ANNOUNCING THE DEATH OF THE DECEASED
Second Answer from Fatwa no. 4276
Question. Is it permissible to announce the death of the deceased in a town on a board that has been placed in the mosque specifically for this purpose? Alongside the knowledge that the one who will perform the washing (of the body) and shrouding is found. As for the prayer over him then we pray the janaazah after dhuhr or asr in the masjid.
Answer: Firstly, Announcing the death of the deceased in a form that resembles the Na`ee (death announcement) that has been forbidden is not permissible. As for informing about it in the midst of his (the dead person’s) relatives and acquaintances, for the purpose of attending to pray over him, and attending his burial, then that is permissible, and is not considered from the Na`ee that has been forbidden – because the Prophet (sallAllaahu `alayhi wasallam), when an-Najjaashee died in Abysinnia – he informed the Muslims of his death and prayed over him.
Secondly: It is not desirable to have a board in the mosque in order to announce deaths and what is similar to them. This is because the mosque has not been built for this purpose.
And with Allaah lies succcess, may the prayers and salutations be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and his companions.
The Permanent Committee for Research and Verdicts.
Member / `Abdullaah al-Ghudayaan
Deputy Head /`Abdur-Razzaa1 al-`Afeefee
Head / `Abdul-`Azeez bin Baaz
NABIHAH MY LOVE
By Abu Shoaib Ashmead Choat
The author is a graduate of the College of Hadith from Madinah and an active da’i in Trinidad (where he runs his own full-time Islamic school). His daughter Nabiha passed away last year, while still a teenager. She had grown up in Madinah and memorized significant portions of the Quran. She was an active tajweed teacher in her native land of Trinidad. After her tragic death, her father Abu Shoiab wrote up this beautiful article. I’ve asked his permission to post it on our website.
But a Person is With the One Whom They Love
Even before we start to write about this glimpse into the life of our dear daughter, it is necessary to purify our intentions, hence the reason for the delay. This must not be for Shuhrah or fame or some Nahiha fan club, but it must be for, as Allah has said, “Ya ayyuha ladhina amanu itaqullaaha wabtaghoo ilayhil waseelah” (Oh you who believe fear Allah and seek out the means of approach to him). Great effort and attention must be paid in trying to purify our intentions and knowing precisely why we are doing this. It may be a wake up call for a lazy or sleepy Muslim. It may help someone to realize how short and fleeting this life is; how precious it is that we must take every opportunity to do good, no matter how small, and we must seek every opportunity to invite people to Allah and use all the resources available to us in that cause, even if that means the life and death of our dear baby.
How do we begin to describe the love of our life? If Allah had given us someone for one or two years and took her away, it would have been easier because of her short life. Or if she had been married with children and away from the home it would have softened the loss. But our baby girl was in the prime of her life, just at the age of marriage, and the decision is with the Lord of the universe. As our Prophet (SAW) said at the moment of his death, when he was given the choice to go or stay, “Balir-rafeequl-’alaa, Balir-rafeequl-’alaa – certainly the highest companionship, certainly the highest the companionship.”
It was late 2004 when Nabiha discovered a non-healing ulcer on her tongue which became exceedingly painful and was preventing her from eating. In March 2005, she had her first operation for the removal of the ulcer and a biopsy, which showed a presence of malignancy. In retrospect, when a Muslim is faced with the news of cancer, he begins to think of the options available to him. Seeking treatment and medical care is encouraged in the Sunnah (called: “at-tadaawee – seeking treatment”). So over the next two years, we followed the full gamut of treatment of up to seven or eight surgeries together with radiotherapy in far away India, a return there for a review, then on to chemotherapy back in Trinidad.
Despite huge setbacks, we were to see the Hand of Allah in everything that challenged us. He tested us but walked us through to the very end. Allahumma laka wa minka; O Allah to you and from you. Laa malja’a minallahi illa ilayhi; There is no refuge from Allah, except in Him.
Our daughter, for those who know her, loved Qur’an and its fine recitation. And even before her loss of speech, she began to slowly lose the ability to pronounce key letters in the Arabic alphabet. She was taught recitation at the finest “Tahfeedh” in Medina, where Salman, the son of Shaikh Thubaytee, was taught. One could imagine the pain she felt, and I remembered her last great effort to recite Qur’an after radiotherapy on her return from India; a moment in time that will not be repeated. Her speech slowly started to dwindle, and with great pain, I heard her say the words of the Prophet Sulayman, “Rabbi Awzi’nee an Ashkura Ni’matakallati an’amta alayya wa ‘alaa waalidayya wa an ‘amala saalihan tardaahu wa adkhilnee bi rahmatika fee ‘ibadikas saaliheen.”
During radiotherapy in India, in early 2006, she and her mother looked for appropriate gifts for her father to no avail. She thought that the best gift would be to memorize Surat Maryam. Every morning she would memorize a portion, and, while clamped on the cold stainless steel slab in the radiotherapy center in Trivandrum, India, she would revise what she had learnt that morning. While the rays from the linear accelerator machine were destroying the tissue in her neck and jaw, and, in the later stages, even with blood spewing from her mouth, she would be revising Qur’an.
We still remember one morning after she returned, she was anxious to recite what she had memorized, knowing how I loved that Surah. She sobbed bitterly in torment, not being able to pronounce certain letters properly. Her mother rushed downstairs thinking something was seriously wrong… ‘nothing could be more agonizing to Nabiha than not being able to pronounce the words of Allah’.
For a few months we thought all was well, until Eid-ul-Fitr 2006. While I stood on the Mimbar, my daughter was at the hospital in Trinidad going through another painful procedure.
All throughout life, people are faced with situations in which they have options in dealing with them. We are sometimes faced with good news and sometimes with bad, but in Naibha’s case, it was rare to hear good news. From then on it was constantly downhill. The family was being faced with one piece of bad news after another. The wound only became worse; the swellings increased, but our daughter Nabiha would continue to stand at night in prayer. It was not as though she became suddenly pious with the onset of illness. Rather, Nabiha continued to sail smoothly without missing a beat on a path that she had always tread. How Allah has blessed us with this privilege. Her sister remembers when we lived in Madinah in the nineties, how she would wake at nights, saying that she went to the washroom and thinking that was a long p….!
For days she would not speak because of the difficulty and pain. When she could not give Dawah with her speech, her fingers did the talking. Constantly admonishing people, worldwide and inviting them to Islam. Two Jewish Americans who became Muslims are living testimony to what she did. As parents we are only now beginning to realize the full extent of the people she advised, admonished, assisted, and supported. What is nice, however, is that the full extent of her work will never be known and is best left to Al ‘Aleem. Sincerity is best measured when hidden from people’s eyes. As our Prophet (saw) said when he performed Hajj: “Allahumma laa ri’aa feehaa walaa sum’ah – O Allah, let there be no ostentation in it nor fame.”
Patience took on a special meaning for this young woman, seeing her life, her beauty, and her youth gradually taken away from her. There would be intense sadness and tears, but she bore her illness with dignity and with the full conviction that if this is what Allah wills, then so be it. Even close to the end I probably lost it when I said “bint, where do you get all this strength” and lifting the frail hand into the air she pointed upwards, a move that words cannot do justice. One remembers laughing then at the relief and contentment for having a child of such Iman and ‘Aqeedah.
The ulama say Patience is of three types:
1. Patience on the obedience of Allah
2. Patience in refraining from Allah’s disobedience
3. Patience in enduring the painful trials form Allah.
Patience is easier in the third than in the first two. If a Muslim or a Kafir is faced with Cancer they both have to endure it but in the first two types we have choices either to obey Allah or disobey him. We hope and pray that in her moments of solitude and months quietness that our daughter was Dhaakiratullah katheeran – a woman who continued to remember Allah much.
