There are some hadiths (listed on the bottom) regarding doing Hajj which confuse me in connection with the following hadith:

The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “When a man dies, his deeds come to an end except for three things: Sadaqah Jariyah (ceaseless charity); knowledge which is beneficial; or a virtuous descendant who prays for him (the deceased).” [Sahih Muslim]

According to this hadith, nothing can be added to the deeds of a deceased, including doing Hajj for him. If this is so, why did the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) allowed doing Hajj for the deceased or is Hajj an exception or you can perform the Hajj-e-Badal but its reward will not go the deceased.

How to reconcile these hadith?

Narrated Abdullah bin Abbas. Al-Fadl (his brother) was riding behind Allah's Apostle and a woman from the tribe of Khath'am came and Al-Fadl started looking at her and she started looking at him. The Prophet turned Al-Fadl's face to the other side. The woman said, "O Allah's Apostle! The obligation of Hajj enjoined by Allah on His devotees has become due on my father and he is old and weak, and he cannot sit firm on the mount; may I perform Hajj on his behalf?" The Prophet replied, "Yes, you may." That happened during the Hajj-al-Wida (of the Prophet). -- Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith - 2.589

Editor's note: Three hadiths were linked, however two were the same link [the hadith above], and one no longer works, but a cached version on Google writes:

Narated By AbuRazin: A man of Banu Amir said: Apostle of Allah, my father is very old, he cannot perform hajj and umrah himself nor can be ride on a mount. He said: Perform hajj and umrah on behalf of your father.

  • can you please elaborate what exactly confuses you about the hadiths?
    – NesreenA
    Commented Jul 1, 2013 at 10:10
  • updated by question. hopefully it is more clear now
    – goto
    Commented Jul 1, 2013 at 11:33

3 Answers 3


Regarding the hadith you provided, this is an English translation, and in Arabic in place of pray are the words yad3oo lah which is a verb form of making a dua or any sort of remembrance of Allah it is not limited to praying.

يقول: عن أبي هريرة -رضي الله عنه- أن رسول الله -صلى الله عليه وسلم- قال: إذا مات ابن آدم انقطع عمله إلا من ثلاث: صدقة جارية، أو علم ينتفع به، أو ولد صالح يدعو له،

This may be fasting on the behalf of someone, making charity on their behalf, and even as you mentioned making a pilgrimage. These hadiths do not contradict each other.

  • Does that mean we can offer prayers or read quran and expect its reward (sawab) to be written in the deceased deeds? They are also remembrance of Allah
    – goto
    Commented Jul 2, 2013 at 5:36
  • I don't know about reading Quran but I know that you may pray on their behalf if they missed prayers
    – NesreenA
    Commented Jul 2, 2013 at 12:29

Hadiths should be interpreted in such a way that they do not contradict Qur'an and other sahih hadiths. Moreover, hadiths should be explained in the light of Qur'an. The key verse here is:

that no soul shall bear the burden of another; and that man shall have only that for which he strives; [53:39]

If you look closely the first hadith (that of Muslim) does not contradict this rule: a person gets benefit of a deed that he initiated or contributed to and the deed itself is of the nature that it continues even after his death.

The two other hadiths (that of Bukhari and Abu Dawud) mention that the father was too old to perform Hajj. Apparently, the father did have the intention to perform Hajj. Therefore, the Prophet allowed the child to perform Hajj-e-Badal. The father gets benefit due his intention. Were there no intention the prophet would not have allowed it because it would have been against the Quran.


I saw a similar narration from Imam Jafar al Sadiq that says (about the matters or practices which would be reached the human after the death):

  • Making a positive method between people that…
  • Khairat or charity that…
  • Leaving Saleh (good) children who do Salah, hajj, fast, … (for their parents) after their death.

Consequently, by paying attention to both mentioned narrations (of you and me) it is inferred that the mentioned item of you (going the rewards of Hajj for …) is related to the third part of those hadiths. Actually it could be related to doing good deed from children…



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