Abu Usaid Malik bin Rabi`ah As-Sa`idi (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: We were sitting with Messenger of Allah (PBUH) when a man of Banu Salamah came to him and asked, "O Messenger of Allah! Is there any obedience to parents left that I can show to them after their death?" He (PBUH) replied, "Yes, to pray for them, to supplicate for their forgiveness, to fulfill their promises after their death, to maintain the ties of kinship which cannot be maintained except through them, and honour their friends."[Abu Dawud].
We learn from this Hadith that one should consider the life of one's parents a blessing because their life provides one with an opportunity to serve them wholeheartedly, which is ordained by Allah. If one wants to be nice to them after their death, one should adopt the methods mentioned in this Hadith. It needs to be noted that it does not mention the ceremonies like recitation of the Noble Qur'an on the third, seventh and fortieth day after the death of a person, in vogue in our society. All these methods of conveying the reward of virtuous deeds or rites are wrong for the reason that they are neither helpful for the dead nor the living. What really benefits the dead as well as living, is prayer and begging forgiveness from Allah. In this Hadith, these have been regarded as acts of beneficence for the deceased parents. It clearly means that the children will be rewarded for the virtuous acts they do for their parents and the status of the deceased parents will also be elevated in the next world. The acceptance of the prayer in favour of the deceased parents is also confirmed from that Hadith also which tells that death brings to an end all the activities, except the following:
Firstly, an ongoing Sadaqah (Sadaqah Jariyah); like the digging of a well, the building of a mosque, etc.,
Secondly, knowledge which benefits Muslims;
Thirdly, prayers of virtuous offspring.