Despite the great pain and trauma that we, the family, felt at times, we would say to Nabiha that we are a team and that we would never desert her, not even for a moment. In taking care of our ill child we did our very best, but we knew that one day the angels would take over and that that would be the day when our privilege and source of great blessings would come to an end. As we would shroud and perfume her lifeless body, so too we had the full assurance that the angels would be clothing and perfuming her Ruh.
Her body continued to emaciate and yet she showed extreme patience and courage. Her little body was battling the disease, but as Muslims we know that the body is just a shell… food for the worms of the grave. As a matter of fact, Allah showed us a glimpse of the breakdown of tissue and necrosis even before she left this world. (He showed us just what we could bear; her brother and I both acknowledge that we were about to reach the breaking point. How easy it is for Allah, Al Jabbaar, the One who Overwhelms.) It was a solemn reminder of the fate that each of our bodies will face. The eyes and whatever was little was left of her face remained shining like a beacon in the night, as though the cancer could not touch it. Again, we saw Allah’s ease in the battlefield.
When Nabiha died, her feet glowed almost luminously, to a point that it startled us. Those feet that walked Makkah and Madina and stumbled between Safa and Marwa while fasting in Ramadan. Those eyes that cried incessantly when Abdullah Juhani and Salah Budair recited in Taraweeh in the Prophet’s masjid. She would not miss her stars in recitation; not for the world.
Allah swt took this family and pushed it through wave upon wave of difficulty. Yet even with the difficulty was ease, smiles, comfort, and the security of knowing that even though He pushed us to the ends of world, He never left us on our own, but was constantly with us, protecting us and nurturing us. We discovered within ourselves, our capabilities for coping with crises we never imagined we could survive. It was easy to visualize a grotesque image of Nabiha once the cancer took over, but Allah has protected us and preserved our beautiful memories of our dear daughter.
When Nabiha died I, the father, was not present. He, Allah, placed me in the heart of the forest out of phone contact. Even when the family tried to call, I would not be accessible. Herein lies my test: Would I blame myself for not being present when she most needed me or will I totally accept the plan of Allah? Alhamduillallah, the one who was absent was able to console those who were present at her passing, and Allah knows whether I would be able to bear seeing her life leave her body.
People comment at our strength, but in truth we are exceedingly weak. He is our source of strength, and we fear to think how those who do not have Allah in their lives can manage? How do they live? How do they face the world and its trials?
Nabiha’s life for us now is a bitter-sweet experience. We fear that after her passing, the chasm between us and our Lord will increase, and we will become more distant. Yet, we dare not say, “O Allah bring on the next test,” for possibly the next test might just be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. We only beg to stay close to Him and enjoy His sweet cuddliness; more than a mother can possibly show a child.
We would keeping telling her “my baby just as we helped your helpless body in this life, maybe Allah would allow you to help us on Yawmul Qiyamah.” You could not eat nor drink nor speak nor shift your head in those last few months, but on that Day, if we were to receive our book of deeds in our left hand, we would have no power to shift it to the right. What utter helplessness!
Nabiha we love you dearly, but we love Allah more. Just as you loved us dearly, but you loved Allah more…… as you were trained. “And do not say of those who are killed in the path of Allah that they are dead, nay they are sustained by their Lord. They rejoice in what Allah has bestowed upon them of His Bounty and rejoice for his sake for those who have not yet joined them, but are left behind that on them no fear shall come, nor shall they grieve. They rejoice in a Grace and a Bounty from Allah, and that Allah will not waste the reward of the believers.”
O Allah grant our sister Nabiha, Jannatul Firdous. Ameen!
By Imam Al-Qurtubi
Taken from Paradise and Hell-fire (At-Tadhkirah Fihw Alil Mawta Wal-Akhira)
Translated by Reda Bedeir (Phd Azhar university)
Edited By Khadija Ford
Published by Dar Al-Manarah El-Mansoura Egypt
Death is not the absolute end. It is just the discontinuation of unity between the body and soul. It is a change from one state to another and a transition from this present life to that of the hereafter. The purpose of our existence is the worship of Allah as mentioned in the Book of Allah: “And I [Allaah] created not the Jinns and Men except that they should worship Me [alone]” Soorah az-Zariyat (51): 56 This life, which we are living, is the testing ground for which there shall be only two consequences, Paradise or Hellfire. Unfortunately more than often we disregard death, as we are so attached to this world and the love of which has been established in our hearts.
“Certainly, they see it as distant, but We see it as near” Soorah al-Ma’arij (70): 6-7
Death only becomes a reality when a close beloved one dies. The heart feels heavy, the eyes shed tears and there is, at that moment, a present fear of death. If we were to spend even a single moment each day thinking about death, it would bring forth many concerns? The greatest being our Hereafter:
”He Who has created death and life, that He may test you, which of you is best in deed.” Al-Mulk (67):21
So we stop and consider what we are doing with our time and where we are heading, and then realize that much of it is wasted in light talk, in laughing, in pursuing that which is not going to benefit our Hereafter. One of the Salaf said: “Three characteristics are from Eemaan: Modesty, Chastity and Withholding of the tongue, not the with holding of the heart and actions. These are things which cause gain in the Hereafter and loss in this life, and what is gained in the next life is greater than what is lost in this world.” [Reported by Abdur-Razzaaq in his Musannaf from A'oon ibn 'Abdullaah]
“This World in comparison with the world to come is just like one of you putting his finger in the sea. Let him consider what it returns with.” Saheeh Muslim (eng. trans. vol.4 p.l486 no.6843
The Prophet Muhammad (sallahu alihi wa-sallam) explained how this world is not even worth the wing of a mosquito! And how small is a mosquito, and then the wing of a mosquito- so what is the worth of the world we run after and are dearly attached to?
The Messenger of Allaah (sallahu alihi wa-sallam) referred to death as ‘the destroyer of desires.” [Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah & Nasaai and authenticated by Sheikh al-Albanee in al-Mishkaat (1/1607)]
Because when each one of us remembers the awesome reality of death and what is to follow after that, our present desires and wordy concerns seem so insignificant and futile, and the life of the Hereafter becomes our goal and we become interested in the means to attain that goal. We find that the Companions of the Prophet (sallahu alihi wa-sallam) excelled on this point and were not deluded by the amusements of this world, knowing that love for this world would injure their Paradise.
Hence, they faced trials and every hardship with the knowledge that a weighty judgement was yet to come and a full compensation yet to be paid – so they had hope and fear in Allaah, without exaggerated optimism or disparity.
“O you who believe! What is the matter with you, that when you are asked to march forth in the cause of Allaah [ie. Jihaad] you cling heavily to the earth? Are you pleased with the life of this world rather than the Hereafter? [Soorah at-Taubah (9):38]
Regarding the shaheed (martyr), the Prophet (sallahu alihi wa-sallam) said: “Nobody who enters Paradise will (ever like to) return to this world, even if be were offered everything on the surface of the earth, except the martyr who will desire to return to this world and be killed ten times for the sake of the great honor that has been bestowed upon him.” [Saheeh Muslim (eng. trans. vol.3 p.1045 no.4635)]
Let us see how these words affected the hearts and lives of the Companions, as we reflect upon one Companion in particular, who was guaranteed Paradise, Talhah ibn ‘Ubaidullaah t. “Whoever wishes to look upon a martyr walking the face of the earth, then let him look upon Talhah ibn ‘Ubaidullaah.” [Sunan at-Tirmidhi & al-Haakim. Authenticated by Shaikh al-Albaanee in his as-Saheehah (no.126)]
The Prophet (sallahu alihi wa-sallam) said to Talhah when his fingers were struck by arrows in protecting the Prophet (sallahu alihi wa-sallam) at Uhud, as he let out an exclamation of pain: “If yow had said. ‘In the name of Allaah’, then the Angels would have raised you up while the people were looking on at you.” (And in another narration he added): until they entered you into the sky.” [Sunan an-Nasaai. The addition is from al-Baihaaqee. Authenticated by al-Albaanee in his as-Saheehah (no.217)]
“Talhah is one who has fulfilled his term.” [Sunan at-Tirmidhi and authenticated by Sheikh al-Albani in as-Saheehah (125)].
