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Published On: Thu, Jan 15th, 2015

Fidau prayers: The stand of the shari’ah

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By Husain Zakariyya Yawale.

Qur’an says:

“Every soul that hath sinned, if it possessed all that is on earth, would Fain give it In ransom: They would declare (their) repentance when They see the penalty: but the Judgment between them will be with justice, and no wrong will be done unto them.”[Yunus: 54]

Anas bin Malik narrated that the Prophet said, “Allah will say to the person who will have the minimum punishment in the Fire on the Day of Resurrection, ‘If you had wealth equal to whatever is on the earth, would you ransom yourself (from the punishment) with it?’ He will reply, Yes! Then Allah will say, ‘I asked you a much easier thing than this while you were in the backbone of Adam, that is, not to worship others besides Me, but you refused and insisted to worship others besides Me.”[ Bukhari: Book 8: Volume 76: Hadith 562 ]

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. All Praise is due to Allah! We praise Him and we seek help from Him. We ask forgiveness from Him. We repent to Him; and we seek refuge in Him from our evils and bad deeds. Anyone who is guided by Allah, is indeed guided; and anyone who has been left astray, will find no one to guide him. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allah, the Only One without any partner; and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and final messenger to mankind. May the peace and blessing of Allah be upon His last and final Apostle, his Household, his companions and all his followers until the end of time.

The Qur’an testifies that humankind has been the same throughout time and space. They were, and are still the same, culturally, till the end of time. They will continue to share the same fears and tribulations of the Unseen and the repugnance of their environment; those natural phenomenon which still defy their control or domination! The prehistoric man, as a result of acceptance of his incapacitation,started worshiping fearsome creatures without any guidance by setting for himself and his fellows certain fictitious rites, initiations and celebrations as mollification. He later called these creatures gods, which were usually represented in curved stones, wooden or irons statues. His fears and apprehensions became calamities of various degrees sometime culminating into fatality. Probably his rituals for the dead relatives were related to getting it well integrated, and accepted by its ancestors who perished many centuries ago. It may also be associated with comforting the ancestors to accept the arrival of new dead souls, should any violation or wrongs were perpetrated to the them whilst it was alive. Thus, the entire scheme of any type of rituals by traditionalist and polytheist priests were usually based on surmisals, conjectures and suppositions which they fabricate or confabulate out of their whimsies and impulses to defraud their ignorant acolytes and followers. In most cases their paralanguages are only groundless tongues without any rational meanings.

In many parts of the world, different cultures and religions have various rituals regarding spiritual redemption or rescue from torment of their dead in the hands of their ancestors in the great beyond. Some rites are still very cruel in their routines as well as barbaric in conjectures of communicating with the spiritual worlds on behalf of the deceases’ families. The whole aim for all these unfounded rituals was to rescue or ransom the soul of the dead from the awaiting torment or anguish in the great beyond.

In Judaism for example, the culture of ransom or redemption was sensual both in belief and orientation, according to their creeds. Christianity, similarly, ‘’teaches that the cruxifixction of Jesus Christ was a ransom for the Christians, believed to have been paid God to Satan, in satisfaction of his just claim on the souls of humanity as a result of their sins. Christian philosopher Robin Collins in his book “Understanding Atonement: A New and Orthodox Theory’’ summarized it as follows: ‘’Essentially, this theory claimed that Adam and Eve sold humanity over to the Devil at the time of the Fall; hence, justice required that grace pay the Devil a ransom to free us from the Devil’s clutches. God, however, tricked the Devil into accepting Christ’s death as a ransom, for the Devil did not realize that Christ could not be held in the bonds of death. Once the Devil accepted Christ’s death as a ransom, this theory concluded, justice was satisfied and God was able to free us from Satan’s grip’’.

The Qur’an also relates to us the belief of the pagan Arabs, as well as their inner motives in worshipping their numerous gods and goddesshood:

“They serve, besides Allah, things that hurt them not nor profit them, and They say: “These are Our intercessors with Allah.” say: “Do ye indeed inform Allah of something He knows not, In the heavens or on earth?- glory to Him! and far is He above the partners They ascribe (to Him)!”[Yunus: 18]


“Is it not to Allah that sincere devotion is due? but those who take for protectors other than Allah (Say): “We only serve them In order that They may bring us nearer to Allah.” truly Allah will judge between them In that wherein They differ. but Allah guides not such As are false and ungrateful.”[az-Zumar: 3]

From these verses we can clearly construe that idol worshippers worship it for the sole reason of interceding and protecting them from the awaiting tribulation hereafter. That is to say all sacrificial offerings to the gods here are ransom, meant to rescue them from the torment of fire.

Thus, “Fidda’u” or “Fidau”, or whatever it may be called is only a residue of either paganism, Judaism or ‘Christianism’, or the combination of all isms, going by their theological histories. In Islam, ransom has never been an issue with any consequence in allits scheme of theology. The Qur’an is very explicit on the impossibility of offering to Allah any material as ransom in alternative to the eternal punishment awaiting the infidels, regardless of its value and quantity. Allah confirms this possition in several verses of the Qur’an thus:

“Then guard yourselves against a Day when one soul shall not avail another nor shall intercession be accepted for her, nor shall compensation be taken from her, nor shall anyone be helped (from outside)”.[al-baqarah: 48]


“Every soul that hath sinned, if it possessed all that is on earth, would Fain give it In ransom: They would declare (their) repentance when They see the penalty: but the Judgment between them will be with justice, and no wrong will be done unto them.”[Yunus: 54]

Furthermore, a hadith expatiated the stand in the following sublime words.

