Isqaat (Reducing the Responsibilities on the Deceased)

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

ISQAAT (REDUCING THE RESPONSIBILITIES ON THE DECEASED)

THE PROOF & METHOD OF ISQAAT

The literal meaning of Isqaat is to drop something, and the technical meaning is to reduce the commands of Shariah that remain the deceased’s responsibility.

The book Wajeezus-Siraat states, “There are many laws of Shariah that, intentionally, unintentionally as well as erroneously remain as the responsibility of a Muslim (he wasn’t able to complete these responsibilities in his lifetime and now, after death, he is to be confronted with their punishment). After death, he now has no power to fulfill them nor does he have the means to save himself from their responsibility. The Shariah has formulated a method to help the deceased in this state of destitution. If the guardian (wali) of the deceased fulfils it on behalf of the deceased, the deceased will be saved from these responsibilities!’ This method is called Isqaat, an actual form of assistance to the deceased. This is rejected by the Wahabi/Deobandi fraternity. Just as how they are enemies of Muslims who are alive, so too are they the enemies of Muslims who have passed away, because they stop them from attaining benefit in their lifetimes and do the same after their death.

THE METHOD OF ISQAA T

The true age of the deceased should first be known, subtracting 9 years from it for a male and 12 for a female (corresponding to their time as minors (naa­baalighj).

Thereafter, the total time the deceased was a be-namazi (didn’t perform Salaah at all) or be-roza (didn’t observe fast at all) or the amount of namaaz he didn’t perform, either in its correct time nor as Qadaa in the period of being a namaazi, should now be estimated from the remaining years. Whatever is llie amount of Fitra (e.g. RIO) is also the amount for the payment (fidya) of a single namaaz or roza.

After adding the amount for every namaaz or fast missed! His total amount must be given away in charity. So, if the amount of Fitra is RIO, then R 60 must be given in charity for each day missed, as there are 5 daily Salaah and one Witr (according to the Hanafi muzhab) which are necessary.

Therefore, after calculating the total amount of each Salaah missed for 10 years, an amount of approximately R 216, 000 will be reached should the Fitra be RIO.

Ohviously, if the amount of Fitra is higher, it will mean extra payment. It is possible for a pious Muslim who has enough wealth to give away this amount of money, but not, unfortunately, for the rest.

The following method has thus been prescribed for them to complete this: The guardian (wali) of the deceased should take out whatever he possibly can afford (the fidya of an entire month is approximately R 1800 should Fitra be R 10). He should then handover this R 1800 in the ownership of a worthy recipient of’ Fiua who then returns it back to him as a gift, or gives it to another person who will return it to him as a gift. Then, the guardian gives the amount again to the recipient as charity and the recipient returns it to him as a gift once more. Doing this once fulfils the fidya of an entire month of narnaaz, and doing this twelve times completes a year (again, if the month’s fidya is R 1, 800). Likewise, doing this several times to equal the total amount of missed Salaah (e.g. 10 years) fulfils the fidya. After completing the payment for namaaz, the fidya for fasting and Zakaat can also be given in a similar manner. It is hoped that Allah’sعزوجل showers His mercy of forgiveness for the deceased through this. This is the correct procedure of Isqaat (note that this calculation is according to the Solar Calendar).

There are three things that have to be clarified in proof of it:

1. That the Shar’i Heela (shift strategy), to be saved from Haraam, attain thawaab or complete a requirement of Shariah is permissible.

2. That payment (fidya) of Salaah can be given in money.

3. And proofoflsqaat itself.

Section I

PERMISSIBILITY OF HEELA-E-SHAR’I

Heela-e-Shar’i is permissible at the time of need and is proven from the Quran, Hadith and the rulings of the Jurists (Fuqahaa). Hadrat Ayub علیہ السلام once took an oath to hit his wife 100 times with a stick. Allahعزوجل instructed him to lake a broom, hit her with it and not break his vow. The Holy Quran speaks about this incident, “Take a broom in your hand, hit her with it and do not break your oath.” 22.2 – Surah Su ‘aad, Verse 44

Hadrat Yusuf علیہ السلام wanted to keep his brother, Benyamin, at his side and not hare the secret revealed. He used a Heela for this, which is mentioned in Surah Yusuf in detail.

Once, Sayyidah Saarah رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہا took a vow, “If I gain hold over Haajarah, I shall cut one of her body parts.” Revelation (wahi) was made to Hadrat Ibrahim علیہ السلام to reconcile both of them. When Sayyidah Saarah رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہا asked how her vow will now become completed, she was instructed to pierce the car of Sayyidah Haajarah رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہا.

A Hadith states that once, Hadrat Bilal رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ brought some quality dates to the Holy Prophetصلی اللہ علیہ وسلم. When Sayyiduna Rasoolullah asked him where he got them from, he replied, “I had some lower-grade dates. I sold two saa’ (a unit of measurement) for one of better quality. The Messengerصلی اللہ علیہ وسلم! Replied, “This is usury (riba). Next time, sell the lower-grade dates in exchange for money and then buy better dates with that.” – Mishkaat, Kitaabul-Buyoo, Baabur-Riba

The above is a proof of Heela being used to be save oneself from usury. The book Alamghiri has dedicated an entire chapter about Heela called ‘Kitaabul ­Hiyal’.

Similarly, the book Al-Ashbaah wan-Nazaair has also reserved a chapter about Hecla named ‘Kitaabul-Hiyal’.

 


The book Zakheera and Alamghiri, Kitaabul-Hiyal, state, “Any Heela that is done to snatch away the rights of another or create a confusion or deceit in these rights is Makrooh. However, the Heela which is done for a person to be saved from Haraam or so that he may attain Halaal is good. The proof of this is the command of Allahعزوجل to Hadrat Ayub علیہ السلام , “Take a broom in your hand and hit her.”

This instruction was to save Hadrat Ayub علیہ السلام from the oath he took. The general body of Mashaaikh has the opinion that the command of this ayat is not annulled (mansookh), and this is the correct ruling.” 22.4

Fataawa Taa’taar Khaaniya and Hamawi, the Sharah of Ashbaah wan-Nazaair, have very clearly discussed the permissibility of Heela. They state, “Hadrat Ibn Abbas رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ states that once, a dispute arose between Sayyidah Saarah رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہا and Sayyidah Haajarah رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہا, Sayyidah Saarah رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہا vowed that if she gained power over Haajarah she would sever a part of a her body. Hadrat Jibrael علیہ السلام was sent by Allahعزوجل to Hadrat Ibrahim علیہ السلام to tell him to reconcile them. When Sayyidah Saarah رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہاasked what the Heela to her vow will be, revelation (wahi) was made to Hadrat Ibrahim علیہ السلام in which he was instructed to tell her to pierce Sayyidah Haajarah’s رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہا. The practice of women piercing their ears originated from this.”22.4a

These Quranic ayats, Ahadith and rulings of Fiqh prove the permissibility of Heela-e-Shar’I

Section 2

PAYMENT (FIDYA) OF FASTING & NAMAAZ

Payment (fidya) for fasting is proven from the Holy Quran, “Those who do not have the ability and power to keep the fast should give payment (fidya) in exchange of it by feeding a poor person.22.5- Surah Baqarah, Verse 184

We learn from this that those who don’t have the strength to keep fast due to being compelled to by old age or illness, even by the sickness of death, are to feed a needy person in exchange for every day the fast cannot be kept. In comparison to fasting, Salaah is more glorified and prominent. This is why Namaaz has been kept in its order. Mulla Jeewan رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ writes under the same ayat, “Namaaz is the likeness of fasting (roza). In fact, it is more important. Thus, for the sake of safety, we have given the command of payment (fidya) to it as well and hope that Allah’s عزوجل accepts it through His grace. The obligation of fidya being for Namaaz is based on caution.” 226 Tafseeraat-e-Ahmadia

Sharah Waqaaya states, “The payment of each Namaaz is similar to that of a single day of fasting, and this is the correct ruling.” 22.7

The book Sharah Ilyaas states, “The payment (fidya) of every Namaaz missed is equal to the compensation of a day of fasting (i.e. equal to one day of fasting).”