Which means that he has exhausted his allotted time in the path of Allaah there remaining nothing between him and death – thus he is as one killed already, although still alive. These are the best of people, those whose belief is manifest in their actions, to whom Allaah and His Messenger (sallahu alihi wa-sallam) are more beloved than the world and all it contains.
“But truly the home of the Hereafter is the actual life, if only they knew.” [Soorah al-Ankabut (29):64]
“We have reminder upon reminder, about how nations before us were destroyed and a common sickness which they were plagued with was ‘love of this world’. Regarding the Jews, who claim to be the best of all people and inheritors of the Promised Land, Allaah says: “And verily you will find them the greediest of mankind and [even greedier] than those who do not believe in Resurrection [i.e. the idolaters]. Every one of them wishes that he could be given a life of a thousand years. But the grant of such life will not save him even a little from [due] punishment. And Allaah is all-Seer of what they do.” Soorah al-Baqarah (2):96
If these people who spend their time in heedlessness and negligence, and futile desires, and the best part of their time being when they sleep or are inactive – then death is better than life. And we say to them: ‘Time is the most precious thing which you take care of, and I see it to be the easiest for you to lose” [Taken from The Call to Islaam and the Caller of Shaikh 'Alee Hasan.]
“….. and the worst regret is regret on the Day of Resurrection….and the fortunate one is the one who takes admonition from others..” [From the famous khutbah (sermon) of the Companion, Ibn Mas'ood which has been recorded in al-Musannaf of Ibn Abee Shaibah (vol.7 no. 106)]
“Live in this world as if you are a stranger or a traveler.” [Saheeh al-Bukhari vol.8, p.284, no.425]
Does a traveler waste his time in gathering that which is of no benefit for his journey? Or does he immediately select that which shall facilitate him to reach his goal? In the same way, we too must get into the good habit of striving to do as much as we can today and everyday, not putting off things for tomorrow, or after exams, or the age of sixty. . !
“If you survive till the evening do nor expect to be alive in the morning and if you survive till the morning, do not expect to be alive in the evening. And take from your health for your sickness and [take] from your life for your death.” [Saheeh al-Bukhari vol.8, p.284, no.425]
“And die not except in a state of Islaam” Soorah al-Imran (3):102
So we keep our hearts moistened and alive with remembrance of Allaah, and we remember death in order to remember the Hereafter, and finally we close with a citation from Imaam ash-Shaafi’ee: “O my soul, it is not except a few days patience, As if her extent were a few dreams. O my soul pass quickly on through this world, And leave it, For indeed life lies ahead of it.”
ON DEATH: MYSTERIES OF THE SOUL EXPOUNDED
Shaykh Abu Bilal Mustafa al-Kanadi
© 1994 Abul-Qasim Publishing House
Allaah takes souls at the time of their death and [the souls] of those that do not die during their sleep. He retains those souls for which He has ordained death, whereas He releases the rest for an appointed term. [39:42]
Ibnul-Qayyim identifies over 90 supporting statements from the Quran, the Sunnah and sayings of the companions, which altogether give a complete picture of the nature of the human soul and the conditions which surround it.
If you could see when the wrongdoers taste the pangs of death and the angels stretch their hands out, [saying], ‘Deliver up your souls. This day you will be awarded a degrading punishment.’ [6:93]
Here it is stated that death is painful for the disbelievers. Although they are ordered to surrender their souls to the angels, they are unwilling; therefore, the soul must be forced out as it does not wish to meet its punishment. [Qurtubi]
According to hadeeth: The Angel of Death… [says], ‘O you foul soul, come out to the anger and wrath of your Lord.’ The soul inside the disbeliever’s body is overcome by terrible fear [and does not want to deliver itself up], whereupon the Angel of Death violently pulls it out like multi-pronged skewers being yanked out of wet wool – tearing with them the ateries and nerves.
Umm Salamah (radhiAllaahu ‘anha) reported: Allaah’s messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) entered upon Abu Salamah [i.e., his corpse], whose eyes were wide open. The prophet closed the lids and then said, ‘When the ruh is taken out, the eyesight follows it [i.e., watches it ascend].’ [Muslim & Ahmed]
The Angel of Death comes to the [dying] believer, sits at his head and says, ‘O you good soul, come out and receive your Lord’s forgiveness and pleasure.’ Then the soul flows out effortlessly just as water flows from the mouth of a waterskin.
Abu Hurairah (radhiAllaahu ‘anhu) narrated that the messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: When the soul of a believer comes out [of its body], two angels receive it and rise with it towards the heavens, whereupon the inhabitants of the heavens say, “A good soul has come from the earth. Allaah has blessed you and the body which you used to occupy.” [Muslim]
The nafs and the ruh: The correct view, as maintained by the vast majority of Muslim theologians and endorsed by the scholars of ahl-us-Sunnah, is that the terms nafs and ruh are interchangeable. However, the term nafs is usually applied when the soul is inside the body, and the word ruh is used when the soul is aprt from the body. However, each one has clearly distinct and restricted applications in certain contexts. E.g., nafs may represent self as in 24:61, or revelation as in 42:52, or Jibreel as in 26:192-193, or in an even more restricted sense e.g., spirit of faith as in 58:22.
Hadeeths which prove that both are the same thing:
Umm Salamah (radhiAllaahu ‘anha) reported that the messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: When the ruh is taken out, the eyesight follows it.
Abu Hurairah (radhiAllaahu ‘anhu) reported that the messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: Do you not see that when a person dies his gaze is fixed intently; that occurs when his eyesight follows his nafs [as it comes out] [Both in Muslim & Qurtubi's at-Tadhkirah] Also see Siddeeq Hasan Khan’s Fath-ul-Bayaan.
The experience of death: Every soul will taste death [3:185]
Hardships and agonies:
And the agony of death comes, in truth; that is what you wished to avoid. [50:19] In this verse the phrase “sakratul mawt” is used to indicate the swoon of death. This verse implies that every dying person must experience some pain and torment. [See al-Alusi's Ruh-ul-Ma'ani and Qurtubi's tafseer]
Aishah (radhiAllaahu ‘anha) related: [On the occasion of his approaching death], Allaah’s messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) had a small vessel of water placed before him. He began to dip his hands in the water,a nd wiping his face with them. He said: There is none worthy of worship except Allaah. Indeed death brings with it agonies! Then he raised his hand up and kept repeating, ‘In the most exalted company’ until his soul was taken and his hand fell limp. [Bukhari]
Aishah (radhiAllaahu ‘anha) reported: Truly, I saw the messenger of Allaah when death approached him. He had a container with some water in it into which he dipped his hand and then wiped his face. Then he said: O Allaah help me to overcome the agonies of death.
Appearance of Satan:
Hadeeth: Verily Satan comes to you at all circumstances and affairs of your life, even at the time of eating. [Muslim]
Al-Qurtubi mentions that a great number of pious and dependable scholars are known to have witnessed the presence of Satan at death. He relates that he heard one of his own respected teachers, Imam Abul-’Abbaas Ahmad bin ‘Umar al-Qurtubi, say, “I visited the brother of our teacher, shaikh Abu Jafar Muhammad al-Qurtubi at Cordova and found him near death. It was said to him, ‘Repeat Laa ilaaha illallaah,’, to which he replied, ‘No! No!’ When he came to, we mentioned what had occurred. He said, ‘Tow devils came to me , one on my left and the other on my right. One of them said, “Die as a Jew, for verily it is the best of religions,” while the other said, “Die as a Christian, for truly it is the best of religions.” So I answered them saying, “No! No! How dare you say such a thing to me!”
