Shaykh ibn Baaz ﺭﺣﻤﻪ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ was asked:
What is the ruling concerning what is known as al-ma`tim, in which people gather for three days after the burial in order to recite the Quran?
The gathering in the house of the deceased to eat, drink and recite the Qur’aan is an innovation. Similarly, their getting together to pray for the person and make supplications for him are also innovations. There is no source for it.
All that should be done is that, people come to pay condolences, pray for the person, ask for mercy for them, console their grieving and encourage them to be patient. To gather for what they call al- ma’tim, to make particular supplications, particular prayers or reading of the Quran has no basis whatsoever. If that were a good act, our pious predecessors would have done it.
The Messenger of Allaah ﺻﻠﻲ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﻋﻠﻴﻪ ﻭ ﺳﻠﻢ did not do it. When Jaafar ibn Abee Taalib, Abdullaah ibn Rawaaha and Zaid ibn Haaritha were killed at the Battle of Mu’tah and the Prophet ﺻﻠﻲ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﻋﻠﻴﻪ ﻭ ﺳﻠﻢ received the news through revelation, the Prophet announced that to the Companions and told them their news. He supplicated for them and asked Allaah to be pleased with them. He did no make a gathering. He did not prepare a meal or have a ma’tim. All of that he did not do even though the three who died were from the most virtuous of the Companions.
When Abu Bakr died, also no one made a ma’tim, even though he was the best of the Companions. When Umar was killed, no one made a ma’tim. The people did not gather to pray or read the Qur’aan for him. Uthman and Ali were killed and the people did not gather after a specific time to pray for them, ask mercy for them or prepare food for them. It is, however, recommended for the relatives or neighbors of the deceased to prepare food for the deceased’s family and to send that food to them. This is similar to what the Prophet ﺻﻠﻲ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﻋﻠﻴﻪ ﻭ ﺳﻠﻢ did when the news of Jaafar’s death came to him. He said to his family,
“Prepare food for the family of Jafar as something has occurred to them that is preoccupying them.”‘
The family of the deceased are preoccupied with their loss. To prepare food for them and send it to them is what is legal sanctioned. However, to add to their affliction and to put more responsibilities on their shoulders by making them prepare food for the people goes completely against the sunnah. In fact, it is an innovation.
Jareer ibn al-Bajali said, “We used to consider gathering with the family of the deceased and preparing food after the burial as a kind of lamentation.” And lamentation is forbidden. This is to raise one’s voice, while the deceased is punished in the grave due to the wailing over him. One must avoid such practices. However, there is no harm in crying with tears.