Allama Ibn Hamaarn رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ writes, “Concerning any person who dies but has the responsibility of the Qadaa of Ramadaan and has willed (wasiyat) for it to be settled, his guardian (wali) must give a poor person, in payment of every day, ½ a saa’ of wheat or 1 saa’ of barley or dates because the deceased does not have any means to now fulfill this responsibility. Likewise, in the case when the deceased willed (wasat) for food to be given for his missed Salaah, the guardian has to fulfill it.” 22. –Fathul-Qadeer

These quotations prove that giving the payment (fidya) of Namaaz and Roza is permissible and acceptance of the payment is hoped. In fact, the Hadith corroborates this. Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Abbas رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ, narrates the following Hadith, “None of’ you should perform Salaah or keep fast on behalf of another but give half a saa’ of wheat in charity for every day missed.” 22.10 – Nasaai, Sunan-e­Kubra & Abdur-Rozack, Kitaabul-Wasaaya

The Holy Prophetصلی اللہ علیہ وسلم is reported to have said, “If a person dies whilst having the responsibility of the fasting of Ramadaan, a needy person should be fed in compensation for each day missed by the deceased.” 2 .12 – Mishkaat, Kitaabus-­Saum, Baabul-Qadaa

In short, giving the payment (fidya) of Namaaz and Roza through the form of money is established by the Shariah. Rejecting this is ignorance.

Section 3

PROOF OF ISQAAT (REDUCING THE RESPONSIBILITIES ON THE DECEASED)

The procedure of Isqaat has already been presented. Proof of it is found in almost every book of Jurisprudence (Fiqh). The book Noorul-Idaah discusses this rule of Isqaat in an entire section called “فصل فی اسقاط الصوم والصلوٰۃ” It deals with the Isqaat of Namaaz and Roza.

In it, Allama Shurumbulaali رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ, writes, “ولایصح ان یصوم ولا ان یصلّٰی عنہ وان لم یف ما اوصٰی بہ عما علیہ یدفع ذٰلک المقدار للفقیر فیسقط عن المیت بقدرہ ثم یھبہ الفقیر وھٰکذا حتی یسقط ما کان علی المیت من صیام وصلوٰۃ ویجوز اعطاء فدیۃ صلوٰت لواحد جملۃ بخلاف کفارۃ الیمین” l1.l5..”­Noorul-Idaah

Here, the procedure of Isqaat is shown. We have already mentioned its translation in the beginning of this chapter. Allama Haskafi رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ writes, “ولو لم یترک مالا یستقرض وارثہ نصف صاع مثلا ویدفعہ لفقیر ثم یدفعہ الفقیر للوارث ثم وثم حتٰی یتم”.Durre-Mukhtaar, Baabu Qadhaail-Fawaait

 


This extract also deals with its method. The translation has also been given in the initial part of this discussion. Allama Shaami رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ commentating on this extract of Durre-Mukhtaar, also clearly explains the method of Isqaat, “والا قرب ان یحسب ما علی المیت ویستقرض بقدرہ بان یقدر عن کل شھر اوسنۃ او بحسب مدۃ عمرہ بعد اسقاط اثنی عشر سنۃ للذکر وتسع سنین للا نثٰی لانھا اقل مدۃ بلوغھما فیجب عن کل شھر نصف عزارۃ فتح القدیر بالمد الدمشقی مد زماننا ولکل سنۃ شمسیۃ ست عزائر فیستقرض قیمتھا ویدفعھا لفقیر ثم یستوھبھا منہ ویستلمھا منہ لتتم الھبۃ ثم یدفعھا لذٰلک الفقیر او لفقیر اٰخرو ھٰکذا فیسقط فی کل مرۃ کفارۃ سنۃ بعد ذٰلک یعید الدور لکفارۃ الصیام ثم الاضحیۃ ثم الایمان لکن لا بد فی کفارۃ لایمان من عشرۃ مسٰکین بخلاف فدیۃ الصلوٰۃ فانہ یجوز اعطاء فدیۃ صلوٰات للواحد” – Raddul-Muhtaar

