بسم اللهالرحمن الرحيم
As some of my readers may be aware my family and I recently lost a loved one due to a car accident in the holy month of Ramadhan. I therefore find that it may be time to talk about something which I was not going to discuss so soon. That is the topic of death.
People fear death. People fear talk of death more. They don’t like thinking about their own demise, they like to think that when they come they’ll be prepared, with everything in place. Will created, kids all set, mortgage paid off, no debt, no-one left to apologise to…but that would just be too easy. We don’t like talking about death, because it reminds us that we have no idea when our time will be up. We don’t know when, where, how and we don’t know under what circumstances, influences, emotions it will take place. The angel of death could be staring at us right now, awaiting Allah سبحانه و تعالى command.
If we knew what would we do differently? If I had a terminal illness-more or less knew when my time would be up, would I speak softly with my parents, spend more time in sujood [prostration], more time doing istighfar [asking for forgiveness], less time gossiping etc. What if I got better, and my then known deadline suddenly became a mystery again? I’d revert back to slander, gossip, lying, cheating, haste? Yes, no?
I suppose the point I am trying to make is. We don’t know when our time is going to come, but we do know what will come after, based on how we lived our lives. We’ll either get our happy ending promised to us with lavish detail in the Quran. Or, our slow, torture. May Allah protect us from the latter. We know that once we have been prayed upon, people will cry for a bit, pray for us for a bit, talk of how nice we were for a bit…and then forget. Not because they don’t care, but because life and death is a promise of this world and change is the only constant. Just as we lost someone not long ago, a few weeks prior a new baby entered our family الحمد لله. Life and death. One of the many balances.
We know we are going to lose those close to us. We know we will go as well. So maybe this is actually a reminder of patience. Patience in pain and patience in loss. In addition, a reminder in acceptance. Acceptance that as each second passes, our time is running out.
Talk about death. Encourage that conversation, because I assure you, everyone needs to be reminded that they are not invincible; they will die one day. إن شاء الله, if you encourage those conversations, it will be easier for those you leave when the time comes. With the thought of death in your mind, you will naturally have that drive in your actions to do better, be good, to win.
As Muslims, we are always thinking about the next life, or we should be. We know that this life is temporary and we are told countless times that it is a test for the next life. There’s steps you can take to improve your capacity to succeed, before death comes and takes away that chance:
- Before you close your eyes tonight to go to sleep, think of your day-think of the good and bad actions you carried out that day. Not the good and bad things that happened to you, but your own personal response to whatever occurred
- Did you have more actions that pleased or displeased Allah swt? If they were positive, then think how can I do more good tomorrow. If negative, then promise that tomorrow, you will not make the same mistakes and you will amend any damage done
- Ask for forgiveness for any sins that you did during the day. Doing this before you sleep and making intention to improve the following day, not only clears your mind of negativity, but it gives you a plan for tomorrow. An active plan to be better.
- Lastly, say your shahada before you sleep. There are countless actions that take us out of the fold of Islam daily, that we are not even aware of. For example, you could be singing a song and mutter words that amount to shirk [associating someone with Allah]. Say your shahada, and reaffirm your faith-you never know if your soul will be taken in your sleep.
Even these simple steps in your thought process, that one-on-one with Allah سبحانه و تعالى before sleep, will alter your thoughts the following day. Talk about impending death-have that discussion, and prepare for the after-life. I’ve said it before in previous blog-posts but it really are the small things that lead to the big changes. Whether it’s implementing one hadith, which leads you onto becoming an apt student of the deen [religion] or simply doing that one thing for Allah سبحانه و تعالى with so much love that Allah سبحانه و تعالى instills love for the entire deen in you Himself. Change will come. Slowly but surely. Prepare yourself, be ready to adapt. Have the conversation.
I ask that Allah سبحانه و تعالى allow us to die in a state of wudhu [oblution] with a strong imaan [faith]. I ask that Allah سبحانه و تعالى allows us to have all our affairs in order before our time comes. I ask that Allah سبحانه و تعالى forgive us for our sins, both intentional and unintentional, before the angel of death takes our soul. I ask that Allah سبحانه و تعالى make the death process easy for us and save us from the punishment of the grave, the fitnah [trial] of dajjal [the false messiah] and from being amongst the hypocrites. A special du’ah for my Khala Shazi, who passed away, that she is granted Allah سبحانه و تعالى mercy, that she is in peace, and that she has a place in the highest heaven. May we all be in Allah سبحانه و تعالى shade on the day of judgement, may we all succeed in obtaining jannah [heaven], may the gates of hell be closed to us. Allahumma Ameen.
Below is a link of a blog-post I came across with extracts from the Quran regarding death by Islamic Reflections, may Allah reward the blogger for this reminder, ameen:
I would also like to share the recitation of Surah ar-Rahman by Mishary Rashid Al-Afasy, one of the most beautiful recitations of this surah-english translation is provided in the video: