O Allāh, Instil Happiness in the Spirits of the Inhabitants of the Grave
أَللٌّهُمَّ أَدْخِلْ عَلى أَهلِ القُبُورِ السُّرُورَ
Du‘ā is an excellent means of achieving one’s legitimate desires. The universal law of ‘cause and effect’ itself encourages us to seek help from the Principal Cause - who is Almighty Allāh. Thus even in circumstances when things can be acquired through natural means, one should not think that one is needless of supplication.
Some, on the other hand, may think that supplication is sufficient and there is no need of achieving our goals through the means that are at our disposal. Clearly, this path also, is that of ignorance, for Almighty Allāh has established the system of cause and effect and encouraged the human being to employ it for his noble ends. The following word of wisdom from Imām al-Sādiq (as) emphasizes this:
أَبَى اللٌّهُ أَنْ يُجْرِيَ الأَشْيَاءَ إِلاَّ بِأَسْبَابِهَا، فَجَعَلَ لِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ سَبَباً.
“Allāh does not permit things to take place except by their causes; thus, He made a cause for every thing.”1
Having known the aforesaid, every understanding supplicant, would seek the causes that “instil happiness in spirits of the inhabitants of the grave” apart from praying for the same. Our holy traditions (which indeed are extensions of “light”) have informed us how to make the deceased happy. Following are traditions worthy of contemplation:
1. Imām al-Sādiq (as) was asked: ‘Is it possible to recite prayers for the dead?’ He said, ‘Yes,’ and added:
“Surely, a dead person rejoices when he is pitied and forgiveness is sought for him, just as a living person rejoices upon receiving a gift.”2
2. The Holy Prophet (s) once passed by the grave of a person who was buried a day before, and saw his family weeping. Observing this, he said:
لَرَكْعَتَانِ خَفِيْفَتَانِ مِمَّا تَحْتَقِرُوْنَ أَحَبُّ إِلَى صَاحِبِ هٌذاَ الْقَبْرِ مِنْ دُنْيَاكُمْ كُلّهَا.
“Indeed, two small units of prayer which you consider insignificant is more lovable to the inhabitant of this grave than your world in its entirety.”3
3. The Holy Prophet (s) is reported to have said:
إِنَّ الْهَدَايَا لِلأَمْوَاتِ الدُّعَاءُ وَ الإِسْتِغْفَارُ.
“Indeed, the gifts [from the living] for the dead are du‘ā’ (supplication) and istighfār (seeking forgiveness of the sins of the dead).”4
4. Imām ‘Alī al-Ridā (as) is reported to have said:
مَا مِنْ عَبْدٍ زَارَ قَبْرَ مُؤْمِنٍ فَقَرَأَ عَلَيْهِ إِنّا أَنْزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ سَبْعَ مَرَّاتٍ إِلاََّ غَفَرَ اللٌّهُ لَهُ وَ لِصَاحِبِ الْقَبْرِ.
5. The Holy Prophet (s) is reported to have said:
مَنْ مَرَّ عَلَى الْمَقَابِرِ فَقَرَأَ قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ إِحْدَى عَشْرَةَ مَرَّةً وَوَهَبَ أَجْرَهُ لِلأَمْوَاتِ أُعْطِيَ مِنَ الأَجْرِ بِعَدَدِ الأَمْوَاتِ.
“Whosoever passes by the graves and recites Qul Huwallāhu Ahad 11 times and gifts its reward to the deceased, he is granted a reward proportional to the number of the dead.”7
6. Imām Ja’far al-Sādiq (as) is reported8 to have said:
تَدْخُلُ عَلَى الْمَيِّتِ فِي قَبْرِهِ الصَّلاةُ وَالصَّوْمُ وَالْحَجُّ وَالصَّدَقَةُ وَالْبِرُّ وَالدُّعَاءُ وَيُكْتَبُ أَجْرُهُ لِلَّذِي فَعَلَهُ وَ لِلْمَيِّتِ.