Repentance before death:
Hadeeth: When any of you completes the last tashahhud of his prayer, let him seek refuge in Allaah from four things, saying, ‘O Allaah, verily I seek refuge in you from the punishment of the Hellfire and the torment of the grave; from the fitnah of life and of death; and from the evil fitnah of the false messiah.[Muslim, Nasai & others]
Allaah accepts the repentance of the servant so long as his spirit has not arrived at his throat. [Tirmidhi, al-Haakim, Ibn Hibbaan]
Their faith was of no use to themonce they saw Our doom. [40:85]
Forgiveness is not for those who continue to do evil deeds up until when death comes to one of them [and] he says, ‘Truly, I repent now!’ [4:18]
SEIZE THE DAY, TOMORROW IS NOT YOURS
By Sumayyah bint Joan
Upon hearing about the death of a fellow Muslim, it suddenly struck me how very fleeting life is, and that I was only a twinkling of an eye away from where he is now.
Death is the reality from which none of us can escape. It draws nearer every day, every hour, every minute. So I had to ask myself, if I were to die today, would I have done all that I could to ensure Allah’s Favor, and to evade His Wrath? Unfortunately for me, the answer was a resounding NOOO.
At the end of the day, I ask myself, what good have I sent ahead for the benefit of my soul? And again, the answers usually, very little. Time, it seems, is moving by so quickly. It seems just like yesterday that we started the “New Year,” yet we’re already almost a third of the way through it. A month seems like a week, a week seems like an hour and an hour feels like just minutes. This is why I’ve resolved to try my utmost, with the aid of Allah to take advantage of every opportunity to do good deeds, and not to put off until later, what I can do now. Death is coming, are you ready?
Allah says, “Every soul shall have a taste of death, and only on the Day of Judgement shall you be paid your full recompense. Only those who are saved far from the Fire, and admitted to the Garden will have succeeded. For the life of this world is but goods and chattels of deception.” [3:185]
It is so easy for us to get caught up in the comings and goings of our everyday lives, that we tend to forget that we don’t have forever in this worldly life, and get distracted away from our true aim and purpose. We tend to forget that we are here to worship Allah and to avail ourselves of the various opportunities He gives us to store up for ourselves treasures in Heaven. For He, subhanahu wa taala, also says,
“O you who believe! Revere Allah, and let every person look to what he has sent forth for the morrow; and revere Allah. Allah is well Aware of what you do. And be not like those who forgot (disobeyed) Allah, and He caused them to forget themselves. Those are the disobedient. Not equal are the dwellers of the Fire and the dwellers of Jannah. It is the dwellers of Jannah who will be successful.” [59:18-20]
He also tells us that we do not know the hour of our own deaths, or in what land we will die. But He through His unending Mercy toward us, has given us ways to prepare for the inevitable now, because once we’ve passed from this life to the next, there is no coming back to do the things we should have done. For Allah says,
“Until death comes to one of them, he says, ‘My Lord, send me back. Perhaps I may do good in that which I have left behind.’ No, it is but a word that he speaks, and behind them is a barzakh until the day when they are raised up.” [23:99-100]
Allah has given us ways to protect ourselves from the punishment of the grave. One of these ways is by fighting in the Cause of Allah. It is reported that a man asked the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, “O Messenger of Allah, why are all the believers tested in the graves except a martyr?” He, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said, “The flashing of swords over his head was a sufficient test for him.” (An-Nasai)
This may be difficult for most of us to do in this day and age, but Allah has provided us with many other ways to earn ease in the next life. These include reciting Surat ul-Mulk, because the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said, “Surat Tabarak is the protector from the torment of the grave.” (Al-Hakim) He, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, also said, “When a human being dies, all of his deeds are terminated except for three types: an ongoing sadaqh, a knowledge of Islam from which others benefit, and a righteous child who makes du’a for him.” (Muslim)
Another way to earn a continuing reward is by reviving a lost Sunnah of the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam. He, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said, “He who initiates in Islam a good way gets his reward for it, as well as rewards similar to those who follow him into it, without reducing any of their rewards.” (Muslim) For those of us who know of fellow Muslims who have already begun their journey, or who are about to enter, into the next life, there are things we can do to make the transition easier, insha’Allah. These include performing the Janazah prayer for the deceased, fulfilling the deceased’s vows, payment of the deceased’s debts and the supplications of the Muslims.
This life is fleeting. Death is coming. Let us get ready.
SIGNS OF A GOOD END OF ONE’S LIFE
The following is an excerpt from a book entitled “Death” [publ. by al-Hidaayah], by Sh. `Alee Hasan `Abdul Hameed, which is based on al-Albaanee’s book “Ahkaam ul-Janaa’iz,” in which he gathered various authentic narrations related to the issues of death, funerals etc.
It is established from the Prophet, that he informed us of a number of clear signs that a person has concluded his life upon good, and we ask Allaah, the One free of all imperfections, that He grant us that. So any person who dies in one of these ways then it is glad tidings for them, and how excellent this is:
- Pronouncing the Shahaadah (i.e. La ilaaha illallaah) when dying.
- Dying with sweat upon the brow.
- Dying on the night preceding or the day of Friday.
- Martyrdom upon the battlefield. [This martyrdom, may Allaah grant it to us, is to be hoped for by everyone who prays for it sincerely, even if he is not able to die upon the battlefield, as occurs in the authentic hadeeth.]
- Death due to plague.
- Death due to stomach illness.
- Death by drowning.
- Death due to a building falling upon him.
- Death of a woman during pregnancy due to the child.
- Death through consumption/tuberculosis.
- Death whilst defending the Deen or one’s person.
- Death whilst defending one’s property from robbers.
- Death whilst defending the frontiers of Islaam.
- Death whilst doing a righteous action.
- Death in a fire.
Important Points to remember: If a group of truthful Muslims speak in praise of the deceased, their number being two or more of the people of piety and knowledge who lived near to and knew the deceased, then Paradise is assured for him.
If a person dies at the time of an eclipse of the sun or moon, then that does not indicate anything. The belief that it shows the importance of the deceased is a false superstition of the times of Ignorance.
Anas son of Malik (RAA) reported that the messenger of Allah (SAW) and his companions passed by a funeral procession. They praised the deceased.
The messenger of Allah (SAW) said: ” It has become mandatory. ” Then they passed by another funeral procession where they spoke ill of the deceased. Upon that the messenger of Allah (SAW) said again: ” It has been mandatory. ” Omar son of Al-Khattab (RAA) asked the messenger of Allah (SAW) about what he (saw) meant by his statement: ” It has become mandatory. ”
He (SAW) answered what translated means: ” You praised this (first) one so paradise was affirmed for him (as his abode) and spoke ill of the other so Hellfire was affirmed for him (as his abode). You are Allah’s witnesses on earth. ”
THE FACULTY OF HEARING OF THE DEAD
Taken from Mysteries of the Soul by Abu Bilal Mustafah al-Kanadi
One often wonders about the soul’s faculties in the barzakh (the stage between death and the Resurrection).
Can it hear?
Can it see?
Does it have knowledge of certain things going on in the world?
In order to answer these and other questions, one must carefully scrutinize the quality of the evidence presented in support of certain claims made by scholars in this field.
THE DECEASED’S FACULTY OF HEARING
It is a common concept among some scholars and others that the dead in their graves have the ability of hearing a visitor’s greeting, his supplication, talk, etc.. Such a concept is unfounded, for it has no proof from clear texts of the divine shari’ah. In fact, it is in open contradiction to the unchallengeable texts of the Quran and the authentic traditions of the Prophet (saws) which deny the possibility of the dead possessing this faculty.
