Rabi al Tha’ni is the fourth month of the Islamic calendar and is often referred to as Rabi al Aakhir. This month signifies practicing no specific ritual as stated by the Shariah. The 11th of this month is considered to be the death anniversary of Baghdadi saint, Shaikh Abdul Qadir Al-Jilani. Muslims all across the globe, ardently make arrangements to offer Niyaaz during this month to honor his life. Niyaaz is a special meal distributed amongst family and close acquaintances. Many practice charity during this month in the name of these saints as a form of conveying rewards to the departed souls. The reality of it is that this practice is totally unjustifiable for various reasons.
Firstly, there is no written proof of the saint’s passing on that specific date. Many argue that the Baghdadi saint departed this world on the 9th of Rabi Al Tha’ni. While others swear it was the 17th. Anything under doubt should not be undertaken under the name of Islam.
Secondly, the commemoration of death anniversaries is a practice not recognized by the Shariah, the Islamic Law. Practicing any ritual unrecognized by the Shariah is an offense and not allowed.
Thirdly, the belief behind the distribution of Niyaaz, that is, the soul of the Shaikh will be satisfied by these offerings and thus answer one’s prayers, is preposterous and absurd. It may even be considered shirk since you are praying to someone other than the Almighty. Shirk is an unforgivable sin.
Fourthly, even if you intend to do this for the sake of Isal Thawab, there should not be a date especially set for it. Isal Thawab refers to sending of rewards for the dead. If so, these do not need a date and time or restrictions. People are often pointed at for not taking part in this ritual are often judged and looked down upon and that should never be the case if your main aim is to only please Allah.
Fifthly, Isal Thawad is often considered an Ibadah, or an act of worship, by many similar to Sadaqah(sacrifice in the name of Allah). The distribution of Niyaaz amongst financially sound relatives and not the poor defeats the purpose behind charity thus it cannot be labeled as an Ibadah.
In conclusion, this custom is prohibited by the Shariah. Isal Thawab should never be restricted to a specific date or time. It can be performed whenever one pleases to do so.