024 Death is a gift to the Believer
Death is an absolute phenomenon will happen to every living being. It is impossible to run away from it. We should not be unwary from it. Death is the beginning of a new life. Afterlife is a new divine order where the divine justice shall be fulfilled. Allah notifies us through His Book and Prophet that all of us will be present on Judgment Day in this new order and He warns us:
"Assuredly it is thy Lord Who will gather them together." [Hijr, 25]
"Therefore, by thy Lord, We will, of a surety, call them to account, For all their deeds." [Hijr, 92-93]
“Closer and closer to mankind comes their Reckoning: yet they heed not and they turn away.” [Anbiyaa, 1]
For this reason, people who have at least some faith in his heart for Allah and afterlife should not be unwary. He should not ruin his eternal life in the afterlife by being connected with this temporary, mundane life. It is ordered in the hadith that:
"Those who have a love for the world will harm his afterlife, and those who have a love for afterlife will harm his life in this temporary world. Prefer the eternal one to the temporary!” [Bayhaqi]
Earthly desires are the primary reason for troubles in the world as well as in afterlife. One should try to obey the "divine provisions" that will bring goodness at the world and afterlife, instead of his nafs".
"A smart man worships instead of following his desires. A fool follows his nafs and then expects Allah’s mercy.” [Tirmidhi]
It is not an easy affair to get rid of the desires of the nafs. This can only be achieved by putting the love of Allah in your heart, instead of the love for the world. The methods of this are riyazah (avoiding the sins), mujahadah (worshipping and praying) and dhikr (remembering Allah).
One should not hate death by thinking it is a bad event. If we have such feelings in us, it means that we have a love for the world by heart. If the case is so, one should want to reach Allah. It is ordered in the hadith:
“Allah will not wish to reach those people who do not wish to reach Allah” [Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi].
This hatred will vanish once a man puts away the love for world and instead have love for his Creator. Thus, he will perceive death as a bridge to the Loved one.
"Death is a precious gift to the Believer." [Tabarani]
"Death is a bridge that unites friends and lovers to one another”
Dear readers; mankind should pursue a life in accordance with Allah’s will. Rasulullah (s.a.w.) ordered:
"You shall die according to the way you live; you shall be judged according to the way you die”
However, living according to the will of Allah is not an easy affair for us. We are incapable servants who have nafs. We cannot pursue a purified life without committing any sins. That is why we are always bashful before our Rab. But this shall not lead us into hopelessness. It is ordered in a Quran verse:
"and never give up hope of Allah's Soothing Mercy: truly no one despairs of Allah's Soothing Mercy, except those who have no faith." [Yusuf, 87]
No matter how sinful, a man should never give up hope from the mercy of Allah. Even if he has committed murder, adultery, shirk (to associate partners with Allah), kufr (unbelief) etc… Many of the companions of the Prophet were polytheists, but then they repented, pledged and declared their loyalty to Allah and his Prophet, therefore became the best man of the world. It is ordered in a verse from Quran:
"Say: "O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." [Zumar, 53].
It is ordered in the hadiths:
"A Muslim who remembers Allah once in his lifetime or is fearful towards him shall get out of Hell.” [Tirmidhi]
Thus, those who have even little faith in their hearts should never ever give up hope from the grace of Allah. Only unbelievers abandon hope from the Divine Mercy. However, one should not underestimate his sins, he should repent immediately, not delay repentance, refresh his faith with Kalima-i-Shahada and try to die faithful. It is ordered in the hadiths:
"Die as a Muslim and think no more about it!” [Daylami]
“The believer sees the angels before dying and does not feel any pain. His soul gets out easily and reaches blessings.” [Bazzar]
May Allah grant us a death with faith.
The one who is eternal is only Allah. Every living thing is mortal. Almighty Allah is the one who determines how trillions of facts in this universe emerge, endure and perish and it is He who determines the way how they will happen. All these are connected to a divine program (destiny). The birth, life and death of each living being, like other facts, happen within the framework of this destiny. In short, death is a divine fate. There is no creature on this universe whose death does not come from the permission of Allah. Every living thing will taste death one day.
"Nor can a soul die except by Allah's leave, the term being fixed as by writing." [Al Imran, 145]
"Every soul shall have a taste of death" [Anbiyaa, 35]
Therefore death is inevitable for all beings. The time of death is up to Allah (swt):
"To every People is a term appointed: when their term is reached, not an hour can they cause delay, nor (an hour) can they advance (it in anticipation)." [Araf, 34]
"We have decreed Death to be your common lot." [Waqia, 60]
Given the fact that death is inevitable and its timing is determined by Allah, then we all should be prepared for it. A sane, logical person does not ignore a certain fact that is to come eventually.
Dear readers; responsibilities of man towards Allah starts since he reaches puberty. We call this “responsibility” since we regard it as a kulfat (inconvenience), but in fact this is not a responsibility; this is a mukallafiah (obligation, undertaking). Mukallafiah is an Arabic term meaning to accept the offer (taklif). What is offered (recommended) to us is to believe in His existence and accept His teachings. Namely, it is a religious training. It is "the correct way of living" that shall bring us goodness. We shall appreciate it… It is a burden for those who follow his own desires, it is a kulfat (trouble, inconvenience). The root of the Arabic term “taklif (offer)” and “kulfat” come from the same root. Interesting, isn’t it? One of them represents the perspective of a sincere believer, and the other represents the perspective of a person whose religion is weak.
Dear readers; let us not regard the offers of Allah that are meant for our goodness as a burden. Allah (swt) eases the burdens.
"But whoever believes, and works righteousness,- he shall have a goodly reward, and easy will be his task as we order it by Our command." [Kahf, 88]
Life is a process that starts from birth and moves through death swiftly. The moment in which we shall encounter death is unknown. Only Allah determines it. We should always be ready for it. Being prepared for death is possible only by always following Sirat al-Mustaqim (the straight path). But who can live like that? We are weak servants who have nafs. Under this circumstance, is it easy to live our religion in a completely correct way? That is why, we all need to evaluate this situation and reform ourselves accordingly.
We are responsible for teaching our children before they reach puberty that they should follow the straight path which means we should teach them not to lie, gossip, cheat, steal, waste time and our belongings as well as teach them to be away from bad habits like alcohol, cigarettes, drugs; teach them not to be dedicated to earthly belongings; teach them to fast, perform salah (prayer), give zakat (alms, charity) if we are wealthy, serve for the good of the people and most importantly to do all these things only “for Allah’s sake”. We should raise our children as the servants of Allah. If we do not do so and comply with all their wishes and make them the servants of their own "ego"s; then we turn them into servants of money, wealth and the servants of other servants; if that happens, it means we prepare their troubles both in the world and in afterlife.
But, the door to repent is always open to sinful believers. It is ordered in a Quran verse:
"and pray for His Forgiveness: for He is Oft- Returning (in forgiveness)." [Nasr, 3]
But a person should be able to dare for repentance and for asking for forgiveness! Spiritual wounds that are made out of mistakes do not heal easily. Mankind holds this spiritual pain throughout his life in his conscience. For this reason, we should try to pursue a life in accordance with Allah’s will.
Be entrusted to Allah.
Dr. Ismail Ulukus