“To Allah (Almighty God) we belong, and to Him is our return.” [2:156]
Multitudes of men have walked on the surface of this Earth. They all belonged to different nations and cultures; a few of them made history for which they were remembered, whereas others were never to be mentioned again. Although each one was personally different from another – their habits, thinking and tastes differed – they all had two things in common; first, they were all delivered from their mother’s womb (birth) and second, they all tasted death. Who claims he has lived a thousand years? Allah blesses us with all His gifts. The Sun gives us light during the day to help us see and it helps our crops grow so that we can eat. But the Sun also teaches us other things. Allah causes the day to die with its setting and allows the night to take over, which is a time for rest. In this way, He may be showing us that all of us will eventually have to die just like the day. And when the Sun rises in the morning again after our period of rest, it is as if Almighty God is telling us that we too will be raised to life after we have died. These are all signs of Allah to teach us to take care of our life.
“One thing that we must remember is that death is inevitable, and everything except the Almighty God of course, will perish. Signs of death can be seen all around us. At funerals, we see people who were once walking among us being buried in their graves. In the fall we see the leaves turn from green to yellow and fall one at a time, and in the winter we see trees, lifeless. In this way, all things in this world will wither away and die.”
Hence, hair colour turning grey from black or wrinkles on the face are also the signs of nearing death, and God is the only one who can bring the dead back to life. Surely all men die, and surely Allah gives them life with His ability and judges them on their deeds and actions. We know Almighty God is the Creator and can recreate us because if one can do something he has the ability to do it again. For instance, if your teacher asks you to draw a picture on the blackboard and colour it. Then if after you have drawn it with beautiful colours, the teacher asks you to rub it out and do it again, could you repeat the same drawing again? Of course, you would be able to repeat the picture. It is what you created and are capable of doing again. From this example, we can understand Almighty God is able to give life to the dead because it is He Who created us in the beginning. Allah can surely give life to the dead. He judges them on their deeds. On Resurrection Day, He will re-create the dead for judgment, and then allow the doer of good to enter paradise but cast the evil-doer into hell.
Hatred towards death and love of the world is the outcome of an ignorant person’s mind, who thinks that the happiness of this world is his prosperity and good fortune. The world beset with numerous troubles and anxieties is about to end in misery and does not enjoy eternity, perpetuity and sincerity. A poet has referred to this in the following words – “Do not give your heart to this world, for its example is of an unfaithful bride who has never loved you, even for a night.”
Ali ibn Abi Talib says:
“If man will see how speedily his death is coming toward him he will abhor ambitions and will give up admiring the world.”
It is of utmost importance that man should hold death dear and consider it an opportunity of meeting with his Almighty, and not hate it and consider it as evil, but should take lessons from it. He should ask forgiveness from the Almighty for his sins and tame the rebellious self (Nafs). When the call of his Lord comes, he should welcome it with open arms accepting it to be a blessing from the Almighty. He should be contented with the decree (Qadr) of the Almighty. He should also rejoice that shortly he would be taken to the presence of the Household of Prophet and meet his deceased companions and other believer brothers. He should also not be disheartened by the delay in death but should consider it as an opportunity afforded by the Almighty to him to repent.
This delay would give him a chance to gather provisions useful for his journey to the other world, for the journey is tiresome and full of dangerous valleys and difficult paths. In fact, a believer always remembers death, since his or her main goal is to reach the Allah. Hazrat Qasim, the son of Hasan Al-Mujtaba, when asked concerning death at Karbala, answered: “death to me is sweeter than honey.” Therefore true believers, those who are sincerely devoted to God, anticipate death since to them it signifies the long-awaited meeting with their creator. During imprisonment, the descendant of the Holy Prophet, Ali An-Naqi had a grave dug up ready by the side of his prayer mat. Some visitors expressed concern or surprise; he explained, “In order to remember my end I keep the grave before my eyes.”
Before a believer approaches the final moment of his/her life and death overtakes him, it is necessary that he wakes up from the state of negligence and prepares for the final everlasting place. This way he will be able to avoid bewilderment and the fear of the so-called untimely death. At the time of leaving this world, as attested to by the Holy Qur’an, a person will be in one of two states – either he will be from the Companions of the Right, or the Companions of the Left. If he is counted amongst the Companions of the Right, he will be in a good, final state, but if he is one of the Companions of the Left, he will be of those who have suffered a great loss.
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