Sheikh `Atiyyah Saqr, former head of Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee, states the following: “If the Glorious Qur’an is recited over a dead Muslim, it is likely that he will earn the benefit due to his proximity to the scene of the Qur’anic recitation, regardless of making the recitation on his behalf or not. This is because whenever the Qur’an is recited, especially in a group, the Angels descend and cover the reader(s) with Allah’s Blessing, filling their hearts with comfort.
In his Sahih, Imam Muslim narrates on the authority of Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “Whenever people gather together in Allah’s House (mosque) reciting the Qur’an and studying it together, the Angels descend upon them, covering them with Allah’s mercy and filling their hearts with comfort. This will draw them close to Allah”. This is related to reciting the Qur’an in the mosque on Friday at the time when Muslims go to the mosque in throng.
However, Muslim scholars differ on whether this recitation is commendable only during the person’s last moments in life or after his death.
It should be emphasized that reciting the Qur’an brings benefit to either of the two, i.e., the deceased and the one who recites it. In reciting the Qur’an, one should invoke Allah’s blessings for the deceased and seek Allah’s forgiveness for him. This is with regards to those reciting the Qur’an for free.
However, if money is sought for reciting the Qur’an on behalf of the dead, the majority of scholars maintain that the deceased will not benefit from the recitation. In this case, the reciter has benefited from the money he has received.
Based upon this, we conclude that reciting the Qur’an in a group on behalf of the dead is permissible as long as that does not involve something contravening the rules of Shari`ah.”
Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, adds: “Reading the Qur’an voluntary and making Du`a for the dead has been a controversial issue among the scholars belonging to different schools of jurisprudence. Since this is an act that was not practiced widely by As-Salafus-Salih (early Muslim generation), some of the early scholars were quite strict and firm in maintaining that one should stay away from such practices. However, there are many scholars belonging to all the four schools who are of the opinion that the person can voluntary read the Qur’an and offer Du`a for the deceased. They have based their opinions on a number of traditions in which the Prophet allowed performing rituals of worship such as Hajj, `Umrah, fasting, and charities on behalf of the dead by their relatives. Therefore, those scholars conclude that one can also read the Qur’an and offer Du`a. This position has been authenticated by Sheikh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, Qarafi, and others.
However, making a specific ritual known as “Al-Arba`een”, where the relatives of the dead gather together to read the Qur’an and make Du`aa for the deceased after 40 days of his demise, is considered as innovation according to all scholars, because by doing so the person is innovating a new form of worship and altering the very format of religion revealed by Allah.
We must remember that the Prophet said: “It is not permissible for a person believing in Allah and in the Last Day to mourn a dead person for more than three days except in the case of a woman mourning her dead husband, in which case she should wait four months and ten days of mourning.”
In conclusion there is no harm for individuals to read the Qur’an by themselves, without establishing a specific ritual for that, and asking Allah to give the reward to the dead person just like they can perform Hajj or `Umrah or giving charities on behalf of him/her.”
As for the second question, Sheikh Jadul-Haqq `Ali Jadul-Haqq, former Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, may Allah rest his soul in peace, states the following:
“The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, says: Surat Yasin represents the heart of the Qur’an. Anyone who reads it for the sake of Allah and attaining the reward in the Hereafter will definitely be forgiven by Allah. So read it on behalf of your dead people.” (Reported by Imam Ahmad, Abu Dawood and Al-Hakim)
In the light of the above-mentioned, it is permissible to recite Surat Yasin at the mosque after the Friday prayer. This is optional, and should not be considered Sunnah (an act of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him). Hence, There is nothing wrong in reciting the Surah as long as it does not disturb those performing the prayer.”