It is a general perception that one cannot benefit from other people’s deeds after his death. But there are some important exceptions as told by the Holy Prophet (PBUH) in this hadith,“When a person dies, his deeds are cut off except for three: Continuing charity, the knowledge that others benefited from, and a righteous son who supplicates for him.” – Jami at-Tirmidhi Book 13 Hadith 1376
According to Islam and hadiths, below are the deeds that can benefit a dead.
1. Benefitting The Dead Through Janazah Prayers
Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Any Muslim dies and forty men who do not associate anything with Allah (in worship), perform his funeral prayer, Allah makes them intercede for him” – Riyad Us Saliheen Book 1 Hadith 430
2. Through Charitable Deeds, He, Himself Had Done
Holy Prophet (PBUH) said: ‘The rewards of the good deeds that will reach a believer after his death are: Knowledge which he taught and spread; a righteous son whom he leaves behind; a copy of the Qur’an that he leaves as a legacy; a mosque that he built; a house that he built for wayfarers; a canal that he dug; or charity that he gave during his lifetime when he was in good health. These deeds will reach him after his death” – Sunan Ibn Majah Book 1 Hadith 242
3. Through The Charity And Supplications From The Child Of Deceased
Bibi A’isha (R.A) reported that a man came to Allah’s Apostle (PBUH) and said: Allah’s Messenger, my mother died all of a sudden without making any will. I think if (she could have the opportunity) to speak she would have made a Sadaqa. Would there be any reward for her if I give charity on her behalf? He (the Holy Prophet) said: Yes. – Sahih Muslim Book 13 Hadith 4003
4. Benefitting The Dead By Fulfilling The Deceased’s Promises And Paying His Debts
A woman came to the Prophet (PBUH) and said, “My mother vowed to perform the Hajj but she died before performing it. Should I perform the Hajj on her behalf?” He said, “Yes! Perform the Hajj on her behalf. See, if your mother had been in debt, would you have paid her debt?” She said, “Yes.” He said, “So you should pay what is for Him as Allah has more right that one should fulfill one’s obligations to Him. ” – Sahih al-Bukhari Book 92 Hadith 418
5. By Making Dua Upon Visiting His Graveyard
Bibi Aishah (RA) reported that whenever Messenger of Allah (PBUH) used to go to the Baqi’ (graveyard in Al-Madinah) at the last part of the night, he says, “May you be safe, O abode of the believing people. What you have been promised has come to you. You are tarried till tomorrow and certainly, we shall follow you if Allah wills. O Allah, forgive the inmates of the Baqi’-al-Gharqad.” Riyad Us Saliheen Book 1 Hadith 581
And verily Allah knows the best!