Answers to Everyday Issues – Part 74: Angels, chanda on behalf of the deceased


Click here for Part 73

Guidance regarding basic Islamic issues – which Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa has given on various occasions in his written correspondence and during MTA programmes – is being officially published below for everyone’s benefit.

arnaud girault | Unslpash

Do angels move from one place to another?

Someone wrote to Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa, saying, “The Promised Messiahas wrote in his book A’ina-e-Kamalat-e-Islam that, ‘Angels do not leave their designated place in the heavens,’ while in the blessed ahadith it is mentioned that angels descend to earth morning and evening. How can this apparent contradiction be resolved?”

Huzoor-e-Anwaraa, in his letter dated 10 January 2023, provided the following answer to this question:

“The explanation regarding angels not leaving their designated place in the heavens, and yet descending to earth to inspire God’s servants towards goodness, has been elucidated by the Promised Messiahas in various works.

“In his book A’ina-e-Kamalat-e-Islam, which you referred to in your question, the Promised Messiahas also addressed this matter comprehensively. He refuted the belief held by his contemporaries, such as Maulvi Muhammad Hussain Batalvi and Maulvi Nazir Hussain Dehlvi, that angels descend to earth in their actual form and ascend back in the same form. The Promised Messiahas clarified this issue thoroughly in the same book, and it contains the answer to your question as well; perhaps you did not ponder over it deeply. As such, the Promised Messiahas elucidated:

“‘This objection indeed arises from their aforementioned belief. On the one hand, these people, according to the verse

‭ ‬وَمَا‭ ‬مِنَّاۤ‭ ‬اِلَّا‭ ‬لَهٗ‭ ‬مَقَامٌ‭ ‬مَّعۡلُوۡمٌ‭ ‬

[(And the angels say): ‘And there is not one of us but has an appointed station’ (Surah as-Saffat, Ch.37: V.165)], hold the belief that the stations of Hazrat Jibra’il and Izra’il, the angel of death, are appointed in the heavens, from which they can neither descend a span lower nor ascend a span higher. Yet, despite this, they consider it necessary for them to come to earth in their original forms, and similarly, they firmly believe in their ascent to the heavens in their original forms. According to them, anyone who denies the angels’ descent or ascent in their original forms is a disbeliever.

“‘These peculiar Muslims are beset by the belief that the balanced system we have just mentioned – where a good companion permanently remains with a person against an evil companion – becomes completely disordered due to such a belief, leaving only Satan as the permanent companion of man. For if the angel that is the Holy Spirit descends upon someone like a traveller, according to their belief, it comes for just a moment or a very short period and then flies back to its original abode in the heavens, leaving even a righteous person in the company of Satan.

“‘Is this not a belief that severely tarnishes Islam? Is it permissible to suggest that the Gracious and Merciful Lord desires the destruction of man more than his guidance? God forbid, never. A blind man does not understand the teachings of the Holy Quran, thus he blames it for his ignorance.

“‘All these calamities, from which these scholars cannot escape in any way, arose because they assumed that angels descend to earth in their original forms, and as such it was also a necessary belief that they ascend to the heavens without delay. Due to these two erroneous beliefs, they got trapped in this predicament and further fabricated a third belief that no good companion is given to man against the evil companion who remains with him at all times. By concocting this belief, they have severely slandered the Quranic teachings and granted malevolent adversaries the opportunity to attack.

“‘If these people had accepted that no angel ever descends by itself but rather descends in its shadow existence, empowered with representation, as Hazrat Jibra’il appeared personified in the form of Dihya Kalbi, and as an angel personified for Hazrat Maryam, no objection would arise, and no one could critique the permanence of the good companion.

“‘And the surprising part is that in holding such a belief [as mentioned earlier], they are completely opposed to the Holy Quran and authentic ahadith. The Holy Quran, on the one hand, declares the heavens as the place of permanent stay and firm establishment for the angels, and on the other hand, strongly states that the Holy Spirit is permanently granted to support true believers and does not separate from them; though every person possesses some degree of the Holy Spirit’s light due to their natural disposition, that light in common people gets overshadowed by satanic darkness and becomes so suppressed that it seems as though it does not exist at all.’ (A’ina-e-Kamalat-e-Islam, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 5, pp. 93-97)

“In his Arabic treatise Hamamat-ul-Bushra, while discussing the topic of angels remaining at their appointed stations in the heavens and simultaneously descending to the world by the permission of Allah, the Promised Messiahas states:

“‘We do not find a single verse in the Holy Quran that indicates that the angels leave their positions at any time. Rather, the Quran points out that they do not abandon the positions that Allah has established for them. Despite this, they descend to the earth and meet the inhabitants of the earth by Allah’s permission, and they manifest themselves in various forms. At times, they appear to the prophets in the form of human beings, sometimes they are seen as light, and sometimes the people of spiritual insight see them as children or beardless youths. Allah creates new forms for them on earth, in addition to their original forms, by His subtle and encompassing power. Meanwhile, they also have bodies in the heavens and they do not separate from their celestial bodies, nor do they leave their positions. They come to the prophets and to all others to whom they are sent, without abandoning their original positions. This is one of the secrets of Allah.’ (Hamamat-ul-Bushra, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 7, p. 273)

“In summary, the angels remain established at their appointed positions in the heavens in their original forms. However, by the power of Allah and with His permission, they also descend to the world in their shadow forms.”

