Hanging donor plaques in place of prayer
Fatwa No: 286087

Question

SalamA women donated 40,000 dollars on the soul of her dead husband to renovate the musalla area in the Islamic centre, and she wanted to have a plauqe in his name and small picture hanged outside the musalla, in the corridor asking people to make duaa for her husband. Is this ok? Jazakallahu khaira.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

To begin with, we ask Allaah to accept the charity this woman offered on behalf of her husband, to bestow His mercy on him and to benefit him by it.

It is permissible to offer charity on behalf of the deceased according to the scholarly consensus. There is no problem in writing the name of the deceased on a plaque in order to ask people to supplicate for him because, in principle, it is permissible for a Muslim to ask the righteous to supplicate for him or her. An-Nawawi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote, “"Section: The commendableness of asking the righteous for supplication even if the one asking for it is more righteous than the one asked, and (the commendableness of) supplicating in sacred places." Know that the Ahaadeeth concerning this are more than can be counted, and it is a point of unanimous agreement.” [Al-Athkaar]

It is better, however, not to write the name of the person on whose behalf the charity is offered, because people can still be requested to supplicate for him without knowing his name. It is not necessary to know the name of the person for whom you are supplicating. For instance, she may consider writing the following on the plaque: “This place of prayer has been renovated as a charity on behalf of a deceased person. Please remember him in your prayers,” or the like. She may also write his name on the plaque without hanging his image.

As for the ruling on hanging images of a dead person, it should be avoided given the problematic issues involved. In fact, such an act may lead to exaggeration in veneration and attachment to him. Moreover, some scholars held that it is prohibited to hang images of animate beings in general. In addition, if the corridor where the plaque on which this picture is to be hung is actually part of the place of prayer, this would be another problematic issue.

The Fatwa of the Standing Committee for Scholarly Research and Fatwa reads, “Offering charity on behalf of the dead person by his relatives and friends, other than Zakah, is a prescribed act of worship. It is recommended, however, not to write the name of the person on whose behalf the mosque is built so as to avoid potential exaggeration and ostentation.

The Committee also said, “It is impermissible to hang images of animate beings in houses or elsewhere, be they images of the living or the dead, not for the purpose of honoring their memory or otherwise… It is impermissible to hang a photograph of a human being or an animal inside the mosque, and it must be removed.

For more benefit, please refer to Fatwa 89555.

Allaah Knows best.

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