PROOF FROM THE QUR’AAN AND THE SUNNAH NEGATING IT
There are two unequivocal texts from the Qur’an which deny the possibility of the dead in their graves possessing the faculty of hearing. Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, states: “Verily you cannot make the dead hear and you can not make the deaf hear the call when they turn their backs and retreat.” [Surah an-Naml 27:80]
“The living and the dead are not alike. Allah makes whoever he wishes hear, but you cannot make those in the graves hear.” [Surah Fatir 35:22]
In the first verse Allah addresses His messenger, Muhamad (saws), reminding him that he cannot make the disbelievers hear the invitation to Islam, for they are like the dead, who do not hear either. In the second verse Allah points to the difference between the living and the dead – they are not all alike. He further clarifies to His prophet that he cannot make the rejectors of faith hear the message (for they are dead in heart and in spirit) any more than he can make those in the graves hear what is spoken to them!
Just as the Qur’an denies the possibility of the deceased possessing the faculty of hearing, there are a number of texts in the sunnah which arrive at the same conclusion. One such hadith follows: Ibn Mas’ud reported that the Prophet (saws) said: “Allah has angels who travel about the earth; they [do and will] convey to me the peace greeting from my ummah.” [Authentically reported by Abu Dawud]
This hadith clarifies that the Prophet (saws) does not hear the greetings of peace from Muslims when they pronounce it upon him, for if he could hear it directly, there would be no need of angels to convey it to him. Therefore, it follows that the Prophet (saws) cannot hear other forms of conversation directed to him either; and it stands even more to reason that the deceased, being lesser than the Prophet (saws), also cannot hear the salaam (greeting of peace) or any other form of speech. Thus contrary to a popular misconception, because the Messenger (saws) cannot directly hear either one’s invocation of blessings or one’s salaam addressed to him, such greetings may be conveyed to him from anywhere, regardless of the distance or proximity of the greeter to the Prophet’s grave. The erroneous belief that the Prophet (saws) hears these greetings directly disregards the previous hadith whcih specifies that the greetings are conveyed to him by the angels, and it is based on a forged tradition whose text follows:
It has been narrated that the Prophet (saws) said: “Whoever asks blessings for me at my grave, I hear him, and whoever asks blessings upon me from afar, it is conveyed to me.” [This tradition was mentioned by al-'Uqayli in his book, adh-Dhu'afa and by al-Khateeb, Ibn 'Asakir, et. al., and they all agreed that it is a forged (mawdhu') hadith. See al-Albani's al-Ahadith adh-Dha'eefah, vol.1, hadith no.203]
ALLEGED EVIDENCE AND ITS REFUTATION
In order to refute the allegations which claim that the deceased in the grave possess the faculty of hearing, it is essential to analyze them and discover the means by which such allegations are dependent upon weak and forged traditions and/or due to erroneous interpretattions of various texts.
There are a number of authentic narrations relating the Prophet’s address to the corpses of the mushrikeen (polytheists) of Quraysh who were slain by the believers in the Battle of Badr and then thrown into a dried well. The following two examples suffice for the purpose of the present discussion:
Abu Talhah reported: “On the day of the Battle of Badr, Allah’s Prophet (saws) ordered that the bodies of twenty-four leaders of the Quraysh be thrown into one of the foul, abandoned wells of Badr. On the third day after the battle the Prophet called for his mount and saddled it. Then he set out, so his companions followed him. They said amongst themselves, “He must be going to something important.” When the Prophet (saws) arrived at the well, he stood at its edge and began addressing those therein by calling upon them by their names, “O so and so, son of so and so; and you, so and so, son of so and so! Would it not have been easier to have obeyed Allah and His Messenger? We have found that which our Lord promised us to be true. Did you find what your Lord promosed you to be true? Thereupon ‘Umar said, “O Messenger of Allah, what are you saying to these bodies without souls?! Do they hear? For Allah, the Majestic and Mighty, says, “Verily, you cannot make the dead hear.”[Surah an-Naml 27:80] The Prophet (saws) answered, “By Him in whose hand lies the soul of Muhammad, you did not hear better than them and what i just said.” Qatadah added: “Allah brought them back to life (momentarily) in order to make them hear as a means of scorn and belittlement and [so that they would feel] regret and remorse.” [Authentically related by al-Bukhari and Muslim]
In another narration of this incident there is a slight variation in the wording of the text which follows: “Ibn ‘Umar related: “The Prophet (saws) stood at the edge of a well at Badr and said, “Did you find the promise of your Lord to be true?” Then he added, “Verily at this moment they hear what I am saying.” Later on, this was mentioned to ‘A’ishah, whereupon she commented, “What the Prophet (saws) meant was, “Now they know that what I used to tell them is the truth.” Then she recited, “Verily you cannot make the dead hear,”[Surah an-Naml 27:80] up to the end of the verse.”[Related authentically by al-Bukhari and others]
Some often misconstrue the texts of the two aforementioned hadiths as proof for the contention that the dead can hear. However, the following argumentation refutes such a claim. This miraculous circumstance in which the corpses of the slain Quraysh were made to hear the Prophet’s address to them is a special case – an exception to the general rule that the dead do not hear. By a miracle, Allah, the Almighty, made them hear the scolding from the Prophet (saws) – only for the moment he spoke to them! This is clearly proven by the second narration itself, for their hearing was said to be conditioned by the moment when the Prophet (saws) called out to them in scorn and rebuke. He said, “At this moment they hear what I am saying.” Furthermore, in the first narration the Prophet (saws) does not deny ‘Umar’s sound understanding of the verse’s general ruling that the does do not hear. Rather, the Prophet (saws) merely clarifies for ‘Umar that what occurred at Badr was a divine miracle and, therefore, an exception to the general ruling of the verse.
Another text often quoted by those who believe that the dead can hear is the following tradition: Anas bin Malik reported that Allah’s Messenger (saws) said: “After the deceased is placed in his grave and his companions turn to leave, he hears the shuffling of their feet as they walk away. Then there comes to him the two angels.”[Part of an authentic hadith related by al-Bukhari and Muslim]
This text is not valid evidence for the general claim that the dead can hear; rather, this tradition only specifies another exception to the general rule. In this case, the deceased hears the shuffling feet of those who attended his funeral as they walk away. This is a momentary possession of the faculty of hearing which is terminated at the point at which the two questioning angels come to him.
From what has preceded, it is abundantly clear that the deceased generally do not have the faculty of hearing, for they are beyond the barrier (barzakh) which separates our world from theirs. This proves the gross error in the thinking of those who attempt to carry on “conversations” with the dead, or worse, petition them for certain things. Petitioning the dead is shirk, and this is indeed the greatest of all sins.
SUICIDE AND EUTHANASIA IN ISLAM
By Athiya Maulvi
Euthanasia is a new trend accepted by certain sections of the medical profession. It means to bring about a mercifully easy and painless death for persons suffering from a painful and, what seems to be, an incurable disease. ‘Voluntary’ euthanasia is when the affected person requests to be painlessly killed. If the person isn’t in a position to decide for himself (maybe because he is brain dead), it is the doctors or the person’s relatives who decide and this is called ‘compulsory’ euthanasia.
Islam does not consider euthanasia as a ‘merciful release’ but rather as murder (in the case of compulsory euthanasia) or suicide (in the case of voluntary euthanasia). It may be acceptable to a person who does not believe in God; to him life is not sacred. But for a believer it is hardly thinkable to contemplate such a thing.
The Shari’ah bans suicide (viz. voluntary euthanasia)
002.195 And do not be cast into ruin by your own hands
004.029 O ye who believe… Nor kill (or destroy) yourselves: for verily Allah hath been to you Most Merciful!
The Shari’ah also bans murder (viz. compulsory euthanasia)
017.033 Nor take life – which Allah has made sacred – except for just cause.
Life is God’s gift; it is not given by man. Therefore, man has no right to terminate it, except on strictly legal grounds on the course of justice.