Pema Gyamtsho | Unslpash

Can one pay chanda on behalf of a deceased person?

Someone wrote to Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa, stating, “Many Ahmadis make financial contributions to the Tahrik-e-Jadid and Waqf-e-Jadid schemes in the name of the Holy Prophetsa, the Promised Messiahas, or deceased individuals. What is the Islamic legal status of such financial donations? Is this not comparable to the practices of non-Ahmadis who offer alms and charity, prepare feasts, recite Fatiha, observe the fortieth day (chaliswan) after someone’s death, and celebrate death anniversaries (‘urs), all to benefit their deceased? When the deeds of the deceased have ceased, their record of deeds is closed, and no further good deeds are possible, how can financial donations made by their heirs in their name benefit them?”

Huzoor-e-Anwaraa, in his letter dated 10 January 2023, provided the following answer to this question:

“Allah the Exalted states in the Holy Quran: 

وَمَاۤ‭ ‬اٰتٰكُمُ‭ ‬الرَّسُوۡلُ‭ ‬فَخُذُوۡهُ‭ ‬وَمَا‭ ‬نَهٰكُمۡ‭ ‬عَنۡهُ‭ ‬فَانۡتَهُوۡا

“‘And whatsoever the Messenger gives you, take it; and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain from [that].’ (Surah al-Hashr, Ch. 59, V.8)

“Regarding the practice of giving charity and participating in religious financial initiatives on behalf of deceased individuals, it is established from the Holy Prophetsa that he permitted several Companions to give charity and perform certain good deeds on behalf of their loved ones who had passed away. These deceased individuals had intended to perform these deeds during their lifetimes but were unable to do so due to certain constraints.

“Therefore, performing good deeds on behalf of the deceased can indeed benefit them even after their passing. As the Holy Prophetsa said, ‘When a man dies, his acts come to an end, except for three: Recurring charity, knowledge [by which people] benefit, or pious progeny, who prays for him.’ (Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-wasiyyah, Bab ma yalhaqu l-insanu min ath-thawabi ba‘da wafatih)

“Likewise, Hazrat Anas ibn Malikra reported, ‘Allah’s Messengersa, said, ‘Seven actions will accrue reward for a servant after his death while he remains in his grave: Imparting knowledge, constructing a canal, digging a well, planting a date palm, building a mosque, bequeathing a copy of the Quran, and leaving behind a righteous child who prays for forgiveness for him after his death.’’ (Al-Bayhaqi, Shu‘ab al-Iman, al-ikhtiyar fi sadaqati t-tatawwu‘, Bab sab‘atun yajri li l-‘abdi ajruhunna wa huwa fi qabarihi ba‘da mawtihi)

“Regarding giving charity on behalf of a deceased loved one, there is the following narration from Hazrat Ibn Abbasra: ‘Sa‘d ibn ‘Ubada’s mother passed away while he was away. He asked, ‘O Allah’s Messengersa, my mother has died in my absence; would it benefit her if I gave charity on her behalf?’ The Prophetsa replied, ‘Yes.’ Sa‘d then declared, ‘I make you my witness that I have dedicated my orchard, al-Makhraf, as a charity on her behalf.’’ (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-wasaya, Bab idha qala ’ardi aw bustani sadaqatun lillah ‘an ummi fa huwa ja’izun wa in lam yubayyin liman dhalika)

“Furthermore, there are certain narrations in which the Holy Prophetsa instructed those who enquired to perform Hajj and observe fasts on behalf of their deceased loved ones. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-hajj, Bab al-hajji wa n-nudhur ‘ani l-mayyit wa r-rajulu yahujju ‘ani l-mar’ah; Kitab al-imani wa n-nudhur, Bab man mata wa ‘alayhi nadhr; Sahih Muslim, Kitab as-siyam, Bab qada’i s-siyami ‘ani l-mayyit)

“Regarding the offering of charity and alms on behalf of the deceased, the Promised Messiahas elucidates:

