إذا مات ابن آدم إنقطع عمله إلا من ثلاثة: صدقة جارية أو علم ينتفع به أو ولد صالح يدعو له
If the son of Adam dies, his actions cease except 3: A continuous charity, or knowledge which people benefit from, or a righteous son who supplicates for him. (Saheeh Muslim)
Sheikh Saleh bin Al Fowzan commented:
I heard Sheikh Muhammad bin Ibraheem رحمه الله mention during a lecture that he delivered in the College of Shari’ah (in Riyadh):
Indeed the continuous charity can possibly discontinue (due to funds depleting, etc.), and the righteous son may pass away. As for beneficial knowledge, its benefit will continue and not cease, and the person will continue to gain reward (after his death).
This is certainly one of the reasons why knowledge is more superior to other righteous deeds.
Source: At Ta’leek al Qaweem ‘ala Kitaab Iqtidaah al Siraltul Mustqeem pg. 22
Translator’s note: In addition to what was mentioned above we also gain the following benefits:
- Knowledge which other people benefit from is a reason why other people (who are not related to the person responsible for teaching the knowledge) will supplicate for him in addition to the righteous son. If a Muslim dies, the norm is that only his family and friends will supplicate for him. In the case of a scholar, or person who has taught others, those who have benefitted from him will also supplicate for him after his death. It is for this reason why we still supplicate for the great Imam’s of the past; the likes of Imam al Bukhari رحمه الله, Imam Muslim رحمه الله, Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal رحمه الله and others. We also supplicate for the scholars of present days, the likes of Sheikh ‘Abdul ‘Azeez bin Baaz رحمه الله, Sheikh ‘Uthaymeen رحمه الله, Sheikh Al Albaani رحمه الله, Sheikh Muqbil رحمه الله and others. We even supplicate for Islamic teachers who have passed away in more recent times, the likes of Abu Uwais رحمه الله and Abu Talhah رحمه الله. Thus, it is clear how knowledge is more superior to other righteous deeds.
- As it relates to the righteous son, it is also possible that the person’s son (or daughter) deviate from the straight path (no longer practices Islam), and consequently, their supplications are no longer accepted from them.
May Allah have mercy on our scholars and Islamic teachers who have guided us and taught us the Book and the authentic Sunnah of our beloved Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم