What is the Best Charity for My Deceased Parents?

26 August, 2016
Q Please let us know what are the best things, for Allah’s sake to send ajar (reward) for our deceased parents? For example: feeding our relatives once, feeding the orphaned children, or feeding the Madrasa (school) children, etc… Please send us the best things we can do as a reminder. Insha’Allah. Jazakallah


Salam Dear Sister,

Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

May Allah reward you for thinking about the well being of your deceased parents and may your charity increase their level in Paradise Insha’Allah.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“The best charity is that which is practiced by a wealthy person. And start giving first to your dependents.” (Al-Bukhari)

Allah says in the Quran what is translated as:

{It is not Al-Birr (piety, righteousness, and each and every act of obedience to Allah, etc.) that you turn your faces towards east and (or) west (in prayers); but Al-Birr is (the quality of) the one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the Angels, the Book, the Prophets and gives his wealth, in spite of love for it, to the kinsfolk, to the orphans, and to Al-Masakin (the poor), and to the wayfarer, and to those who ask, and to set slaves free, performs As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), and gives the Zakat, and who fulfill their covenant when they make it, and who are patient in extreme poverty and ailment (disease) and at the time of fighting (during the battles). Such are the people of the truth and they are Al-Muttaqun (the pious).} (Al-Baqara, Chapter 2, Verse 177)

It all depends on your means; the best charity (sadaqa) is sadaqa jariah, or continuous charity.  For example:

1. Building a Masjid in a village that does not have a proper facility
2. Building a school for Muslim children who do not have access to education
3. Building an orphanage
4. Supplying water to Muslims who do not have easy access to water
5. Planting trees so Muslims can benefit from their fruits

Our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“A Muslim who plants a tree or sows a field, from which man, birds and animals can eat, is committing an act of charity.” (Muslim)

Those projects might sound costly in a western country but fairly reasonable in Asian or African countries; especially when all your brothers and sisters put their charity together.

The second type of sadaqa is also continuous even if it is given a little at a time such as supporting a poor family on monthly basis; those could be less fortunate members of your own family.  Ibn Abi Masud al Badri reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“Anyone who spends money on his family and seeks blessings for doing so will find it counted charity on his behalf.” (Al-Bukhari)

The last type of charity is the one that is given once; the way you have mentioned and in that priority: family first, orphanage second, poor Muslims third, then anyone else, the specified order that is mentioned in the verse above.

For family members, it is preferred that they are needy since feeding people who already have plenty is more like an invitation which is also rewarded by Allah since you are strengthening family ties; but some scholars do not consider it as sadaqa since if those invited know that your intention is for that purpose, they might not even attend your gathering; considering that they are not in need of charity.

Comparing the three types of charity, the first one is meant to continue for many generations until the Day of Judgment.  The second type will continue until your generation passes away; hopefully after a very long time insha’Allah.  While the last is only given once and will seize after everyone benefits from your sadaqa.

My advice is to think this thoroughly since the same amount of money spent on feeding people once in the west could be equivalent for example to establishing a water well or planting trees in a village back home.

Finally, Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) as saying:

“Charity does not in any way decrease the wealth; and the servant who forgives, Allah adds to his respect, and the one who shows humility, Allah elevates him in the estimation (of the people).” (Muslim)

I hope this helps answer your question.

Salam and please keep in touch.

About Maen Khalifa
Maen has many years of experience in dawah work. He formerly worked as the Ask About Islam Editor and a consultant.