Anas bin Malik Allah’s Prophet used to say, “A disbeliever will be brought on the Day of Resurrection and will be asked. “Suppose you had as much gold as to fill the earth, would you offer it to ransom yourself?” He will reply, “Yes.” Then it will be said to him, “You were asked for something easier than that (to join none in worship with Allah (i.e. to accept Islam, but you refused).” [Bukhari: Book 8 : Volume 76 : Hadith 546 ]

The case is where a person wasted his sojourn in this world as a loyal servant of Allah, and worshipped other gods beside Allah, or associated a fellow beingwith Him, or think someone has an immutablepowers to intercede, pay ransom or compensation in lieu of his or her condemnation before Allah. That is to say, if anyone made the mistake of his life by not submitting to Allah in devotion, and in line with what was revealed to Muhammad (PBUH) during his life time, such a person has fall into the abyss of eternal torment.

When a person misused his chances of believing in and worship Allah in this world, he or she will not have another chance of returning to the world after death to restyle or amend his or her faults. Nor those who consider the life of this world a passing amusement and pleasure devoid of any purpose or consequences. This wish will never come to reality, as no respite of amendment will be offered for whatever reason or price. Allah says:

“Leave alone those who take their Religion to be mere play and amusement, and are deceived by the life of This world. but proclaim (to them) This (truth): that every soul delivers itself to ruin by its own acts: it will find for itself no Protector or intercessor except Allah. if it offered every ransom, (or reparation), none will be accepted: such is (the end of) those who deliver themselves to ruin by their own acts: They will have for drink (only) boiling water, and for punishment, one Most grievous: for They persisted In rejecting Allah.”[al-Ma’idah: 70]

The Qur’an tells us of situations where the unbelievers would wish another chance to redeem their misconstruals. The following verses are meant for us here before the day when knowledge of belief and action will cease to be of any importance or value.

“Do They just wait for the final fulfilment of the event? on the Day the event is finally fulfilled, those who disregarded it before will say: “The apostles of Our Lord did indeed bring true (tidings). have we no intercessors Now to intercede on Our behalf? or could we be sent back? then should we behave differently from Our behaviour In the past.” In fact They will have lost their souls, and the things They invented will leave them In the lurch.”[a-A’araf: 53]

“Those whose lives the angels take In a state of wrong-doing to their own; then would They offer submission (with the pretence),;We did no evil (knowingly); (the angels will reply), Nay, but Verily Allah knoweth all that ye did; So enter the gates of Hell, to dwell therein. Thus evil indeed is the abode of the arrogant.”[an-Nahl: 28-29]

“If only Thou couldst see when the guilty ones will bend low their heads before their Lord, (saying:) “Our Lord! we have seen and we have heard: Now then send us back (to the world): we will work righteousness: for we do indeed (now) believe.”[as- sajadah: 12]

In essence, what people do after the death of their parents, wives or husbands, sons or daughters in terms of inviting friends and relations on the third, seventh and fourtieth days to offer some ‘special prayers’ for the deceased as ransom or fidau due his or her lapses, remains an innovation or Bid’ah. The prayers is inconsequential in changing the past of dead. Allah will never accept a ransom from the families, friends and relations of a dead person if he or she did not pay his or her right dues to Allah when alive. No compensations or substitute for bad work done while alive, instead of a good one later.

In fact, the special fidau prayers which people consider in my country as Islamic, is really not Islamic in anyway! it is waste of money, time and above all null and void effort in a wrong direction. The Qur’an forewarns, thus:

“That man can have nothing but what He strives for; That (the fruit of) His striving will soon come In sight”[an-Najm: 39-40]

That is to say, if the dead was righteaus while alive, to him or her his or her credit! The next verse brings that out clearly.

“Whoever works any act of righteousness and has Faith,- His endeavour will not be rejected: we shall record it In His favour”.[al-Anbiya’u: 94]

Similarly, Allah has given us a expansive liberty and freedom to choose to do good or bad while alive. Why after series of warnings and admonishing, and the flinging of several chances for repentance, can such a careless person be granted any compassion by proxy, and free of charge? Our chances of repentance is only during our life time. When we pass away, the chances become quiescent, dormant and frozen forever!

Thus, Allah, the Most High is above being lured by the foods, drinks and money given out to the beggar, the indigents and fraudulent mallams. let me say here and to be repeated anywhere anytime that those mallams or sheiks who persuad innocent relations of any dead person to spend money in vain ( not charity), are in fact, fraudulent, deceitful and dishonest in the name of religion (aklu-bid-deen)! Any insinuation to dupe any grieved Muslim after losing his loved one and abusing him by indirectly telling him that his decease is an inmate of hell-fire, to mercilessly again swindle him of what could have been spent mercifully in taking care of the widow and her orphans in many ways, such mallam are worse than merciless armed robbers in their heinous schemes.

In Islam, there is no any religious gathering in the name of asking Allah for any sympathy on behalf of a dead person after funeral services. There is no fidda’u or fidau or whatever prayers allowable in Shari’ah after burial rites. Indeed Islam has commanded us to pray for the repose of our dead in private and in the open, but not for a fee or bill. In our prayers (Salawats), at the break of our fasting, during pilgrimage, and any moment we remember them. Allah says:

“And those who came after them say: “Our Lord! forgive us, and Our brethren who came before us into the Faith, and leave not, In Our hearts, rancour (or sense of injury) against those who have believed. Our Lord! Thou art indeed full of kindness, Most Merciful.”[al-Hashr: 10]

Finally, let me conclude with this verse and invoke Allah to have mercy on all of us when we finally meet Him alone:

“O Our Lord! cover (Us) with Thy forgiveness – me, My parents, and (all) believers, on the Day that the reckoning will be established!”[Ibrahim: 41]


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