OPINION: Why Muslims should always remember death

OPINION: Why Muslims should always remember death

Editor’s note: The only inevitable thing in life that cuts across religions, ethnicity, tribe or colour is death. Certainly, every living being will live for an appointed time and the caller (death) would come unannounced.

In this article sent to NAIJ.com, an Islamic scholar, Sheik Yahya Garba Al-Yolawi while delivering a sermon in Abuja on the inevitability of death, explains why every Muslim should always prepare for his/her last day on earth.

In the name of Allah the Most Gracious the most Merciful, respected brothers and sisters in Islam, Today’s sermon will divert a little to the topic: "Benefits of remembering Death in Islam".

Death in Islam is the termination of worldly life and the beginning of life after death (Barzakh). Death is seen as the separation of soul from body, and its transfer from this world to the afterlife. Death is a reality in which all human beings accept and believe in; however, it is also a reality which most of us like to keep out of our minds.

In Islam, death is not an end to our existence; it is a passage, which takes us from this world to the next stage of life (grave) then to hereafter. Whether we like it or not will certainly come to every one of us.

Muslim’s' Success or failure at the time of death depends on how much he prepared before that day. Preparing for death is a lifetime’s assignment.

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It begins on the day one reach the age of adolescence (bulugh) where he will be responsible for his deeds for the rest of his or her life. Once death arrives, the opportunity to do well or worship ceases. It will be too late to repent and our final destination depends largely on the kind of beliefs and actions exhibited in this present life.

Some of the verses of holy Qur’an and Ahaadith on death include:

1. Death is inevitable to every human being

Allah (SWT) says: “Every soul will taste death, and you will only be given your [full] compensation on the Day of resurrection. So he who is drawn away from the fire and admitted to paradise has attained [his desire] And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion”, Q 3:185.

2. No one has a clue on when and where he will die

Allah (SWT) says: “Indeed, Allah [alone] has knowledge of the Hour (Day of Qiyaama) and sends down the rain and knows what is in the wombs. And no soul perceives what it will earn tomorrow, and no soul perceives in what land it will die. Indeed, Allah is knowing well acquainted.” Q31:34.

3. Sound Iman (belief) and righteous deeds are the only preparation for death

Allah (SWT) says: “ O you who have believed, let not your wealth and your children divert you from remembrance of Allah, and whoever does that- then those are the losers. And spend [in the way of Allah] from what we have provided you before death approaches one of you and he says. “My lord, if only you would delay me for a brief term so I would give charity and be among the righteous. But never will Allah delay a soul when its time has come. And Allah is fully aware with what you do.”Q63:9-1 l.

4. The soul of the wrongdoers would be taken away severely

“...And you could but see when the wrongdoers are in the overwhelming pangs of death while the angels extend their hands,[saying] discharge your souls!

"Today you will- be awarded the punishment of (extreme) humiliation for what you used to say against Allah other than the truth and [that] you were, toward His verses, being arrogant. [it will be said to them)

“And you have certainly come to Us alone as We created you the first time, and you have left whatever we bestowed upon you behind you. And we do not see with you your intercessors which you claimed that they were among your associates [of Allah].lt has [all] been severe between you and lost from you is what you used to claim.” Q 6:94

5. Disbelievers and wrongdoers will regret their lives at the point of Death

Allah (SWT) says: “Until, when death comes to one of them, he says; ‘‘my Lord, send me back that I might do righteousness in that which I left behind.” No! it is only a word he is saying and behind them is a barrier (barzakh) until the Day they are resurrected; so when the Horn is blown, no relationship will there be among ‘them that Day, nor will they ask about one another.

"And those whose scales are heavy [with good deeds] it is they who are the successful. But those whose scales are light- those are the ones who have lost their life, [being] in Hell, abiding eternally.

"The Fire will bum their faces and they therein will have tight smiles. (It will be said) “Were not my verses recited to you and you used to deny them? They will say, “Our Lord, our misery overcame us, and we were a people astray. Our lord, remove us from it and if we were to return [to evil], we would be wrongdoers”.

He will say: “Remain despised there in and do not speak to me, indeed, there was a party of my servants who said, our lord, we have believed, so forgive us and have mercy upon us, and you are the best of the merciful.

"But you took them in mockery to the point that they made you forget my remembrance, and you used to laugh at them. Indeed, I have rewarded them this Day for their patient endurance- that they are the attainders (of success) Q23:99- 111

6. The reality is this world is nothing but transition to hereafter

Allah (SWT) says: “Competition in [worldly] increase diverts you; until you visit the graveyards. No! You are going to know. Then no! You are going to know. No! If you only knew with knowledge of certainty...

You will surely see the hellfire. Then you will surely see it with the eye of certainty. Then you will surely be asked that Day about pleasure. ‘And He says “know that the life in this world is but amusement and diversion and adornment and boasting to one another and competition in increase of wealth and children- like the example of rain Whose (resulting) plant growth please the farmers; then it dries and you see it turned yellow; then it becomes [scattered] debris.

And in the Hereafter is severe punishment, and forgiveness from Allah and approval. And what is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion. Surat al- Hadeed.

7. Death: no one will escape from it

Allah (SWT) says: “Wherever you-may be, death will overtake you, even if you-should be within towers of lofty construction. But if good comes to them, they say, this is from Allah and if evil befalls them, they say, “This is from You” Say, All [things]are from Allah. So; what is; the [the matter] with those people that they can hardly understand any statement?

What comes to you of good is from Allah; but what comes to you of evil,(O man), is from yourself. And` We have sent you,(O Muhammad), to the 'people as a messenger, and sufficient is Allah as witness” Q4:78-79

8. Be in this world as a traveler

On the authority of Abdullah bin Umar, who said: The messenger of Allah took me by the shoulder and said: "Be in the world as though you were a stranger or a traveller." Abdullahi bn Umar used to say: "At evening do not expect [to live till] morning, and at morning do not expect (to live till) evening. Take from your health for your illness and from your life for your death."

Factors liable for remembering death

1. Visiting graveyard.

2. Witnessing processes of funeral prayer.

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3. Witnessing one at the point of death.

4. Considering signs from angel of death.[ gray hears and sicknesses].

5. Pondering over pass generations including late family members & friends

Benefits of remembering death

1. It helps in preparation toward death before it is too late.

2. It reduces worldly material inclination from hearts

3. It leads to peace and contentment with what we have.

4. It make difficult appears simple in sight.

5. It eliminates arrogance and oppression from evil doers.

6. It inculcates in Muslim the spirit of humility and humbleness.

7. Devil will never have total power over who remembers death regularly.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the editorial policy of NAIJ.com.

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