Family of the Deceased Preparing Food for Others to Gather and Eat From
Posted by Abu.Iyaad, Editor in Worship
Topics: Funerals Niyaahah
Abu Bakr al-Turtushi al-Maliki (d. 520H) wrote:
Our Maliki scholars have said: To undertake preparation for condolences (i.e. organize sittings) is an innovation and disliked. So [a person afflicted with the calamity of the death of a family member] sits in his house, or in the mosque, in his sadness, but without presenting himself to receive condolences. In this case there is no harm. When the news of the death of Ja'far came to the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), he sat in the mosque, overcome with sadness and the people gave condolences to him. Malik said,
There is no harm if food is sent to the family of the deceased, regardless of whether it is a near-relative or not. And this is because the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, when the news of the death of Ja'far [bin Abi Talib] came, 'Prepare food for the family of Ja'far, for there has come to them what has preoccupied them.'
And this food is recommended in the view of the bulk of the Scholars, because it is from (the deeds of) righteousness and nearness for the family and neighbours, and so it is recommended (mustahabb). But as for when the family (of the deceased) prepare food and invite the people to it, nothing has been narrated about it at all from the predecessors (qudumaa), and in my view it is an innovation and disliked. And this view is from that which al-Shafi'i has agreed upon. Al-Hawadith wal-Bida' (Dar Ibn al-Jawzee, pp. 170-171)
Shaykh Abd al-Aziz bin Baz (rahimahullaah) said:
As for the family of the deceased person preparing food and gathering the neighbours (to eat from it), then this is not correct, rather it is from the innovations, and from the evil sins. Jarir bin Abdullah al-Bajli (radiallahu anhu) said, "We used to consider gathering with the family of the deceased and preparing food after the burial from niyahah (prohibited form of lamentation from the days of ignorance)."
Jarir (radiallaahu anhu) informed that they used to consider the people gathering with the family of the deceased and [the family] preparing food for the people that this was considered to be from niyaahah, meaning this is how the Companions (radiallaahu anhum) used to consider it. This shows that the family of the deceased is not to prepare food for the people, and nor should they gather them together. However, it is recommended for their neighbours and relatives to send food for them (the family) because of them becoming preoccupied with the calamity. Fatawa Nur ala al-Darb (1/369) through al-Bida' wal-Muhdathaat (p. 336).
Shaykh al-Albani (rahimahullaah) said:
... this is due to the hadeeth of Jarir bin Abdullaah al-Bajli (radiallahu anhu) who said, "We used to consider gathering with the family of the deceased and preparing food after his burial from niyahah (prohibited form of lamentation from the days of ignorance)." The Sunnah is that the relatives and neighbourss of the deceased prepare food for the family of the deceased that will suffice them, due to the hadith of Abdullah bin Ja'far (radiallahu anhu), who said, "When the news of the death of Ja'far came, when he was killed, the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, "Prepare food for the family of Ja'far because an affair which has preoccupied them has come to them..." and the hadeeth is hasan. Ahkaam al-Janaa'iz (p. 167).
Shaykh Salih al-Fawzan said:
Giving condolences when someone dies is legislated because it is from the angle of consolation (reassuring and strengthening), and it also comprises supplication for the deceased person. This is when the one giving condolences says to the one afflicted by the death of a near-relative, "May Allaah make good your consolation, relieve your calamity and forgive your deceased." And it is not desirable for there to be exaggeration in giving condolences (such as) setting up tents, and having huge gatherings, and going to liberties in preparing food and banquets. Jarir bin Abdullah al-Bajli (radiallahu anhu) said, "We used to consider gathering with the family of the deceased and preparing food after the burial from niyahah (prohibited form of lamentation from the days of ignorance)." The Sunnah is for one of the relatives or neighbours of those afflicted (with the death) to prepare the food according to need and present it to them, as a means of consolation for them. This is due to the hadeeth of Abdullaah bin Ja'far (radiallahu anhu), when the news of the death of Ja'far came, when he was killed, the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, "Prepare food for the family of Ja'far because an affair which has preoccupied them has come to them...", or "... that which has preoccupied them has come to them." And it is not desirable to sit in a specific place for condolences and announcing this. But the one afflicted with the calamity can be given condolences when he meets him in any place, and it should be at a time soon after the occurrence of the death and Allaah knows best. Al-Muntaqaa (1/196-197).
It is not from the Sunnah, from what has preceded, for the family of the deceased to go out of their way and to undertake preparations to receive condolences by organizing and arranging special sittings. As for receiving those who come to offer condolences as part of the natural course of events (since it is inevitable that the family of the deceased will have visits from relative and neighbours), Shaykh Ibn Baz said in response to the question:
س: ما رأي سماحتكم فيمن يجلس بالمنزل لاستقبال المعزين، مع العلم أن كثيراً من المعزين لا يتمكنون من القيام بالعزاء إلا في المنزل؟
ج: لا أعلم بأسا في حق من نزلت به مصيبة بموت قريبه، أو زوجته، ونحو ذلك أن يستقبل المعزين في بيته في الوقت المناسب؛ لأن التعزية سنة، واستقباله المعزين مما يعينهم على أداء السنة؛ وإذا أكرمهم بالقهوة، أو الشاي، أو الطيب، فكل ذلك حسن.
Question: What is the view of your eminence regarding the one who sits in the house to receive those who come to offer condolences, alongside the knowledge that many of those who offer condolences are not able to do so except by coming to the house (of the deceased)?
Answer: I do not know of any harm regarding the one upon whom a calamity has descended such as death of a near-relative or a wife and what is like that, for him to receive those who offer condolences in his house at a suitable time, because ta'ziyah (offering condolences) is sunnah and receiving those who offer the condolences is from what aids them in fulfilling this sunnah. And if he was to honour them by offering coffee, tea, or perfume, then al of that is good. Majmu' Fatawa of Ibn Baz (13/384).
As for the issue of whether the family of the deceased can share the food that has been prepared for them by others and invite others to partake in it, there is a verdict of Shaykh Ibn Baz in this regard:
إذا بعث لأهل الميت غداء أو عشاء فاجتمع عليه الناس في بيت الميت، هل هو من النياحة المحرمة؟
ليس ذلك من النياحة؛ لأنهم لم يصنعوه وإنما صُنع ذلك لهم، ولا بأس أن يدعوا من يأكل معهم من الطعام الذي بُعث لهم؛ لأنه قد يكون كثيراً يزيد على حاجته
Question: When lunch or supper is sent to the family of the deceased and people gather to eat from it in the house of the deceased, is this [considered to be] from the prohibited niyaahah (lamentation)?
Answer: That is not from niyaahah (prohibited lamentation), because they did not prepare the food, but it was prepared for them. And there is no harm that they invite those who eat with them from the food which has been sent to them, because it may be plenty, more than what they need. Majmu' Fatawa of Ibn Baz (13/398).
This fatwa should be understood in light of what has preceded that it is not for the family of the deceased to make tasaddee (to undertake, preoccupy oneself) for receiving condolences, as in, go out of the way to receive the people for receiving condolences by organizing special sittings, and nor should the family request or pay for food to be made by others with the intent that they will feed those who will come and gather at their house, because this now returns to the family themselves taking responsibility for making the food (even if they themselves did not physically make it) and incurring a burden, and this returns to the prohibited niyaahah (lamentation) mentioned by Jarir bin Abdullah al-Bajli (radiallaahu anhu).
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