, among the poor, is also an act of Sawab and Eisaal-e-Sawab may be done by providing for the needy and hungry. Donating the Sawab of any pious deed to the deceased, is Eisaal-e-Sawab. It is also common sense that Sawab will be due after the distribution of eatables, and hence, Fateha or Eisaal-e-Sawab before the distribution, is meaningless. You cannot donate to others what you have not yourself received. It must be understood that recitation of Qur’an and feeding the hungry are two different acts of Sawab Neither there is any Sawab on reciting the Surahs on the eatables nor praying the Almighty for the donation of Sawab has any sense before the needy are fed. In other words, there is no Fateha before the poor and hungry have been provided.
Arranging the feasts and eating the sweats or meals by the family members of the deceased or his well-to-do relatives or friends, is not an act of Sawab. The deceased will not be benefited by such practices. Also, fixation of days (2nd, 3rd, 10th or 40th) for Esaal-e-Sawab has no basis in Islam. This and converting it into a sort of feast, seems to be the cultural influence of Hindus. Such practices of ignorance must be avoided and opposed. Nevertheless, calling it Haram or even a Bid’at is exaggeration. If a group of people think that such feasts are of any use to the deceased, they are mistaken and must be educated and reasoned with. However, it does not become a Bid’at unless they think that those who do not follow them, are doing something against religion.