What is the status of the hadith “Recite Yaasin for those who are dying,”?
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
The Text of the Hadith (Matan)
From Ma’qil bin Yasar, the Prophet PBUH said:
اقْرَؤُوْا يَسٍ عَلَى مَوْتَاكُمْ
“Recite Surah Ya-Sin over your dying men.”
Sunan Abu Daud (2714)
Status of the Hadith
Among the opinions of scholars regarding the hadith:
- Abu Daud did not comment on this hadith (سكت عنه). This means the hadith is good (صالح) according to the message he wrote to the Meccan.
- Ibn Hibban place the hadith in his sahih which is Sahih Ibn Hibban. [See Sahih Ibn Hibban, no. Hadith 3002]
- Imam al-Nawawi state the sanad of the hadith is weak for there are two majhul (unknown) narrators. [See: al-Azkar, 144]
- Imam Ibn Qathan said the hadith is not sahih for Abu Uthman is unknown and did not narrate it from anyone except Sulaiman bin Yasar. When he is unknown then his father is also unknown but he narrates the hadith from him. [See: Bayan al-Wahm wa al-Iham, 5/49]
According to the opinions of scholars, some of them state that the hadith is sahih and others state the hadith is dhaif or not sahih. After analysing these opinions, then in our opinion, the hadith is dhaif but it has syawahid related to the recitation of yasin when a person is dying.
Syawahid on the Hadith
Imam al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar state that there is a hadith in Musnad Imam Ahmad of which the sanad is hasan. [See al-Isobah, 5/249], from Safwan RA:
حَدَّثَنِي الْمَشْيَخَةُ، أَنَّهُمْ حَضَرُوا غُضَيْفَ بْنَ الْحَارِثِ الثُّمَالِيَّ، حِينَ اشْتَدَّ سَوْقُهُ، فَقَالَ: " هَلْ أَحَدٌ مِنْكُمْ يَقْرَأُ يس؟ " قَالَ: فَقَرَأَهَا صَالِحُ بْنُ شُرَيْحٍ السَّكُونِيُّ، فَلَمَّا بَلَغَ أَرْبَعِينَ مِنْهَا قُبِضَ، قَالَ: وَكَانَ الْمَشْيَخَةُ يَقُولُونَ: إِذَا قُرِئَتْ عِنْدَ الْمَيِّتِ خُفِّفَ عَنْهُ بِهَا.
The syeikhs told me that they were visiting Ghudhaif bin Harith ats-Thumali when he was dying, then he said: “Is there anyone among you who would want to recite Yasin?” He (Safwan) said, then Salih bin Syuraih al-Sakuniy recite it (Yasin) and when he was reciting verse 40, Ghudaif passed away. He (Safwan) said: “The syeikhs said: “When it is recited to a dying person, surely, Allah SWT will ease him for the recitation.” [Musnad Ahmad, no. Hadith 16355]
According to Syeikh Syu’aib al-Arnouth when he was revising the book al-Azkar written by Imam al-Nawawi, the phrase “إِذَا قُرِئَتْ عِنْدَ الْمَيِّتِ خُفِّفَ عَنْهُ بِهَا” is mawquf because it is a phrase from Ghudaif RA and Ghudaif is a companion of the Prophet PBUH. As for al-Masyakhah in the syawahid it means a person who is among the companions of the Prophet PBUH and the great tabi’n for these people will not say anything based only on their opinions (especially in terms of religion). Thus, the ruling for it is marfu’. [See al-Azkar, 144]
The Meaning of “عَلَى مَوْتَاكُمْ”
Scholars have differing opinions in understanding the words or phrase in the hadith whether it means to recite Yasin to those who are dying or those who have passed away.
- First opinion: Reciting Yasin for those who are dying.
This is the accurate opinion for the syawahid on the hadith showed that what the salaf did was to recite the Yasin to those who are dying. Thus, most scholars who hold onto the opinion one should recite Yasin to those who are dying state that it is a sunnah or mustahab (encouraged). This is also the opinion in madhhab al-Imam al-Syafie RA where it is stated that it is sunnah to recite Yasin for those who are dying for it is included as one of the manners according to the hadith “Recite Surah Ya-Sin over your dying men.” [See al-Wasith fi Fiqh al-Syafie, 1/184]
- Second opinion: Reciting Yasin for those who has passed away.
Some scholars hold the opinion that reciting Yasin for those who have passed away is a mustahab matter for those who understand the meaning of the hadith is for the deceased. As for reciting the Quran in graveyards, it is a khilaf matter where some scholars ruled it permissible while others ruled it otherwise.
To conclude, whoever holds onto this hadith, then it is sunnah for them to recite Yasin to those who are dying or who has passed away, although there are differences in understanding the meaning of this hadith. Furthermore, there are no prohibitions on a Muslim to recite the Quran and gift the rewards to the deceased. The reason is it has been stated in evidences presented by scholars that the deceased will receive the rewards according to the general evidence in regards to the issue of whether the deceased will receive the rewards. Lastly, may Allah SWT grant us guidance in everything that we do. Amin.