And Allama Ibn Nujaim Misri رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ writes “اراد الفدیۃ عن صوم ابیہ اوصلٰوتہ وھو فقیر یعطی منوین من الحنطۃ فقیرا ثم یستوھبہ ثم یعطیہ وھٰکذا الٰی ان یتم” AI-Ashbaah wan­Nazaair

The translation of both of these extracts is the same as the procedure of Isqaat which we have already mentioned. Alamghiri states, “وان لم یترک مالا یستقرض ورثتہ نصف صاع ویدفع الٰی مسکین ثم یتصدق مسکین علٰی بعض ورثتہ ثم یصدق حتّٰی یتم الکل کذا فی الخلاصۃ ” Bahrur-Raaiq, Aini, Kanzud-Daqaaiq, Jaamiur-Rumooz, Mutamud Zaheeria Sharah Mukhtasar Naqaayah, Fataawa Qaadhi Khan, Faraaid, Jawaahir, Al-Qawlul-Mukhtasar and several other books of Fiqh all explain this procedure. We have not quoted them, but whatever we have presented is sufficient for people who are fair in their judgments.

Now read the verdict of the leader of the dissenters, Maulwi Rashid Ahmed Gangohi, “The Ulama have instituted the Heela-e-Isqaat for the need of a person with little wealth. It is now used by people to acquire a few cents of the world. Allahعزوجل knows well the condition of the intention. This Heela is not beneficial in such a situation. However, on condition of a good intention, Heela is for inheritors of a person with little wealth. Only then will it be beneficial. Otherwise, it will be absurd and used to attain the dunya.” – Fataawa Rashidia, Vol. 1, Pg. 103, Kitaabul-Bidaai

Even though there is much diversion in this verdict, Maulwi Rashid Ahmed has accepted Heela-e-Isqaat to be permissible. Thus, no Deobandi has the right now to raise objections against it. Maulwi Rashid has emplaced the restriction of a poor person on his own part. We have already presented extracts of Fiqh which do not have this restriction. If the complete amount of payment (fidya) has to be given even for a person with wealth, his entire estate will be exhausted and there will be nothing left for his inheritors. Even if a person stated in his will (wasiyat) that, at the time of death, his payment to be given, wasiyat is not permitted for more than a third of the estate. So if the payment of all the Salaah cannot be completed with a third, what harm is there in using the procedure of Heela? With regards to the Heela of Heel a, this is absolutely absurd.

OBJECTIONS & ANSWERS TO HEELA-E-ISQAAT (REDUCING THE RESPONSIBILITIES ON THE DECEASED)

OBJECTION 1: Performing Heela is a deception to Allahعزوجل and the Muslims, Allahعزوجل states, “These Hypocrites cheat Allahعزوجل and the Muslims and do not deceive except themselves, and they do not understand.” 2l.11 How can it be possible that the Namaaz of an entire lifespan is forgiven in exchange for a small amount of money?!

Answer – Calling Heela deception is ignorance. Heela is a plan of the Shariah to fulfill a need of Shariah. It has been taught to us by Allahعزوجل and His Rasoolصلی اللہ علیہ وسلم, and proof of this has already been given in the previous chapter. The quotation of Alamghiri has also been presented, that performing Heela to deceive someone is a sin, but to make a plan to complete a need of Shariah or to be saved from Haraam is a means of reward.

Consider a Musjid being constructed somewhere and money is needed for this project. Money of Zakaat cannot be used for it. So if Zakaat is given to a worthy recipient and, after becoming the owner of it, he willingly spends it on this project, whose money was stolen? Who was deceived by this? It’s only a need of Shariah that has been fulfilled.

Performing Heela to take is incorrect, but performing it to give is good. Heela of giving to the poor is found in this. The mercy of Allahعزوجل is also attained through Heela, “The mercy of Allahعزوجل does not ask for a price. It seeks a pretext.” 22.14

The ayat you have quoted has been revealed about Hypocrites who made the Kalima of Imaan a shield for themselves but were truly Kaafirs at heart. To base the noble and Islamic practices of Muslims on it is a severe crime. Namaaz doesn’t lose its obligation due to the money of Isqaat. Rather, Isqaat is a strategy to help any faults of Namaaz during one’s lifetime to be pardoned, because after death, it is not possible for the deceased to fulfill its compensation. Giving out charity cools Divine anger, “الصدقۃ یطفی غضب الرب”.

