Question:
Salam alaikum wrb,
I have a relative that passed away. He did not pray for many years.
Can I hire someone to pray on his behalf, and transfer the rewards
to him to make up for the prayers that he missed.

Answer:
Praises are to Allah, and peace be upon prophet Muhammed.
Walaikum salam wrb,

There are a couple issues that come up from your question.

First, is your relative that passed away considered a believer that will
enter the jannah or not? The answer to that is if he heeded the
call of our noble ulema, shuyukh , and imams that called
to the belief only in Allah alone and nothing else, along with the beliefs
that follow along with it, like the belief in prophet Muhammed, may Allah’s
peace and blessings be upon him. Or on the other hand if he was averse
to them, and to the Islamic knowledge.

If the person was not praying for a long time, the person should have repented
by regretting having skipped the prayers and starting to pray before his
death. At the deathbed, one is encouraged to prompt the dying person to say
the kalimatain before his death. What will come out is what the dying
person did throughout his life.

It is unfortunate that even though the whole family may be devout muslims,
they cannot help their relative in regards to faith. Each person is
responsible for himself, and one cannot transfer faith from one person to
another.

The second question, does a person make up the owed prayers of a
relative that passed away? The answer to that is no. The relatives only
make up a owed hajj, and owed days of some types of fasting. The
prayers are not made up.

The third question, can rewards be transferred to the deceased?
The ulema have said that the rewards pertaining to money are transferred,
like giving sadaqah on behalf of the deceased. Many of the ulema have
said that rewards pertaining to physical actions like prayer, fasting, etc.
are not transferred. Allah with His infinite bounty multiplies the rewards,
and the rewards are not at all diminished from any person. The sins, however,
cannot be erased from the deceased, or transferred from the deceased to
a living person.

The best things to do on behalf of the deceased is to supplicate for him,
and try to spread the beneficial knowledge through his behalf. This is because
there is a hadith that says that prophet Muhammad, may Allah’s peace and
blessings be upon him, said three things continue for the deceased after
death: sadaqah jariah; beneficial knowledge; and a righteous son that supplicates
for him.

The fourth question, can someone hire someone to do good deeds, and
then transfer the deeds? My shaikh, Atiya Muhammad Salim, may Allah have
mercy on him, says that if someone does these deeds because of getting paid,
he does not earn any reward because of the wrong intention, and therefore there
is nothing that would be transferred.

It is important for all of us to heed the call of our ulema, shuyukh,
and imams, before that time of death reaches us. We pray that our rewards
continue to grow for us greatly all the way to the day of judgement.

And Allah knows.

Shaikh Sajid