“‘Charity and alms given on behalf of the deceased indeed reach them. However, the practice of conveying the reward of reciting the Holy Quran to the deceased is not substantiated by the Noble Messengersa and his Companions. Instead, supplications should be offered for the deceased. The tradition of giving charity and offering prayers for the deceased is well-established by 124,000 prophets. Nevertheless, the most meritorious charity is that which one gives with one’s own hands, for it seals one’s faith.’ (Malfuzat [1984], Vol. 8, p. 405)

“Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira elucidates on performing virtuous deeds on behalf of the deceased:

“‘One must exhibit the utmost kindness towards one’s parents. (I have used the term ‘maan baapi.e., ‘mother and father’, in accordance with the vernacular of our country; otherwise, [in certain respects], the father’s right is primary, and it should be ‘father and mother’.) Those among you whose parents are alive should render service to them, and those whose one or both parents have passed away should pray for them, offer charity, and engage in almsgiving.

“‘Some members of our Jamaat are mistaken in thinking that no reward reaches the deceased. They are wrong. In my view, supplications, seeking forgiveness, charity, alms, and even Hajj, Zakat, and fasting – all of these acts benefit the deceased. This is my belief, and it is a resolutely firm conviction.’ (Al Fazl, Qadian, Vo. 1, No. 25, 3 December 1913, p. 1)

“Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra would offer sacrifices [qurbani] and make financial contributions [chanda] on behalf of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira after his demise. He states:

“‘It has been 42 years since the demise of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I, yet I continue to offer qurbani on his behalf on every occasion. Tahrik-e-Jadid commenced in 1934, and now it is 1956. Thus, 22 years have elapsed. Perhaps, even the descendants of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira may not be participating in this, but I donate on his behalf every year so that his soul may receive the reward. When I performed Hajj, I also offered a qurbani on his behalf, and I have continued to do so on every Eid since then.’ (Majlis Ansarullah Markaziyya Ke Dusray Salana Ijtema 1956 Mein Khitabaat, Anwar-ul-Uloom, Vol. 25, p. 468)

“Regarding this issue, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh has stated that donations can be given on behalf of the deceased, and such good deeds that pertain to the rights of people continue to benefit the deceased even after their demise. Thus, in response to a question, he stated:

“‘The good deeds of a deceased person that pertain to the rights of people can continue to be fulfilled. However, the good deeds pertaining to the rights of Allah are discontinued. The account of one’s connection with Allah ends with death, but the good deeds they performed for the benefit of the general people continue. Hence, giving perpetual charity [sadaqah jariyah] in their name, or if they served the cause of Faith, which is a matter pertaining to benefiting humanity; continuing their financial contributions – in fact, these are some borderline cases that appear to be the rights of Allah but are actually deeply connected with the rights of people. This is why, according to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat’s teachings, financial contributions [chandas] have been included among the things that constitute spending in the way of Allah, which are not directly the rights of Allah but rather the rights of people, or fall between the two. So, this is the case with charity and alms etc. 

“‘However, no such good deed can be performed on their behalf, that their death has rendered discontinued, and which they themselves did not use to perform. If done, it may be out of one’s own desire, but it will not benefit them. If a person was not sympathetic towards the poor, usurping their wealth, and after his death, you start serving the poor on his behalf, it will be your service, credited to the account of the one performing it, but not to his (the deceased’s) account. 

“‘Therefore, the fundamental principle to remember is that if a person who served God’s creation dies with unfulfilled aspirations cut short by death, continuing those aspirations is the practice of the virtuous, and it is proven that their good deeds will benefit them. And sometimes, Allah Almighty even informs them of this.’ (Urdu Mulaqat, Question-and-Answer Session No. 41, recorded on 23 June 1995, Question No. 1)

“Hence, giving charity and donations or fulfilling a good deed on behalf of a deceased person that they intended to do but could not complete due to some constraint or death is permissible. However, we must strictly abstain from any practice that the Holy Prophetsa neither performed himself nor instructed his Companions to do, because attempting to initiate a practice that is not proven from the Quran, sunnah, and ahadith falls in the category of innovation [bid‘ah], regarding which the Holy Prophetsa has given severe warnings. The Holy Prophetsa said:

مَنْ‭ ‬أَحْدَثَ‭ ‬فِي‭ ‬أَمْرِنَا‭ ‬هَذَا‭ ‬مَا‭ ‬لَيْسَ‭ ‬فِيهِ‭ ‬فَهُوَ‭ ‬رَدٌّ

“‘Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours (i.e., Islam) that is not part of it will have it rejected.’ (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab as-Sulh, Bab idha s-talahu ‘ala sulhi jawrin fa s-sulhu mardud)”

(Compiled by Zaheer Ahmad Khan, Head of Records Department, Private Secretariat, London. Translated by Al Hakam.)

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