A Hadith states that the person who misses out a Jumua Salaah should give out a dinaar in charity. – Mishkaat, Baabul-Imaan

Another also states that the person who has sexual intercourse with his wife while she is in the state of menstruation (haiz) should give out one or ½ a dinaar in charity.-Mishkaat, Baabul-Haiz

What is this charity given for? It serves as a compensation (kafaarah) for the sin which cannot be altered. If we had said that while living, a person may give out payment to forgive a future Namaaz of his so that he does not have to perform it, only then can it be said that Salaah is being made excusable and we are , committing a crime by this.

OBJECTION 2: Namaaz and fasting is physical worship and fidya is money. Never, in any way, can money be the compensation for physical worship (ibaadat). Thus, this is absolutely baseless.

Answer – This deduction opposes the Quranic ayat which states, “Those who don’t have the strength to keep these fasts are obligated to give payment (fidya) in the form of food to a needy person.” 22.16 – Surah Baqarah, Verse 184

Making deductions against the command of Allahعزوجل is the practice of Shaitaan. This wretch was divinely instructed to prostrate to Hadrat Adam علیہ السلام but used his reasoning against His command. Thus, he was rejected. From a rational point of view, physical effort being comparable to money is accepted. When we make a person work, we compensate him for his effort with money, and in some cases, the exchange of a life even occurs through payment. Compensation (kafaarah) in the Shariah is against normal deduction: if a Namaazi forgets the first At· Tahiyaat, he should make Sajda-e-Sahw; if a husband performs zihaar with his wife, he must fast for 60 days as a compensation for it; if a Haaji hunted in the state of Ihraarn, he must give out the price of the hunted animal in charity should he have the money, otherwise he must fast. All of these forms of compensation are contrary to our logical reasoning, but the Shariah has emplaced them. Thus, we accept them wholeheartedly.

 


OBJECTION 3: People will stop reading namaaz due to Isqaat because, when they realize that there can be payment for their missed Salaah, why would they go through the trouble of performing it? Therefore, Heela-e-­Isqaat should be stopped.

Answer – This query is similar to the objection posed by the Aryans (Hindu fundamentalists) against Islam regarding Zakaat and repentance (tauba). Theysay that Zakaat causes worthlessness amongst Muslims because, when a poor person realizes that he will get money of Zakaat without any strife, he will not make any attempt to work for it. Likewise, when a person comes to know that through tauba, his sins are forgiven, he will sin without concern. Just as how these objections are totally absurd, so too is this query by the opposition. Any person who becomes bold on the grounds of the payment (fidya) of namaaz to reject the obligation of namaaz becomes a Kaafir. This money is for the fidya of the namaaz, not the infidelity (kufr).

If a person misuses a correct ruling, the wrong falls on him, not on the ruling. This practice of Isqaat has been prevalent amongst Muslims for hundreds of years but, even today. I have not met any Muslim who disregards namaaz based on it.

OBJECTION 4: Through a shift strategy (Heela), some people of the Bani Israel caught fish and were consequently struck with Divine punishment and turned into monkeys. “کونوا قرادۃ خاسئین” .22.17 This establishes that Heela is a severe sin and a reason for Divine punishment being incurred.

Answer – Heela being Haraam on the Bani Israel was a punishment for them just as how various kinds of meat were Haraam upon them. However, permissible Heelas being Halaal for this Ummat is a Divine mercy upon us. The Bani Israel made Heela to change Haraarn into Halaal (catching fish on Saturdays was Haraam upon them). Heelas like this are prohibited even today.

OBJECTION 5: The Holy Quran states, “There is nothing for a person except that which he has accumulated himself.” 22.18 Isqaat goes against this ayat, because when it is performed, children free their deceased from the crime of Dot performing namaaz.

