An aged woman passed on. Circumstantially, burial rites could only be done the next day. Only a few were seen gathered for the last spiritual respect she deserved. The rows of lovers who prayed unto the lifeless body were too small compared to the fame the deceased’s family was known with. But excruciatingly, attendees at the fidau – the third day – were teeming and numberless.

Islam emphasizes participation in the bathing and rapping of a Muslim corpse, yet many run away from the unquantifiably rewardable act, and inclusive are children of the deceased. This may be due to what is seen in home videos where corpses, in white raps, rise frighteningly from their graves with their faces painted in same colour, and in their hands long canes flow. Fidau or burial ceremony is rather their focus.

Islam encourages Muslims to partake in Salaatul Janaazah (prayer unto the dead), the reward for which is inestimably high, yet people (family and friends) are hardly seen on the rows, whereas their presence, activeness are usually felt at the so-called fidau.

Accompanying the dead to the grave is another greatly recommended act to be covetously embraced by Muslims. Being a part of their lowering into the grave and their covering with sand are phenomena that are worth leaving office work or merchandise for. Muslims of today lose all these for a fidau that comes with no reward. Did I hear you say no? Then you’ve got to factually prove it from the Qur’an and the Sunnah!

What is fidau, and what traceable source has it in Sharee’ah?

Many died during the lifetime of the holy Prophet and there was no fidau done for them. The Prophet lost his beloved wife – Khadeejah – and six out of the seven children of his, he never considered fidau worthy for them. Could it be inferred that he – the Prophet – didn’t truly love his wife and children?

If special prayer for the dead on the 3rd, 8th, 21st or 41st day of their death were significant, the sahabah would have been the first to do it for the Prophet, or at least for one another. If nothing of such happened in the history of Islam, how then did the shame rear its ugly head on us? Someone should prove it and tell us the amount of reward partakers stand to get.

The claim that it is prayer (or that Qur’an recitation is rendered therein) holds no water. The point is, if it was anything to go by, it would have been exemplified by our models – the Prophet and his companions. After all, they understood the holy Book and its workings better.

Fidau is just one commercial venture actuated by our fathers of yore who were largely shortchanged by mosque handlers. To their imamship duties they received no remuneration. And like child-birth ceremony, nikaah etc., fidau was created to get money to sustain themselves, their wives and children. It couldn’t have been accepted as a worthwhile phenomenon if it was not attached to the religion, hence the recitation of Qur’an. May Allah overlook the shortcomings of our forefathers and grant them Jannah!

What kind of du’a – in this regard – can be greater than Salaatul Janaazah, as commanded by Allah and His Apostle? What kind of invocation can be better than a child’s daily prayers for his deceased parents? What kind of prayers can be more rewarding than a charity done in the name of a gone father, mother etc.?

Let’s stick to the Islam of our forebears!

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