Allah is Compassionate and Merciful. To think that suffering is to no purpose is to question His Wisdom and forget His Compassion.
004.029 No calamity befalls but by Allah’s Permission. And whoever believes in Allah He guides his heart. And Allah is Knower of all things.
Only Allah knows the reasons for our sufferings, and they will be revealed to us in due course. Muslims should remember that life is a test from Him. Euthanasia is like cheating by trying to speed up this test.
Faith in Allah, patience and endurance and the knowledge that Allah sees all suffering, brings a person much nearer to Him when he is in a bad state. What he suffers is a purification of his soul and body and is a test of his faith in Him. Knowledge is a weapon that can kill despair.
Prophet Muhammad (saws) said that a Muslim soldier who committed suicide because he was dying a painful death on the battlefield would not be admitted to heaven.
Prophet (saws) said ‘None of you should wish to die because harm befalls him. If he is so determined, let him say ‘Oh God! Let me live as long as life is good for me, and let me die if death is good for me.’’
Besides, euthanasia takes away the affected persons chances of recovery. And, in the case of compulsory euthanasia, it does not give him any choice.
The loneliness of people in modern society, the total isolation of the individual, the apathy and coldness of those who are around us and the abandonment of individuals by relatives and friends, are the real enemies of the human soul, which is left on its own to suffer.
Al Qur’an (Abdullah Yousuf Ali Translation)
Islamic Health Rules by Dr. S M Darsh
Studies In Islam 11 by Maulvi Abdul Aziz
WHY TO DIE: LIFE, DEATH, AND THE LIFE AFTER
Ahmad H. Sakr
It is understood that Allah alone is the One Who gives life, and it is He Who takes off like. In this regard, Allah says in Qur’an in Surah Al-Mu’min (The Believer)
It is He Who gives Life and Death; and when He decides upon an affair, He says to it, “Be,” and it is. (40:68)
While life and death are from Allah, we have to remember that they are to take place with permission of Allah alone. Each one’s life and death are decided by Allah. It is stated in the Qur’an in Surah Al-Imran (The family of Imran)
Nor can a soul die except by God’s leave, the term being fixed as by writing. If any do desire a reward in this life, we shall give it to him, and if any do desire a reward in the hereafter, We shall give it to him. And swiftly shall We reward those that (serve us with) gratitude. (3:145)
It should be stated here that Allah (SWT) makes us to die daily at night during sleeping. He makes most of us to wake up from our temporary death to praise Him and to worship Him. The Qur’an states in Surah Al-Zumar (The Crowds) the following: It is God that takes the souls (of men) at death; and those that die not (He takes) during their sleep; those on whom He has passed the decree of death, He keeps back (from returning to life) but the rest He sends (to their bodies) for a term appointed. Verily in this are Signs for those who reflect. (39:42)
The life of a Muslim on this earth is a short one, but his deeds and actions are eternal if he knows how to channel them in the right directions. As far as the life span of a Muslim is concerned, Prophet Mohammad (SAW) said the following, as narrated by Abu Huraira (May Allah be pleased with him): The life span of my followers are between sixty and seventy. Very of them do exceed this age. (Tarmazi)
THOUGHT OF A YOUNG MUSLIM MIND
Huma Ahmad (New York)
As I stood there in front of the room lecturing on “The Soul’s Journey After Death”, I could not help but think that what I was doing was futile. Half of the people in that room were going to walk out with the same beliefs as they came in with; that this was all something like a fairy tale. The other half would listen, nod and go back out doing the same things they were doing before.
There is something inherently wrong with our generation. I say this as being one of them.
We listen to lectures on Islam like they are stories of old. We’re not quite sure if Islam is completely correct. Because if we did, would we continue doing the things we do? Where is our aqeedah? Where is our certainty in truth? Where is our fundamental belief? For example, we’re not quite sure what will happen after we die, but we’ll take the Islamic explanation because it’s there. Why don’t we believe that what will happen to us after we die is the truth? The truth is the way we should look at it, like it is something that will definitely occur, like any other fact of life, any other undeniable scientific law or simple equation.
Some facts: We will be tested. We will die. Our soul will be taken. Our soul will be placed back in our bodies and be questioned. We will undergo punishment of the grave. We will be resurrected. We will be asked. We will be punished.
My soul questioned if any of this reached the 30 college age students in front of me.
I decided to give two examples from my own experience. One a friend that I grew up with and went to Islamic weekend school with. One day senior year in high school, she just started getting sick. Just like that she became so ill. She passed away a year later from ovarian cancer. We were 19. Can you imagine? 19 years old. She was engaged and had just gotten married. She was just one of us.
A second example; some of you might have known her, Basma. She was the daughter of Imam Siraj Wahaj in New York City. She went to MYNA conferences and camps with us. She was active. She was one of the best Muslims I’ve ever met. One of those kinds of Muslims you meet and you can’t stop smiling when you talk to them. She was pregnant and gave birth on a Thursday I remember to a beautiful baby girl. A week later, just days after, she didn’t feel right and went back into the hospital and died soon after from internal bleeding. Unthinkable, the community of New York was stunned. She was only 20 years old. She was gone and a beautiful baby girl in her place. They named her Maryum.
These are examples I give that occurred to me in my life. I’m sure no one is immune and have felt the pain of loss in their own lives.
Can you imagine, I said to the 30 pairs of eyes staring at me, they were 19 and 20 years old. They were just like us. I’m sure they never thought it would happen to them either.
I think every night before we go to sleep we should think about what we did that day.
“I woke up, I went to school, I saw someone committing a sin. I discussed it with others. Someone new was at the MSA meeting I didn’t bother to talk to them or be friendly. I made a remark that I knew hurt someone. I missed Asr because I didn’t want to be late for class.”
We need to think about these things. What if we don’t wake up the next morning? Allah tells us that He takes the souls at night and keeps the ones that aren’t to be returned. What if we don’t wake up? What if we are hurtled to the next step; we wake up and our soul is being taken out of our bodies, taken up to the heavens and taken back down into the body. We are buried, the dirt slowly covering us. We are made to sit up, are questioned. What will we say? We receive punishment of the grave. We are resurrected. We are asked about every single tiny small thing that we did.
What will we say? I wanted to forget the time I did this, the time I said that. Countless countless sins before me. So many in just that past day that I didn’t think about? What to do?
Allah gives us another chance when we wake up the next morning. Here is a new day. You can now make up for what you did the day before. You can run out and ask forgiveness for all those you wronged. You can try to make up for it, improve. Another bright beautiful day.
We need to stop being complacent. We are too comfortable. What is wrong with us that we live in delusion? We think about our lives and are comfortable. “Oh I am doing enough. I’ll get to heaven eventually. I’m Muslim that’s enough.” Why aren’t we scared? Why do we think we will go to heaven? We are nothing compared to the people of past. We commit sin after sin and our hearts feel nothing. What is wrong us that we do not feel discomfort, pain when we commit a sin, before we do it, not even a twinge?
Sometimes Allah might send a hardship upon people to bring them to the right way. Hardship brings many people back to Islam. Sometimes Allah might keep people poor because He knows what would happen if they had money. Shouldn’t we be scared? If we disobey Allah, He might send something to teach us. Perhaps that would be better. Perhaps we should pray that Allah send us something to remind us, to scare us.
I remind myself first, before anyone.
We need to wake up. We need to know that what is coming is true beyond any doubt. We will die. We will be resurrected. We will pay for each and every sin we committed.
One day we won’t wake up the next morning, and oh the regret we will feel on that day…the regret.
By Sheikh Abdul Baaree Ath-Thubaytee
All praise is due to Allaah. I testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger (r).
I enjoin you and myself to fear Allaah, for it is the provision and safety in this world and the Last Day, “the day when neither wealth nor sons will avail, except him who brings to Allaah a clean heart.”