“Prayers, Fasting, Hajj, Sadaqa, good deeds and Du‘ā’ reach the dead in his grave, and their reward is written for [both] the doer and the deceased.”
7. Imām Ja’far al-Sādiq (as) is reported9 to have said:
مَنْ عَمِلَ مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ عَنِ مَيِّتٍ عَمَلَ [عَمَلاً] خَيْرٍ أَضْعَفَ اللٌّهُ لَهُ أَجْرَهُ وَنَفَعَ اللٌّهُ بِهِ الْمَيِّتَ.
“Whosoever among the Muslims does a good act for a dead person, Allāh rewards him manifold and makes the dead benefit from the same.”
Therefore, as we pray for the deceased to attain happiness in the intermediate realm (barzakh), we should also make efforts to act on the means of their happiness as taught to us and humbly pray to Almighty Allāh to accept our deeds.
The late Āyatullāh Shihāb al-Dīn Mar’ashī in his last will10 gave some thought provoking advice to his son. One of them was: “I advise him (my son) to read the Holy Qur’ān and send its blessings to the souls of those Shī‘ites of the Household of the Holy Prophet (as) who did not leave any offspring.”
Therefore, in this Holy month of grace, let us not forget the inhabitants of the grave, including those whom we are not familiar with. In addition, let us also pray for the well-being of those presumed kuffār (disbelievers), who although were apparently known to be disbelievers, had professed the unity of Allāh and became Muslims prior to the departure of their souls from this world.
In his Chehl Hadith (Forty Traditions), the late Āyatullāh al-Khumaynī (may Allāh elevate his soul) relates something thought provoking from his teacher in ‘Irfān (Divine gnosis) - Āyatullāh Shāhābādī. He says: Our Shaykh, the accomplished ‘ārif that he was (i.e. Āyatullāh Shāhābādī) - may my soul be his ransom - used to say: “Never call down curses (la‘n) on anybody, though he be a kāfir concerning whom you do not know how he made the transit from this world to the next, and unless an infallible walī (saint) informs you concerning his condition after death. For it is possible that he may have attained faith before the time of death. Hence let your curse be of a general character.11
And in another place12 he says: Our great master, the accomplished ‘ārif, Shāhābādī - rūhī fidāh (may my soul be his ransom) - used to say, ‘Do not look down on even a kāfir (non-believer) in your heart. It is possible that the divine light of his inner nature may lead him to faith and your rebuke may lead you towards a wretched life in the Hereafter. Of course, to practice al-amr bi’l-ma‘rūf wa al-nahy ‘ani’l-munkar (enjoining right conduct and forbidding bad behavior) is something different from the inner feeling of contempt.’ He would even say, ‘Never curse the unbelievers about whom it is not known that they will leave the world in the state of unbelief. If they leave the world as rightly-guided servants of God, their spiritual rectitude may prove to be an obstruction in the way of your own spiritual advancement.’
Therefore, as we utter this verse of supplication, let us commit ourselves to performing deeds of virtue for the deceased Muslims, as a practical demonstration of our true desire for the happiness of the deceased.
- 1. Bihār al-Anwār, v. 2, pg. 90
- 2. al-Mahajjatu’l al-Baydā’, v. 8. pg. 292
- 3. Tanbīhu‘l Khawātir, pg. 453
- 4. al-Mahajjatu‘l Baydā’, v. 8, pg. 291
- 5. Armaghāne Asmān, pg. 541
- 6. Man Lā Yahduruhu’l Faqīh, v. 1, pg. 181
- 7. Mustadrak al-Wasā’il, v. 2, pg. 483
- 8. Wasāi’l al-Shī‘a ilā Tahsīli Masā’il al-Sharī‘a, v. 8, pg. 279
- 9. Ibid.
- 10. Wasiyyatnāme-ye Āyatullāh al-‘Uzmā Mar’ashī
- 11. Chehl Hadīth, 28th tradition
- 12. Chehl Hadīth, 3rd tradition