Answer – The answer to this has already been given in the discussion on Fatiha. There are a few interpretations to this ayat. One of them is that in the ayat is for ownership. Meaning, a person is the owner of his own labour. He does not have personal control over the reward of others. Therefore, being dependant on the charity of others and effectively forgetting to strive personally is irrational.

If not, this ayat could be referring to bodily worship (i.e. if a person performs Salaah or keeps fast on behalf of another, the obligation for the latter will not be fulfilled).

If these interpretations to this ayat are not made, it will be contrary to many other Ayats and Ahadith. The Quran has ordered Muslims to make dua for Muslims and their parents. Even Salaatul-Janaazah is a dua for the deceased and all Muslims. The Ahadith has also instructed Sadaqah and charity to be given on behalf of those deceased. Refer to my Fataawa collection for the complete study on this.

Important note – Some Deobandis say that appointing a Haafiz to recite the Holy Quran at the graveside is Haraarn. We say that doing so is a means of reward. Reciting the Holy Quran is beneficial to both the deceased and the reciter. Imam Nawawi رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ states, “Performing some recitation at the grave is preferred (Mustahab). If the entire Quran is recited. it is good.” 22.19 – Kitaabul-­Azkaar, Baabu-Ma-Yaqool ba’dad-Dafn

In the discussion of Azaan at the Qabr, we have already explained that the deceased gains benefit through the barkat of the Tasbeeh made by the greenery that sprouts on his grave. Surely the recitation of the Holy Quran performed by a human will also be beneficial.

In some places. Muslims perform some Nafl Salaah for their Qadaa accumulated throughout the years (Qadaa-e-Umri) on the last Juma (Jumatul-Wada) of the month of Ramadaan. Doing so is deemed Haraam, an Innovation and stopped by certain people. The Holy Quran states, “Do you not see those who stop a bondsman when he reads namaaz?” 22.20

We can deduce that stopping a namaazi from performing namaaz is a severe crime. Qadaa-e-Umri is also namaaz. Thus, it is not allowed to prohibit it. Now follows the source: Commentating on the ayat, “و لتستبین سبیل المجرمین” 22.21 Allama Ismail Haqqi رضی اللہ تعالٰی عنہ quotes the following Hadith, “If some namaaz is unknowingly missed by a male or female servant who then repents (tauba) and becomes penitent because of missing the Salaah, he or she should perform 12 rakaats of Nafl Salaah between the Juma and Asr of a Friday. Surah Fatiha, Ayatul-Kursi, Surah Ikhlaas, Falaq and Naas should be read once in each Rakaat. By doing so, Allahعزوجل will not take account from him or her on the Day of Qiyaarnat.” This Hadith has been recorded in Mukhtasarul-Ahyaa.” 22.2. ­Tafseer Roohul-Bayaan

The Hadith doesn’t mean that by performing these 12 rakaats, the entire accumulated amount of Qadaa is complete. What it means is that the sin of making namaaaz Qadaa will be forgiven by these Nafl Salaah, not that because of these 12 rakaats, Qadaa of Salaah doesn’t have to be performed. So, Muslims read these Nail salaah with this intention as per Tafseer Roohul-Bayaan,

Another example of this is a Hadith which states that at Arafah, the Noble Messengerصلی اللہ علیہ وسلم made dua of forgiveness for all Haajis. Allahعزوجل so replied, “I have forgiven them except the Mazaalim (Huqooqul-Ibaad, i.e. those who have usurped the rights of others).” When Rasoolullah made dua again at Muzdalifa, even the Mazaalim were forgiven. – Mishkaat, Kitaabul-Hajj, Baabul­Wagoof bil-Arafah

This doesn’t mean that by performing Hajj, all sins such as stealing from or killing someone, or seizing someone’s money by taking loans, etc. become excused. No – it means that the delay in the returning of the debt, etc. is forgiven. Huqooqul-Ibaad has to be fulfilled unconditionally.

If Muslims have a misconception in the reading or understanding of this Qadaa­e-Urnri, they should be informed of its correct intention and cautioned to what is right. Why should the objectors stop the namaaz?

Even if the Hadith is of weak narration {zaeef), it is still acceptable in relation to excellence of practice (Fazaail-e-A’rnaal).

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