Allaah says, “Everyone shall taste death. And only on the day of Resurrection shall you be paid your wages in full. And whoever is removed away from the fire and admitted to Paradise he indeed is successful. The life of this world is only the enjoyment of deception (a deceiving thing).” (Aal-‘Imraan 3: 175)
Such is the reality of death and what comes after it. Every one of us shall taste it whether poor or rich; healthy or sick, old or young; leader or led and none of us can escape it.
Allaah says, “Wheresoever you may be, death will overtake you even if you are in a fortress built up strong and high.”(An-Nisaa 4: 78).
Death, as manifested in its character and effects is one of the mysteries that dazzles human intelligence because it has to do with the soul.
Allaah says, “And they ask you (O Muhammad) concerning the spirit. Say: ‘The spirit is one of the things, the knowledge of which is only with my Lord. And of knowledge, you (mankind) have been given only a little.” (Al-Israa’ 17: 85)
One of it mysteries is that you see a youth who was full of health and energy suddenly falls dead without warning; thereby making that youthfulness and energy fade away, bringing all his senses to a complete standstill. That youth might even be an erudite scholar, an eloquent author, a skilled physician or brilliant inventor but it is absolutely out of the question that this quality should prevent death from overtaking him when his time is due.
Allaah says, “When their term is reached, neither can they delay it nor can they advance it an hour (or a moment).” (Yoonus 10: 49).
‘Amr bin Abdullah used to mount the pulpit and say, “Many a person who has seen the beginning of a day but would not see it’s end. And many a person who has expected morning but would not live to see it. If only you had known your appointed time and how it comes to pass, you would have detested nursing hope for worldly materials and its deception.”
While man enjoys his good health, playing and merrymaking, moving about in haughtiness, commanding and forbidding, death and illness suddenly attacks him, weakens his body, makes his limbs lifeless and then closes his record.
How near is death! Every day it becomes closer to us and no sooner has the book reached its appointed time that we belong among the dead. Then it becomes clear that life is really like flowers that bloom then afterwards wither or like a lamp that illuminates then afterwards dies down.
Let those who crave for this world and its pleasures ponder over these scattered graves all over the place and realize that the way to pleasures and lustful things, though decorated with beautiful roses inevitably leads to the present condition of those buried in these graves. Happiness is for him whom a messenger of death has opened his eyes to reality before he died, and whoever does not heed to the warning of the Qur’an and death, even if mountains were to thrust one another in front of him, he would not heed.
Dear brothers! What we witness in the cemeteries is a great lesson for us. The carrier of the bier to the cemetery today is taken back there tomorrow (as a dead person) and is left there only with his deeds either good or evil.
It is also very unfortunate that in these days we see some among those who escort the deceased laughing and playing or attending the funeral for showing off. This phenomenon is due to the heedlessness that has hardened people’s hearts and made them forget the Last Day and the frightening conditions of the grave. May Allaah awaken us from this heedlessness!
Brothers in faith! It is expected of him who knows that he will die, be buried, raised up on the day of Resurrection and enter Paradise or Hell to always remember death, prepare for it and reflect on it. He is in fact expected to regard himself among the dead. This is because all that is coming is near and when the angel of death comes neither your wealth nor your people can prevent him from taking your soul.
Where are those who achieved their aims and none were comparable to them in that? They collected but could not eat what they collected; they built mansions but could not live there! We on our part are still swimming in the pool of life as if we are meant to live here forever. Uways Al-Qarnee said, “Remember death when you sleep and always think of it when you are awake.”
Fellow Muslims! It is a fact that this world and its tribulations appear insignificant in the eyes of him who always remembers death, for, he has lofty aims and strong resolutions; he is far from hypocrisy and always yearns for the everlasting bliss in the eternal Paradise.
Dear Brothers, Remembering death does not in any way make one’s life loathsome to him; forcing him to sit in his home and leave all means of sustenance. It is rather meant to deter him from committing sins and soften his hard heart. We remember death in order to have good preparation for it and for all that follows it by doing righteous deeds, obeying Allaah and increasing one’s efforts in all acts of worship.
Abdur-Rahman ibn Mahdee said, “If Hammaad bin Salamah is told, ‘You will die tomorrow.’ He will not be able to increase anything in his deed, because his time is full of worship and remembrance of Allaah.
How do we prepare for death? We prepare for death by shunning all abominable things and returning trusts to their rightful owners. We prepare for death by eliminating hatred and enmity from our hearts. We prepare for death by being good to the kith and kin.
Ibn al-Mubaarak said that Saalih Al-Mariy used to say, “If the remembrance of death leaves me for an hour my heart becomes spoilt.”
It is also said that, “Whoever frequently remembers death is honoured with three things: quick repentance, self-contentedness and energy in doing acts of worship; and whoever forgets death is punished with three things: delaying repentance, lack of contentedness and laziness in acts of worship.”
When will one who always follows his lustful desires and moves wantonly in his heedlessness remember death? When will one who has no regard for Allaah’s injunctions in Halaal or Haraam remember death? When will one who deserts the Qur’an, prays not Fajr in congregation, usurps people’s property unlawfully, takes usury, and commits fornication, remember death? How can one whose habit is slandering others and backbiting, whose heart is full of rancour and envy remember death?
Fellow Muslims! The Prophets, whenever death came to them were given a chance of choosing between remaining on this world and moving to that noble position. It is beyond doubt that every Prophet would select the everlasting bliss. This happened to Prophet Muhammad, as narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim on the authority of A’isha that she said, “The Messenger of Allaah (r) used to say while he was healthy, ‘No Prophet died until he saw his place in the Paradise, he was then given the choice between that place and remaining in this world.’ So when he was dying and his head was on my thigh, he fainted for a while then regained his consciousness. He stared at the ceiling, then said, ‘O Allaah! I choose the Highest Companionship.’ I then said, ‘He was not preferring us.’ It was then that I understood statement he used to tell us and it was true. She said, ‘The last word he uttered was: `Oh Allaah, I choose the Highest Companionship.`”
During death and its pain; in the grave and its darkness; and the Day of Resurrection and its horror people fall into two groups. A group shall remain firm; secured from fright and given glad tidings of Paradise while the other group shall suffer disgrace and ignominy.
Allaah says, “Verily, those who say, ‘Our Lord is Allaah (alone) and then stood straight, on them the angel will descend (at the time of their death saying,) ‘Fear not, nor grieve! But receive the glad tidings of Paradise which you have been promised.’” (Fussilat 41: 30)
Angels shall descend upon the believers who are straight in heir religion during death in their graves and when they are resurrected in order to assure them of security and to allay their fears of the horror of the day of judgement. The angels will be telling them, ‘Do not fear about what you are going to meet and do not grieve over what you will be leaving behind of children, family and wealth.’
The angels will also say, ‘We have been your friends in the life of this world and (are so) in the hereafter.’ (Fussilat 41: 31) i.e. we will also be your friends in the hereafter, keeping your company in your graves and when the horn is blown, we will also assure you of security on the day of resurrection.
As for the unbelievers, when death comes to them and they start suffering its agonies, they will be subjected to ignominy and disgrace.
Allaah says, “And if you could but see when the wrongdoers are in the agonies of death, while the angels are stretching forth their hands saying, “Deliver your souls! This day you shall be recompensed with the torment of degradation because of what you used to utter against Allaah other than the truth. And you used to reject His ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) with disrespect.” (Al-An’aam 6: 93).
Their sorrow shall increase so much so that they will wish to go back to this world.
Allaah say, “Until when death comes to one of them, he says, ‘My Lord send me back.’” (Al-Mu’minoon 23: 99).
