My subject today is about Death. Allah (St) says in the Quran in Surah Al-Mulk (Dominion): "Blessed be He in Whose hands is Dominion; and He over all things hath Power; He Who created Death and Life, that He may which of you is best in deed: and He is the Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving;…" (Quran 67:1-2).
The subject of death is very important to all of us. Every one of us has to die. In this regard Allah mentioned in the Quran in Surah Al-Zumar that everyone has to die including the Prophet Mohammed (peace and blessings be upon him) himself: "Truly thou wilt die (one day), and truly they (too) will die (one day) (Quran 39:30).
Also Allah said in Surah Al-'Ankabut (The Spider) that everyone has to die: "Every soul shall have taste of death: In the end to Us shall ye brought back" (Quran 29:57).
No one knows when and where to die. No one even knows how he is to die. In this respect Allah says in the Quran in Surah Luqman: "Nor does anyone know what it is that he will earn on the morrow: Nor does anyone know in what land he is to die. Verily with God is full knowledge and He is acquainted (with all things)" (Quran 31:34).
It is understood that Allah alone is the One Who gives life, and it is He Who takes off life. In this regard, Allah says in the Quran in Surah Al-Mumin (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" (Quran 40:68).
While life and death are from Allah, we have to remember that they are to take place with the permission of Allah alone. Each one's life and death are decided by Allah. It is stated in the Quran in Surah Al-Imran (The family of Imran) the following:
"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).
Allah makes us die daily at night during sleeping. He makes most of us wake up from our temporary death to praise Him and to worship Him. The Quran 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).
Allah has assigned an angel responsible for taking our souls out of our flesh. The angel's name in the Quran is Angel of Death. Allah informs us in Surah Al-Sajdah (Prostration): "Say: 'The Angel of Death put in charge of you, will (duly) take your souls: Then shall ye be brought back to your Lord" (32:11).
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, our beloved Prophet said: "The life span of my followers is between sixty and seventy. Very few of them do exceed this age" (Tirmidhi).
While the life span of a Muslim is short, and while the deeds and actions do stop normally after death, a Muslim may continue to earn rewards for certain things even after his death. These are perpetual charity, a useful knowledge, a good child that prays for him, a mosque that he built, teaching Quran to another person, a house he built for public use, a water fountain or a river that he rent and made it free for people, or a charity that he gave during his life while he was in good health. All these and similar others are the ones that may follow him even while he is in the grave. In this respect, the Prophet said: "When a child of Adam dies, his deeds are over except through three things: perpetual charity, a useful knowledge, or a good child to pray for him."
In another Hadith in Ibn Majah, the Prophet said: "Some of the deeds and the rewards that follow a believer after death are: knowledge that he taught or published, a good child that he left behind, a Quran that he inherited to someone, a mosque that he built, a house that he built for the wayfarer, a river that he rented (to be used free), or a charity that he gave from his wealth during his good health and his life; these are the ones that follow a person after his death."
Life in this world is a temporary one. The real life is the one of the hereafter. In this respect, the Quran states in Surah Al-Ankabut (The Spider):"What is the life of this world but amusement and play? But verily the home in the Hereafter - that is life indeed, if they but knew" (29:64).
We are here on a trial basis, we are here on a temporary basis, and we are here for a passage to heaven and paradise. The real life of an eternal rest is that of the hereafter. In this respect, Allah says in Surah Al-Mumin (The Believer):"O my People: This life of the present is nothing but (temporary) convenience. It is the Hereafter that is the home that will last" (40:39).
Without coming to this world, and without dying we can't go to paradise. We can't dream to go to paradise without tasting death. So we have to die whether we like it or not. Death is truth (haqq). It is a passage to paradise. Therefore, each has to remember death and to prepare himself for that day. Our beloved Prophet reminded us that we have to remember death, as it is the one that defeats all types of pleasures.
Ibn Umar narrated that the Messenger of Allah said: "Increase your remembrance of the One which defeats pleasures."
While we are to remember death, we have to prepare ourselves to meet it - before it meets us. In this regard, our beloved Prophet said: "Do for your life as if you are to live eternally, and do for the hereafter as if you are to die tomorrow."
While we are to remember death, it is also recommended that one prepares for himself the coffin as well as the grave before he dies. It is also recommended that one may wish to die at one of the two Sacred Mosques (Kaba at Makkah; and the Prophet's mosque at Madinah). It is also recommended that a person visit the graveyards with solitude, serenity and humility.
Remember that death is a process of rest for both the believers and the wicked. We hope and pray that we Muslims obey Allah in our private and public life. We hope and pray that Allah will be happy with us. We pray that when death comes to us, we are ready to face it with courage. We hope that when we die, we will die as loving sincere Muslims. Ameen.
Photo Attribution: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:RodosTurkishCemeteryMuslimHeadstones_(4).jpg