Qataadah said while commenting on this verse, “By Allaah, he would not wish by this statement to go back to his family and wealth nor to collect the good things of this world and satisfy his desires. He would rather wish to go back and do acts of obedience to Allaah. May Allaah bless him who does in this life what the disbelievers would wish to do when he sees the torment of Hell!
Fellow Muslims! How is the need of a dying Muslim to Allaah’s success that his last words may be, “Laa ilaaha illa Allaah”. Mu’aadh bin Jabal narrated that the Prophet said, “Whoever has ‘La ilaha illa Allaah’ as his last words will enter Paradise.” Ibn Al-Qayyim said, “Dictating this word to a dying man is recommended because one who is dying experiences horrors that were unknown to him before, so it is feared that forgetfulness might overtake him since Satan is close to human beings. Moreover, uttering this statement while dying has a great effect in erasing ones misdeeds because it is a testimony of a slave of Allaah who believes in it and knows its meanings; for whose lustful desires are now dead and whose soul has become weak after its might. Then that testimony becomes his last utterance, it purifies him from all his sins because he meets with his Lord with a sincere testimony…”
The righteous predecessors also recommended that a dying person be reminded of his good deeds, so that he can have positive thoughts about his Lord. Jaabir narrated: The Messenger of Allaah (r) said, “None of you should die except in the state of having positive thoughts about Allaah.” (Muslim).
The Sunnah encourages talking about good deeds of a dead person and abstaining from talking about his misdeeds. Al-Bukhari reported on the authority of Aa’isha that she narrated, ‘The Prophet (r) said, “Do not abuse the dead; for they have gone to meet the consequences of their deeds.”’
In Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Abul-Aswad said, “I came to Medinah while there was an epidemic there. I sat with ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab. Then a funeral procession passed by and people praised its owner. ‘Umar said, “It becomes incumbent.” Then another funeral procession passed by and people also praised its owner, and ‘Umar said, “It’s incumbent;” then a third procession passed by and people spoke ill of its owner. ‘Umar also commented, “It becomes incumbent.” Then I said, “What is incumbent, O Leader of the Faithful? ‘Umar answered, “I said as the Prophet (r) said, that, “Any dead Muslim whom four persons testify in his favour, Allaah will make him enter Paradise, We said, “And three persons?” He said, “And three persons.” We also said, “And two persons?” He said, “Yes, and two persons.” We did not thereafter ask him of one person.”
It should be added that those whose testimony is regarded are the people of virtue and truthfulness. The testimony of an enemy shall not be considered.
It is also recommendable that the person who washes the dead should conceal whatever defects he may see on him. It is also a right of a Muslim on his fellow Muslims to escort his funeral, pray on him and supplicate for him. In Saheeh al-Bukhari, Aboo Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet (r) said, “Whoever attends the funeral of a Muslim faithfully and hoping for the reward of Allaah and stays with him until Salaah is done on him and he is buried, he will go back home with two qeeraats, each is as big as the size of Mount Uhud; and whoever observes Salaah on him and then goes back before he is buried will get one qeeraat.”
As regards debts, the family of the deceased should hasten to pay it because a believer’s soul hangs on his debt until it is paid on his behalf. Debts of Allaah should also be promptly paid for, it is more deserving to be paid.
Ibn Mas’ood said, “A Believer has no rest until he meets Allaah.”
THE REALITY OF DEATH
By Dr. Saleh As-Saleh
Published Daar Al-Bukhari
Life in this world has an appointed term, and the end of the term will definitely come…
The righteous will die and the wicked will die…
The worriers for just causes will die and those who run from death will die
Those who busy themselves with correct belief will die…
And those who treat people as their slaves will die…
The brave who rejects injustice will die, and the coward who seeks to cling on to the life at any price will die…
The people of great concern and lofty goals will die, and wretched people who live only for cheap enjoyment will die…
Wherever we will be, in a fortress or in a tent, we will die…
All will die.
Allah (God) says: Everyone shall taste death. [Quraan 3: 185]
No one will escape death. Allah says: Say: Verily, the death from which you flee will surely meet you, then you will be sent back to (Allah), the All-Knower of the unseen and the seen, and He will tell you what you used to do. [Quraan 62: 8]
This life is a period of trials and tests. Allah says: He (Allah) has created death and life, that He may test which of you is the best in deed. He is the All-Mighty, the Oft-Forgiving. [Quraan 67:2]
Man is called to exert the right efforts to achieve the true success in this life and in the hereafter. When exerted according to Allah’s way, the outcome is: Whoever works righteousness whether male or female, while he (or she) is a true believer (in the oneness of Allah), verily to him (or to her) We will give a good life (in this world with respect, contentment and lawful provision), and We shall pay them certainly a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do (i.e. Paradise). [Quraan 16: 97]
But those who disbelieve and belie Our Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, signs, revelations, etc.) such are the dwellers of the Fire, they shall abide therein forever. [Quraan 2: 39]
Those who invoke other than Allah even if they call themselves “Muslims”, once evidences are established upon them that they are setting up rivals with Allah, and they die insisting on that, they exit the fold of Islam because they have committed shirk (worshipping or associating others with Allah). Prophets, themselves, are warned to keep away from Shirk in all its forms. In fact after mentioning the names in the good ranks of eighteen Prophets: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Noah, David Solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses, Aron, Zachariah, John, Jesus, Elias, Ishmael, Elisha, Jonah, and Lot together with thier fathers, their progeny, and their brethren.
In Surat (Chapter) of Al-An’aam (Chapter 6 in the Quraan), Allah warned that: But if they had joined in the worship others with Allah, all that they used to do would have been of no benefit to them. [Quraan 6:88]
A similar note was made clear to the last Messenger of Allah, Muhammad , in which Allah says: And indeed it has been revealed to you (O Muhammad ), as it was to those (Allah’s Messengers) before you: “If you join others in worship with Allah, (then) surely (all) your deeds will be in vain, and you will certainly be among the losers. [Quraan 39:65]
One of the close and learned companions of the Prophet Muhammad by the name of Abdullah bin Mas’oud, may Allah be pleased with him, said: The Prophet said one statement and said another. The Prophet said: “Whoever dies while still invoking anything otherthan Allah as a rival to Allah, will enter Hell (Fire).” An I said “Whoever dies without invoking anything as a rival to Allah, will enter Paradise.” [Shahih Al Bukhari Volume 6 Hadeeth 24]
When the appointed term of each soul is concluded, the only thing that counts then, is its stand towards its Creator. At the time when the soul examines the actual death it will be too late for anyone to repent: And Allah will never grant reprieve to any soul when its appointed time has come, and Allah is aware of all that you do. [Quraan 63: 11]
Until, when death comes to one of them (those who join partners with Allah and those who persist in their rejection of the Resurrection), he says: ” My Lord! Send me back (to life) so that I may work in righteousness regarding things left behind!” But no! It is only a word he says; and behind them is Barzakh (a barrier) until the day they are raised up. [Quraan 23: 99-100]
Before it is too late, all people are called to reflect on their way of life, about the purpose of existence and the end. Certainly to Allah will be the return. He made His Message clear and said: There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the Right Path has become distinct from the wrong path. Whoever disbelieves in Taghut (all froms of false deities) and believes in Allah, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break. And Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower [Quraan 2: 256]
In his Farewell Pilgramage to Makkah, Prophet Muhammad addressed the people on Friday, the 9th day of the 12th month of the 10th year of the Islamic Hijrah calendar, corresponding to the year 632 of the western calendar: He said: “… I have left you among you the Book of Allah and if you hold fast to it, you will never go astray. And you will be asked about me (on the Day of resurrection), (now tell me) what would you say? They ( the audience) said, conveyed (the Message), discharged (the ministry of prophethood) and given wise (sincere) counsel.” The Prophet then raised his forefinger towards the sky and pointing at the people (said): “O Allah be withness, O Allah, be witness, saying it thrice.” [Sahih Muslim V.2 pp. 611-617]